If you’ve ever flown., you know the drill. They tell you that in the event that the oxygen masks drop down and you are traveling with young children, put the mask on yourself first and then on your child. And if you have a witty flight attendant, she is sure to add, “If you are traveling with more than one child, figure out which one has the most earning potential in future years and get the oxygen mask on that one first after yours.”
I heard a great keynote at a teacher conference once that used then mask advice to urge teachers to take good care of themselves first and not burn themselves out trying to be super teacher. Obviously it’s good advice for caregivers as well and so many of you have reminded me to take care of myself.
So I doing my damndest to do that…to try to stay aware of my own level of stress, to keep my anxiety and worry down to manageable chunks, to find ways to relax. I do a lot of slow breathing, meditation, reading (mostly in the pool) and exercising (also in the pool). And I listen to my favorite church music in the car..the same music that I used for radiation sessions at Anderson (and for radiation back in 2000 for breast cancer)
It’s a bit easier now that Jerry is well enough to leave on his own. I do get “twitchy” if I’m gone too long but as long as I have my phone (forgot it when I went to yoga this morning and was a mess) I don’t have to be home checking on the poor guy every minute. I told him when I got home from yoga today that he was only allowed to have a heart attack or another stroke when I had my phone and he could warn me that bad things were happening. We had a good laugh.
And we do laugh a lot these days. When Jerry checked into the hospital for his heart cath, the nurse at the desk asked him who was with him. He didn’t hesitate..”My mother”, he said.
I howled and even he started laughing.
Jerry gets better day by day. The speech therapist commented on how well he’s doing. My dear friend, Mary Anne, who is also doing speech with him twice a week said it too. And I see it. He really is coming back. He even went out with a friend to the driving range today to hit golf balls. He’s doing well.
And I’m doing okay. I try to stop the “what ifs”…what if this is as good as he gets? What if something goes wrong with the bypass surgery (no date for that yet) What if I get sick? (That one scares me the most these days). There are moments when I feel as if I’m walking at the edge of a cliff and a gust of wind could blow me over the edge but most of the time I know we’re okay and will continue to be okay.
We do stay busy with doctor’s appointments and speech therapy and just everyday life (bought a new dishwasher the other day). I have “to do” lists that have “research cardiac surgeons” along with “reschedule dentist appointment” along with “wash kitchen floor” and “make kids’ Shutterfly book”. We aren’t bored, that’s for sure.
So life goes on and we continue to ride the waves and don’t get slammed down by them very often. You cannot imagine how grateful I am for your kind words, your thoughtfulness, your understanding. I can feel that energy, I honestly can. And it’s carrying us both through these crazy days. Thanks…and much love to all.