Oxygen Masks


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.





8 thoughts on “Oxygen Masks

  1. Jacqueline Neiman

    Another good one in the theme of “put the mask on yourself first”…. You can’t pour from an empty cup ❤️


  2. Dear Mary… I have been following your blog and saying prayers… so glad Jerry is getting along better, and that you are able to leave for a bit on your own. I love the air mask metaphor.. so very true. And keep using that warm, wonderful gulf you have down there for healing and delight! God is good, and I will continue to ask Him to watch over you. Love, Becky

  3. Hang tough, Mary Ginley. Lou

  4. We’ve started a prayer group here called “For Such a Time As This.” The original inspiration is this election, but as I read your blog, knowing how you hold the past, the present, and the unknown future, I sent out a prayer for you and Jerry for that play, laughter, and joy—and I thought, “for such a time as this.” Sending love and praying for relief from such burdens, my friend.

  5. Love Jerry’s line about who was with him at the hospital. Ahh… it is the simple joys that truly get us through our complicated lives. I’m so glad to hear Jerry is making good progress.

  6. Finally answers to my tedious question: but how are YOU? Same on you always ask me. XO

  7. Wendie Highsmith

    Mary-Yep-I hear you. A day at a time. Sounds like Jerry is coming along. A heart surgery you did not need, apparently he does. Scary stuff.

    Life is a daring adventure or nothing, so said Helen Keller.

    Keep those oxygen masks in place and breath!


  8. Hope you found peace on your trip I am sure Kate is looking after you and Jerry now cu soon love Paula

    Sent from my iPhone


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