During the last three weeks I have learned a lot about kindness and staying focused on what matters. I basically shut myself off from the outside world in order to keep myself submerged in all things critical care. We all know that lifestyle is simply not sustainable. Two weeks after the event over a basket of unfolded laundry, I looked over at my mom and said how long do you think we can keep this up? She just smiled. The lack of sleep doesn’t bother me and I have definitely reverted back to the days of the 2am bedtime. I slip back into that pattern very easily, the night suits me. When everyone is asleep I can answer emails, read comments on the caring bridge site, manage the volunteer meal calendar with laundry going on in the background. For my sister and brother and law I imagine they have a hard time remembering what day it is. Days must seem to run into one another in a long string of different activities. Lights never go completely dark at night and just when you have fallen asleep the new shift comes on and here comes the next wave of activity, alarms sounding, your door constantly revolving depositing an array of doctors, nurses, therapists, technicians, cleaners, social workers, hospital admin and even dogs (we like the dogs). Its almost impossible to get any real rest. I’m the lucky one I get to go home and sleep in my own bed.
I do not complain now when things seem to go wrong. I don’t know if a lack of sleep or maybe my adrenal system is just shot but I kinda feel a bit numb almost impervious to anything negative in my path. You would think in this situation as heart breaking as this that the Chairman might throw you a bone or two but that has not been the case.
when it rains it pours
Within two days of my dad’s arrival to California he was in a car accident, he lost a complete day of being with us at the hospital, thankfully the only thing hurt was a car and a rental at that. A few days later I got up off the waiting room couch in the PICU and left my phone. An hour later Find my iPhone picked it up in the next town over. Goodbye iPhone for the third time. Who does that? Our first day not visiting the hospital we took my niece’s little sister to the fair to celebrate her birthday. We bought tickets and the machine broke, essentially charging my card but not giving us our tickets. We had to hunt down the right people to help us get our money back, it took us over an hour and a half to get our tickets and on our first ride. I thought I was going to cry. Last week while my sister stood in line at the pharmacy across the street from the hospital a pregnant woman standing in front of her lost consciousness and fell backwards striking her head on the floor, my sister had to orchestrate someone to dial 911 and grab her unsecured toddler she had let go of during the fall. And then a few days later my sister fell ill and was forced to sleep away from Lil in her own bed, the first time in over three weeks. I have just stopped asking why entirely these days.
pay it forward
Then there are the times and people who are like beacons of light. I decided to cook a meal for my family which included my mom and dad (we haven’t sat down at he same table and shared a meal in over 30 years). I went to the ranch market and stood at the meat case, the young guy behind the counter could probably see my eyes glazing over, he offered his help. I told him I wanted to purchase good steaks that I was making a special dinner but I was debating about buying prime, the Cadillac of steaks. As I stood there in my stupor he pointed out that I still had on my CHOC visitor badge, he might have later regretted that. I explained to him what was going on realizing that the conversation was getting way too heavy for the meat counter I blurted out, and maybe in bad form, ‘What the heck life is short let’s go with prime’. He wrapped up six and I went home. I crumpled up the receipt I didn’t even want to know how much that meat set me back but as I pealed back the sticker on the butcher paper I noticed the word CHOICE, unbeknownst to me he had given me the steaks at the lower price. A little part of me feels guilty but the act of kindness did not go unnoticed so thank you meat counter guy.
Through all of this I am beginning to see the true meaning of strength and what it means to truly love someone. My husband reminds me with a quote from Scott Peck’s The Road Less Travelled quite often,
Love is not a feeling, it’s an action.
Go out today and do something unexpected for someone else today and see if those ripples don’t come back later to serve you in some way shape or form. Take it one step further and share in the comments what you did and how it made you feel. I would love to read about it.
Thank you for continuing to strengthen me and my family through the meals, blog comments, emails, texts, messages and especially prayers, we feel your arms around us.