Adventures in Congestive Heart Failure Series
Remember how I said “life doesn’t stop in a big family when mom is sick.” Welcome to a little something I like to call MomLife in the Trenches.
I was diagnosed on a Tuesday, had new meds and new tests being scheduled by the end of the day and a general idea of what to do next-eat less salt, consume less fluid, don’t drink alcohol and lose some weight. Easy peasy. Especially if I can just focus on myself and my own needs every day of the week, right?
Newsflash…Mom’s don’t work that way.
Our general default mode is to fix what needs fixing outside of our bodies and only pay attention to ourselves and our needs when the wheels quite literally fall off the damn bus.
We have a big frantic family. I love it. I wanted this family. I choose it. It also exhausts me sometimes and it takes a lot of juggling to keep everything headed in a good direction. Right now, living at home, we have our 17 year old manchild, our 17 year old niece, our freshman in high school and the 9 year old caboose and princess of the world. So when one kid woke us up at 3am Saturday morning puking, all bets were off. It was only a matter of time until all of us were.
Saturday was a wash.
Plans were cancelled or rescheduled.
Not a huge deal because I was still recuperating.
Sunday morning I got a call from one of our adult kids who needed some crisis management help with a bunch of mama love and support. And if you know, you know…I jumped both feet in doing anything I could to help ease the situation from hundreds of miles away because even when they are adults, we ache when they ache and it’s worse when we can’t be there for the much needed hug.
Also…Princess Chloe starts throwing up.
And then Jason, the manchild.
Monday morning I had the task of rekeying a car hundreds of miles away without ownership papers on hand while also sorting out who I could lean on to assist-turns out having two adult children in the same geographical area is handy. All while keeping tabs on the kid in crisis mode and the two vomiting at home.
*I was also reminded that when family members aren’t getting along, but something goes wrong, we have raised children who will drop arms and help…story for another time.*
Aaron leaves for San Francisco and promptly starts throwing up at his hotel.
And then on Tuesday morning, it finally hits ME, right in the gut. Literally.
So that happened…and it went through all of us. It was miserable. Not covid, just a wicked strong 24 hour stomach bug. But that wasn’t the only thing going on. And as mom’s do, I think I’m a pretty good multi-tasker which really means everything gets a little bit done and rarely does anything have my complete and undivided attention.
Oh and it’s Christmas time. By now it’s ten days until Christmas and I have exactly three gifts purchased, none wrapped and a list as long as a CVS receipt.
It was by far the most challenging couple of weeks of 2021 in our household, which is saying a lot. But it’s also a reminder of why I found myself here in the first place. When the coordinator for the heart rehab program called me for our initial meeting two weeks post-diagnosis and asked what I had been doing for my health in those two weeks, I couldn’t come up with anything beyond surviving.
I had become so accustom to my role of fixer, emotional provider and all things important mama that I hadn’t even stopped long enough to think of what would happen in the lives of all of my peeps if I didn’t change my priority to my own health and they found themselves making funeral preparations for me. It’s wild that it takes a wake up call like this but it does. I’m not rare. I’m not alone in this. Millions of parents, especially those who identify as mom, ignore little health warning signs every day and wait until we’re totally run down before even thinking about what could be wrong with us.
So what’s the answer and have I solved my own health crisis?
Nope. No answers here yet. Just an awareness of how I got here and a cautionary tale. But sometimes awareness is just the spark that leads us to growth and change. Even if it’s just one small step at a time, moving the needle just 5%.
To all the mamas out there…I see you. I salute you. I am with you.
Now go take care of your body for a moment today.