“Love, take care of yourself.”
I have heard this a number of times from a few people the last few days. And today, I took it to heart.
I went home.
Since Thursday at 5:30am, I have been focused on getting to my dad, being with my dad, helping my mom, and helping my dad. And yesterday, I hit a point where I was done. I had been at the hospital all day long for three days straight. I needed a break. I needed to exhale a bit. And, I realized I wasn’t going to get it unless I went home.
Two hours on Friday. I wanted two hours Friday to watch the soccer game I was missing. Sounds stupid, but by this point, I just wanted two hours to focus on something else. I wanted two hours to just escape for a bit – recharge – exhale.
As the afternoon went on, it became clear that I wasn’t going to get it.
Friday and Saturday, my brothers were pretty absent. My one brother didn’t have to work but was only there an hour on Friday. The other brother was working, but outside of a lunch break, he wasn’t willing to go to the hospital unless he could bring his kids which was not appropriate given Dad was in the ICU. So it was me and my mom – all day long – on both days. Even when my other brother could have come to relieve me on Saturday.
My mom – oy – my mom……I love her, but fuck. I pulled her aside at one point to remind her that she needs to let my dad answer the nurse’s questions and the doctor’s questions. She got pissed at that. My dad thanked me for being there so he didn’t have to worry about Mom, and she got pissed. All of that was on top of the fact that she was pissy about everything…..I mean, EVERYTHING.
I nurses were awesome! Each one impressed the fuck out of me in terms of their knowledge and all they were managing. My mom found fault. The volunteers were hardworking. My mom thought they were there to make her life hard. Hospital food was pretty damn good. My mom thought they were overcharging, serving too much in some cases, and serving too little in others. The hospital put out an amazing hospitality table for the visitors including good coffee, choices of tea, ice water, amazing fruit, and a huge pile of granola bars. My mom complained it was all stuff she didn’t like. The surgical staff sent a nurse out 3 times during the surgery to give us updates on where they were at and how he was doing. My mom complained that she wasn’t the only person the nurse was addressing. (My mom was in the restroom the first time she came out, so subsequent times she looked for me and my brothers first.)
All of this had worn me down. I was already dealing with my own emotions with this situation. Having to deal with my mom’s negativity while pushing aside my own was just killing me.
This is where I must stop anyone who is thinking, “but your mom is stressed too – her husband could have died – give her a break!”
I know she has been through a lot, but this has been her mode for about a year now. Fixation on the negative – fixation on all that is wrong – assumption that all that is happening to her is because people think she is unable or incompetent. This is something that has concerned us all, but we have not been able to figure out why the mood shift. My dad has told me a lot about what living with it is like – and spending a few hours with her definitely made me realize how bad it is for him.
When I realized it was going to be another night of sitting around and managing Mom while Dad rests and all, I decided I should just go home. I needed to go home. And getting a text of “come home and let me take care of you tomorrow” definitely won out. I kissed my dad goodbye – and drove home.
I came home to dinner thanks to the new adults in the houses (the two seniors – my daughter and new son). After they went out to hang with friends, I cuddled on the couch with the other teen. Then I spent most of my day today sleeping and getting love.
There has been a few times today where I felt guilty for not being there as I wondered how Dad was doing while not being able to find out. But I needed today. Had I not come home when I did, I would have ruined my week by not having any recovery – any self care.
Self care is hard for me – and I’m trying to be better about it. And like many things this week, I am learning how much I need to prioritize it for my health.
I’m glad for those who love me – and who kept reminding me to prioritize me else I would still be down there.