"Our life is frittered away by detail...simplify, simplify." - Henry David Thoreau

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Change for the Better

It seems like everyone I know, including my friend AM who is lying in the hospital recovering from a broken leg and stroke, wants to do a triathlon. Me? Not so much. I'm just happy that I've gotten out of bed two mornings in a row and walked the dog before 8am. I feel like I am missing an essential part of being a  2000 and teens middle-aged woman. Everyone is either running a marathon, cycling the Centurion or planning a trip to climb K2. Me? I just want to stop feeling crappy all the time which makes me very grumpy. I finally went to the doctor this week and told him about all the strange pains I have been having all over my body. He didn't laugh or look at me with pity (he's a cyclist who broke his neck riding his bike a few years ago and is right back in the saddle) He did sign me up for a bunch of blood work as well as x-rays and an ultrasound so I guess he's taking this seriously and I did actually go and get the blood and x-rays done so that's a start. I don't want to find out that there is something wrong with me I just want to know that the aches and pains are normal or can be fixed by losing weight or getting more reasonable amounts of exercise.

It's hard to feel sorry for yourself when a friend is looking at months and months of recovery but who is still insisting her husband sign her up for hockey next winter. I spoke to AM's sister, M yesterday and she feels the biggest roadblock to AM's recovery is that she won't let go of all her motherly duties and focus on herself. She sends texts and emails in the middle of the night reminding her sister about the kids' schedules, she is worrying about what they are eating, wearing and doing every minute of the day which, of course is what all we mothers do but she has to try and relinquish these things to her sister and husband. The kids are being well cared for although it may not be exactly the way she would be doing it. But, as M said, "Their lives are not going to be the same, their mother is in the hospital and things have changed." The question down the road will be whether it may even be a change for the better. Like most families we know, AM's was as active as active can be. Four kids, all in sports, music lessons, extra tutoring and I mentioned they had just gotten a new puppy, right? Dad commutes by train downtown every day, they have a country place they use year round. They are, in short, healthy, athletic and everything you are supposed to strive for except that it might have all been too much. The doctors don't know what caused AM's stroke, they haven't found a connection to the surgery on her leg but her sister's theory is that it was a sign that AM needed to slow down for her own and the whole family's sake.

My Other Half's reaction to all this has been a little surprising. He, of course, is up to his eyeballs in boat orders and deliveries, he just did a 24 hour turn around, driving from here to New Hampshire and back. But he has hardly asked about AM and I wonder if it's because he doesn't want to think about the what if's. What if it was me in the hospital or even, what if it was him? His life is as stressful as they come, running his own business, responsible for four dependents as well as eight employees. He has never handled this time of year very well. He just hunkers down and plows through it with little time to rest, relax or even smile some days. AM certainly wasn't as extreme as my OH, she allowed herself to have fun, unfortunately one of the things she loved to do for herself was the thing that landed her in the hospital. Of course we don't know whether she would have had the stroke whether she had broken her leg or not but for me I worry that my OH is heading for a breakdown every year about this time.

So, as well as looking after myself, I have to make sure I keep an eye on S. Our sailboat was launched on Sunday, rechristened with a more appropriate name (although according to marine protocol we have invited back luck by not getting a virgin to pee on the deck before she went back in the water) and I have made it my mission to get S. out in it twice as many times as last year. Meaning eight times which is completely doable from now until October haul out. Just because we are in the boat business doesn't mean we get to spend all our time on the water and it is out there that S is really able to relax and do nothing. So in the interest of our  health and well-being I vow to keep walking in the mornings and get S to join me when he is home. We will have fun with the boys and not spend all our time running them around from activity to activity.

Tomorrow I am going to see AM for the first time and I am taking some lilacs and lily of the valley from the garden for her room, cheese (of course) and lots of fresh fruit. Hopefully I will be able to wheel her outside for a little picnic and fresh air. And when I get home I want to tell S all about my visit so that he can understand how important it is for both of us to take care of ourselves and each other.


  1. An excellent plan/start – a visit to the doctor, “reasonable” exercise and some R&R with your husband. It’s too bad it takes other peoples’ tragedies to give us a wake-up call about our own health. (That’s happened to me, too.)
    Best of luck!

  2. Here's hoping that the tests show some easy-to-fix issue, like 'get more vitamin D'. Maybe the warmer weather will help- I know I feel 100% better on sunny days. I told my Dr last week that I was feeling good about getting out of bed every day, and getting dressed was bonus points!


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