Isn’t it funny how our bodies send us signals all the time? They tell us when we’re tired, hungry, angry or when we’re stressed to the max and when it is time to take a break!
If this stye on the inside of my left eyelid could speak, it would say, “Who do you think you are? Wonder Woman? Slow down, missy!”
And so, here I sit typing on my bed, where I plan to be for the majority of the next two days…taking a break! I knew I was stressed, but why is it only when an illness knocks that you are actually somehow granted permission to rest? At the moment, I wear several hats … wife, mom, daughter, caretaker, sibling and friend. And somewhere in there is the hat with my name on it…only it gets buried underneath all the other hats at times. So for the next two days, I plan on dusting off the “Amber” hat and being very nice to her. She deserves it.
If we neglect ourselves and do not listen to our internal cues, illness can result. I thought I was doing my best to juggle my hats but clearly I need to do better. I am caregiver to my 80 year old father who lives with us and he has had two hospitalizations recently with many follow up appointments, home health nurses, aides and physical therapists coming and going pretty much daily. On top of trying to see that he is cared for, I am still recovering from multiple surgeries and dealing with some issues.
(Just a little example of what my life looks like):
This morning I got ready and headed out for my G.I. Dr. appointment, although I seriously considered cancelling it due to this painful stye. (and the fact that I wasn’t sure I would be able to drive!). But, I marched on like a good soldier. I called my eye doctor in hopes they could squeeze me in their schedule today. Thankfully, they got me in at 10:15a.m. and I was able to get the much needed prescriptions for antibiotic eye drops and an oral antibiotic. Then, I hurried to my car in order to make it down the street in time for my 11:00a.m. G.I. Dr. appointment! Whew! I made it in time to turn in all my updated forms and recent imaging reports. I had a thorough appointment. CVS did not have my antibiotic eye drops in stock so I decided to go to another store in hopes they would have them. I really needed them today! Thankfully, after waiting over an hour, probably closer to two hours…I left that CVS with my prescriptions in hand! Then, I went to the lab for the blood work that the G.I. Dr. ordered, although I was in pain and worn out. I wanted to get the blood work done prior to starting the antibiotics so it didn’t throw off the results. I came home and checked on Dad to see how he was feeling and showed him my swollen eye. To which he responded, “So does this mean we’re not going to have my ultrasound done today?” Holy Moly!! In the midst of my health crisis of the day, I completely forgot his appointment at 4:00p.m.! I quickly called the imaging center and they graciously rescheduled his appointment for next week. Whew!
I have never been in a season like the one I’m presently in. Those who know me, know that I am fairly laid back and I have a very good memory. I’m a planner by nature and I’m usually pretty good at keeping all the balls in the air…
But, then surgical menopause happened….
and I have not been the same since my last surgery! I am, however, determined to outlast this phase! I am stronger than the chaos! Tougher than the pain! I am an overcomer and rest in knowing that God’s grace is sufficient for everything I am facing!
In my weakness, He is strong!
And, so, today my priority is to be extra kind to myself. I know that with God’s help, I will get through this. Life will not always be filled with constant pain. My father will not always be here and need my care. But he is here today and today I will make sure he is fed, clothed and cared for. It is my duty as his daughter. In doing so, I am honoring God through my obedience to His Word to honor your parents that it may go well with you and that you may live long upon the land which the Lord God gives you! I rest in that promise.
So, another hat I wear is wife….
My husband called to see what is for dinner a while ago…. Meanwhile, I had just set up my trusty, gray reading pillow and laptop on the bed to entertain myself during my misery. He wanted to just pick up subs, but I assured him that we would make a beef stir fry and rice. So, I called my eighteen year old son on his cell phone and asked that he meet me in the kitchen for cooking instructions. (He was downstairs and we have crazy, spiral stairs that my back revolts against!). So, he got instant cooking lessons on making beef and vegetable stir fry and divided it into two pans so we will have leftovers. He cut up an onion while I quickly loaded the dishwasher and washed a few dishes by hand. I told him that the dinner dishes were all his, though. So, you see… although I have determined to stay put in bed until the worst of this infection and pain clears, I am constantly beckoned for one reason or another. I don’t mind but this is a time for rest and self care.
And, so, if you don’t mind, I am hanging a “Do not disturb” sign on my door for a bit. For you see, I’m slowly but surely learning to take cues from my body.
Slow down, missy! Life is not a sprint. It is a marathon. And if you expect to make it to the finish line, you better pace yourself. And set boundaries that cannot be negotiated.
Rest. Balance. Grace. Boundaries.
Words to live by.