Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What to Remember in Times of Crisis

This week is a bit of a blur. My mom was in surgery and recovery all day yesterday. She had to have a tumor in her stomach removed immediately, the one found on the tests they ran on Monday. I've been driving back and forth between our town and Rochester, MN, where the Mayo Clinic hospital is located, with my girls every day. Christopher's been staying overnight with local friends there, to be the hospital point person and help take care of my parents. The medical team have gone to him with every question and result. He's handled it all, while I've handled the girls, the house, our schedule, the food. My mom's surgery went well, but she has several days post-op at the hospital ahead and she's 350 miles from home. It's overwhelming.

Because I've been mostly away from home and the computer and my normal schedule since 6 a.m. on Sunday, a lot of things have gone by the wayside. There is no ABC Summer this week. Genevieve's missed some of her kindergarten-adjustment program. I haven't worked on book rewrites for the past two weeks (in a strange twist of fate, last week I was busy holding vigil for my paternal grandmother's death and being with relatives who came to town because of that; but she's still alive and then this week happened). I haven't worked at my part-time freelance job in a week (so my checking account is running dry). I haven't done the rest of the school-supplies shopping. I haven't figured out which of my daughters' clothes still fit for this school year, and how much we need to buy -- the tennis shoes for P.E., the new jackets and mary janes.

I haven't talked much or even thought about Genevieve starting kindergarten. And she's not even remotely ready (other than academically). She seems like a toddler to me. She cries when I go down the hall at the hospital to use the restroom even though I'm back in less than five minutes. She cries at pre-K if I'm not at pick-up ten minutes early when they file out to the playground, even though I'm at pick-up at pick-up time.

But I've learned a few things, about times of crisis. Maybe some of these will be helpful to you, when you find yourself in a time of crisis one day. We all do, don't we?

In no particular order:

  • The chores and cooking and cleaning do not matter. You think you know this already, and truly you do know this, but it's good to remind yourself.
  • Facebook is a godsend. A GODSEND. (Thank you Lori, you were totally right about that.)
  • Healthy meals and snacks are a luxury. You may not get them for awhile, nor will your kids, but that's OK. Crackers, dry cereal, cookies, and all-fruit strips are fine for now. They're not perishable and they travel well.
  • Hospitals are cold. Bring cardigans for yourself and your children every day.
  • The best thing a friend can say to you when you're stressed and freaking out about everything going on and everything that's being neglected is, "One day at a time." Keep that in mind for when you need to say something to someone else in a time of stress.
  • Simple, non-wrinkling, comfy casual dresses are the best outfits you can wear for going back and forth between home and the hospital, being busy and harried. At least if the weather is warm. A dress automatically makes you look pulled-together and competent, even if you've slept approximately six hours total in two or three nights and have not washed your hair in almost five days -- and it takes about five seconds to get yourself dressed in one. Pull it over your head and you're done. Add a pair of sandals, pin up your hair, and grab dark sunglasses and you're set.
  • Keep your faith in fate, a religious power, whatever. Amazing things happen even in times of need. Purely due to chance and timing, I found my mom in time to most likely save her life on Sunday morning. Had she been downstairs alone much longer, losing more blood, we may very well have lost her. Because of a decision my husband and I made in about 30 seconds at our town's ER, my mom ended up at a hospital with the best care in the world, in a town where we have close friends to help take care of us, and where my parents' pastor just happened to be with his own wife, who goes there periodically for long-term care for a chronic medical condition -- and this pastor ended up staying with my mom and dad for most of two days, providing invaluable comfort.
See you on the flip side of this crisis. Thank you for all your support, so many of you wonderful friends.


Mnmom said...

Been there, and all you've said is true. My Mom always said to us "the only thing about life that is guaranteed is that it will change again and again". Life turns on a dime. The only important thing is the love for the people around us and keeping those connections strong.

Life will settle down again, it always does. Stay strong!

Mom and Kiddo said...

Oh dear, I'm sorry you are all having to go through this. Best, best, best wishes.