After The Illness: Time To Breathe
A wonderful friend stopped by our house last week, just days after my husband came home from the hospital. She came bearing a loaf of warm homemade honey-wheat bread, get-well wishes, and good advice. I can’t remember her exact words, but they were something along the lines of, “Even though he’s home and doing well, it may not feel like it… allow yourself a few days to adjust, to come down from the emotional rollercoaster. ”
Sure, sure, I nodded. But I feel what she meant. We’re still getting ourselves back together after his illness, and in many different ways.
Hubby is, of course, shaken up. He has never been sick; he works through anything. This episode of diverticulitis stopped him in his tracks and forced him to reevaluate everything. It was painful, debilitating, and dangerous. He has to change the way he lives to avoid recurrences, and he’s not out of the woods yet as far as surgery; we’ll know more in another few weeks. He’s a bit tired, and apprehensive, which is not like him. He’s been so tender, just so touchingly gentle with the kids, especially with Babyboy when he’s being less than an angel. It’s cute!
I’ll be catching up on sleep for the next year, it feels like. I worry about him and how to keep this from happening again. I feel pressured to know more about this, to read more, get into the medical literature, ask friends… Except I barely have the time or the brainpower to do that. My diet and exercise routine completely fell by the wayside. (Perhaps) lucky for me, when I’m stressed I can’t eat, so I actually have lost more weight. I’m a flabby slug, but I’ve lost weight, though I don’t feel healthy at all.
After one week of crisis, we have a backup of mail, billpay, errands, and a slew of household chores. We’re digging out, but with good cheer, because after all, it was only a week.
My heart goes out to folks and families who must cope with longer and more serious illnesses… and for those whose children are sick, a special prayer. I cannot really imagine that.
I’ve gained some smidgen of understanding of my patients with chronic diseases who are functioning at less than 100% all of the time, or who have relapsing symptoms they must deal with on a regular basis. Worse for those who have unpredictable illnesses that flare; how hard it must be to plan, to fully live.
And so, we are VERY grateful for hubby’s recovery, and that he is home. We remind ourselves that it could be so much worse. We better see and appreciate our many blessings, the ones that were right in front of us all the time: our kids, our families, our friends.
But we also know we need more time to just breathe, reflect, assimilate the experience, and get our lives back.
And that’s OK.