Saturday, February 12, 2011

On Being Sick and Noticing Stuff

There is something in my "mother DNA" that does not allow me (a) to "feel" sick and (b) to admit that I'm sick.  That's why, 10 days into my current virus, I am still having a hard time accepting it.  I have symptoms, of course.  Loads of them.  And last Friday after running around  with 5 kids all day, meeting their needs,   doing the laundry and cooking--all with a splitting headache, blisters in my throat and a fever-- I declared that on Saturday I was actually going to BE sick. 

You know - be sick.  Stay in bed.  Drink a lot.  Sleep a lot.  Watch TV.  Do puzzles.  REST.  This was my second sick day in 15 years.  IT was glorious.  And it was a lot harder than I expected.

Dear hubby did great.  There was very little yelling or tantrum-ing on either side.  He asked for advice when he needed it but mostly just figured things out. 

Nonetheless, my lying a-bed was riddled with guilt.  And don't you dare write and say how "I shouldn't " feel guilty.  Too late.  I already did.  Never mind that I was only taking my own advice; I always send Paul and the kids to bed when they're sick.  "Rest is the best medicine, " I tell them, "Your body has to rest to heal."

This was the perfect challenge for me.  I've known for months that I have a tendency to put myself 7th on the priority list - hence the many months plateau on my weight loss.  No surprise-- I learned something truly valuable.  I actually DID get better.  Markedly better.  Mind you, I wasn't turning cartwheels on Sunday or spring cleaning, but I did feel well enough to tidy the house, do a bit of laundry and cook dinner and I have been getting "more well" every day since.  Yet I am still struggling with my mind trying to tell me I'm not sick, even as my lymph nodes swell, I can't breathe, and I cough like a TB patient.

I am not proud of the fact that it is SO hard for me to prioritize caring for myself.  At what point in my life did I become less important than everyone in my environment?  (It's a rhetorical question - it happened the moment they placed "Pepper" in my arms).   I am not doing my older girls any service by neglecting myself.  I don't want them to be that kind of mommy.  I want them to be the kind of mom who calls me up and says, "Come over, please, mom and get these kids.  I need to read a book!"

I'm going to turn this around.  Stay tuned.

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