Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Well, that was unexpected.

Never, ever say to yourself, "This couldn't get much worse." Because it can. And it will. And Fate will dump a bag of flaming poo on your doorstep and laugh at your tears.

Last week I found myself the sickest I've ever been in my adult life. With the exception of the whole cancer thing, of course. I had a confirmed case of influenza despite the fact that I get a flu shot every year, wash my hands so often they crack and bleed, exercise, eat right, and take those probiotic tablets that are so in fashion these days. The only thing I can think of that led to me being so sick is that I turned 40 just days before and maybe hit my "Sell by" date. Like that questionable container of sour cream in the back of your fridge, I am in a rapid state of ruin.

The biggest consequence of this illness, besides putting me in touch with my own mortality, is that it has pushed shoulder surgery back a week. I would feel like it's a stay of execution, a call from the governor, except that it simply postponed the inevitable. I'm right back on the Green Mile in just a few days.

I also learned that I am not, actually, Wonder Woman. Like so many working mothers of a certain age, I balance a lot: job pressure, running a kid hither and yon, cooking, cleaning, handling home repair crises, staying in shape, binge-watching trendy water-cooler shows like House of Cards, etc. For weeks, I've battled through ever-present exhaustion to knock out my daily to-do list, sleep and mental health be damned.

So not having enough energy to even get out of bed, let alone vacuum something (though believe me, I tried) forced me to take a step back from my busy life and un-busy it. To accept that sometimes, I need help and rest. To let the husband and the kid take care of me every now and then. To realize that while I am not old and am in relatively good health, I do have physical limitations. I am human, and therefore I occasionally need to stop and breathe.

It's good that I learned this now seeing as how I get to turn around and have another test of my endurance in the form of shoulder surgery in just a couple of days. I've accepted offers of meals from some of my friends. I am hiring someone to help me with the heavier housework every other week for the months after surgery that my left arm will be immobile. I am willing, I think, to let some things slide for a while. I won't beat myself up for not working out (more than physical therapy exercises and walks), for accumulating a little dust, for grabbing dinner at Chipotle instead of cooking something myself. If I'm tired and sore, I'm going to sleep. If I can't fold the laundry, I'm going to pass the buck to the other people who live in my house.

At least, this is what I think now in the comfort of having two good arms. This is all subject to change based on boredom, restlessness, and self-loathing.

If you pray, please pray for a straight-forward procedure with no complications and a quick rehab and recovery. If you are more of a positive-vibes person, please send those my way. If you honestly don't think either of these things work, feel free to send bourbon. Any and all of the above would be appreciated (both by me and by the other adult in my house who will, no doubt, have his hands full, his patience tested, and his sleep interrupted by a sore, grouchy, be-slinged wife.)

As soon as I  can write again, I'll update. With my good cheer and ever-present optimism (sarcasm alert!) enhanced by what we can only hope are really, really good pain meds.

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