Mothers Don't Have Time to Get Sick!
Today I decided to take care of me. Our house has been taking turns with the flu. It always starts with the little one and works its way up. Inevitably, he comes home sniffling and coughing and I know that it is a matter of hours before the virus becomes an epidemic.
Since I have enacted a new healthy diet, I thought that maybe I would be spared. Every day, my body has been ingesting things that only a rabbit eats, that sprout and grow out of the ground, and I have never seen a rabbit with a cold. Wrong.
It all started with a few sniffles then inevitably, the deadly sneeze. My older son was the next soldier down on the field followed by my husband who was in another country and popping Tylenol like a kid popping Pez candy. I could feel the warmth overtaking my body as my mouth was crying for water. Lying in bed that night, my throat that had started as a sore ache had heightened to a sharp cutting pain that even throat lozenges couldn’t conceal. My glands began to swell as the tears rolled down the sides of my cheeks. Just lying there, I knew that if I just stayed exactly like I was, I would never see a wink of sleep.
Hmm. what are my alternatives? My mind began to race. Listening to my husband’s snores next to me, I knew I had no choice, I would do what anyone who doesn’t have children would do, and I would take care of myself. I got out of bed, snuck into the closet and dressed to go to the hospital. Quietly, I tiptoed over to my husband’s side of the bed. He had not slept in over 24 hours, so I knew he would be deep in REM’s.
“Honey,” I whispered. No response. “HONEY.” I began to nudge him. Still no response. “HEY,” I shouted. “ IM GOING TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM.”
“What’s going on? Do you want me to take you?”
“NO!” Lucky for me, my teenage daughter was just coming in from babysitting so at the strike of midnight, we climbed into her Jeep and headed out to look for the ER in a town that was relatively new to both of us.
When I got there, I was admitted quickly and I was brought in to lie on a hospital bed. Voices in my head wanted to bunk down and stay there for the next two weeks. The nurses gathered around and began taking my blood pressure and vitals. The doctor came in and ordered a breathing treatment for my wheezing, antibiotics for the infection, and cough syrup with Codeine so I would be able to get some sleep. Every ounce of me began to relax and I realized what it felt like to put your own breathing mask on when the plane goes down so that you could administer oxygen to your children.
I Decided to Take Care of Myself First
For so many years, I lived in a victim state, running myself into the ground and caring for everyone else's needs first. As I sat on the bed inhaling in and inhaling out of the nebulizer, the voice in my head amped up the volume, "Why Wendy, have you not done this before? What is different? You must share this with the rest of the mother’s around the world."
That night I returned home about 2a.m. and flopped on the couch with a blanket. I was relaxed from the cough syrup and the pain had begun to subside. The next morning my husband came down and found me sleeping on the couch. He leaned over to kiss my head. There was no cloud of anger to disguise the love between us.
Later that afternoon while we were watching movies, I leaned over and showed my husband a picture on my phone that my daughter had taken the night before.
“Look at this. “ He looked at the photo with an inquisitive look and gave the phone back to me.
“Isn’t that something?” I asked. “She took that of me last night in the hospital.”
“Hospital?” he looked at me with a blank stare. “When were you in the hospital?”
I could only laugh.
It takes an army of leaders to run a tribe. It takes one mother to run a family and thank goodness that mother had thought enough of herself to surrender.
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