Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Poor Bri. Are those violins I hear...?

Yesterday I shoved as much as humanly possible into a span of 24 hours.  I wanted to stay busy.  I needed to keep my mind off the fact that in Southern California my oldest sister, Ellen, was having a radical hysterectomy for advanced stage Cervical Cancer.  In my mind I know that this type of procedure happens in hospitals successfully all the time.  In my heart I was concerned because it was her first surgery since she was a child.  Ellen has other chronic health issues which may complicate things. So I shopped, picked-up, cleaned, changed bedding, ran errands, and virtually didn't stop until my body couldn't move another step.  I have a feeling today will be similar. 

It's interesting how we react in times of crisis; fight or flight.  A few weeks ago, while trying to relax in the bathtub, I received three calls of ugly news one right after the other.  The very fact that I was attempting to soak in the tub at 10:00am already implied how my morning had started out with the boys.  Eric was home from work not feeling well and by the third phone call, I was done.  No more fighting for Bri.  It was flight time.  After weeks of built up pressure, stress, and sadness I needed to get out of what I consider my "box" - my little "Thornton Suburbia".  Two autistic, emotionally troubled children can wear down the strongest of individuals not to mention a bi-polar wife and mother trying to cope with her own issues of self-worth.  In tears, I told my husband I needed a couple days to recoup and breathe.  I grabbed my laptop, cellphone, and five months worth of back-logged reading material and was out the door before I knew where I was heading.

"Knock, knock...".  None of my friends were physically or emotionally available for me that afternoon.  For the first time in a very long while I had to struggle with my inner demons alone and boy did they come out to play.  Without knowing what was in store for me, I battled them alone.  I stood my ground.  I wept, vomited, yelled and took no prisoners.  For dinner, when the waiter acted arrogant, I told him so.  Don't tell me the fried eggs you brought were "scrambled hard" you moron!  I realize you're a dinner waiter and only 19 years old but don't use that tone with me, mister!

I didn't sleep a wink that lonely night.  A lot of it could have been that the bed was comparable to the floor it was resting on.  No, the floor probably would have been more comfortable.  At least it was carpeted; however, I could not - with the naked eye - detect bed bugs or other creepy crawlies whereas at least on the fresh, white, linen bed, I was fairly certain not to be eaten alive by morning.  So there I was, all night, feeling sorry for myself.  Poor Bri.  She has so  much to feel bad about, doesn't she?  An amazing husband, fantastic friends, two boys - who despite their best efforts to drive me loonier than I already am - love me in their own, quirky little ways, a beautiful home, my health, my family...really?  What the fuck (pardon my Swahili) is wrong with me?  It was time to sit up, order room service, and look forward to my amazing spa experience the next morning.  The only thing I could possibly regret was that I left home in such a hurry that I didn't pack a toothbrush or a clean pair of underwear.

So today, I'll be busy again.  Busy feeling sorry for myself or my sister?  Absolutely not.  Why?  She's still alive.  She made it through surgery.  She's doing ok and the flowers I sent will remind Ellen that I adore her and that sometime next month we'll be together laughing and gossiping again.  No, I'll keep busy only to wish I could be physically or emotionally there for her and my other family members because I know they're struggling today with their own demons and I know from personal experience that this feels terrible.

**Note to close friends and family:  If you were unaware of my sister's medical condition, please respect this time and give my family the space needed during Ellen's recovery.  Thank you. 

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