Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Wake Up Call That Put Me to Sleep

That Saturday morning I did not plan to be in the ER. Neither did my friend, who works there. She planned on enjoying her day off. 

But there we were. 

People have been telling me for years that I need to take care of myself. I agreed with them, but found myself overwhelmed with caring for other people's needs. The last few months had been particularly stressful as my parents both had trips to the ER which landed them in rehab. 

Juggling life, work, everyone's medical issues and trying to stay on top of my own had taken a toll on me. I looked haggard. 

The relentless snow did not help matters much. Thursday we had a two-hour delay at school. On such days it is my habit to start early and go slow. If I arrived early so much the better. 

But I slipped in the snow, fell over backwards and hit my head, hard, on the pavement. 

Trying to get up I only fell over again. I crawled across the parking lot, grabbed onto the post and hauled myself up the stairs to clean myself up. Dutifully, I went to work. And went Friday too, despite the fact that I could barely turn my neck and I felt less than fabulous. 

Saturday morning I woke up with headache and nausea. I tried to get up and get through it, thinking I was overtired. After a couple of hours even I had to admit that I needed to go to the ER. And for once in my life, I admitted that I couldn't drive myself.

So my dear friend, who is no stranger to working long hours and having precious few hours for her own, drove me and sat with me. She took care of me more than I deserved -- especially as I have ignored her warnings for years. 

So here it is, my friends, my admission of defeat. 

The concussion that woke me up made me sleep almost 22 hours - a modern day Rip Van Winkle. 

This was followed by more than a week of napping and a prohibition on reading, screen time (tv, internet, digital camera, etc.), driving and work. 

I have woken up to the fact that I am not invincible, indestructible and I do have an expiration warning worth noting. 

I have woken up to the fact that there will be no end to my to do list and my have fun list will grown longer with nothing checked off if I do not take care. 

I have worken up to the fact that my physical health matters and I cannot be always pushing it aside to take care of someone else's needs. 

I love you all, but I need to take care of me. More time for this and it's in the best interests of all the people who need me to make this so. I was unable to do any of the the tasks on my to-do list or my super-hero list this weekend. Standing up was a monumental task. 

So, it is with love in my heart that I tell you to take a number and wait, dear ones. I want to be around to do many more things for you. But I won't do you justice unless I take this time, right now today. 

You'll be hearing the word "NO" more often, but hopefully when you hear "YES" you'll find there is more of me to go around. 

Now dear ones, I'm off to take care of me. 

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