One of the hardest things to do it know exactly what to do when life throws a bit too much at you than you know what to do with.
It’s one of my biggest weaknesses. It’s one of my flaws. I tend to internalize things too much, get inside my head and withdraw. It’s not exactly the most healthy thing in the world to do and most of the time it leads to even more problems. Health wise, I tend to be an emotional eater. Today alone I had eaten my daily allotted calories by noon and I’m dangerously close to expending tomorrows as well. So for this post, you’ll have to indulge me a little bit as I vent.
One of the reasons I have decided to really try to take my life, and health, by the balls and change is because of my mother. Putting it as nicely as possible, she is a medical train wreck. She’s been battling lupus and fibromyalgia for the majority of her adult life and the lupus has destroyed the nerves in her hands and feet. While she can still move them with limited range of motion, she experiences changes ranging from extreme pain to numbness. From the time I was 9 years old and my sister moved out, I was responsible for caring for her when she had flare ups with her conditions because my step father wasn’t the type of man to do that. So in a lot of ways, my childhood ended when I was 9.
Fast forward ten years and things aren’t much better for her. She had split from my step-dad, and was battling depression at that time. The entire time, I was battling my own depression, demons, and overall teenage angst. During this time, I began to feel extremely resentful of her because of my perception of her milking her illness. I still stand by that to this day. Her physical well-being was suffering because she was either too tired, too sick, feeling too much pain, or simply didn’t want to even walk the block to check the mail. This all led to a showdown. One of us was about to blow up and when it did boy was it spectacular. In a very short period of time, I was kicked out of the house, she found a new boyfriend and they moved to Arizona.
While Arizona proved to be a good move for both of us mentally, we both suffered in the health department. Over the course of the next 8-9 years, she continued to make little positive changes to her lifestyle. It wasn’t too long ago that it finally caught up to her. She had a stroke. Did I say one? I mean several “minor” ones. On a side note, I’m curious to know what doctor decided that there is such a thing as a minor stroke. In addition to that, she had heart surgery where they implanted 4 stints into her arteries. She remained positive mentally but never really took ownership of her health and made changes to improve her medical outlook.
Are you still with me?
Last year an old injury to her lower back finally caught up to her. She had herniated two disks in her back during the late 80′s and never really got it taken care of. She ended up having to have it fused together. The surgery went well but when she was moved to the first rehab center she contracted a form of MRSA which became a gnarly infection. That re-hospitalized her for an extra two months. Then after all this, a week after she is released to go home, she fractures her ankle and is sent back to the hospital and rehab for an additional two months. All of this leads to her being wheelchair bound because she has been walked in over a year and during her time at home she has had to be airlifted (they live out in the sticks) at least twice. All of this is why I ended up on the journey I’m on health and fitness wise, but eventually I will get to writing that up.
Despite some lingering resentment, I still feel an incredible amount of responsibility too. I still have those protective instincts despite the 1,400 miles between us. So when something is going on with her, it still wrecks me more than I normally let on due to my internalizing ways. Last Thursday night I was texted by my step dad saying that she was being airlifted to the hospital due to chest pains and very little else. Friday I try to call her room but get no response due to her being busy with doctors all day, but I do hear that heart attack was rules out. Okay, my stress levels go down and I’m starting to feel better about things. Then, late Friday night I get a voice-mail saying “Your mom is doing well, and her surgery is scheduled for tomorrow morning”.
It turned out that they needed to remove some of the hardware from her back fusion while they removed the infection. Wait, infection? Yes, I also found out late Saturday that she also is fighting off an infection that is a form of E coli. I’m not sure my stress level could have been higher. Well, It got even worse Tuesday night when she called in tears. She told me that she needed to have a blood transfusion due to an extremely low blood count due to the infection. She is also being told that she basically needs an assisted living or nursing home environment. Fearing that her pseudo-husband would leave her, she asked for me to check into places because she doesn’t know what to do.
Combine all that with a very hostile work environment and I’ve been redlining all week. Everything has been suffering between my diet, workouts (Which surprisingly I’ve maintained), my friendships at work and at home, and my overall mental health. So how do I deal with this? How do I continue to push through all that garbage? Thankfully this post has been cathartic for me. I doubt anyone will really read this, let alone get all the way to the end, but that doesn’t matter. Just one moment at time I guess.