Wisdom from My Mom

More late-night ramblings:

I’m post-surgical day ten from my fusion surgery for L2-L5. While this is the most painful thing I’ve physically gone through (that includes childbirth) and although there have been moments of, “WTF did you DO!” I don’t regret surgery—well, at least today, right at this moment. The leg pain and numbness are decreasing every day. I’m weaning off narcotics and each day is just a tiny bit better. What I did NOT expect was the emotional outbursts that would happen. Post anesthesia reaction, loss of independence, pain, poor food intake (I did expect a lack of appetite—that’s just me) and being exhausted all contribute to this emotional roller coaster. I’m trying to take this recovery one day at a time. I’m finding it helpful to look back at the end of the day and recount what I was able to accomplish. It’s helping emotionally, which, for me, also helps with the pain. What also helped was a conversation with my mom about just what was making me emotional.

What I discovered:

My emotional roller coaster was born out of frustration due to the inability to do the little things around the house that I felt kept our home running. I was getting frustrated at Shawn because these were not his priorities and therefore, didn’t get done. I was turning into a cranky nag. I was also frustrated, because, while I remember having a distinct conversation with him about what life would look like for us during the healing process, I didn’t feel it sunk in with him. I didn’t feel that he recognized the physical pain I was having, nor the effect of a loss of independence.

My mother could look around the house (which is NOT messy by any stretch of imagination) and see what I was upset about. She reminded me this situation was temporary—unlike her’s after her stroke. I get what she was saying, even though I felt a bit annoyed. I don’t WANT to be reminded it could be worse. Honestly, and probably selfishly, I’m focused on how I feel right now. She also reminded me just how overwhelmed Shawn was feeling. His very independent partner of many years, who was an equal partner in running the home and hobby farm, was not able to do her normal chores. Tasks, which he took for granted, were magically done. I failed to look at this situation from his viewpoint.

Her suggestion was to pick the top three things that were the most important to me.

That was easy. The animals—take care of feeding and watering the chickens and gathering eggs every day, particularly in winter due to the freeze risk. Scoop Kitzi’s box every day—big cat, big box. Make sure his kibble dishes are full—I can take care of his twice daily wet food feeding.

Keep the kitchen counters and island clear—this enables me to take care of getting my own snacks and beverages. This also makes it easier for me to feed Kitzi his wet food—not a fun chore since we cat food reeks!

Keep the floors picked-up: a messy floor is a trip hazard since I’m still using a walker and am unsteady on my feet.

Picking my top three items has also helped me exercise a little more patience when other tasks come up. However, what was truly important was sharing this with Shawn because communication is the key to any good relationship. My mom and I also talked about taking the time to say ‘thank you’ when he completed a task that I normally did. His love language is words of affirmation, so this simple idea makes a huge a difference. I noticed HE was less stressed and more willing to help with other tasks. Yes…we discover just how wise our mothers are, once we are adults ourselves. Thanks mom!

Avie Layne 2012