Hi there! Remember me? I’m Cammy, and I used to have a blog here.
What a WEEK!
Mom had her surgery last Wednesday and while all went well, the operation was more extensive and took a lot longer than originally anticipated. Because of that, her initial recovery period has been slow going. But she’s getting better every day and is scheduled to be discharged from the hospital today, drains and all. Good timing for that, because she’s
a wee tad bit grumpy this morning. (They woke her up at 5:00 a.m. to teach her how to take care of the drains.)
As the evening, overnight, early-morning caregiver, my days and nights are upside down. I think I went four or five days with about 8 hours sleep total, so I’m dragging. My mother might recover from her surgery before I get myself all straightened out again.
But I will get it all sorted out, and even more importantly, so will Mom.
At some point over the past week, I thought about a Hello Internet podcast I’d listened to recently. In it, the hosts discuss work/life balance using the analogy of four lightbulbs to represent the major life areas, such as family, work, social, and health.
In a perfect world, we’d be able to neatly segment our lives so that all areas are fully represented, as in this graphic. Everything that needed to get done to keep us (and our loved ones) healthy and sane would get done.
Unfortunately, we all only have so much time and energy, and life doesn’t usually unfold in a neatly segmented way. Sometimes, one bulb needs a little more wattage so we have to dim (or turn off completely) one or more of the others. This isn’t so bad as a short term solution, but for the longer term, it can surely make life’s corners seem dark and dreary.
This is more representative of my past week, with most of my time and energy focused on seeing that my parents’ needs were met. I was glad to do it (wouldn’t have it any other way, really), but as the week rolled on, I really started to feel the imbalance, especially when it came taking care of myself properly. For me, “properly” translates to adequate sleep, good nutrition, and regular exercise.
There is no sleeping in a hospital. I knew that going in. What I hadn’t counted on was not being able to sleep well at home during my dad’s shift. I’m not sure why, but I think I just reached a point where I was too tired to sleep. After a couple of hours, my eyes would pop open and I was wide awake again.
I haven’t seen the inside of the gym in over a week, and that’s okay. I was able to work in some functional exercise by taking the stairs to Mom’s room on the 4th floor several times a day, most days. Also, thanks to a sciatica attack midway through, I walked a lot of laps (slowly) around her floor in the middle of the night.
My nutrition suffered from too few leafy greens and too many indulgences. Nothing awful, but more than I should have had. I think this was mostly ‘Eating To Stay Awake’, if that makes any sense. I’m back on track with that now, thank goodness. Everything else will straighten out as I catch up on my sleep. I’m certainly looking forward to it!
All things considered, I’m not UN-happy with my personal ‘balancing of the bulbs’, imperfect as it might have been. Each time it happens, I learn something that helps the next time things need adjusting. And that’s what life is all about.
How do you adjust and prioritize when life requires it?