A shot of pain or two rifles through the right side of my stomach. I roll over – albeit slowly and assume it’s a cramp of some sort.
Should I go the hospital now? The kids are still asleep and I can get away while they are in bed. But I just roll over a second time, praying over and over for it to go away and I fall back asleep.
6:55 AM. I slip out of bed, walk to the bathroom…
“Okay, girls!” I speak as loud as I can. “Get your crocs on, stay in your PJ’s, we have to pick up Tiffany, mommy doesn’t feel well.”
Tiffany had just been dropped off by her bus to school when I manically (yet calmly) pulled into the circle drive to get her. I drop my brood off and send a few texts to my “Kids” parents.
For those of you who don’t know, for most of my adult life (and even before) I have cared for adults with special needs. Their parents have become my extended family for a little over a decade now. I naturally was supposed to work with a few of their children that day, so I sent them a text letting them know I was having pain and heading to the ER.
I had spent my fair share of time in an ER in my early and college years of competitive sports. But I had no kids then. No responsibilities that really mattered.
I was in uncharted territory here.
I usually like uncharted territory.
After the slew of tests she informed me I would have to donate my appendix and have surgery.
I was peaceful about it. But I wished someone would have told me the fire storm of pain, emotional roller-coaster and madness that would follow after the removal of an appendage not even an inch long.
I knew my babies were okay. Trusted friends were with them.
I was comforted by the memory of my cousin Pierre screaming in utter agony at his home when we were young due to his appendix.
After surgery is a blur. Why was I crying? Where was I? Why is everyone so loud? Go away. Let me sleep. No, I don’t want to go to the bathroom. No I don’t want to get up. Can you stop waking me up please? Stop scanning my wristband. Stop slamming my door shut. Stop saying good morning. Stop. Stop. Stop.
But they were keeping me alive.
Keeping me sane while driving me insane.
Pain meds. Popsicle’s. Those could keep coming.
I only had one thought: Going Home — and maybe another Popsicle.
A wise friend visited me. She told me to rest.
Rest? The word alone made me quiver.
Because the world certainly would crumble if I laid in that hospital bed a moment longer.
So I rested. I ate Popsicle’s and ice (like Scotty Bowman) . Tried not to laugh too hard. Tried not to cough.
And before you knew it.
Home I would go.
I was so happy to see my girls. But believe it or not, all I wanted to do, was rest.
I pride myself (probably not in a good way) on being the type of person who gets things done. I’m a leader. I solve problems. I fix what’s broken (unless it involves something breaking in my home, in that case I call someone). I work and I work hard. I make things happen.
But the only thing happening now, was nothing.
I was irritable. Not myself.
I couldn’t even tuck my girls into bed like I always do. (The hospital seemed more appealing in those moments).
The routine and the comfort that came from that routine was gone.
A friend of mine reminded me that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. But I know that it only makes you stronger if you cooperate with what the lesson is trying to teach you.
So I can’t do it all myself.
I don’t live on an island.
The number of people who love me and my family is astronomical. That may seem like an over exaggeration but I always try and see things relatively.
I know there are people and children on this earth, with no one.
Be a someone for somebody.
Because, we don’t have to live on an island. (Unless you were on Oceanic Flight 815 – look it up).
Take note of how you treat others. It’s usually a good indicator of the condition of your heart.
So grateful for those who love well.
May we do the same.