An odd thing happened to me this past month. I got lost. Not simply misplaced or confused but totally and completely lost.Usually, I am fairly well controlled and able to deal with a crisis-while it's going on- it's only after everything is over and everybody is okay that I react. I've been complimented many times on how strong I appear and how everyone can depend on me for a supportive hug or a witty remark to lighten a scary moment or even a time of mourning.
I suppose that's to be expected. I raised four precocious sons who each gave us moments of abject terror that could not be apparent to them. At 2 1/2 years old Lone Duck, who was supposed to be taking a nap, managed to unlatch a window screen and crawl out on a porch roof four stories high. An observant neighbor nearly broke down my door and went tearing up the stairs to coax him back into the house. At 9 he contracted Acute Swimming pool Sinusitis and was in critical condition for eight days.
Jugglesorcerer wanted to be a stunt man like Lee Majors, from the time he first went to school. He got to know the first names of most of the emergency room staff in two hospitals by the time he was 13. He burned off his right eyebrow, lashes and a good bit of his red hair one time trying to blow up a GI Joe compound by applying a match to a can of Fix a Flat! Then in the Air Force he became a Combat Still Photographer. That career field did little to ease my mind but he came through without a visible scratch that he's ever told me about. Since then I've heard about further hair raising capers he was involved in because he's too big to spank anymore.
Sage Words, while he was still a toddler, escaped the backyard on the outskirts of El Paso and wandered into the desert. He curled up in the shade of a culvert (subject to flash flooding) and probably fell asleep. Later that afternoon, a long haired, hippy looking guy on a motor cycle, riding nearby, had trouble with his bike . When his engine stopped, he heard Sage crying and found him in the wash. He put him on the bike which incredibly started right up and brought him out to the highway where he encountered police cars searching for the boy.
Skooba... my youngest child managed to get hit by a car not once but twice while riding a bicycle. The first time he sprained his ankle badly and landed on crutches. The second time, he broke the talus bone in his ankle and landed on crutches. But he survived to adulthood despite all attempts to the contrary. This past year he dropped a motorcycle engine on his foot and once more landed on crutches. We are hoping that he has better luck with cars but after blowing a head gasket on his way to Arizona, we are not counting on it.
Through all of this I was able to navigate the pathways with humor, optimism, and a closed door.
Jim had surgery on his lung back in the early 80s to remove a "spot" Cancer? Tuberculosis? It turned out to be a Valley Fever spore. I had to be strong and cheerful for the kids sake and for his too as he recovered from a very painful operation. In 1994, he had 4 heart attacks in one week . Out of sheer pigheadedness, he stayed alive and I stayed on top of everything. Two of my kids were in the military and managed to come home. Another was with his then wife, suffering from a miscarriage and Skooba was still in high school. During the three weeks he spent in ICU, I was hanging in there. Then they sent him home with a low grade fever. Two days later he was back in ICU with gangrene in his leg. He almost lost the leg at the hip and would have if I hadn't insisted something was wrong. I had a very low point that day but rallied and we got through it.
They sent him home with orders to carry a bottle of nitro at all times and he did. But in 15 years he never opened a single bottle. We watched what we ate but we got complacent. On June 15th he began having chest pains and ended up back in the hospital. I've already told you everything that transpired and he's doing fine. In fact as I type this, he just left to go buy milk - his first solo trip in the car.
But I realized this past week that I have not been doing half as well as he is. I have been marking time, in comfortable surroundings at Sage's home. While Jim was in hospital, Sage Words and Skooba handled just about everything from securing our motor home to dealing with paperwork and getting our Satellite TV service put on hold. They walked my dog and drove me all over town. When Skooba went back to Seattle, Lone Duck arrived and cared for his Dad like the CNA he once trained to be. And I sat there holding Jim's hand, overseeing his meds and diet but allowing the "Boys" and Chica to make all the decisions, appointments and arrangements for most of the month.
I couldn't manage to write a word of my book, I cheated on a couple of blogs and then for some reason I left it up to my dog, Clancy, to get my words out in her blog because I couldn't.
I realized I didn't have any idea what I would have done if Jim had not made it and our 2nd life had ended.
I've spent the last week or so alternately praying and berating myself for being weak. I was embarrassed that Chica was doing things I should be doing. I even watched as Sage came home from a long day at work and then made dinner for his dad and me, while Chica was away for her AF Reserves duty. Then I began to worry that I was suffering from depression. I wallowed in that for a day or so and then got mad-at myself. After a good talking to, I convinced myself that it was okay to let them take care of me too for a few days. I'd put in my time and I deserved one crisis when it was someone else's turn to deal with it all. I Put Jim in charge of his own meds and told Sage to get the dishes done -after I made dinner. Then I slept in late on Sunday morning - on purpose.
Two days ago I came to. I woke up. I realized our 2nd life had ended on June 21st, ironically the 5th anniversary of it's beginning. However, with Jim's open heart surgery our 3rd life began. I decided I/we had to start living again.
Jim won't be up to any heavy work for awhile and I'm still sorting out a whole new set of hassles over my eyes, so neither will I. But we still have to eat and pay the bills and those SS payments don't allow for many extras. So we are now officially back to work! Not as stressful yet but maybe a bit of a brain strain.
We began (Sunday) contacting some festival coordinators about returning to our Tale Telling roots and performing at fall and winter events. Jim decided to put the Skinny Santa on hold and tell stories both original and adapted from Victorian times as a Dickensian character in his frock coat and bowler. Although we already have one interested events coordinator, we have no commitments. But we are actively seeking them out. I've also sent an application and $$ to a craft fair at an Apple festival in September in order to begin marketing my "Skinny Skarves" and "Crocheted Necklaces".
It's not a big deal, but for whatever it is worth, I'm back.
See ya down the road,