Under Pressure

Bob was in the hospital for a couple of days last week. His ailment wasn’t stroke-related but was exacerbated by medication he has taken since his stroke so his doctors wanted to keep a close eye on him. He was released mid-week and spent some time recovering and resting at home. Thankfully, he is doing fine.

It seems we’ve become rather deft at handling medical emergencies around here. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or just really depressing but it has become clear that I am resilient in a crisis. I may not have many other talents but when life suddenly gets serious, I spring into action mode.

From the minute I googled Bob’s symptoms and determined we should skip urgent care and head straight for the emergency room, I was exactly like a (slightly less physically fit) SEAL Team Six member, grabbing kids and snacks and diapers and water bottles and distraction toys and coats and medications and night-vision goggles while simultaneously checking traffic on my phone while buckling a kid into a car seat. In a crisis, I am a vision of calm and patience which is in stark contrast to my typical modus operandi of complete harried annoyance.

This not being our first time at the hospital rodeo, the kids and I dropped Bob off at the entrance to the emergency room, wished him the best of luck and then went and ate dinner at Chik-fil-A. If there is one thing I’m sure of, it’s that hungry kids make the WORST hospital visitors. Also, keeping the kids on schedule is crucial during a crisis. Like dogs, they sense fear. After plying them with chicken nuggets, waffle fries and reassurances, we made our way back across town to the emergency room to check on Bob. When it became apparent his stay was going to run past bedtime, I made my way home with the munchkins to pajama everyone and wait on word of his condition.

The kids and I spent the next couple of days making strategic visits to the hospital to spend time with Bob. It was surreal to be back there, walking the same halls as I did before, during what was such a dark time for our family. I was delighted when he was discharged and we all got to go home.

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It is ironic that about five minutes before Bob got sick, I had been complaining to him about how rundown I was feeling after a packed to the gills October and November. My enthusiasm was low in the face of a teetering tower of laundry, crumb-covered floors and an undecorated Christmas tree.

But, throw a medical emergency into the mix and I immediately become steroid-level motivated. I was scrubbing kitchen counters and folding clean towels at 11:00 that night, fearful that THERE WOULD BE NO MORE TIME to ever get anything done if I was down a team member. Thank goodness I had just completed a Target run earlier in the day because every time our family goes through a crisis, I have the inexplicable urge to fill the pantry to overflowing. Like, I assume I’ll somehow never have the opportunity to shop ever again so, this 12-pack of spaghetti sauce seems reasonable.

I think all of this behavior must be survivalist DNA. My brain, in an effort to divert itself from thinking Bad Thoughts, kicks in to some sort of Van Damme gear, making the completion of a mountain of mundane tasks incredibly important; giving me the satisfaction of staying busy when I can’t help Bob otherwise.

The highs of mid-emergency motivation are always followed by the lows of the post-crisis need for sleep. So, we rested this past weekend and just took it easy, which was kind of the best.

Today, Bob is back at work and I’m tackling Christmas cards. Crisis concluded. Just like that. I can now return to my pre-emergency life of slovenly housekeeping and much impatience with the short people I live with.

Want to come over for some spaghetti?

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