1 week to 50!
In the last days of my forties, I found that I am still able to learn new things.
I have always been a planner. As the only non medical personnel of group of physicians and CRNAs, I wear a lot of different hats. I live by my planner and juggle multiple projects at a time. There are always a lot of moving parts in any medical office and I never take time off that hasn’t been planned days if not weeks in advance. It is just too difficult to stay on top of everything if I do.
I approached this holiday weekend with many balls in the air- a long-term data measurement project that has been weighing heavily on my mind, a retirement party for one of our physicians, a staffing shortage, and of course, my usual day-to-day work. In addition to the day job, I had plans to focus on final edits for my second book this weekend, something that would fill the hours that were not dedicated to the Memorial weekend projects around the house. Oh, and of course, our 24th anniversary would require some celebration too!
The universe had other plans.
Wednesday night, our cat, Bailey, bit my leg. Now before you ask what I did to him to make him bite me, let me explain that our boy has had some issues over the last five years or so. He suffers from anxiety and is medicated both with oral meds and a calming collar. Our boy actually lives in his own room with a baby gate, more to keep the other cats out than to keep him in. (He weights 20 pounds and could jump the gate in a heartbeat if he chose to). So my boy was purring as I went through the normal nighttime ritual of putting him to bed for the night and a second later, he lunges at me and bites my leg. After I was done swearing, we cleaned it with alcohol and went to bed.
I happened to already have a routine doctor appointment scheduled the next morning so I had my doctor look at the bite. She prescribed some oral antibiotics which I began right away. She told me if it worsened to go to the ER for an IV of stronger antibiotics.
By Friday morning, the side of my calf was red, swollen and extremely painful. So, being a good patient, I went to the ER on the way in to work. I texted my boss to tell her I might be late.
Despite my insisting I was fine, both my boss and the ER doctor refused to let me go to the office after my treatment. I was told to go home, elevate my leg and rest.
Upon hearing that this was my fate, I immediately started to come up with reasons that I had to go to the office. As I lay in the ER, hooked up to a drip of antibiotics, leg throbbing, I was helpless and felt the grip I had in all my juggling balls failing. I finally had to accept defeat and allow people I work with to help me. More than help me, I had to let them do my job. (And they did, for which I am so grateful!)
I followed instructions, went home, elevated my leg all day, etc. The next day, my leg had worsened, and I found myself back in the ER for another IV. The doctor that day flat-out told me that if I didn’t promise to go home and elevate my leg for the rest of the weekend, she would admit me.
Suddenly, everything was out of my control. No party for my retiring doctor, no swinging by the office to do some work to catch up for my unexpected day off, no sitting at my desk working on edits. I found myself not only laying in the ER for over ten hours with nothing but my phone and a book, but forced to bond with my couch and said book for the remainder of the weekend.
And I am surprised to report that by Sunday morning, I had somehow released my anxiety over not being allowed to work, and started to embrace the forced relaxation.
As Monday night rolled around (holiday weekend here in the US), I found that instead of the usual end-of-the-weekend angst over everything that would be facing me at the office the next morning, I was feeling relaxed and okay with starting the week already behind on my to-do list.
As I contemplated this strange sense of peace, I realized that for the first time in a very long time I had found myself with no choice than to let someone else take the reins. I realized that I had been holding on to my control over so many things in my life that I had convinced myself that it was the only way to ensure that things went smoothly. This weekend, I was forced to let that go, to let Jesus take the wheel so to speak. And despite this, despite my being completely sidelined, everything worked out.
So in the final weeks of my forties, I am learning how to let go, to relinquish the tight grip of control that I had come to believe was required to keep my life in track. Was there extra work waiting for me when I got to the office? Oh, yes. But I managed to keep my cool and forgive myself for not getting it all caught up within an hour of my return. Am I technically a week behind for my book release? Yes, I am. And that is okay. Sometimes our health and sanity has to take priority over self-imposed deadlines.
The trick will be remembering this sense of freedom and continuing to allow myself to ask for help and relinquish the reigns from time to time. I may not always be able to do that but I promise myself to try. May my next 50 years be less stressful, and may I let go every now and then just to see what happens. 🙂
Many people have asked me what is to become of my cat… He will live out his days in a life of luxury at our house. He is my mush. He just had a moment. 🙂