Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Lupus: a penchant for pushing through required

I've come to the conclusion that at some point during our lupus diagnosis, there must have been a line item that we all checked in the "symptoms" column that said something like, "strong desire to do it all." Everyone I talk to - readers of my blog, customers who've bought my book, other lupus patients I meet - all seem to have this sort of "can-do/don't even try and stop me" attitude, and I'm probably the worst offender.

As lupites, it's as though we're wired to push through, to never take no for an answer, and to assume that if an obstacle exists, it's there to be overcome. It's like it's part of our makeup...and based upon the staggering number of people I meet who have a chronic illness and share these determined, driven traits, I think I'm right.

Consider my most recent adventures in caring for Deirdre:

From the day Deirdre was born, I've had some sort of help in the afternoons so that I could rest - not only for a nap, but also for an hour or two break from babydom. For the first week or two of her little life, my mom and dad were here to help. After that, we had babysitter Leticia to come and help every afternoon for 4 hours. As Deirdre got older, and I didn't need a full afternoon of help, I hired wonderful neighbor girls to come and play with Deirdre from 4-6pm for several days a week. Deirdre and I were able to coordinate our naps for the most part, so by the time the babysitter arrived, I was rested, and had a couple of hours to myself. I took that time to do book stuff, blog, respond to emails, or catch up on household bills, mail, etc. For the most part, those hours were spent sitting somewhere in front of a computer. Yes - my mind was active, but my body...not so much.

And has this routine kept me healthy? You bet. Have I felt exhausted or overextended since being pregnant with an almost-two year old running around? Not really. Mostly because my body knew a break was coming during the week...and it enjoyed every moment of it.

So tell me what I must have been thinking when school started this past month and my summer, afternoon babysitter was no longer available due to her after-school activities (which she told me months ago.) Did I hire someone to take her place? No. Did I start calling around to see if any other girls were interested in coming over for a few hours a week? No.

I just, kind of, dealt with it.

I guess I assumed that I could just push through until the baby arrived - that I didn't really need that break - and that eventually I would hire a consistent, full-time person to help once KitKat did arrive, and then I could get back into my routine.

But you know what? Chasing after Deirdre (minus, I know, our naps) every day of the week is exhausting. My body wants that two hour afternoon break - it needs that two hour break - and during the past few weeks that I've been on my own - I've felt it. I'm pooped - and I finally decided to do something about it.

I made a phone call this past weekend, and help is on it's way - in the form of the great babysitter we had during last year's school year. She said she'd love to come play with Deirdre for a few hours a week - she can start this week. In fact, she was just waiting for me to call.

Of course she was. I was just too busy trying to adjust my wonder woman bracelets to pick up the phone.

4 comments:

Sportsgirl said...

I know exactly what you mean. I'm always trying to get everything done and keep pushing on. Sometimes I just get so tired I throw up my hands and say "screw it".

Sadaf Shaikh said...

I think I finally get this. I'm driven and I do want to do everything, but I have also learned to prioritize. Spending time with my 5 year old - very important. Napping - important. Going to work everyday - important, for obvious reasons of making money. Doing dishes or laundry - not that important. Don't get me wrong, I don't live in a pigsty. But there are days when the laundry sits in the dryer for the better part of a week and unless I need something from that particular load, I leave it there in favour of curling up in a chair and reading or watching a movie with my son. Unfortunately, others close to me see that as being lazy. It just takes 5 mins, why can't you just do it? I'm still trying to master the art of tuning that out. I still get mad (at the person saying it and at myself). Why indeed don't I have the energy to do something basic like that? Then I think back to the days leading up to a flare and I sit right back down on that comfy chair and read away. I've learned that it doesn't pay to overextend myself and I don't need to go through another flare to prove it to anyone else. So, I let them speak and try my best to ignore. I'm not that good at ignoring yet. In time, though, I'm sure I will be.

Sara Gorman said...

Sportsgirl - Throwing up your hands works most of the time, doesn't it? :) Glad you can relate to this one...

Thanks!

Sara Gorman said...

Sadaf - Oh, how many loads in the dryer I've had to rerun because of the wrinkles! Some days - it's just too much to take on...and yes, it only takes a few minutes...but oh, how taxing a load of wash can be (on the joints, the back, the energy level, etc.) You just keep taking that time to read to your adorable son, and we'll follow the good example you're setting.

And let me know how you're feeling - I've been thinking about you and wondering how things are progressing. The last we corresponded, you shared quite the news. Feel free to email at sara@despitelupus.com and let me know!