Sunday, March 8, 2009
Taking Care of Me
Last April I wrote about having “because that’s what we do” as a family motto. Bringing my mother-in-law home to take care of her was because of that motto; it just didn’t seem as if there were any other options – that’s just what we do. We cared for her for only six weeks before she died and, while there were precious moments and wonderful memories we will treasure, there was also the stress of caring for someone around the clock, the stress of changed schedules, the stress of dealing with the frustrations of dementia. But we did it because that’s what we do; we get the job done. I was definitely tired during those six weeks and I felt a twinge in my back now and then from helping to lift my mother-in-law, but none of it was unbearable. Then, a few days after she passed away, I was in the car with my husband and I took a deep breath and exhaled – and I felt the stress leaving my body! For as long as I can remember I’ve been able to take a deep breath, exhale and feel a tingling sensation in my fingertips and toes. I’ve always believed that the tingling was stress exiting my body. That day in the car, I realized that it had been weeks since I’d felt that tingling sensation. At about the same time, the twinges in my back turned into a full-blown back ache. I realized that my body had been holding in the stress, holding back the pain – my body had been getting the job done and, now, that the job was over, my body could relax, start to expel the stress and let me know that I needed to deal with my back. “Because that’s what we do” and “Because we get the job done” are words that ring in my brain, yet my body, without my conscious knowledge, took on those thoughts and helped me get through a tough time. Now it’s time for me to take care of my body.