In the time it took to dial 9-1-1, it was over. In less than a minute, garbled speech from only one side of his mouth vanished and we wondered, “Wait, did something just happen here?” “I’m fine”, he said. “I’m fine.” It took some cajoling — and me staying calm as I could — but an hour later my husband Bill walked himself into the ER. (Apparently having a stroke isn’t as important as helping the plumber to find the mysterious leak!) I’m happy to report two weeks later that the damage from this small stroke is minimal.
Life for us had already changed even before this. A month ago my Billy started chemotherapy for Lymphoma, and the nurse warned him during his first treatment, “Your life will be different now.” Oh, yes. Between organizing meds, doctor appts, labs, phone calls, injections and infusions, one needs a spread sheet to sort out what’s turned into his full time job. Good grief, the man barely has the time to do the dishes!
For obvious reasons, staying calm has jumped to the top of my to-do list and, frankly, why did it take me so long to get onboard? That my mood has always depended on the whim of circumstances suddenly seems very wrong. Get a grip, Carol!
Worry a Waste of Time. Staying Calm is Gold.
Oh, the evil ways of worry. Oh, the time I’ve wasted, the brain cells that have been destroyed! Labor has started, will my new baby be OK? It’s 1:00am, has my teenage daughter been in a car accident? Will that lump require chemo? The relief when good news comes is memorable: • Your baby isn’t missing anything, 10 toes intact. • My brand new teen driver just forgot about the time. • Relax, Mrs. Wiseman, it’s just a cyst. Whew! to all of it.
I’ve worried my way through life, but what a waste. It didn’t change how things actually turned out so all that anxiety was for nothing. Worrying about the outcome of surgery won’t change the outcome of surgery, but anxiety over all the remote possibilities you contour up CAN good health to bad. I yearn for the even keel of calm!
Zipping through everything has always been my mode: I’m a fast talker, fast walker, fast tasker. It’s not that I’m in a hurry, it’s just how my mind and body work. For the life of me, though, I can’t imagine why I’ve been going through life in such a hurry. So… my task these days is to slow down the pace… of everything. Walk slower, talk less, plan fewer obligations. Start each day by emptying my brain as best I can for 10 min., then a little Yoga. At days end, a glass of wine for any whine left over. Most important of all, lots of self-talk in between. Luckily I listen to myself.
There is no doubt, Bill’s health setback scared all of us, but it also kicked the two us out of “life as usual”. We’re focused on making the most of our days, and I’m poised to practice “calm” no matter what. Political drama gives me lots of practice. Adrenaline and bad decisions go hand-in-hand for me and, besides, I get anxious, snappy… and wrinkles!
Staying calm might just be the key to celebrating my 100th birthday some day. Attitude is everything!
Weed out this week: The overthinking I usually do when something new happens. My brain feels calmer if I can just hold onto the good stuff without analyzing all the whys and wherefores. Life will be easier if I take more at face value. Practicing!