Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Self Care During Family Member Medical Crisis: Part 1 Reactionss

My blogging plan for the New Year has been derailed, and a new one defined.  A family medical emergency changed my focus.  My blog – at least for now – is very personal though my intent is for it to be educational. I will focus on the successes and challenges of attending to my self-care during this difficult time. This ties in to the original blog focus on self-care. The original blog plan will be back on track in due time. Now that I have written the first 3300 words, I know it is therapeutic.

The Crisis

On Thursday, January 3 at 4 p.m. I received the phone call none of us want to get: one of my dearest close relatives (DCR) was admitted to the hospital with life threatening double pneumonia.  The distressed voice on the phone let me know the severity of the situation within seconds. My voice and body started shaking. My normal work day turned into a focused quest to travel north immediately.  My blog, drafted and planned for Friday, was the last thing on my mind.  

To fully understand the situation one must know that DCR is multiply handicapped.  Her rare condition leaves her susceptible to a cascade of additional life threatening medical issues. Resolving double pneumonia is only the first step in her recovery.  While I may mention DCR’s condition generally to create a context, details about my family and the medical issues will be omitted out of respect for their privacy. 


Anyone who has received shocking news will understand my reactions.  It took about 15 minutes for my body to stop shaking.  My thinking was both focused (I must get there as soon as I can) and disorganized (I felt like I was going in circles trying to get things done). 

Focus prevailed when it came to scheduling a flight.  I went to the Delta website and saw immediately that their schedule did not accommodate my needs.  Using a website like Travelocity seemed too overwhelming.  Our family has a AAA  membership so I called AAA Travel Services.  The kind woman on the other end of the line was able to get me to my destination at 11:15 p.m.  My 6:20 flight gave me little time to pack and drive to the airport.  There was no time to think about what was going on, though every cell of my body was reacting to the news.

Packing was a different issue.  Decisions about what to take were difficult to make.  Thank goodness the laundry was done and I had plenty of clean clothes.  I packed my favorite new sweaters and the jeans our daughter  suggested I try.  At least I would feel good about how I looked while the rest of me was a jumble.

Next: Elements of Self-Care

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