Take Care of You! by Debra H. Goldstein
I am not a good nurse. In fact, I am a b, which rhymes with witch, but then again I am married to a man who isn’t much of a patient.
Last week, he had arthroscopic surgery on his knee for a torn meniscus. Note: arthroscopic surgery is not a knee replacement. It hurts, but not nearly as much as a knee replacement. He gets my sympathy because I know it hurts and this is the third time in the last fifteen years he has had a knee scoped (he tore it the first time when he used to run nine miles a day; the second time during a random stumble; and this time probably being on the treadmill too much). I did mention that he isn’t a good patient, didn’t I?
Anyway, this was a same day surgery. The entire procedure took about fifteen minutes – prepping
I dutifully kept his knee iced, brought him drinks and snacks, and did the things necessary, but after a few days, I was ready for him to be well or at least a little more self-sufficient. Maybe it is because I can remember how I was after I had the same surgery. I was groggy the first day, obedient with my exercises the second day, and pretty much back and going within a few days. I didn’t have a choice.
Mothers don’t have a choice. We keep on running because secretly we run the house, the world, our kids, our spouse, and anything else that needs to be taken care of. We take care of ourselves last. That’s why the commercials about moms getting sick hit home – the Mom can’t and won’t allow herself to stop to be sick. Too many people depend upon her.
The best example I’ve seen of this is a film made by the American Heart Association starring the mom from Modern Family. In the clip, the obvious working woman is juggling a business call, making her kids lunch, finding her husband’s tie and getting the children off to school. Suddenly, she feels tightness in her chest, discomfort, and begins sweating, but she ignores everything because she is Mrs. Mom. Her ability to spread the peanut butter, get the kids out the door, put the dishes up, and do other simultaneous chores deteriorates, but she assures everyone she is fine. Her son doesn’t believe her and shows her on his phone that she is having the symptoms of a heart attack. She disagrees. She doesn’t have time for that. He dials 911 and hands her the phone. While the kids leave for school and the voice says the paramedics will be there immediately, she looks up from the floor at the now messed up house and asks, “Could you make it ten minutes, so I can clean up a little?”
It is a classic piece that reminds us we, as women, need to take care of ourselves. As writers juggling families, households, jobs, social media and deadlines, we sometimes forget to look in the mirror and say, “I care about you. I need to stop and take care of you.” Please do! It’s important. Be a B, with a capital B for yourself. And btw, my husband is doing better and didn’t even notice (or at least he better not admit if he did) I was being a b, which rhymes with witch.