Daily Prompt: When was the last time you took a risk (big or small), and pushed your own boundaries — socially, professionally, or otherwise? Were you satisfied with the outcome?
For most people this would not be considered a risk, but the biggest risk I’ve taken recently was when I travelled to Colorado Springs to see my mother. She had just had a stroke, and we didn’t know if she was going to survive it or not. I had made a one-way ticket, not knowing when I should return. I spent every day at her side, watching her physical therapy sessions, coaching her, feeding her, buying her things to help motivate her to use her right hand, and meeting with the staff. I was the buffer between the strong personalities in my family that were freaking out at every little thing and the staff. I was given very little say in her treatments because my brother who is her medical power of attorney is strong willed and opinionated.
I stayed in her retirement living apartment and socialized with her peers, going to the concerts and eating the meals in the dining room, and talking to them when they were working on their puzzles. I gathered piles and piles of paperwork and organized it, paying bills and taking power of attorney for her accounts: doctor’s notes, digging through the family safe, notaries, faxes, making copies of pertinent paperwork, visits to Social Security, creating special bank accounts. It was nice being there for Mom, but the stress level in dealing with my dysfunctional family issues and being away from home was way beyond what I was able to cope with.
That’s when I made a commitment to myself to do yoga and jog every day — my sanity level was just on the verge of breakdown and this was the only thing keeping me going. I swore I’d continue the jogging when I got home, because I needed to know something good was going to come of this.
I stayed there for 1 1/2 months. By the end I was crying, I missed home so badly. My back was killing me, and I was taking 18 mg of ambien to help me with my sleep. I had alcoholic drinks for lunch and dinner to numb the stress. I called my husband and begged him to come and help me go home again, because I had no exit strategy and every day I could feel my social issues, back pain, and stomach issues just twisting inside. I ended up in the ER one day because I was vomiting with diarrhea.
My mother finally transitioned to a long term rehabilitation hospital and I came back home with an armful of files and to-do items and my mother’s mail forwarded to my house.
I’m glad for my mother’s sake that I made the trip, because I was able to express my love for her. But the trauma of being away from home and my routine and having the family dysfunction shoved down my throat without relief makes me think twice about whether I want to go there for Christmas — or ever again.