Tuesday, April 10, 2012

You've Gotta Know the Territory

So I've got the marching orders.  I will be marching into the hospital on Monday, April 16 for surgery and will be in the hospital for 3 or 4 days.  After that, there will be recovery at home.

That means people will be "on my turf."  I'm a very territorial, very independent person.  I don't like other people cooking in my kitchen and taking care of jobs that are supposed to be mine.  (Heck, I don't even like people drinking out of my glass.  My husband completely doesn't get that, but that's how I am.)

The night after I met with my surgeon, I had all these dreams about people being in my way.  I couldn't do anything--even go to sleep--without having people in my path.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what that was about.

The territory thing, and the needing-assistance thing, are a much bigger concern to me than the actual medical reasons behind this surgery.  I hate asking anyone for help.  I hate that I will need help (a good bit of it, most likely).  I hate that someone else is going to have to drive the kids, cook the meals, wash the laundry, sweep the floor.  Sometimes my own kids will be helping with some of those jobs.  Some of them will fall to TheDad.  And my mom has already announced that she'll be here for a week.

The last time she came here to help me after surgery, she scrubbed my floor on her hands and knees.  I hated that.  If she does it again, I will hate it again.  I know that in the scheme of things I am very, very blessed to (a) still have a mom, (b) have a mom healthy enough to help me, (c) have a mom who is currently in her 3rd or 4th retirement (clearly she is Bret Favre's role model in this regard) so she's free to come and help me, (d) have a mom who wants to come and help me, and (e) have a dad who's willing to drive Mom 125 miles each way so she can come and help me.

I'm really not much in the mood, right now, to let perspective get in the way of my pity party.  Except for the cleaning-of-the-house part, I'm going to miss what I do for my family.  I'm going to miss the cooking and the laundry (especially now that I can hang it outside again) and planting my little herb garden since I was partially successful with it last year and even the driving.  I'm going to miss the writing, since I'm taking some time off from my freelance jobs while I recover.  I'm going to miss playing and singing at church, since Easter was the last time I'll get to do that for a while.

I was reminded today that allowing others to help me opens the door for them to receive grace through their practice of the corporal works of mercy.  I guess, right now, that is as good as it'll get.

Meanwhile, you are not allowed in my kitchen until after I walk out of here on Monday.  It is my territory, and I will chase you.


Aimee said...

I totally get this, Barb, because I am the same way! And people tell me all the time "let people help you! It makes them feel needed and allows them to perform a work of mercy." Doesn't help me much -- I don't want to be a candidate for a work of mercy! :) I hope your surgery goes well and that you can cope with people in your space during your recovery. You're in my prayers!

Ellen said...

I'm here to help with anything. Just call me.

Sara said...

In the past, I remember having a hard time teling people what I wanted them to do--I had to have my husband work it out with them. And I probably would have (and did) taken out my frustrations on my poor mom, God rest her soul, so don't do that. Every day, practically, I have to let go of things because my dear husband doesn't know where the pots and pans go after 16 years in the same house; he doesn't fold laundry neatly; you have to give him a very precise list of what to buy at the store, etc. And that's my DH! I think you'll find it less frustrating than that. :-)

I hope you have an easy recovery, but you may also find that you're just grateful everything is not falling down around your ears while you convalesce. And that you have the time and help you need to heal. I pray that it will be much easier to let go than you think! God bless!

Sara said...

Oh, and I got an email that was clearly meant for you. Send me an email and I'll forward it to you!

Michelle said...

I'll be praying for you! And I know just what you mean...which is why when my husband said we could just have the packers come to our house a few days after the baby was born, I said NO WAY. They'll come before the baby is born when I can deal with them, and then they'll deliver and unpack (cringe!) at the new house while I stay at the old house and can't watch the chaos. It will be bad enough just knowing that they are doing all that without me.

Barb Szyszkiewicz said...

Aimee and Ellen and Sara, thank you!

Ellen, I'll definitely be in touch. Got that babka to pass along :)

Michelle...HOLY COW...I am going to offer up my frustrations on your behalf. That scenario would make me completely lose what's left of my mind.

I so appreciate the outpouring of understanding. Makes me feel like I am not alone in my quirky territorial-ness.

nicole said...

I remember a friend coming over after I had one of my kids. She shooed me to my room to sleep while she cleaned and made a meal for us and took care of the other kids. It was really hard to fall asleep at first! But I was so relieved when I woke up and I could nurse the baby and look around and not see the dozen things that needed to be done still.

I will be praying that the surgery goes smoothly. And even more so that you are granted some spiritual strength and insight during this journey.

Mimi said...

Prayers for you before, during, and after the surgery.

Sr. Ann Marie said...

Barb,I'll be praying for your recovery. One of your commenters mentioned a "journey" and I can tell you that recovery is, indeed, a journey! When I was recovering these past many months, I was reminded many times that allowing someone else to help me was gift to that person. That's not always an easy gift to give! And sometimes it's a journey that has to be taken in small steps! Many blessings!