Saturday, March 6, 2010

Quiet Days

Every once in awhile, I am given a reminder to slow down and simplify life a bit. I have been trying to cram thirty-six hours worth of tasks into twenty-four hour days, and while that works for awhile, ultimately the body and mind reach exhaustion. With this past week, life seemed to move from hectic to almost chaotic: with taxes, vehicle recalls, insurance phone calls, social visits, Katie's classes, prepping Toastmaster speeches, etc. my evening routine with Katie has been growing later and later. Dinners have been slapdash and not as full of vegetables as I need; I've been feeling like my time management plan has collapsed and that time is running me, instead of me running my own time.

So, I am not surprised that a virus took this opportunity to root itself in my compromised body. I fought something off a couple months ago in about a day, but this little virus has come to play for awhile. It's a doozy: three days of headache and lower back pain, sore legs, sinus congestion (not stuffiness per se, but you know, the congestion that makes your whole face feel like it is in a vice), eyeballs that feel ready to pop out of their sockets, and a killer sore (not scratchy but muscle sore) throat. The worst symptom has been a total sense of weariness. I move a few steps and feel out of breath or like my body won't support me. It's been a bummer. I used to get colds now and then as a casualty of being a teacher, but I rarely ever get put down for the count.

I am reminded of other times in my life at which I have not paid attention to balance and left myself especially susceptible to viral pathology. When the body is weary, it cannot fight as it should.

The added bonus: I have not taken a single medicine for this, as yet. I did see my OB and he gave me conditions under which taking Tylenol would be definitely necessary for the health of my baby (like if I had a fever over 100 degrees), but for the most part Bill and I do not believe we should introduce a drug into my system while pregnant. I was sick twice with Katie (colds while teaching) and never took a thing. Those were pretty gory moments, but no where near as difficult as it has been with this illness. So many moments over the past days and nights I have so much wanted to go have some Tylenol (nighttime especially) or even some coffee (during the day). This has been an exercise in resisting temptation, for sure.

Anyway, I think as of tonight I am over the worst. I actually thought that last night, too, and it turned out that the headache came back at 2 AM with a vengeance. But I can hope.

My mom has been totally helpful. She came over for the past two days and has done everything: cook, bathe Katie, clean dishes, watch Katie so I could rest and not feel guilty about not stimulating her mind, etc. Thank goodness for moms. Katie and my mom made a delicious meatloaf, with mashed potatoes, and roasted broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots. She also served me chicken noodle soup with big yummy noodles and big bright carrot chunks. I think getting proper nutrition has helped me, as well.

Today, Katie and I watched movies and then Bill played with Katie outside for awhile so I could doze. Katie has loved using her medical play kit with me (especially giving me shots), and she has been a total sweetheart. I have felt beyond guilty that I have no real energy to give to her, but even on the worst nights, I have made it a point to read with her and cuddle her before bed. Tonight I got to give her her bath again, and we enjoyed that.

So, looking forward: it is the moment to make sure my time and life are prioritized properly. I need to get back to a good routine, one that includes an early enough wake-up time to take our walks. I need to minimize bustling around during the day and focus on prepping healthy dinners in the early afternoon, so that they are ready to be heated at an early dinnertime. I need to take enough time to strategize my errands so that I don't have to go out so much. Even little things need to be considered, like: commiting to checking Facebook or other correspondence just once a day, laying out and/or ironing clothes the night before during bathtime, planning a week's worth of meals in advance. These are all strategies I have used in the past, and they help keep life flowing along efficiently.

Anyway, so in a strange way, this illness has not been all bad: it has forced me to reevaluate my time management and to slow down and breathe and recenter. I often worry as a mother about overscheduling Katie: is it too much to have gymnastics, music, and art classes? Children need free unstructured time, too. But I should also be giving thought to overscheduling myself, as we adults need just as much unstructured time. Okay, so maybe I won't be able to vacuum every couple of days or get the daily sweeping done, but maybe that's all right. Maybe I don't need to sign up for a speech every few weeks in Toastmasters. I love speaking, but maybe I should slow down to savor the speech writing process more, instead of trying to churn out ideas. I need to alllow my hobbies to be pleasures, because that is what hobbies are supposed to be. I have a tendency to want to turn everything into a opportunity for perfectionism, and some moments in life need to remain opportunities for being imperfect and free and organic.

How many times I will need to relearn this, I cannot say.

Anyway, I hope you are all staying healthier and more balanced than I have been this week! Here is a wish that we all remember to have some playtime next week, without worrying what we think we are SUPPOSED to be doing. Play in life can be just as important, if not more, than the work.