“Would you like a warm blanket?”
“Just let me know what else I can get you to make you comfortable.”
Those two questions were like music to my ears. You would think I was laying on a massage table at my favorite spa, but actually that wasn’t the case. Those were the ‘music to my ears’ comments made by one of my nurses as I lay in a hospital bed in the ER.
How I Ended Up in the ER
Now let’s go back a few days to set the stage. I’m a busy mom, like most running here and there, shuffling my high school son to and from practices and meets, after school meetings, you know the drill. Multi-tasking at it’s best, and then the other two in my squad are two college kids about to come home for a 48 hour stint for Easter.
Now maybe it’s just me, but I’m still the mom that makes a paper chain to count down the days until the nest is full. (that’s really not true. I’m not THAT crazy) But like most mom’s I do look forward with great anticipation to the ‘band being back together’ so to speak.
All is great until the first night with everyone home, I experience pain like no other…I’m pretty good with pain given the fact I’ve had a kidney stone or two over the years, but this pain was different. Intense and off the charts. Maybe, I thought, as a 49-year-old wise mother of three, it would pass over time. I would just lay down and not disturb anyone else.
Here comes the would have:
Why would I disturb anyone? Why would I sit back and endure this excruciating pain? Simple answer (and some may say stupid answer). I have my whole family in one place for 48 hours. For 48 hours I didn’t have to sleep with my cell phone next to my bed anticipating that wake up call at 1:30am in the morning from one of my college kids…I could relax. I could enjoy this time and like any good mom….not upset the apple cart (as my mom used to say).
Here comes the could have:
I wish I could have picked up the phone and called my mom for advice, but sadly this is one of those days when that image you see on your Facebook feed occasionally, ‘if only there was a telephone line to heaven’ really resonated. I needed my mom. I needed her voice not only to soothe me…but to simply knock some sense into me.
And last but not least….here’s the should have:
After an hour or so the pain subsided and I started to return to normal. When the kids came into the living room and saw me laying on the couch, they said, “Hey mom, are you ok?” I should have simply said, “No. I’m not ok.” So the warm blanket and the buzzing of the ER, with nurses flying past me in masks attending to other patients, and beeps and buzzing everywhere was actually music to my ears. I know that sounds like crazy lady status but let’s be honest….as mom’s we don’t stop and take care of ourselves.
Since I have admitted my own…I AM A MOM AND CAN DO EVERYTHING stupidity, friends have confided in me that they drove themselves to the ER at certain times when they didn’t want to ‘burden anyone’ at home. They didn’t want to admit that they actually needed help.
In this day and age of ‘perfectionism’ or ‘not so perfectionism’ as displayed on social media feeds daily, we are bombarded with what we need to do…or what we should be doing. And take it from a would have, could have, should have mom…we need to start caring about ourselves and our needs and stop worrying about pleasing everyone in the family at all times. I recently was told, “there are no trophies for being a martyr.” Ain’t that the truth. That is my new mantra.
Some people will read this and say, that’s crazy…she should have simply had her husband or kids drive her to the ER. But before you judge….put yourself in the situation. Have there been times when you know you should have canceled a lunch date, or simply told the mom, that relies on you for carpools everyday that you just can’t do it today. Have you ever continued on your daily routine of super mom when you know you should have stopped and said these words (which just don’t roll off the tongue so easily) I CAN’T DO IT. I NEED YOU. I NEED HELP!
So this is pretty simple. The warm blanket and comforting words from the nurse transported me to a happy place that day. As the IV fluids and meds kicked in and my blood pressure dropped…I could rest and let someone else pay attention to my needs. I wasn’t being selfish. I needed help and sadly there are too many moms who just keep fighting through day after day.
Don’t put yourself on the back burner, or toss your issues aside until it’s convenient or until it’s not disturbing anyone else.
Here’s my wake up call…and I hope it can help you too. Take care of YOU.
The family…the kids…..they’re more resilient than you think. They can handle mom being out of commission a few days. They will rise to the challenge and the 48 hours that I had them home would be ok…even if it meant having gall bladder surgery.
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Amy Schmidt has been married for 25 years to her college sweetheart and has three big kids….ranging from 14-20 and they all tower over her. She’s convinced it’s something in the water.
She left her professional career in journalism and PR to raise her children and has moved 11 times all over the country and the world. She took on the role of trailing spouse. She has written many articles over the years and enjoys her time as a freelance writer.
Amy is also an independent business owner with a skin care company to empower confidence in women. She lives in the beautiful town of Ridgefield, CT and walks the tree-lined Main Street as often as possible. Find her on Facebook