Lessons from the sick-bed (Wednesday’s Wisdom)

If only my bedside looked this neat when I'm sick...

I’ve been sick for the last week, hence the lack of activity on this blog. And, I haven’t been “just a little sick”, I’ve been down for the count. I’ve got one of those “crept up on me and knocked me on my arrogant bum and completely out of commission” colds. (Don’t I sound dramatic? And the Oscar goes to….) I figure I had simply gotten a little too proud of the fact that I have nursed my family through repeated cycles of colds without fully succumbing once in the last 18+ months . However, I have finally been equalized by that great motherhood nemesis–a germ bug. A small, rapidly multiplying germ that has forced me to surrender control, let go of my “shoulds” and “musts” and leave blank pages of my day planner. It’s also stirred up some old patterns I thought I had put to rest long ago.

I’ve faced my share of health challenges over the years. I’ve been in and out of the operating room almost a dozen times and have been forced to give up control when an auto-immune illness directed my days. And ironically, for all of those experiences, I am grateful. I believe that we are presented with opportunities that can help us grow, and my health challenges have offered me just that. I also agree with Renée of Lessons From Teachers and Twits, who wrote, “If you don’t do it by choice, I find that life makes us slow down. We get sick or injure ourselves, etc.” in response to my post about slowing down. I’ve learned (the hard way) how to surrender when things are beyond my control. However, old habits can die hard and, like a kid on summer break, I’m prone to forget the lessons I’ve learned, which should explain all my “remedial work” in this arena.

This cold has reminded me, once again, to pay attention to what my body is telling me and to honor its needs before it breaks down. In the last several weeks, I’ve been under more mental stress than physical, which has certainly taken its toll. However, in old pattern style, I’ve dismissed it. Although, I’m a little quicker to give my body what it needs than I once was, I still struggle with the idea of “losing a day” to a lack of productivity. Yesterday morning, my younger one called me to the mat on my recent choices saying, “Mom, you’re acting like a hypocrite. You tell us to listen to our bodies and rest when we need it, but you’re not practicing what you preach.”

I was confused, especially in light of the fact that I feel like I’ve slept more in the last week than a bear does all winter. My defense was the itemize the several hours I’ve spent sleeping, to which she responded (in her rather direct teen manner) that I had spent an almost equal amount of time complaining about all the things I wasn’t getting done because of my cold. Smack down, teen style!

She was right. I had been complaining about all the things left undone and, in doing so, not truly resting. (Mental “to-do’s”  consume energy too.) As a mom, it’s hard to completely unplug from life’s responsibilities, especially when children are still small. Although mine are old enough to be self-sufficient, they are  still impressionable enough to learn poor habits from their mama. When my daughter relayed her observations, I felt a wave of guilt; I had demonstrated everything I’ve tried to teach my girls NOT to do. Like I said, old habits die hard. But thankfully, both girls have listened well enough to teach me the lesson I’d forgotten; when your body says rest, it means REST. Wisdom out of the mouths of babes…

There is wisdom all around us, from our children’s mouths to a stranger’s comment. We’ve all walked different paths and in doing so, have picked up different pearls. Each one unique, just like the person that carries the wisdom and passes it along so that others can benefit.  It was my stuffy nose that forced me out of bed at 2:30 this morning. Or, perhaps I just grew tired of sleeping. Either way, the wee hours gave me an opportunity to catch up on some of my favorite blogs and share with you some of the wisdom I discovered from my sick-bed. Please, if you don’t have time to visit all the links I’ve post here, bookmark this page and come back to it. Each and every one of these posts offers a pearl that you will want to add to your own collection.

The View Out My Window . . . by Cindy Skerjanec: No more Pookie.. — In this post, author Cindy Skerjanec captures the bittersweet transition out of one chapter and into another. I have tasted the tears that come when you say good-bye to one season . And, I have felt the joy that can only come from watching children make their own transitions.

Something Important to Make Time For | Altered Iris.–Aside from the fact that I love the subtitle of her blog (Living Life Inspired), I love the artwork Cheri creates and shares here, and I especially love the reminder she gives all of us in this post.

Budgeting ain’t for sissies! « The Monster in Your Closet. –If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you already now that I adore Deborah Bryan’s writing, and her stick figures are the bomb. In this post, she reminds us that we should manage more than just our financial budgets.

10 things I am not-so-good at: a #MondayListicle! | mynewfavoriteday.–No matter how great a day is going, Shannon can make it better. In every post, she opens her heart and shares honestly the pain and joy of her journey as the mother to her “special mini’s.” In this post, she shares even more of herself, all while giving her reader permission to accept themselves and own the things they are “not-so-good at.” (My top one is forgiving myself.)

Under the Starry Ceiling « Single Working Mom (SWM).–Kasey’s zest for life is contagious. She is a grounded, single working mom who connects with my “see the silver lining” view of life. In this post, she reminds us that sweetness is found in making something our own, regardless of its history.

Grace « runningfromhellwithel.–There were several of El’s posts I could have linked up here, but this one captures the El I have come to know through her blog, her FB page, and our online chats. Her journey has been rough, her wisdom is raw, and her posts are often gritty. However, despite the pain of her past, this is a woman whose heart was not destroyed. El opens her journey of healing to her readers and, in doing so, offers healing to others.

wotz da big deal cuz u kno wot i mean « Lessons From Teachers and Twits.–Coolest teacher–ever! Oops, is that a fragment? Renée writes about the humorous aspects of her life as an English teacher, as well as hosting guest bloggers who share lessons they have learned. In this post, she stresses proper grammar and humor. (I’m pretty sure I made at least 4 grammar mistakes in the last 4 sentences.)

Does Evil Exist? | Believe Anyway.–Kate’s posts are like an open window on a spring day; they bring in freshness at the end of a long day.  I have yet to read a post that I haven’t enjoyed, but this one made me think, made me smile, and brought me comfort. Read and see why.

The Light on the Flip Side | Hands Free Mama.–I love everything about the Hands Free Mama blog and revolution. I have linked up to her on my blog before and though I fully embrace her message, I forget in my busyness to live “hands free.” Her posts are always a great reminder about life’s real priorities, and this one about preserving rather than squishing a child’s spirit is no different.

Each of the above blogs has offered me something, and not just in the posts I’ve linked to here. Scan the other posts; there are other pearls to be uncovered. In addition to a chance to catch up on my blog reading, this cold has offered me a good reminder to really listen to my body and to pay attention to what my actions are teaching my girls.

How do you respond to your body when you’re sick?

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24 thoughts on “Lessons from the sick-bed (Wednesday’s Wisdom)”

  1. I hope you are on the mend!
    I share your difficulty in just making myself slow down. Unlike you, I have been incredibly hale and hearty my entire life, and was a raised by a woman who still uses her treadmill at age 81. When I feel run down or low energy, I find myself “talking myself out of it” and heading out the door. Your post is a great reminder to me! I will bookmark it and read it at least once a week!
    Thanks and get well soon.

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    1. Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

      Sounds like you have been blessed with some awesome genes! I think, in particular as women, we have a hard time letting go of our agendas and “to-do” lists at the expense of faster healing. Though my mom was relatively when I was growing up, I watched (and learned) as she powered through an illness. I pray my children internalize my words more than my actions.

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  2. It’s funny to be reading this now that I’m sick myself. In recent years, I’ve taken to working as much as I can through sickness. Today, on his way out the door, Ba.D. mandated that there was NO work permitted today. I was to stay in bed, rest, listen to/watch movies and sleep. Optional: calling out for delivery.

    I’m glad he left with that edict, because it’s been good to kick back and really rest. It feels like my body’s saying thanks to me as I type this from bed, between naps, with my laptop on my knees.

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  3. Mary,
    I am so sorry that you have been so ill, my friend! And here you are, feeling ill, but still thinking of others . . . I am so grateful that you included me in the wonderful list of awesome writers and people up above. And I identify with what you write about as well. It is very hard for me to take my foot off the accelerator and slow down voluntarily. I am thinking of you and miss seeing you on FB. Feel better soon, friend.
    xo,
    El

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    1. Thanks, El! Slowing down is one of those “life lessons” I keep failing to internalize, but I try to give myself credit for the baby steps I’ve taken.

      You, my dear friend, are an amazing writer! Your blog is filled with such honesty, and through it, such inspiration!

      I’ll be back to our FB “therapy room” soon. 🙂

      xo

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  4. Uh, oh! I am feeling a little high and mighty about not getting sick while the rest of the family gets nursed through it. For quite a while, too. I better go wash my hands again or wipe down all the door handles or something! LOL. I’ve missed you!

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    1. Sorry your family has been under the weather, Dianna! I picked this one up from my older daughter who just went through her second or third bout this year. I was far more “relaxed” in my germ approach than usual, so yep, get those handles wiped and hands washed! Good to be back, and thanks for your comment!

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  5. I’m familiar with some of these blogs. Others are new. I’ll try to check them out! When I’m sick, I usually whine and moan and groan or distract myself with video games and/or movies. But I’m a guy, and men are notorious for being sick babies. Although, I heard a statistic once that showed there really isn’t any difference in how men and women handle illness overall. Could be a myth. Whatever the case, I’m a bit of a baby when I’m sick, but I shouldn’t speak for other men. But yes, I try to evaluate what I’m doing that contributed to my being sick and how I can change things. Unfortunately, it usually takes an illness for me to do that.

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    1. Thanks for sharing a male’s POV, Chris! I will say I’m usually a “plow through an illness” kind of gal which has only (ever) resulted in longer recovery periods. (I joke that that is the reason I’ve had so many surgeries–slow learner.) And though I consider my husband to be a bigger baby when he is sick (Shhhh-don’t tell him!), he is far better at resting than I am. Sadly, I know my continued “Super Woman” -when-I should-be-resting attitude frustrated the dickens out of him.

      “But yes, I try to evaluate what I’m doing that contributed to my being sick and how I can change things. Unfortunately, it usually takes an illness for me to do that.”

      I think becoming aware of and making the changes in how we care for ourselves before we get sick is the best preventive medicine available today!

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  6. So sorry to hear you are so sick Mary. Like you, I push and push and eventually my body just gives way to force me into a much needed rest. Thank goodness you have your girls to keep you in line and remind you of your own wisdom! I wish I could bring you some chicken soup and tea and help you feel better.

    Thank you for being such a light in my life. I have truly missed you as you have been down for the count and you warm my heart so much. Thank you for including me in your list of wonderful blogs here, who I will be sure to check out the ones I don’t yet know. Hope you are back up and running soon. Big hugs.

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    1. Thanks, Shannon! I can see the similarities in our personalities (at least I like to think we’re similar! I’ve great admiration for you! 🙂 ) I feel so blessed to call 2 of the strongest women I know my daughters. Spitfires, they are! And, just the thoughts of the soup and tea help me feel better.

      You, my dear Shannon, are not just a light in my life, but I truly consider you a gift to this world! I have told you before that reading your blog is something I savor, like my first cup of coffee or a piece of good (really good!) chocolate! I never rush reading your blog because it is always so filled with inspiration and joy.

      Hugs right back!

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  7. I’m sorry to hear you were so sick! It is exceptionally difficult to ‘slow down,’ isn’t it? This past month has really done me in, and I was almost out for the count, too, at one point. Luckily I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel, and reading your blog feels like sweet R&R time (in the very best way)! Can’t wait to check out these posts 🙂

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    1. I’m sorry to read you were almost down too, Jules, and I’m glad you are feeling better! Thank you so much for your sweet comment. There has not been a time that I haven’t smiled, but more often laughed out loud, from your blog. That, my friend, is the absolute best medicine! Oh, keep your eyes open–I’ll be sending my request for my slap bracelets today! 🙂

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  8. Sorry you have been so sick! I had been enjoying a rather long wellness stretch (outside of my chronic stuff) until last April….I was down for about 2 weeks with the crud, only to get it again in October and Dec/Jan. I don’t think that has ever happened before…and I hope it won’t again. However, Master Bliss has been fighting something this week and I am trying to keep my distance.

    Great post and reminders. I will have to check out some of these links…thanks for sharing. : ) ~~Bliss

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    1. Thanks, Bliss! I’m hoping it is clear sailing for you from here on out. I know what it is to manage life with chronic junk only to be knocked down by germ bugs. A few years back, it seemed if someone sneezed in the net state, I caught it. It was frustrating, but I know I made matters worse by never giving myself permission to really rest.

      Sorry to read Master Bliss is fighting something, but I’m sending lots of positive energy your way! Thanks for reading!

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  9. I’m so bummed ot hear you are feeling down and out! But you are right. We have to listen to our bodies. I’ve been pushing waaaaaay too hard trying to write my book, my blogs, take care of business on ye olde Facebook page, teach… and there is no food in the fridge. I’m not kidding. It’s bad. So I’m glad that you are slowing down and listening to your body.

    *passes you a box of tissues*

    While you are in bed, how about you put a twitter widget on your page, so we can see your feed and quickly find out your twitter handle. I always forget if you are @transitionmom. Or @transitionmomma or @transitionalmom. 😉 Feel better!

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    1. Thanks, Renée! I will take those tissues, especially if they have aloe in them! I’m sort of at the point where I wake up feeling well enough to do stuff, but run out of steam in under an hour. This is probably the most frustrating time of an illness for me.

      As for the twitter widget–I will get that done, if only for you, before the end of next week! (I’m thinking about changing my id…’cuz it’s none of those you listed. I’m thinking just my name…thoughts? Help me, Renée! I’m so twitter ignorant!)

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