The Art of Being In Control Of Not Being In Control!
Life is a funny old thing. Sometimes you know why you are feeling a certain way and other times emotions just hit you out the blue. I think in any given month (or day, and sometimes even an hour!) I experience a whole range of emotions, from uplifting ones to those which really impact my day in a negative way. I sometimes berate myself for not being more emotionally stable but by looking and sharing at what is going on for me right now, I am beginning to understand that that is normal, understandable and ok. I hope that my words may help some of you to understand what is going on for you right now. To me, this understanding and knowledge help me to be kinder to myself and I hope it will help you to be kinder to yourself too.
As many of you know, my husband was diagnosed with liver cancer 19 months ago and his only option is to have a liver transplant. My greatest challenge is living without being in control. I do not know when the call will come, it could be in five minutes or six months. Even when it does come, it could turn out to be a false alarm and not go ahead. Remaining calm and not being an over hypervigillant wreck, every time the phone rings, is certainly a challenge. Sales calls become even more irritating as that short time between the first ring and hearing an ” I understand you have had an accident in the past three years, Madam”, releases a flood of emotions in such quick succession, that they overlap each other. First, comes the reminder that he is on the list and this could be the call (extra irritating if you have actually been able to put it out of your mind for a while!), then it is anticipation, quickly followed by disappointment and relief at the same time. Finally, you are left with sorting through these emotions back to a place where you can re-enter normal life and get on with what needs to be done. This can happen many times throughout the day and if a call comes late in the evening, it ramps up a few gears!
If I am going out anywhere, I find that I have become a queen of dual planning. One plan for what I am doing and another for if the call comes when I or we are away from the house. For example, I have recently done some Wedding Fairs for my sister business The Pretty Wedding Shoe Company. If the call came when I was there, would I have time to pack up and get home or would they be able to store my things and I could be picked up on route? What would I do with the car? You have such a short window of time to get to the hospital, that it really is a case of drop everything and go. I am very grateful to the people have been very helpful and understanding with my emergency exit plans!
Having your phone with you all the time is hard, both practically and emotionally, as you can never switch off and be unavailable – something that I like to do from time to time. Taking it to every trip to the loo, putting it on the table when out for a coffee, checking you have a signal when out walking ( Wendover Woods, one of my favourite places to walk, is out for now, as there is no signal). The stress of having to have it charged all the time, which as my husband will vouch is not my natural strong point! The times when am out and it isn’t charged, I have to borrow a friends phone and call him to tell him he can get me on that number. I have now bought multiple phone chargers, and luckily the charger in our new car works, so I am getting better on this score. But it needs to be fully charged so I can get hold of family, when the time comes and keep them updated. 5% charged doesn’t cut it!
I freak out, well get anxious, if I realise I am behind with the washing and won’t have any clean knickers to take! I have packed both of us bags and these have the essentials in. This was working great until I discovered that my husband has been using the stuff from his and its not ready to go! I have tried to pack several changes of clothes in mine, but then I find I want to wear what is in the bag, so I have settled on packing what I can and writing what else needs to go in on a list. At least this way, even if my mind is in a fuzz, I can rush round the house when the call comes and easily gather what I need for the first week. This method works as we found out in September,when we had our first false alarm ( the donor liver turned out not to be healthy enough) – but in order to be executed successfully you do need to have a pile of clean laundry!
These are are just some practical things, which I can control. I guess that is why they have become important for me to put in place. My husband, on the other hand, is a master of being able to put everything looming before him out of his mind. This works for him and although I do worry that this will leave him struggling to come to terms with what has happened afterwards, I just do my best to support him in anyway I can.
Focusing on the practical helps me take back a little control in this big scary journey that is life. Writing helps me understand and fly a little lighter! I hope that my sharing helps you in some small way and I would love to hear your thoughts and how you cope with life’s challenges in the comments box below. If you have enjoyed this blog, please feel free to share and while you are at it, I can let you know when I write my next post, if you pop your details in the box below.