The whole “nurses make the shittiest patients,” isn’t an untruth. It’s like somehow, since we passed the NCLEX*, we’re immune to everything, duh. And if we do happen to become ill, we’ll get over it like BAM! Because, again, didya SEE my NCLEX score? I totally aced that puppy.
I’ve been sick since I was a baby. At my first well-baby visit, I had a damn ear infection. I’d blame it on my mother, because that’s en vogue and all, but truthfully, she nursed on demand, she didn’t smoke or do drugs, we were organic before “organic” was a buzzword. I’m surprised I didn’t come home in a burlap onesie, but then again, it was the end of July (I had to stay in the hospital after I was born. ABO incompatibility, for the three of you who care) and my grandmother had bought me some frilly frock from Neiman Marcus.
Anyway, I was off and on antibiotics for ear infections until I miraculously outgrew them. Then, my tonsils were all, I DO WHAT I WANTZ, and I got strep throat every three weeks – like fucking clockwork.
(these were the days, I don’t have to add, where ear tubes weren’t yet the standard of care for multiple ear infections and having a tonsillectomy was considered in bad taste – instead, I had to wait until they had actually rotted – age 14 – and then have them out. The ears, well, they’re still tube-less).
I’ve been sick more or less, since birth.
Which is why I don’t pay terribly much attention to it. While I joke that I’m moaning histrionically at the ceiling, letting out a croaked “Why God, WHY ME?” I’m actually on the computer working my balls off. Or in the garden, “sweating it out” to the Golden Oldies.
You shut your whore mouth while I’m listening to my Golden Oldies.
See, if I spent the time I was ACTUALLY sick moping about the house, I’d never get anything done. And if I didn’t get anything done, well, the world might actually
implode keep spinning like it always does. No seriously, I know** nothing would happen if I stopped for awhile, but I’m not the sort who relaxes well. When I’m told that I should “relax” a bit, I laugh. Not because it’s a bad idea, but because without heavy doses of vodka, I just can’t. My version of “relaxing” is only scheduling out 4 weeks of posts for Band Back Together and writing 2 resource pages while deadheading THREE rosebushes rather than 16.
Because I realized a long time ago, like at least three weeks ago, that I love to work. I need my mind to stay occupied to stay sane, and while tiny crotch parasites are, in fact, entertaining, singing songs about pooping is only entertaining for so long. So I push myself. When I get down, I push harder, I push until I pass out. Stopping? Well, that’s bullshit. I’m unapologetic about this – I am a work-at-home parent and I love it.
Until I get the pertussis. Or the pneumonia. I’m not sure which exotic Oregon Trail disease I have at the moment – only that I’m hawking up tree-frog sized balls of phlegm – and that I’ve been confined primarily to the couch until The Guy On My Couch and The Daver see fit to let me up.
All of this sitting around doing fuck-nothing has reminded me of this: in all my efforts to work harder, do more, and push push push, I’ve neglected the one thing that I shouldn’t have: myself.
Certainly I’m more or less sane (as sane as anyone who calls herself “Aunt Becky” and wages anonymous wars on Internet users like John C. Mayer). My children are happy, polite, and charming individuals. My home? It needs a dumpster, but that’s a different story. I realized this:
Each thing I do, I rush through so I can get to something else.
While normally, this poses no problem, I realize that I’ve neglected even the most basic of self-care – I’ve needed a hairs cut for months. My feet need a pedicure and a tiny Asian woman (probably speaking ill of me under her breath) wielding a razor.
In short: I need some time to myself. Wherein I do not work. Wherein I do not care for small squirmy people or large squirmy people. I have decided that it’s time. In fact, it’s so far PAST time that I can barely cop to it without feeling shame.
There will be no more “I should’s,” or “I can’s” in my vocabulary. No more guilt if I fall short of my mark.
Instead, I will set aside an hour every day – without pity – to myself. I will do something that benefits me, rather than those around me. If that means sucking it up and getting my hairs did? I will do it. If it means relaxing on the couch with a book while someone else cares for squirmy small people? So be it. If it means taming my eyebrows or waxing the cat? That’s what it means.
And I will do it.
Because I’m worth it, dammit.
And? So are you.
P.S. Pranksters, what do normal people “do for themselves?” I’m asking for, urms, a FRIEND.
*The National Council Licensure EXamination for nurses.