As I lay on the floor of the Aurora Cheesecake Factory on Saturday evening, surrounded by men in blue uniforms, one of whom was trying to ram an IV up my arm, I looked at Greg and through the haze of pain and tears said, “Not another thing!”.
The last month has pretty well been awful. Between bandits, Greg and I having strep throat and the flu, Jake having an awful virus, croup and now a regular ol’ cold, not to mention the emotional upheaval of all of that combined, I’d had about enough. I’ve learned, the hard way, that life does not stop, ease up or give me a break. Even if I ask nicely.
Saturday was another of those “what the f#%&?” kind of days, which seems to be typical of life right now. We started out with doctor’s appointments and then drove across town to pick up a television that a new friend gave us. We wrestled it downstairs, put Jake down for his nap, I tried to fight off a creeping headache while Greg went grocery shopping and around 2:00 p.m., we drove up to Denver to look at a new computer for me. Which was perfect and we bought for around half the price we should have had to pay for it. We’ve been hanging on to a gift card for the Cheesecake Factory for the last year, so we decided to give in and go and hope that Jake, who has been whiny in restaurants lately, would decide to be charming. And he was! He was cute and sweet and even ate bread! Without gagging or throwing a fit. We munched on macaroni and cheese balls and laughed and praised our little eater and I started to feel a little arrogant about life. See? It wasn’t so bad. Things were getting better. Take that, terribleness!
Half an hour later, I had gone to the ladies restroom, thinking that my stomach hurt from the aftermath of a headache, when the nagging pain in my side morphed into mend-bending, reality-altering white hot lava. I sat on the floor, trying to decide if I was going to throw up, thinking “Okay, just take deep breaths and ride it out. No big deal.” Then, cold sweat started pouring down my back and every time I tried to move, I wanted to scream. After about twenty minutes, I realized I needed help. I was a little amazed that a multitude of women had come and gone while I lay curled up and crying on the floor and no one stopped to ask if I was okay. Finally, a group of women came in speaking some form of Chinese, I think, and once my brain decided I didn’t need to know Chinese to communicate my needs, finally squeaked out “help me!”. The Chinese women scattered, bringing back a server, who brought back a manager, who brought back Greg, who gave the ok for the paramedics to be called. The paramedics came and got rid of the manager who, although I’m sure was a lovely person, kept insisting on my communication of what she could do to make me more comfortable. They finally got an IV started, drugs in and I was able to stop crying and communicate that I wasn’t having a seizure or a baby, but that a burst appendix wasn’t out of the question.
That’s when I started to break down.
It seemed surreal that one more thing was happening. I was so pissed off about the entire month, but that moment, I was really mad that a nice evening had been ruined and I wasn’t going to get cheesecake. Which tells you where my brain was at the time.
The lovely thing about being in what I’ve started to call “crisis mode” is that all the important stuff like losing my great-grandmother’s locket, my wedding ring, the betrayal that allowed the violation of having our home invaded-twice, the fear for Jake, and now another hospitalization, sorta goes to a safe place. Which frees up my brain for other things like “Hey, I’ve never ridden in an ambulance before” and being able to laugh with the CAT scan techs and being pissed about not being able to finish my dinner. I didn’t even ask for them to take the mushrooms out of my crispy beef, either! Crisis mode also was responsible for me sticking my tongue out at the doctor when he told me that he would have a surgeon on call in case my appendix needed removing. Thankfully, it didn’t and it ended up being a burst cyst and we got to go home without having my surgery count bump up into the double digits.
Crisis mode is a blessing. It allows me to just keep going. I’m thankful for it. It’s numbing and quiet and allows all the hard thoughts and emotions to go away and be silent without lurking in the back of my closet. It lets me cry without sobbing, sleep without dreaming, and keeps my spirit safe until I can deal.
Today is not a day to deal. Less than 10 hours off of Percocet and still in a bit of pain, it’s time for more resting. So, I’m going to bake bread and catch up on fifteen back episodes of my favorite shows and read the Psalms and finish Harry Potter and sleep. God will tell Crisis Mode when it’s time to wear off and when my brain can do more than sit at a window and watch the snow creep up the sidewalk.
Today I’m just going be thankful to God for the creation and gift of crisis mode.