Hello friends and happy Wednesday! The Bessette family are having the absolute best week because we are all back under the same roof. Just like that life returns to normal – and it has me feeling like its time to return to Weekend That’s A Wrap. Although not always the most exciting – I love that they capture exactly how our world looks right now. Even going back and just reading a year later, I enjoy the little anecdotes – so several years from now I love knowing we will have this little blog to be our own biography. But the last 4 weeks I have not had this regular post- why? Well tune-up times consist of much of the same things. Danny is trying to get well – different meds, different therapies, new docs, potential theories – and I am trying to do life – insert cleaning days, driving here and there, coaxing a Shiba out from hiding, and the repeat of Chinese take out and binge watching my Netflix show of choice (it has included Parenthood, Call of the Midwife, and this time – Gilmore Girls). More importantly – we are just trying to keep things going and simple, making Weekend That’s A Wrap just are not a part of the process.
However this tune up lasted 21 days – longer than any stay we have seen in several years…..so there are a few things that really stick out in my mind to capture…..what the tune-up train taught us this time….
Tune-Ups Mirror Our Life
Over the course of this blog we have shared a lot about tune-ups and how they are intertwined with our life. Our first New Year’s Eve together – I wanted to kiss Danny at midnight, so I stayed in the hospital. Our week we were engaged – tune-up. Our first Christmas married – tune-up. There is no denying that several of our bigger life events can be documented along Dan’s hospital timeline. But it is not always about the benchmark moments – it is also about where we are in life. When we were young – tune-up time was the excuse to veg out together with movies, junk food, and save the money we normally would be spending at bars with friends. Fast forward a few years and we were living with family – tune ups were a chance to escape and have a place of our own.
This time around though – both Danny and I were so very sad to be at the hospital and missing out on being together at home. We LOVE being with our little family, hanging around our house. It is simple, it is sweet, it is probably sorta boring…..but decorating our house, planning social gatherings, walking our dog, hanging on the deck… they make up this life we lead and we were missing them terribly. There was not enough movies, or junk food, or excuses to look at hiding away in the hospital as a positive. So this trip was extra long and extra trying. Silver lining is that we know how far we have come to not want to miss out on our life, especially the little things, and it makes getting back to “normal” feel special.
Put Me Before You
Now this little secret is pretty much the secret to marriage. They told us in our marriage encounter weekend, they told us in pre-cana, our parents told us, my grandmother told us…. you get the idea. This is not a new concept – in fact it is pretty tride and true!! And I am very proud to say in the Bessette household 5 years of marriage and we have found this little truth to be our saving grace….as well as our go to default, after many years of practice. However mix in a little hospital drama, a stressed out wife, a sick hubby, and an angry shiba and this one is hard. When everyone is just trying to get through it – you can’t help but worry about yourself…..we are human after all!
As this hospital stay wore on I realized the best thing to do was to be helpful and supportive of whatever Danny needed. Each time we got our hopes up that he was fleeing the hospital walls….only to be knocked over with the sad news of an extended stay, I was overwhelmed with frustration, anger, sad, fear etc. However, I had to remember that I was not even the one having to continue to undergo more treatment, or living in a tiny room, and existing without the simple comforts of home. So the best thing I should be doing is to put Danny first. And finally when day 21 came and he was awaiting discharge my crazy self jetted home in my lunch hour for final clutter clearing, laundry folding, and welcome home present displaying. When Danny walked in I wanted him to feel nothing but peace, tranquility, and that he was at his home and ready for a new clean slate. For a second I thought about leaving it – who cares! He would be happy just to be home! But the mix of wanting him to feel nothing but perfect and that I may be a little OCD brought me home that day and ended our tune-up adventure with Danny and his feelings as my top priority.
Flip that coin and Danny made a huge effort this time to space out my visits. When he was not feeling good or needed sleep – knowing a visitor may not be an easy thing to receive – he had me stay home. Or if I seemed a little on edge or extra tired he told me to stay home. He acknowledge that he was the one struggling, but I was the one whose world was not slowing down – only being made more complicated without him. It was on me to keep working, keep the house hold going – have our lives stay as stable as possible. So when we did have one really tough day of both people being exhausted and over it, the very next day Danny sent an email with instructions to take a break, pick up a Starbucks (even though I am supposed to be brewing at home now) and do a little retail therapy on him – two crips $100 dollar bills from a recent pet sitting adventure. And when I argued that I should spend a day not at the hospital working and getting ahead – Danny demanded I take this break…..and it was perfect. I felt refreshed and Danny felt that he was able to be a good supportive husband from even a little further away.
Both of us continually put the other one first. We consciously told each other when we were having an off day, not to take things personal. If we had to make a decision – from dinner orders to if the dog should go to the vet for his stress rash – we were careful to be clear with our opinion and then to carefully listen to the other person’s thoughts. We have learned a lot of tricks for helping to pass the hospital time, pack for the hospital, coordinate food and visitors and schedules – but even with all those skills, it is the most important ones that can get lost in the shuffle – being clear, being kind, being appreciative. The hospital is scary stuff – the hospital for 21 days is REAL scary stuff….but we both found amazing comfort in putting the other person first and seeing how sustained they were feeling from that generosity of spirit. Denying our go to pity parties and embracing sacrifice for your partner – we had more good days than bad and left the hospital even stronger than when we started.
Sunshine is a Cure All
On my days not in the hospital I was often working or cleaning. If I took a break it was only to get extra sleep or entertain my pup. Sitting idle, relaxing, or sun bathing was a luxury that hospital time would not allow – and if I wasted my energy on that I felt immense guilt, Danny does not get to feel the warm rays on his skin so I shouldn’t either. This has ALWAYS been my mindset – but this time, it changed. The first Saturday alone, I spent a little time outside. Just a half hour to read and relax – and it felt incredible. In that short period of time I had soaked up the beauty of my yard, relished the richness of a summer day, and had been quiet and still to just breathe or escape with a good read. So over the next three weekends I made sure to get some time in the sun and you know what – it was just what the doctor ordered! Instead of running myself ragged only stopping when I run out of steam and sorta fall over, I could recharge. Life is busy no time to slow down – yet that approach left me tired, running on empty, and worst of all – with limited energy or patience to offer Danny. Just taking a conscious break to take care of myself and enjoy some sun and silence, made me a better partner for my husband and that is a lesson I desperately needed to learn.
This last point seems completely opposite of putting Danny before myself. But I have to say this sunny quiet time actually made it easier for me to want to put Danny first. Again – an important distinction, sometimes taking care of yourself removes that stress or anger or resentment of what life has presented to you that you can rise above it and be the healthiest version of you for you and your loved ones. Sunshine was a key to survival and a little trick I am learning to fit into my everyday normal life.
Recently you all had a full post on keeping it simple – but I still had to include it here. This mantra that I am working so hard to be a focus point for myself – was a HUGE help these 21 days. There were times I was over complicating what to pack Danny or how to make a visit or even to process my emotions – and when I said STOP and answered the questions of what do I have to do right now and what is my focus – I regained control of my world. I was able to peel back the layers, unburden my mind of “what-ifs” and just be. In these moments I found a huge release and sense of control – which is HUGE when the rest of your world feels pretty out of control.
It’s the Little Things
And finally – a tried and true principle of mine – find enjoyment in everyday life, even if it is in the simplest things. Over this month I would get overwhelmed, the tears would sting my eyes, my anger would try and come out – there were a lot of emotions, and often happy or gratitude were not leading characters in that cast. When that is the case – becoming overwhelmed, anxious, and feeling the desire to give up are very strong. But in the theme of KISS and the sunshine cure – sometimes you have to figure out how to just get to the next minute by enjoying the little things. When I had a chance for a good cup of coffee or a really hot shower – I would close my eyes and tell myself to enjoy it. When a free hour presented itself I told myself it was OK to get a pedicure or read a chapter of my book. These little things allow me to feel good and get to the next minute/hour/day/week….. so soak them up.
So there you have it – just a few experiences from this tune-up that I want us to remember fondly and celebrate! We made it through this hospital stay and have come out the other end feeling strong and ready to enjoy the beauty of normal. Without these experiences I am not sure we would be in such a positive place – especially as Danny is home but his numbers are still not reflecting what we would hope his lungs would be feeling after 21 days of IV meds. But we are here – we have made it – and have a few successes to make normal life run even smoother. That is a tune-up success!