The Year of Lessons

It was about a year ago that I got sick, really sick and no doctors could figure out what was wrong with me. I was having blinding headaches and my brain felt like it was swelling and was going to push its way out of my ears. I became incredibly light and sound sensitive. I was so dizzy that I couldn’t always stand, and I most certainly couldn’t drive. It was really bad for about 5 months and I spent much time with doctors, or in Emergency at the Hospital. I was CT scanned, MRI’d and Allergy Tested. No one had any answers and there’s still really no explanation for what had happened. It’s now a year later,  I’m still getting headaches, and all of my senses are still extremely sensitive. I’ve got allergies and sensitivities that I’ve never had before. My stomach does crazy things, and I’m sick way more often than I’d like. But … through all of that I learned a lot about myself and the people around me.

I confirmed what a great husband I had. He took over all the responsibilities in our home while I laid in bed. With 4 kids and all of their stuff going on, it was a huge task. He did it with rarely a complaint, and he let me just “be”. I am so appreciative of him, and what he did. I honestly don’t know what I would’ve done without him. He kept our world sane while I was falling apart.

I learned who my real friends were. People that I knew loved me proved that. People that I thought loved me and my family disappointed me with their absence and their false promises. Casual friends became very close friends and encouraging ears. I learned what was important to me in a friend and what I’ll look for in future friendships. Things I thought were important to me really aren’t and things I thought I didn’t care about, I really did.

I learned that I need to not put things off or avoid them, because they scare me. It took a few tries to get me into the MRI machine, but I did it. I had my wisdom teeth pulled out while awake, and I survived. I was pricked and prodded by more needles than you can even imagine, but it was okay. I wasted so much time and energy worrying and stressing about things that in hindsight weren’t that big of a deal. Who knows .. if I would’ve done these things sooner, maybe I wouldn’t have gotten so sick??

I learned that I was stronger than I thought I was, and then it got worse and more lessons needed to be learned.

My “little” brother lives in Slave Lake. We got the call that his family and his wife’s family were all trapped in town and couldn’t get out. They were calling as they were trying to get out and it was terrifying. It was a very weird and helpless feeling knowing that there was nothing that any of us could do but pray and wait. We were so grateful when all of them escaped and made it to safety. We were also thrilled to learn that the fire stopped a block away from my brothers home, and they lost nothing. Unfortunately, all of his in-laws lost everything. What did we learn from this? To be prepared if an emergency situation occurs – keep your vehicles full of gas, have cash on hand at all times, have ID, medications and medical information in one, easy to grab place, and to never wear something you don’t want to be evacuated in. (Right Connie)?  Most importanty though, stuff doesn’t matter, family does.

My Mom then took a “trip” down her front stairs and broke her ankle in half. She was hospitalized for almost 2 months, and her foster kids had to move in with me. I ended up having them for 3 months and the summer of “crazy” took over our lives. My Husband and I were over run by children, we had to rearrange our house, needed two vehicles to go anywhere, and became prisoners in our home. Not so much in a bad way, but we were just stuck.  What did we learn? We could handle more kids than we thought possible, and that kids are pretty resilient and pull together when needed.

The week came for Mom to finally be released from the hospital, and their basement flooded. Not a little bit of flooded, but 3000 sq feet of strip the basement down to bare cement flooded.  Try and imagine the mess and the smell and the horror of it all. So gross. But in spite of that, it was agreed that it was time for Mom to come home, so her final surgeon visit was scheduled. By the end of that visit, it was discovered that her foot has also been broken the entire time and no one had noticed. It had now healed funny, but she was NOT staying for them to reset it. She was going home,  7 weeks had been enough.  I figured that I’d be able to come out and help her get settled, cook meals and clean etc. so we moved her home,  wheelchair and all.  Naturally, something else would happen and the day after Mom was back, one of my kids broke his leg and ended up with a cast to his crotch. I was suddenly not able to leave my house as the boy wouldn’t fit in a vehicle. I couldn’t help my Mom out at all. She was trapped in her home, broken and I was trapped in my home with a “broken”. Lessons learned were many, but I am still forever thankful that it wasn’t me with a broken limb, a burned out house, or a flooded basement. I’m not a foster child, I am loved by many and I am safe.

Here we are 2 months later, and we’ve all survived. My “extra kids” have moved back in with my parents. My Mom is able to hobble about with a walker. My boy’s airboot will come off  in a month. I’m mostly healthy, and am confident that answers are coming. My brother is building his dream house. I’ve made some fabulous new business friends. Life is good.

I’m thankful for all of these lessons, and hope that they’ve changed me into something better. I’m grateful for my husband, my family, my friends, my businesses and my life. Lessons learned.

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