April got away from me. It's the first full month of spring, so I guess it's appropriate. This year, trees are leafing out already and the first daffodils started blooming almost a month ago. Our world is bursting with life and activity. We get the urge to do and create and .. well... sometimes the energy is a little crazy.
When I got the first call, I looked at the calendar. During the month of April, I had only 4 important events: Easter (and hosting our family gathering), speaking on the women's panel at the school of pharmacy, Emma's square dance graduation, and staying with our grandchildren for 3 days at the end of the month. Not bad. I figured I could balance activities with rest and be just fine.
So I said yes, I'd participate in the clinical study. It was to be just one morning of cognitive testing; lots of cognitive testing. I like to support these endeavors. Two hours later, another call came. Since I'm participating in this study, would I consider staying a few more hours to be in another study? I would be getting a MEG scan to record my brain's activity. Why not? I'd be there anyway, and hopefully they'd find my brain was doing something other than playing hopscotch or reading comic books.
After the MEG scan, I had a wonderful conversation with one of the doctoral students whose thesis was looking at brain activity to test the theory that our brains become more active and more capable when we stretch out limits, at least to a certain point. When tasks become too difficult and our answers required too quickly, we make more mistakes. We also make more mistakes when the tasks are too slow and not challenging enough. Our brains just get bored and go back to reading comic books. Fascinating!
Then the next phone call came. This was two hours after finding out how much better our brains do when we are pushed to do a somewhat more difficult task. It became my argument and justification (rationalization?) to say we'd take the 3 orphaned puppies and foster them. I'm not sorry we did, I never am. Even at 2 am, looking down at a nursing puppy drinking his formula from a sponge, I am always in awe of this tiny life in my lap. I just had no idea our lives were about to become even busier than I had imagined.
Easter - we've always told our kids they are welcome to invite friends to our holiday celebrations. We've tried to make all our holidays welcoming to friends, family, friends of family, family of friends, and others. My mother-in-law did this exceptionally well and my husband grew up with large gatherings of very diverse people. This year, everyone got into the spirit and at one point, I had 27 guests on the list with a possible 5 more. WONDERFUL!
Among the guests were my two brothers and my sister-in-law. They arrived on Thursday evening. Friday morning, Good Friday, we took our dad to the emergency room and found out he was having a heart attack. We didn't bring him in for heart attack symptoms, but thankfully he was in the hospital and being cared for when they discovered this. Our whole focus was on Dad. As heart attacks go, this was a mild one and Dad did very well. Something like this brings up lots of emotions and lots of questions:
Are we doing enough to take care of Dad? Why didn't the staff at the facility recognize how ill Dad was? Will he need more care now? How do we make sure he gets the help he needs? If he has an angina attack, will the staff get the nitro pill to him in a timely manner, as in right away? Should I be going over every day to check on them? ..and making sure the facility is doing its work? Do I need to cancel our Easter plans?
I didn't have any control over Dad's health and I was so very grateful my brothers were both in town. I decided to go ahead with Easter, partly because I didn't know who all was coming and partly so we could at least provide food for my parents and other family, too. Together (it was potluck) we fed 25 people.
Dad came home on Saturday, before Easter, feeling very tired and weak. One thing we found out is that he has an artery which is almost blocked, but not quite. At 92, they will not do anything invasive unless we insist; something we will not do. And because it is not quite completely blocked, it's possible his heart will find a way to reroute the blood flow all on its own. Our bodies really are amazing.
A week later and I'm crashing. On day 3 of a migraine and in the migraine "hangover" stage. Like everyone with chronic health issues, I am constantly trying to figure out how much I can do. I think the migraine is my brain's way of saying ENOUGH already. Time to rest for awhile. Tomorrow I'll get up and face the daily dilemma: Take it easy or take it to the limit one more time?
Sometimes we make the choice. Sometimes life makes the choices for us.