My nerves are shot. It is 3:39 in the morning and I am being plagued with insomnia. This would not be too bad, except I have a Progressive Care training class tomorrow, er I mean, today. Life has just been feeling heavy lately - and I have something to get off my chest.
I am a girl who likes to flirt with depression, and who is more comfortable with sour puss moods than the love and light idealism so many I know subscribe to. My brain believes more in the bad stuff than the good, probably because in my childhood, it was the bad stuff that has defined my life and who I was. I still talk about my life in levels of survival. Just the other day my Mom, one of my biggest emotional benefactors ever, said to me,"Brandi, it is amazing you are the grown up you are, given what you had to survive." This attitude of being a Survivor, got me through the darks days of being a scared kid being raised by a bipolar dad, but it is not doing me much good as loving wife, well-adjusted grown-up.
When you are a Survivor, the alarm bells go off at the slightest wrong move. Husband stays home sick for two days with a bad back...my survivor mode kicks in and I just know I will end up on Intervention with him hooked on Oxys, us bankrupt, and losing everything. Umm, those of you who know Nascar Pitcrew, know that has a snowball's chance in hell of happening. You would think I would have my paranoia in check, but sometimes it gets away from me. Note for any future children Nascar and I might have: your Mom could be a little crazy sometimes. Note for Nurse Bacon: Everyone is a survivor of something, and not everyone defines themselves by it.
Nascar Pitcrew is seriously injured. His T11 and T12 vertebrae show signs of a recent compression fracture. My husband, my strong man, has been relegated to shuffling no more than 10 steps at a time and tossing and turning in bed. Our bedroom has the lovely scent of Icey Hot permeating it at all hours. We are sleeping in separate beds, since he is awake most of the night in pain. I think this is what they meant in the vows, when they said, "In sickness and in health." Damn, I had the in health part down. I can handle Burning Man in a tent, and I am not afraid to let you do the driving. But now, you need me to put smelly cream on your back? Sheesh, this marriage thing has many layers.
All of this is made even more humorous by the fact that I get paid to be an empathetic caregiver. Nurse Bacon, RN. That is me. One would think that caring for my loved one should be easier than assisting the lice ridden homeless guy for his premetherin shower (yep, did that this week), but embarrassingly, it is not.
At work, I have a job to do, and in my mind, being a nurse is a little like being a teacher. I am there to help you through your bleakest days and teach you how to come out on the other side. There is an art form to communicating with patients, it is a lot of intelligence, mixed with the right amount of empathy.
My marriage communication is all heart (and often my heart is cloudy and in survival mode), and not a lot of brain. Marriage cannot survive in survivor mode. A rhythm is needed, so when the bad stuff occurs (and it will) no one freaks out. This week, my lack of empathy has shown me that my emotional connection to Nascar Pitcrew just needs a little more brain to structure out the heart's emotional state. This should not be hard, because my friend Silvia says I have a big brain.
And I am a Survivor.
Nascar Pitcrew, I promise you, I will wrap my brain around this and be the best wife I can be as we get you though this painful and not fun time.
I love you.
Soundtrack to this morning's insomnia write: Alice Coltrane, Billie Holiday, Norah Jones, and UFO.