I am not exempt.

Let me just tell you that my life is completely imperfect and I’m hardly exempt from crazy. I assure you, Lee Waters is not exempt from crazy. We’ve all been there; when it’s raining pouring and it’s all you can do to tread the ever-rising waters. For some of you, it will be a diagnosis of a child with autism after the birth of another child. For others, it will be trying how to keep one more person from
getting sick in your family. Further still, many struggle with how to get fit despite a jam-packed schedule. For many of us, it’s trying to simply maintain emotional and mental sanity while raising kids, despite the ever growing requirements (real or imagined) of living in the 21st century.

Brityn and I have both experienced some crazy times over the past several years, but many have happened just this year. For myself, it came toward the end of a 2 year time frame which began with giving birth to my son Graham and my husband Sam starting graduate school on weekends, followed by mild postpartum depression, Sam traveling often during many weeks on top of his already demanding work schedule, and also our 2-year-old Remy was learning the great art of throwing an all-out fit. We learned to manage, as I rarely accept defeat, but I paid the price for merely surviving on stress and counting down the days. Right before we hit the Finish Line with graduate school, I got MRSA.

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My finger, hand and arm up to my elbow were totally swollen. You just never realize how much you like a body part, until it swells…

I made a quick recovery, thank goodness, but I still wasn’t addressing the main issues and I certainly wasn’t coming up with any plans to prevent a reoccurrence. So after getting my husband graduated, celebrating in Paris, returning to volunteer commitments with my church’s youth group, all while continuing to yell at my kids and feeling like I was barely surviving the days, I had exactly that–MRSA, for the second time. Are you kidding me!?!? Sadly, no. Immune System wasn’t playing and told me, “Get ye to the hospital!”–where I stayed for 2 days, as the swelling went down and I finally responded to antibiotics. For someone who has never had the Flu, this was very humbling. I clearly needed to change my approach to self-care. Stress was wrecking havoc on me and running the show!

 

For those two days in a hospital room, I pondered a plan to gain some more control. I was terrified to go home and be around my children (aged almost 2 and 4 by this time). I knew I barely had things under control before I got MRSA, so how would I be able to make a plan for afterwards where I was supposed to add the following to my keep-everyone-alive-and-fed list: keep my hand elevated and not lift heavy things and take medications twice daily and bathe with surgeons soap and disinfect my entire house, etc., etc., etc.? Just contemplating these things made me feel a familiar anxiety bubbling to the surface.

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Snap chatting from the hospital. Ever glamorous!

During these days, I had many conversations filled with ideas and suggestions from various friends. There were so many good things I thought I could give a try! So many that I was still overwhelmed. Then the thought came to me: “Line upon line.” That comforting line from the Bible gave me a baseline from which to operate. What had I done or was I doing from time to time, that would be the easiest, most beneficial place to start to rebuild my immune system and manage my stress? I would start with the easier things, and add to them from there.

There in my hospital bed, with no distractions–seriously, health risk aside, being “forced” to stay in a hospital for 2 days was kind of like a spa vacation–I made a bulleted list, writing a way to be responsible for each action in the sub-bullets. Did I mention that I love bullets? But not like that…

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My return-to-reality-from-MRSA plan: Stage 1

  • Ask Mom and friend to come disinfect the house. This was not easy to ask, but it needed to be done and I couldn’t do it. Believe that even if you don’t know someone super well, that most people are willing to help, but you have to ask them specific ways to help.
    • All I had to do was text a friend and my mom and they showed up and Chlorox wiped and Lysol sprayed every. touchable. surface. and toy. in. my. house. What a blessing!
  • Be in bed at 10 PM Sunday-Thursday nights and no later than 11:30 PM on Fridays and 11 PM Saturdays. Sleep boosts the immune system, so…sleep more!
    • Ask iPhone’s Siri to remind me 30 minutes prior to the set time each of these nights.
    • When scheduling girls nights or date nights, let others know of my goals to leave by a certain time, so I’m not bringing it up in the middle of something amazing, and thus, killing the fun vibes.
  • Find an excellent Probiotic and multivitamin to take daily.
    • Call that certain nurse friend for her recommendation and order online TODAY. Shipping costs are worth it to know they’ll be at my house and in my hand when I get home from the hospital.
    • Again, use Siri to remind me at both 7 AM and 7 PM daily to take these supplements.
  • Stay away from the gym–from where I’m wondering if I got MRSA–until I go at least 2 months without having MRSA. I am NOT getting this a third time. Meaning, WALK 4x’s weekly to make sure I don’t turn into a slug from all the elevating and the sitting.
    • Either look at weather each Sunday to determine best days to do it with kids in stroller, or if no cool enough days exist, plan to do it solo in the morning before Sam leaves for work…
    • and, you guessed it, ask Siri to remind me to get out of bed earlier on those mornings.

And that’s it. The first task was done after one day. If I can do the remaining three tasks for a month, I’ll add other things to The plan. This is My Plan.

My Plan is: logical, attainable for me, makes me feel like I’m doing something to help myself–which is turn, helps manage my stress. By starting with some relatively small habits, I can create a foundation on which to add other habits later on. This is called goal stacking and I definitely didn’t create that term, but I’m latching onto it.

My Plan is not: guaranteeing that I’ll never have MRSA again, going to be so easy I won’t have to work to achieve it, nor permanent. At some point, I’ll have to tweak and adjust my plan to make it continue to support my health and my needs.

A Plan. Do you have one? If so, is it manageable, fit to your lifestyle and meeting your personal needs? If not, why not ask us? Though we may not know what it feels like to be you, we do know what it feels like to be treading water and we’d love to throw you a life-saver. You’ll still have to swim to shore, but at least you’ll have something on which to hold. Reach out to us via email! WatersandBennett@gmail.com

XO-

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