Monday, April 25, 2011

never sorry i was there

I didn't mean to fall off the face of the blogging world again.  Of course, I never mean to, but I'm exceptionally talented at it obviously.

Since you'll never convince me that anyone besides my immediate family reads this blog, there's kind of no point in telling you, imaginary readers, what has kept me from my little internet kingdom.  but never let it be said I missed an opportunity to talk about myself.

Last Sunday my precious Grams (who faithful readers will recall fell and had a compression fracture in her back early last year) fell at church and ended up in the hospital with a broken hip.  My moma and the Popster were here for the weekend, so we were all at church together when it happened.  I'm glad we were, that my moma was already here and didn't have to make a decision about whether or when to come down.  The hard part is that any little thing that goes wrong with Grams these days sort of crashes her physically.  So in the process of waiting for her surgery to happen, we had a few bumps in the road, plenty of things to worry us in addition to the regular seriousness that comes with anesthesia and surgery on an eighty-one year old.  But she had her surgery, a hip replacement rather than fixing the break, and she's slowly improving, I think.  If all goes as planned today, she'll move from the hospital to a rehab facility.  She's still very easily fatigued, so my current prayer, in which I ask you to join me, is that she is strong enough to do the prescribed therapy and regain some of her movement.

With all this going on, my normal routine flew out the window.  My moma and aunts took turns staying with Grams in the hospital at night, and that first night when my moma stayed, I bullied her into letting me stay too so that I could be help and company.  At about four in the morning when we had six or eight people in the room working on Grams's breathing, my moma finally admitted that she was glad I was there.  I think if that night had gone differently, or if I hadn't been there to see how bad she got in a short amount of time, I might have done the rest of the week differently.  But it was scary, and I saw it happen, and I couldn't go back to normal while that was going on.  I stuck around at the hospital on Monday, missing work, and waiting for her to start improving.  We finally saw her surgeon that night and knew that the surgery would likely take place on Wednesday.  I had a few things going on at work on Tuesday that I really needed to show up for, and I was in Searcy without a car, clean clothes or other life essentials like my laptop, so I came home and went to work (and packed up enough of my life to last me a week and ran about forty-thousand errands while avoiding a tornado) on Tuesday.  I was back in White County by Tuesday night and spent almost all my waking hours (and possibly more of my sleeping ones) at the hospital from Wednesday to Friday night.  I helped throw a baby shower on Saturday and went to Spring Sing on Saturday and just made curfew to get back into the hospital to spend the night before they locked the front doors.  Last night I finally came home and if I can get off the couch in a minute, I'll be going back to work like a normal person.

Through the whole process, I received mountains of love and support from my peeps and facebook friends and church family and coworkers.  Things got a little crazily short-handed at work towards the end of the week, and I was going to come back and work, but my boss wouldn't hear of it.  It was through an email exchange and a phone conversation with her that the thoughts behind the title of this blog crystallized.  She went above and beyond in covering for me last week, and through it all, she encouraged me to stay right where I was providing what little support and comfort and entertainment I could for my moma, aunts and Grams.  She understood so perfectly the need within me just to be there and gave me the means to be there without worry or guilt over what was falling apart at work.  It was an immeasurable blessing, and I know that in the coming weeks if I need more of that flexibility and understanding, it will be there for me.  I love working where I work for that reason alone.

I tweeted one day last week that I was "good at hospitals,"  a fun fact I wish I didn't know about myself.  It feels like I've had more opportunities than I'd strictly like to hone that skill.  One of the many things that's occurred to me this past week during my hours of introspection is that my life is perfectly set-up for me to be the good-at-hospitals girl.  Almost eight years ago, I stopped doing the job that I had thought was my life's calling and drifted into the library as a temporary stop while I figured myself out.  What I found at the library was maybe the job I was supposed to be doing all along, a job that I love in its own right but also a job that I can leave at work most of the time, a place with bosses and coworkers who let me drop everything to go and do what I need to do for my family.  And it's not just work that makes my life so easily portable.  I'm not married.  I don't have babies to take care of--I don't even have a fish to feed.  And as long as I have a cell phone and even an occasional internet connection, I can be in touch with anyone I need, no matter where I am.  It's a life that bounces instead of shattering when dropped.

When I realized last night that I wanted to write about being there, I got nervous that talking about how I've been able to be physically present for my family this week was somehow going to be an insult to the people who couldn't.  That's not what I'm trying to imply in any way.  I guess it's just that I don't always think my life is that great.  I like my job fine, and I have great friends and great family and belong to a great church, but it's not exactly the stuff of which little girl dreams are made.  It's not what I pictured, not where I set out to be--it's just where I am. But when something like this comes along, and I get to be right where I want to be, taking care of my people, with no geographic obstacles or unavoidable commitments or even complicated logistics blocking me, my life is absolute perfection, and this is not the first time I've had cause to notice it.  It's maybe the best blessing of this life I didn't want. 

And when my complaining soul finds things to regret about my life, I'll never be sorry I was there.


  1. Ellen, this is the best blog you have written. The love is very evident. Your grandmother is very lucky to have a great family to support her .

    I am glad mine and everyone else's knee mails were answered. I have already been praying for your grandmother's rehab to go well. So I will gladly join your prayer chain.

    No matter the amount of time I have spent in hospitals I will never be "good at hospitals". I have learned to deal with being there because the love you feel for the person is more important than your own feelings. Out of my six major hospital vigils only two had a happy outcome. I will never regret my decision to be there,but I wish all of them could have had a good outcome.

    May God continue to bless your Grandmother's recovery.

  2. Lovely post and so true about the way that God is able to use your life to minister to others who are hurting and/or sick. I've been on the receiving end and can testify. Lots of love to you.

  3. Thank you so much for reminding another single person how much she really ought to be more thankful for. I needed that today.

  4. I was never sorry you were there either. :) You were a balm for my weary soul and real good at picking out the right kind of chocolate for us!


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