I have been stressed out and worried before, but I have never noticed this particular side effect previous to this past month.
I get discombobulated.
Between Dad's heart problem the first week of November and Mom's stroke/TIA/hematoma issues of this week, I've spent a lot of time at the hospital lately. Roaming the halls, finding the right set of elevators to get where I'm going, dining in the cafeteria.
As a rule, I'm a fairly competent person. I rarely mis-navigate, especially over ground I've trod over and over again - but I kept finding myself pushing the up button when I meant to push down, or getting off on the wrong floor and then wondering where the hell I am. It's a bit upsetting, actually to find myself so challenged in the business of getting around.
But I have the excuse of having an overly full mind at the moment. Worries about my parents - helping each through their health scares and the other parent in dealing with doctors and appointments and making sure chickens get fed and the cat shot up with her insulin and just keeping their body and soul together, whether they're in the hospital bed or sitting in the recliner opposite. Add to this my own work, child, husband, pets and home to tend to and you can see my head was just spinning.
At least things are winding down a bit. Dad is a new man after his pacemaker went in. He's energetic and positive and getting things done (with caution, after all, it was surgery and he's supposed to be taking it a little easy so he can heal). And after the initial terror of losing Mom to some big bad stroke - or worse, having her life forever altered because of one, it has been discovered that perhaps it wasn't a stroke at all, but TIA (trans ischemic attacks) or perhaps pressure on the brain from her subdural hematoma. The doctors are still scratching their heads and trying to figure out what's really going on, but we're pretty sure she won't die and that she'll actually make a full recovery.
In the meantime, we've got Mom back. Which is spooky, because we never really realized we'd lost her until she reappeared. The first time she laughed at a dumb joke I told her in the hospital, I realized I hadn't heard her laugh in months, if not longer. Her eyes are twinkling now, she's laughing, and she's telling jokes an pulling pranks on her own with the medical staff. It is an amazing and joyful sight.
With the easing of these worries, I am becoming a bit less discombobulated. Today, I actually got to where I was going without the irritating detours.
And I find so much to be thankful for as Thanksgiving approaches. For family and friends both near and far who have supported us with phone calls and emails and prayers and positive healing energy sent to Dad and Mom and to me and my brothers. For a workplace understanding of my need to be there for them and allowing me to be flexible with my hours. For my husband and son, who have held down the fort of our lives while I race around the countryside on my white steed of daughterly duty. And for my brothers, who have called for updates and offers to drop their own lives to come help out as needed from their semi-distant homes. It's not necessary, at least not just yet - but it's comforting to know that I'm not alone in this and that I can call on their help if and/or when it is needed.
My most grateful thanks to you, my friends and family - for all that you do. You help me tread solid ground.