Each week we are celebrating our #Sisterhood Stories. Women in our lives who give us the strength to move on when the chips are down. Friendships, mentors, sisters, mothers, the sister from another mother.
Women in our lives who give us the strength to move on when the chips are down. friendships, mentors, sisters, mothers, the sister from another mother.
Friendships, mentors, sisters, mothers, the sister from another mother.
Today we have Rachel, who blogs at Chronic-ills of Rach, sharing her story about her friend Flo.
Rachel is a wonderful writer and is also an advocate for her “invisible illness” Dysautonomia.
I Get By
written by Rachel F. Cox
I’m in the fast lane on State Highway 1, riding an ancient Vespa. Trucks scream past me, massive utes and vans blare their horns. People yell out their windows and spew their exhaust fumes into my face. A passing hand flicks a cigarette butt into the jet stream. I’m cowering in my seat, exposed and afraid. It’s all too fast, I need to pull over! I turn to see what is coming up the inside lane, trying to judge the gap and make my move. But the traffic relentlessly barrels past, travelling at twice my speed, shaking me to the last rusty rivet. My motor sputters.
Like anyone charged with the care of a family, my hands and heart are full. There are all those ordinary demands of all their schedules, the housework, managing the meals and the biggest task of all: preventing the wholesale character destruction of my brood. Well, it can be overwhelming.
Add to that; a relative in hospital, a sister come to stay for a few weeks, an aunty, in town for a flying visit, a brother-in-law popping in from out of town and a birthday for one of our kids.
I know it is just chance that so much has happened all in one week, but that’s how it has been. And I’m not too proud to admit despite the loveliness of all that family time, it’s been a wee bit much for me.
Read: too much.
This morning I woke to find the Hubster in the throes of man-flu. It’s actually tricky to be a half decent nurse when you are feeling so unwell yourself. In addition to dealing with all the normal stressors of mummy-life, I have a neurological disorder. I try to soldier on through it as much as I can. But sometimes, like this morning, I am scraping the barrel. I tried to find it but I was afflicted with acute sympathy deficit. I felt like saying “drink a cup of concrete and harden up!”.
Which is awful to admit in black and white glyphs. Makes me feel like a horrible person. But if you too have a chronic illness, this will be a familiar feeling for you. In a perfect world, no one in the family would never get sick unless I am on form.
Welcome to status imperfectus.
Within five minutes of wrestling some nursey sweetness into my morning monosyllables, it occurred to me that the birthday cake must be baked. Because. If not now, then when? The days tasks scanned in front of my mind’s eye. A rolodex of prioritised procedures and diarised doings. I lurched into the day. About twenty minutes into cake bake time, my friend Flo rang. She’s a good sort that girl. I don’t ever have to pretend with her, so there was no breezy “MornING!” after I hit the green button. More of a strangulated gargle. “I’m on my way” she said.
Vacuum. Dishes. Table. Mess. Flo’s magic wand. She keeps up a steady stream of chat while she bustles about my kitchen, deftly putting things away into the illogical homes she knows so well.
She is canvassing me for my list of to-do’s. Checking to see if there is any outstanding purge-material that needs expunging while she’s at it. My sister arrives and makes us all cuppas; we form a plan. It is lofty. Do the shop. Post a parcel. Fix the phone. I’m already daunted because more than one task will usually best me. She decides she’d better drive. I’m grateful.
My old Vespa’s not quite up to it. This engine’s seen better days. We are halfway up that mountain of tasks when I have a spill. An autonomic crisis. It happens with me, particularly when I am overdoing things. My heart races and my body can’t regulate the internal hike in temperature. My vision shrinks to a small space, caught somewhere between each heartbeat and under each laboured breath. I can’t. I am stopped. Panic rises and I realise my legs are not going to be doing the proper propulsion for the dash back to the car.
Flo takes charge. She grabs my list and does my shop while I sit with the Grannies outside the supermarket, measuring the moments with even breaths. If I focus on a small patch of floor tile, keep breathing, hold on, we might get by. Thank goodness for Flo, without that stuff there will be no birthday dinner. She makes it happen. Then she props me up on a trolley and bustles us all up the travelator and back to the comfort of the car. Cold air on. Vomit bags located. Home. Bed.
I hear Flo and my sister in the kitchen. I smell dinner, she’s advance prepping and getting my sister up to speed. They ice the cake. I close my eyes. Relieved, conflicted, awed.
The roadside assist vehicle pulls up alongside. My Vespa is winched onto the tray and I am invited into the cab. I make it to my destination. But only because:
I get by with a little help from my friends.
Thanks Rachel for sharing your sisterhood story.
If you have a story to share about a special female relationship
you are welcome to send your story to me to be featured for #Sisterhood Stories.