Sickbed lessons: All mom needed was a little boredom

By Mindy Scott

It is all too easy for us adults to stay occupied every minute of every day and be considered normal. But it ain’t normal. It’s not healthy. And I’m not participating anymore.

The new year started out terrifying for me. On the night of January 2, I was rushed to the ER by a dependable friend. The pain I was experiencing under my left breast and rib cage was equal to, and almost greater than, the pains I’ve endured giving birth seven times. I was afraid. I didn’t know what was causing the pain. I was fearful for my life. I could’t walk upright. I couldn’t take in deep breaths. I was panicking in all ways imaginable. Here I was…a single mom of seven young kids. Finally had work full-time. No health benefits, but that would come. I have a house and food and am working on rebuilding our lives. I had counseling appointments all lined up, speech therapy, doctor and dentist appointments. I was on a roll. And then this…

Upon arrival at the ER I was asked many questions. One being if I had recently been punched or kicked in the ribs. I said no but it sure feels like it. After three rounds of blood work and a CT scan, it was determined I had walking pnemonia. With the delivery of that news I was allowed to finally have a drink. I chose juice to celebrate. There is a strange sense of peace when a word is linked to the crappy feeling one is having. It makes sense. The next step is: healing can BEGIN.

After receiving an IV of fluids, antibiotics, and pain meds, I was presented with a big decision. The doctor was going to let me pick:

A. Go home and heal, or

B. Get admitted and heal at the hospital.

He suggested I choose whichever place I would likely heal better. I was laughing on the inside. Either option was gong to be tricky and costly in more than one way. Although I was tempted to pick option B (as I wouldn’t be expected to go to work or to take care of kids if I was layed up in the hospital), I chose A for comfort.

I required assistance getting dressed from the hospital gown into my street clothes, as lifting my left arm created extremely intense pain in my ribs and back. I took a ride in a new blue wheelchair, and my dependable friend pulled up to the sliding doors and I had curb service. As I went to stand up from the wheelchair, I remembered the last words of wisdom from my nurse. She said: “I know you are a busy mom and have seven kids, but you need to rest. If you don’t rest, you WILL be back here.” I assured her that I had heard her loud and clear and headed home for a 5-minute car ride of uncomfortableness. Thoughts were raging through my mind. Okay, you’re going to live. Next, how are you going to heal while being a mother to seven? That was equally as terrifying as the physical pain itself.

For the next 48 hours I slept. A lot. I took 2- to 5-minute “field trips” to the bathroom and then right back to sleep I went. I was surprised how much a person can sleep. It’s been a decade now that I’ve dealt with a lack of sleep while caring for others. My mother and several friends came to my rescue. They sent food, provided child care, and cleaned our house. With them, rest was now possible.

As I write this, it is now day four of antibiotics and pain meds, and my ribs are feeling better. I am coughing a lot and am short of breath several times throughout the day, but I’m going to live — and live I shall do.

It took this wake-up call for me to get the picture. I can’t burn the candle at both ends and expect it not to burn out. It will melt into nothingness. And nothingness is where I was headed. I am creating a new plan on how to make money doing what I love, a new plan on how to spend more time with my kids, and a new plan on all the ways I can relax and enjoy this life right now in the moment.

I have a new gratitude for health, for life, and for time. I am eternally grateful for this shift in my thinking. Experiencing boredom may be just what I have needed all along.

Mindy Scott is a mother of seven who encourages other mothers to make themselves a priority in the areas of physical, mental and emotional health. She recently started a pet waste removal business she calls MOM Muckers, because “No one picks up pet waste quite like Mom!” She may be reached at mindylscott@gmail.com.

Idaho Family Magazine