Last week I was so tired that I could not function! I was unable to string two words together coherently or move without bumping things. Thinking clearly was just not possible. I was physically and mentally shot!
It had been a busy weekend, which included, a quick flight to Adelaide and then a hire car drive to Murray Bridge to visit my mother-in-law (MIL) who had had another fall and was in hospital. BossBoy and BabyBoy accompanied me and I could not have survived without them.
Sleep is my number one stress release and when stress increases, so does my need for sleep! When you are on a quick trip – jam-packed with activity, sleep is not a priority but stress is high! It began with Brisbane being hit by some massive storms, which closed the airport for 4 hours! Free wi-fi was found. Junk food was eaten. People watching took place.
You would think that when we eventually boarded the aircraft, I would feel relief? Not so! Flying is not my thing and walking out on the tarmac in driving wind and rain, made me pray that the Valium I had just taken would kick in quickly! Of course, squeezing into budget airline seats and having to ask the cabin crew for a seatbelt extender did wonders for my stress levels. I have never ever seen anyone else ask for or be given one of those things. My stress levels continued to rise. It was a bumpy flight with plenty of turbulence and my sons held my hands. I couldn’t sleep and was happy to get off.
By this time it was almost midnight, we were 4 hours late, our phones had run out of battery and no one could remember the name of the rental car company! BabyBoy began the arduous task of entering every rental car premises in the airport car park and asking if they had a booking for us! The very last one did!!! We checked into our hotel and then wandered out to find somewhere to eat – none of us had really eaten since breakfast the previous day. It was after 1am before we climbed into bed. I was exhausted before we had even seen my MIL and we still had an hour or so drive in the morning before we got to the hospital.
The next two days was a mixture of lovely family time, beautiful Autumn scenery, pub food, out of date packet food, remembering, meetings to decide important care issues, trying to do the best for MIL, trying not to step on anybody’s toes, bad beds, hospital visiting, encouraging, listening and talking, talking, talking! We were grateful for the small band of distant relatives that live closer than us and had put their hands up to help with the care of our 96-year-old MIL and Nana.
By lunchtime on Monday, we were all packed up and back in our rental car to return to Adelaide for our flight home. We took a more scenic route back, thanks to BossBoy’s creative navigating! Note to self: BossBoy is a useless navigator! The Boys wanted to visit some of their father’s old haunts so a brief visit to the Sturt Football Club, the old Luther Seminary and a meal at The Welly were squeezed in before we all hit the wall of exhaustion together. It was decided that any other planned activities would not be fulfilled. We would head out to the airport and find somewhere to sit/lie and wait for our plane. It was about this time that BabyBoy remembered that we still had an ancient computer in the boot of the car to dump! I smiled to myself as I watched my sons, under the stealth of darkness, wait until there was a break in traffic, then deposit the offending computer and monitor into someones wheelie bin that had been left at the side of the road. They were in their father’s territory …. he would have been proud!
We returned the rental car, more easily than picking it up – we remembered the company this time. We found our boarding gate and sat for an hour before a change of gate saw us moved then boarded. I took my Valium, but no longer cared that I had to ask for an extension belt. I closed my eyes but my mind would not close down. The flight was smooth but my son held my hand for take off and landing. I do believe that if you are flying on a budget airline and the flight is only 2 hours, you should NOT be allowed to recline your seat! For 2 hours I could not move my legs or use my tray table. I got fidgety and jiggly. I tried to distract myself by looking out of the window. It was pitch black and I made the comment to the Boys that “The plane is hovering!!” The looks of shock that came back from the Boys, gave me the first inkling that my brain and body was no longer functioning properly.
I was quiet on the taxi and car ride home. At 1:15am, I sank into my bed but my over stimulated body and mind was not conducive to restful sleep. I had to attend work in the morning and I knew in my gut that my job was no longer going to be available for me. I eventually fell asleep just before the alarm went off.
Work went as I had expected. I almost fell asleep at my computer screen. When the news about my job was confirmed, I cried! I felt weary beyond anything I had ever felt before. My drive home was not a safe drive. I couldn’t concentrate. When at last I sank into bed, I did sleep, but it took until Friday for my body and mind to feel normal.
In the last week and a bit, I had stretched my mind and body further than I thought was possible. I had made it through and come out the other side with no sense of despair or failure. I enter into the next scary part of my life knowing that the two things that I thought have been my weakest – are strong enough! I am strong enough!