I may be stuck in lockdown and confined to the walls of my home but to say this week has been eventful is still an understatement. To start with the positive news though, my partner is in the clear health wise. You may remember me talking about his lung condition and the pulmonary rehabilitation his care team of specialists have recommended. He’s attended sessions at a local hospital for the past few weeks and they’ve been assessing his resting and active lung capacity. They’re also working on transforming his sleep and diet through a more regimented schedule as extra weight and poor food choices lead to additional problems and further pressure the body’s core systems.
At one time they believed strain on his heart may have caused permanent damage but thankfully that is not the case. He is functioning very well in that regard. However, when he was younger, doctors had to mend a hole found in the heart wall. The heart is divided into four chambers, two of which have oxygenated blood flowing through and the others deoxygenated. When the different types mix, it can be fatal.
Even though this defect, presumably one from birth, was mended, the stitching can come undone over time. In light of this we’re chugging along well and some of the strain is off. As you can probably imagine, a terminal health condition can really grate on a relationship and at times be detrimental. We might not be married but I believe the vows stand when you’re committed to somebody. Through sickness and health, in good times and bad, I will stand by you.
It is easier to say that when you aren’t faced headlong by the challenge. We all expect diminished capabilities at some point, though usually much later in life when we grow grey and wrinkled. It can feel particularly cruel to watch somebody you love so dearly be wracked by sickness in their prime. Some days I do feel like we’ve put our youth in a casket and buried it inside. I know there is a childlike innocence that remains though, so I’m working on drawing that out day by day.
Lockdown is going to look different from here on out due to compassionate reasons. My mum and brother will be coming out from Parramatta to stay with my grandma and I in the Blue Mountains for the week. One of the rules we’re required to follow is that only one person can go out for essential purposes at a time. Since my grandma can drive and I’m still working on that, she went to the post office and to fetch dinner the other night. We have a local chicken and chips shop that is part of a string of shops. The pavement there is uneven and somewhat slippery and she skidded and fell, landing on her shoulder.
Yesterday she was examined by doctors at the local hospital and they concluded her shoulder socket was broken and she’d need further ultrasounds in a few days. She can’t drive effectively or safely with a cast so my mum will take her to all necessary appointments. It’s been so tough watching her unwell and still powering on with the laundry, the cleaning and so on. I’ve been doing majority of the cooking as that’s quite hands on. She really deserves the break and to eat a wholesome meal that is nutritionally sound.
In about a week I’m looking at getting a new fiddle leaf fig plant. I bought my first at the beginning of this year but sorely underestimated its needs. I’d had friends tell me I’d experiences challenges looking after it and that the fiddle leaf was temperamental and fussy. I didn’t quite believe them as everything was going swimmingly. I knew it needed watering every week to seven days and estimated the amount to be about a cup. Big mistake there. Last week one leaf dropped off and that horrified me. I couldn’t stand the thought so slotted the leaf back in and pretended it didn’t happen. My ostrich with its head in the sand routine didn’t serve me when I began wiping down the dusty leaves this week and had eight drop off. Yesterday another five.
I’ve looked at the undersides of the leaves and they are splotchy and brown, right to the stem. A classic case of root rot that is, believe me, highly time sensitive. I had a friend recommend soil of a certain pH and perlite as a type of potting mix and fertiliser combined. Next time around I’ll invest in a pot with better drainage as waterlogging was half the problem here. If it had somewhere to escape to, the fiddle leaf fig would’ve made it. Ironically though, I’ve heard that they are native to tropical parts of Africa that experience deluges of rain and then periods of drought. Tricky work for this budding green thumb, that much I’ll tell you.
All in all, a somewhat challenging week but I’m ready to get up and try again! I don’t think this is the end. I believe this is the beginning and I’m on the cusp of a breakthrough. There is this physical and metaphorical renewal underway. I can feel myself leaving behind what is no longer mine to carry. As an almost adult I’m coming to terms with the fact that my needs, physical, emotional and so forth, are more complex than ever before. I’m shedding, letting go and moving on from people, situations.
Coming to understand that no longer feeling one way doesn’t mean I never did in the first place. I’m learning that love can also look like setting a caged bird free, releasing someone from a reality they were not in a position to understand. That there is never a wrong time to do the right thing. That it takes courage to know when to step back or leap forward. That sometimes you need to put in more effort and other times you need to realise you gave your all.
In the words of the wise Hannah Brencher, “We all have a bag and we all pack differently. Some of us are travelling light and others are secret hoarders who have never parted with a memory in their life. I think we are all called to carry our bag to the best of our ability, to learn how to unpack it and face the mess. I think part of growing up, of gaining maturity, is learning how to sit down on the floor with all your things and figure out what to take with you and leave behind.”
I’m slipping into a new skin and staring at this young woman in the mirror with equal parts curiosity, amazement and fear. She’s brilliant, crazy and I’m so damn proud of her. I’m enjoying increased independence, exploring my likes, dislikes and affirming my boundaries. In this book of stories, the pages seem to be flipping once more. I’m happy to have grasped the pen. It’s time. I’ve realised that the beauty in life is that it is what you make it. Therefore, I can begin again and at a drop of a hat. I don’t have to be set in or bound by old ways. I owe it to myself to live and be according to my morals, my dreams, my passions, my plan.
The person in life that you will always be with the most is yourself. Even when you are with others, you are still with yourself, in this body, thinking your thoughts. When you wake up in the morning you are with yourself, laying in bed at night you are with yourself, walking down the street in the sunlight you are with yourself. What kind of person do you want to walk down the street with? What kind of person do you want to wake up in the morning with?
What kind of person do you want to see at the end of the day before your eyelids grown heavy and you fall asleep? Because that person is yourself and it’s your responsibility to be the person you need and wish for. I know I want to spend my life with a person who knows how to let things go, who isn’t full of hate, who is able to smile and be carefree. So that’s who I have to be for myself.