Got some really great advice from an ER nurse this weekend. This is heavily paraphrased, as I was pretty overwhelmed and don’t remember exactly what she said, but she really helped me a lot.
Nurse: Don’t try to do everything at once. Do one thing at a time.
Me: But sometimes there are too many things. Like right now. My husband is on this side of the ER and my friend is bringing my daughter to the kids’ side. I can’t be in charge of both of those things! Who do I go with? I want to be both places.
Nurse: That’s true. A lot of times it does seem like everything comes at you at once. When that happens you just have do something about the thing you can do something about.
Me: I guess you have a lot of experience with having to prioritize stuff like that, in a high stress environment like this.
Nurse: Yes. I’ve never been through AA or anything, but a lot of times I just say the Serenity prayer anyway, because it’s really helpful when you’re overwhelmed.
Me: Yes! That’s really concrete and helps me a lot. I can’t make my husband ok, and right now he’s drugged and sleeping anyway. So I should go get ready to do the best I can for when my bleeding kiddo gets here.
I would also like to add that I mentioned during that conversation that it must be a tricky part of her job to deal with people who are often at their worst and that she was being really kind and clear and helpful when I was certainly not at my best.
ER nurses and staff in particular and medical professionals in general, I salute you and thank you for that graciousness.
**I found a lot of these graphics online…and mostly they seemed to favor the serenity, wisdom, and courage. Those are good things, but I’m more about verbs than nouns, solution-wise. A personality thing, I suppose.
Just for my own running reference:
Some things I can’t control
~whether or not my husband experiences pain
~whether or not my kids experience pain or sickness
~whether my family and friends (or their kids) experience pain or sickness or even death (oh, it hurts my heart to write that)
~whether other people will assume the best or the worst of my intentions and actions
~what other people learn about who God is because of their suffering
Some things I can control
~Learning as much as I can to help my family to live well and pain free
~asking for help when I need it, and accepting help when it’s offered
~cutting myself a lot of slack when I am not at my best
~cutting other people a lot of slack when they are not at their best
~assuming the best of other people’s intentions and actions
~letting other people know when I am not at my best; not so they can cut me slack necessarily (though that is nice sometimes), but so they don’t think that whatever social or relational sins I commit are about them
~what I choose to think about God amid (and because of; or at least taking into account) my own struggles and doubts, and those of the people around me
~Doing the dishes (though if 3/4 of my family is injured or in the ER over the weekend I’m gonna go ahead and give myself at least until Tuesday before I even think about it!)