I had planned to title this “Maybe I’m Finally Growing Up”, but when I got to work this afternoon, the first thing they asked me to do was draw sunglasses on a smiley-face balloon. So I changed my mind on the title. I am not growing up. I’m just doing adult things. Like when I eat grapes instead of a candy bar. Or when I cook vegetables for supper instead of just making a sandwich out of nuked leftovers. Or I pass up that piece of banana bread for dessert because I’ve had enough carbs today. My latest adult activity? I wrote out a list of Pet Care instructions in case I end up in the hospital again so the dog and the turtles won’t go hungry. And I made up a list of my accounts, in person and online, so if anything happens to me, hospitalized or otherwise, certain other someones will have access to my stuff. It’s not easy to face the truth sometimes, but it’s the right thing to do.
After my sister Greta died, it was a mess trying to close all her accounts – or even to find all her accounts. I did what I could online while my parents handled the in-person stuff, and I hope we got it all closed. But did we find and close all her accounts? We may never know for sure.
My health problems unfortunately don’t give much warning when they decide to go kerblooey. When that happens, I don’t have time to do much but grab my wallet and hope for the best. One thing I don’t need while lying in a hospital bed is more worry. It’s worry enough just to be in a hospital. I sure don’t need anything adding to it. So I decided it was time to do something about it.
I’m still waiting to see a doctor (damnit Parkland! Why you make me wait so long?!), so I’m kind of hanging out here by myself. I can’t see inside my esophagus to see what my blood vessels look like. I try really hard to keep them nice and happy, calm and quiet, so they don’t go postal again. I take my meds to keep my blood pressure down. I try to eat lots of fruits and veggies like a good little girl and avoid the stuff I’m not supposed to have, like giant banana splits with extra hot fudge and M&Ms. I have – reluctantly, in many cases – stepped away from people and places that cause too much worry. But stress is hard. There’s too much of it just from being alive, and then people throw more of it at you, usually at the most random moments. Or the most inappropriate moments, like when bill collectors call when I’m struggling with a pair of tights or the dog has a reverse-sneezing fit at two a.m.
Stress is the monster under the bed, waiting to snatch you if you let one toe dangle over the edge. It’s wanting an adult to come scare the monster away but then realizing you’re the adult and you have to do it yourself. Being an adult means you have to learn to pull your toes in. You have to scare the monster away on your own.
I haven’t written a will yet. I don’t think I’m quite ready to go that far into adultificating. But I’ve taken my first steps, not just to take care of me but to take care of those who might have any mess to deal with if I kick off. I’ve been responsible. I’ve done what I should. It takes stress to prevent stress, it would seem.
Now I need a break. Where is that permanent marker? I need to draw some ears for that balloon so his sunglasses don’t fall off.