Adrenaline Junkie?

22 Jun

As the HPE conference draws near, a lot of thoughts begin to come to the surface. I’m so excited to see the HPE families; some of them I have already met, so it will be a joyous reunion. Others, I will be meeting for the very first time–even though I feel that I already know them so well. There’s a special bond I feel with these families because they truly know what it’s like to walk in my shoes. They speak my language, and they know where I’ve been because they have been there too.

Of all of the children I’ve known with HPE, there is one particular child who was the most like Sammy in nearly every way–almost constant seizures, medically-fragile and very complex. When I would reach the end of my rope and had alleviated all of my other resources, his mom is the one I would seek. She had a few years of experience on me in the complexity department, and I could ask her the difficult questions that no other parent or doctor could answer for me. Whether she knew it or not, I seemed to reach out to her when I was in my darkest hours and most fearful of losing Sammy. Her son passed away three years ago at 4 years of age, and his death was so very upsetting to me.

After Sammy passed away, she made a comment that sticks with me. She said that following her son’s funeral, after everyone had gone home, she remembers being completely exhausted. Four years of constant stress, worry, and caregiving took every bit of physical energy she had. In those four years, there wasn’t time to rest. When others routinely asked her how she did it, she always said that her son came with adrenaline. I can almost picture the scene–“Here’s your new baby along with a four year supply of extra adrenaline because you’re gonna need it!”

Last week as I talked with our grief counselor, I realized that my four year supply of adrenaline gave me the physical energy to keep going every day in order to keep up with Sammy. As I thought about it, I began to see how Steve and I learned to thrive under pressure. While in crisis mode, we were on our game. As I prepare for this HPE conference, I can sense that same adrenaline pushing me and enabling me to complete tasks that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. That’s where I’m struggling–I’m a planner and a list maker at heart; it’s not in my nature to “fly by the seat of my pants”, but that seems to be my middle name these days. I’m temporarily stuck in the “Tyrany of the Urgent”, and it’s those urgent matters that are propelling me forward. The adrenaline rush comes when the urgency strikes, but have I become an “adrenaline junkie” able to function only when my back is against the wall? If so, I’m in serious trouble because it’s not healthy!

The good news is that after the conference, I will be able to take a deep breath and slow down a little. The best news is that my way of coping is to turn to Jesus who said, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Sweet rest!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: