Do you ever feel like life is a jungle and you can't find your way out? The roaring lion just keeps chasing you and you run, you plan your escape, you save your energies, and the lion just keeps chasing. You keep running and you feel like you get no where.
- I find that parents with a seriously ill child feel somewhat the same way. First they get side-swiped with a harsh diagnosis of which they were ill prepared. Then just when they feel that they have a handle on that and have some knowledge about how to deal with it, something else rears it's ugly head. Infection, another tumor, an organ rejection, a rare cancer from the long term organ rejection drugs, or something totally unrelated, like the fridge breaks down, or a flat tire.
Here are a few tips to get you back on track.
1. Take one step at a time. This may seem too simple, but you really can only deal with one thing or one minute or one task at a time. Pick the most important thing and deal with that first. Then the next and then the next.
2. Delegate, Delegate, Delegate. As the parent you must deal with the child first. Delegate anything else to others. Nothing else really matters. So let go of how clean the house is or if the laundry is done or if the garbage bill got paid. Give other tasks to those with the time and skills to handle the job. They want to help but don't know what to do, so ask them. It is a win win for everyone.
3. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst in any situation. If it is the fridge, hope it can be fixed, but prepare yourself for the need to buy a new one. If it is a more serious issue, like a diagnosis or treatment, hope and pray for the best, but be ready to face the not so best scenario. I don't mean to be doom and gloom here. But when parents face all possibilities, they seem to handle the stress much better than a parent who hides their head in the sand when a treatment doesn't work. Parents who are prepared for all possibilities, help to make the best of every moment and the child does better too.
4. Rest, eat, and drink plenty of water. When a child is ill, parents tend to take in too much caffeine, or smoke too much, and not rest or eat enough. If you become ill with exhaustion, you are not an effective support for your child. Rest when your child rests, and snack on fruits and fresh veggies. Drink ice water or flavored water rather than sodas or coffee from the machines. You will feel better and handle stress easier without the added stimulants.
Don't be the giraffe in the jungle unaware of the lion. Prepare yourself and take one step at a time to avoid the feeling of being chased into the black hole of no control. And know that with time, this too will pass.