Jack’s ear has been infected for nearly two weeks. Actually, it’s been infected for much of the last twelve and a half years, but whatever.

This time, it won’t go away. He is likely resistant to the antibiotics, probably because he’s had to take them 25,000 times. So we are onto ear drops and possibly having it cleaned out under sedation. *big big big big sigh*

I feel great empathy for my Jacky with the sick ear, who can’t tell us in appropriate ways that he hurts. And so he throws things, and bashes his head into things, and does Angry Tongue Face.

I also feel sad for myself.

Is that awfully self-centered? I realized yesterday that after ten plus days with sicky boy and his violent behaviors, that Jack’s every bout with illness sends me into a depression.

I am straight up sick and tired. And depressed.

When Jack gets sick, Jeff and I usually both get sick, too—not necessarily with whatever Jack has, but just with something. I’m pretty sure this is because we are sleep-deprived and stressed, thus weakening our immunity.

Also, during or after one of Jack’s ongoing illnesses, I feel like I am losing my grip on whatever normalcy we previously had. I’m worn out, physically and emotionally. Everything starts to slip. My inner voice tells me I’m weak and handling things poorly. I have no confidence in my abilities. I begin to yearn for a different life. I begin to wonder why no one has invented an ear transplant procedure yet.

*Dear Medical Community, Why haven’t you invented the EAR TRANSPLANT yet, I beseech you? Because we need it.*

I would give my left ear to Jack if it meant no more pus drainage, no more pain, no more sloshing fluid, no more ongoing discomfort.

Anyway, It’s completely lovely outside, right now, all yellows and reds and oranges, and waving grasses and sunshine and breezes. I love the fall. If heaven has a climate, I like to think it will be “autumn.” I digress. But I feel a measure of calm when I look at the fall colors and feel the cool mornings and the warm afternoons and see that the season in changing, as it always does.

To everything there is a season and a purpose.

I believe my spirit is telling me that I need to take care of myself, so I can keep taking care of Jack. There is no ear transplant procedure. Jack needs me to be smart and aware and filled with energy so I can help him. Elder Hales said in his most recent Conference address, speaking to caregivers, “Let the Savior be your caregiver.” I need Jesus to minister to me, not just for my own super selfish self, but so I can take care of Jack.

My neck has been taut and painful on the right side through all of this. My lower back has started hurting again. I’m eating junk food as though my life depended on it. I am trying to keep it together, basically. But, (PSA) I’m not in any mood to hear how I need more exercise and less sugar and how I need to eliminate the stressors from my life. (Angry side note: crappy, useless advice, that. Just send away Jack and the four-year-old, who are currently making parenting an outrageous adventure? Gah. Stop.)

I sound bitter. I don’t feel bitter. I feel tired. I feel that when Jack is sick and my life becomes an exercise in holding on for one more day, I’m much more susceptible to negativity than I regularly am. I don’t feel like God’s confidence in me is lacking, but I feel that my confidence in myself is.

I prayed fervently yesterday for the strength and the peace to keep going. It helped. I was able to blow my nose and stop weeping. I showered and dressed and took care of business. Jeff and our home teacher, Ray, gave Jack a priesthood blessing while I was teaching my class. Junior helped Jeff administer the ear drops, which is a pretty big deal as Jack doesn’t like lying on his side for fifteen minutes at a time while we swill liquid antiobiotics into his goopy left ear.

I just read a book about a woman who has a metric ton of challenges in her life. I like reading about how other people handle hardship. It’s become a form of fascinating, perpetual research for me. Her spirituality is remarkable. She has had visions and sometimes heard voices directing her how to face the ongoing pain and other insurmountable issues that have plagued her life. One thing that resonated was that she had to heal her spirit before her body and emotions could heal. My experience has shown me that this is a true concept.

And so, when Jack struggles to fight off an ear infection (or whatever the sickness may be), I must figure out how to heal my overwrought spirit.

I’m making a list, so I will remember these ideas:

  1. Pray. For relief, but also for strength. And inspiration.
  2. Give myself permission to feel weak and sad and heartsick. Let the emotions pass through me and move on.
  3. Sleep plenty.
  4. Maybe eat less chocolate? Slightly less? Or maybe not. I can’t commit at this point in time.
  5. Be outside. Just be there. Notice it. Feel it. Be aware and mindful in the outdoors.
  6. Let my subconscious mind release whatever it needs to release. Notice the hurt, and then notice if there is healing.
  7. Treat Jack’s illnesses with all the methods, and then
  8. Treat myself in my depressive states with gentleness.

And enjoy the vestiges of warm October days.

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