Triage

January 8, 2015

Triage

I have been meditating on this word a lot these last few weeks. How fitting that Arvo Part’s “Magnificat” comes on as I sit down to write this post. Literally, just as I started to write.

Latin

English

Magnificat anima mea Dominum.

My soul doth magnify the Lord,

Et exultavit spiritus meus in Deo salutari meo.

and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

Quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae: Ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes.

For he hath regarded the lowliness of his handmaiden. For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

Quia fecit mihi magna qui potens est : et sanctum nomens eius.

For he that is mighty hath magnified me; and holy is His name.

Et misericordia eius a progenie in progenie timentibus eum.

And his mercy is on them that fear him throughout all generations.

Fecit potentiam in brachio suo: dispersit superbos mente cordis sui.

He hath showed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

Deposuit potentes de sede; et exeltavit humiles.

He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble and the meek.

Esurientes implevit bonis: et divites dimisit inanes.

He hath filled the hungry with goood things and the rich he hath sent empty away.

Suscepit Israel, puerum suum, recordatus misericordiae suae.

He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel;

Sicit locutus est ad patres nostros, Abraham et semini eius in saecula.

as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed, for ever.

Even in the midst of this all, I hear that I am not forgotten and that He still wants all the same things for, and from, me.

I have been in triage pretty much continuously, lately. Literally and figuratively. I found out this morning that’s not likely to change any time soon. More on this later. What I mean by this is that we have been reacting, rather than planning or able to see the road ahead for more than a day or so, for weeks and even months. I never knew how much I counted on my delusions of being able to see ahead until this was taken away – particularly in the realm of my health and my visions for childbirth. But really, it extends to every place in my heart and in my life right now. I have daily bread and that has had to be enough.

The good news is that we made it. We are through something – if not everything – and there is some amount of rest now after a peak in activity and stress the likes of which I haven’t experienced in my life as an adult for at least a very long time. The closest I can compare it to in my own experience was my postpartum time with Wyatt – and even that pales. I feel so incredibly exhausted – emotionally, physically, mentally – that it surprises me when I still have the ability to cry about something! Unexpected hard parts are the cold this week and that being on Eastern time means the sun doesn’t rise until after Henry leaves for work and sets long before he gets home. I knew on some level before we moved that this would feel like hope coming out of a dark place – and so I was, and am, grateful that it happened in the very midst of Advent and Christmas. The living out of this reality is, well, more real than my fancy made it beforehand. It’s just gritty. I’ve never felt so weak.

To avoid wallowing and also repeating all of the hard things in yet another form, let me just say that since the week before Christmas, it’s been one new crisis after another. I’ve been in triage taking non-stress tests starting in Chicago (I spent 4 hours by myself with no phone there on Christmas Eve…I felt very sad for myself) because of some swelling that felt alarming to me and ultimately because my blood pressure is getting higher. I found out this morning that I am throwing very elevated levels of protein – which is starting to point to preeclampsia. So I will continue to spend a good amount of time in triage in the next six weeks. And I hope very much that it IS six weeks – I could be looking at a more emergent situation. Of course, there was the actual packing and moving and then the loss of both of our phones, basically, being out of touch with everyone I loved and having no home for a few days – I realize now THAT’S the hard part about moving! No home!! I felt so grateful we were lucky enough to have a home to go to. Our homelessness was very temporary. Our minivan keys were lost on moving day which set up a whole cascade of other problems we had to deal with and then right on the heels of that my blood pressure problems started to emerge. We spent the early morning in the ER the day Henry was supposed to start his new job.

So, along the way there have been everyday miracles. Henry’s mom and stepdad spent a week with us helping to unpack, cook, clean, do laundry and take care of boys so that I could rest a lot. And they brought presents! And bought groceries! It was the first real rest I’ve gotten in so long. And, of course, we had meals and gifts and outings paid for by all of our friends in Chicago before we left. We had incredible times of reconnection with people that will sustain us while we try to find a foothold here. We had such love and care demonstrated to us by those who came to help us move – I can’t even find words to say how grateful we are. And we’ve had a wonderful welcome at our new church here. It’s amazing to feel as though we are still at home somewhere.

So, I wanted to just share some photos of our Christmas morning making cinnamon rolls in our crazy, packed-up apartment. That day was a little oasis on the journey. And I wanted to take some photos of our new, light-filled little house just as it is right now. It’s messy and we are still in our pajamas and things probably won’t get much more unpacked or decorated than they are right now for a long, long time. I am perfectly okay with that. I can’t believe it’s even as nice as it is now. It’s totally due to my sister, husband and in-laws. I wanted to focus on the things making me happy right now in pictures. Exhausting as it is right now, there’s still so much that’s good and hopeful and ordinarily wonderful. This day, for instance. I don’t have to go anywhere and my boys are still happily playing in the house. I don’t care how dirty it gets in here, I consider that a raging success.

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{He’s such a beautiful boy, don’t you think?}

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{trying out a silly face for the camera}

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{helping mommy make the frosting}

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{Hot chocolate. Lots of little indulgences going on around here lately}

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{my helpers sprinkled sugar onto the buttered dough}

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{The view from our living room into the dining room. In this picture, the front door would be behind and to my right. I love that my grandma’s dishes are in a place that actually makes sense. We all love and delight in our new cuckoo clock from Germany that was a Christmas gift from Henry’s mom and stepdad…but the boys are especially delighted}

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{The view from our front door into the hallway (to the left) and the dining room. The kitchen is directly opposite the camera’s viewpoint. I had forgotten all about the wingback chairs we were to be given. When they showed up on moving day – via the wonderful Nancy (Henry’s stepmom) along with the dining table and chairs and the boys’ new beds – I was initially distressed not knowing where they’d fit, but we are using them and they are very much needed. Not to mention adding a ton of style to our living room!}

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{This is the beautiful, but cold, sunporch off of our bedroom, which is at the back of the house. I also got a pile of vintage sheets from Henry’s grandpa’s house. Don’t those just make you happy? Lots of Ginny dresses in their future}

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{The view of our neighborhood out of our dining room window. A close-up of the cuckoo clock}

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{Gilead’s wild hair today, with his picture of “blood.” Book ends from Henry’s grandpa. Another unexpected and lovely gift}

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{The kitchen from both sides. As you can see, so much space. There’s a little alcove to the left containing a huge refrigerator and room for a big, messy pile of recycling plus promising space for wall shelves or hooks. That’s my ikea shelf, which I love, and the perfect nook for coffee and toast. Pantry to the left and one of my Christmas gifts from Henry: a Rifle Paper Co. 2015 calendar. It was the first thing to go up on the wall.}

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{Our room. JUST enough space for the king bed fit along the back wall, leaving plenty of room for dressers so that I can have my craft table on the sunporch. Not that I’ll be sewing for a while. 🙂 }

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4 Responses to “Triage”

  1. Lois Easley Says:

    Hi, Jenn! I thoroughly enjoyed your commentary and pix today. Thanks! I would love to send you a housewarming surprise but do not have snail mail. If you need mine, will send in a private message.
    Lois

  2. Brady Says:

    Hey Jen – I’m thinking of you, especially with your medical issues. I have been working through my own disappointment over how Andy’s birth went down (emergency c section vs low intervention). If you ever want to talk, I’m available!

    • jswankdesigns Says:

      Brady! I have been wondering what happened! I knew you were looking forward to natural childbirth. I have to say I already have a lot more compassion for women who don’t have the option of low or no intervention. It just wasn’t in my experience before. I think it takes a whole other kind of bravery to face that or deal with it afterward if it’s not what you wanted. I’d love to hear your story and to know how breastfeeding is going!! I think Andy is just about the cutest baby on Facebook right now. 🙂

  3. Brady Says:

    Jenn with 2 n’s. Sorry!!!!


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