The thing I look forward to most in my days in Hawaii are my early evening runs to clear my head. Any caretaker knows that you must take time for yourself. My daily routine in Hawaii is pretty rigid for my standards. Wake up early, start work at 8:00, break for lunch to make my dad something light he can stomach, maybe laundry or little errands for my parents, work some more, go to grocery store to get food for dinner, prep dinner, run for an hour, come home to cook dinner, clean up, then 8:00 pm work again so I can get in my work tasks.

This run is my only time for myself. The run in suburban hawaii is delightful. The sun is low and golden, the sky glows a vivid salmon color, and the shadows are long and lean across the asfalt. I love breathing in the warm humid air, taking in the beautifully manicured gardens, and catching wafts of plumeria and other tropical scents.

On my second day home this trip, I was out for my pre-dinner run and about a mile out on my return trip, my mind was elsewhere and not paying attention to my steps and crunch! I took a step on a large pit or rock and twisted my left foot. The pain was excruciating. I never felt a sprain like that. But being me, my mind was saying “use it or loose it, let’s just walk this pain out.” One mile I limped slowly home. I got home and cooked fried porkchops for dinner and sat down to dinner.

At the dinner table with my mom and dad, my eyes welled up with pain. It was hard to tell if the tears that were steaming out were just tears of pain or tears of grief as I watched my dad pick at his porkchop, usually his favorite meal. And watched my mom lost in her own head. Our nightly dinners together seemed to be a practice in mutual loneliness, all of us lost in our own thoughts. This night was no different.

The next morning my foot was worse, and more stress and dread was welling up. What was I going to do? A trip to urgent care and a three x-rays later, doc declares a mid shaft fractured fifth metatarsal. A typical fracture for runners. Fuck! Stay off my foot? Seriously. How am I supposed to care for my parents when I can’t even care for myself?

So what could possibly be the unwanted blessing of the fractured foot?

There has to be a blessing, a meaning, a lesson from this mis-step. I’m not sure that the meaning has yet presented itself fully, it’s only day 3 (I’m actually writing this from the waiting room of the orthopedic specialist).
But have I had to slow down?
Well yes, I’ve had to come to a grinding stop.
Have I has to ask for help?
Yes, I had to ask my dear cousin that lives in the same town to pick up groceries for us.
Have I had to just be?
Yes, I have had to just be. Just be with my feelings, my frustrations, my guilt for not always being here in Hawaii with my aging parents, my inadequacy at being an able caretaker. I’ve had to completely surrender control and just be this imperfect me, dealing with an imperfect situation.
Do my parents love me any less?
No.

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