Mental Illness

Caregiving: A Moment To Pause

This is what a crisis looks like.

For days now, I’ve been trying to write.

The time just seems to run away at the moment. Any chance of a moment to myself sprints towards the nearest window and heads to the hills. Then eventually I do manage to sit down; at last, I can soothe my soul a little and all I can do is stare out the window. Sunshine hitting the roofs of the cottages across the lane as Juniper Puss repositions himself on the window seat so that he can watch the birds a little more easily. It isn’t writer’s block, it’s writer’s tiredness.

So much has happened in the past few days, so much information has had to be processed. A significant part of this crisis lies in not knowing. Of simply having to wait and see. And for once, it’s not Mr. Juniper. This time, it’s Little Juniper. In so many ways, it’s a simple issue. In others, the hope is that a routine operation can come before an emergency comes knocking at the door. The risks are low, they keep saying. The risks are still there, though. And if they come, Little Juniper and I could be travelling to a hospital 100 miles away.

Oh fuck. This is the part that gets so hard. With Mr. Juniper, it’s easy. I know my limits, I can see whereabouts they lie. I’ve put him in an ambulance on his own before. With my boys, my limit is the ends of the earth. There’s a holdall sitting a few feet away, almost completely packed. There’s a grocery shop coming that I know will stock the cupboards. A trip away wouldn’t be for long. At least, that’s the hope. It’s not knowing. It’s the feelings I’ve had so many times with a crisis amplified beyond what I could imagine.

And there’s having to explain it all to Juniper Junior. That his little brother is okay, that he’s happy and well, it’s just that he has to see doctors at the big hospital and might have to see a very special doctor who lives a little further away. But it’s all okay. And it is. Right now, it is okay. Then I remember the night we called an ambulance for him. We all laughed, the nurse, the paediatrician and I, as a toddling Juniper Junior ran around the paediatric department at 3 a.m. Five hours after an initial examination, there was, confirmed the paediatrician, nothing to worry about. But on the way back, the taxi passing under the orange glow of road lights, he fell asleep, reflections rippling across the water. Fields passed, villages lit up in their midst. Then we were home. Did the driver needs directions out of town? No, it was 4 a.m., his job was to get us home. And it’s where I want to be. No emergency. No ambulances. Routine, local, close to home. A familiar hospital. A place where I’ve already rocked Little Juniper to sleep. Walking the corridors, it’s our fields and our firth I want to carry on seeing.

A crisis can look like so many things. Maybe that person at the store is picking up food because they know there won’t be any at the hospital. Maybe they’re buying food that’s less than healthy, because it has to survive being packed away and eaten at times when other people would be tucked up at home. Maybe they’re a little frustrated with the delivery man at the door because they’re trying to get bags packed to go to hospital. Maybe they don’t reply to messages because they need to be leaving as soon as possible.

Maybe that person isn’t having a crisis, but maybe they are, and they’re just waiting for a moment to pause.

By Juniper

Rarely to be found without herbal tea nearby. Team Unicorn. Often in pyjamas. Also: TEAM KATNISS!

12 replies on “Caregiving: A Moment To Pause”

Surreal is a very good word for a crisis. It’s ridiculous how much of a crisis can be mundane … it’s weird. I keep thinking about odd things like whether or not my phone is charged. Thank you so much for the kind wishes and yes, I’m doing what I can to take care of myself. Thank you, again. x

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