Random Thoughts of a Disordered Mind

Too Independent For My Own Good

5 Comments

I’m independent and proud of it, and it sure is necessary since I live alone.  Rather than whine about being too short to change lights, I got a taller step stool.  I sign legal documents, shovel out my car, meet deadlines, clean up the cat hairballs, pay the bills, and go “make the donuts” to pay for it all.

But one side effect of being so independent is that it’s very difficult to ask for help when it would make it easier or even possible.  At work I’m expected to run my own ship and consult with colleagues and staff, but even there I tend to take on more than my share and have trouble delegating some tasks even when it’s appropriate.

I hate asking people if they could take me somewhere, even the airport or the hospital.  In fact, I took myself to the hospital for all but one of my many surgeries (three knee ops, two carpal tunnels, two sinus, and the lapband) and except for getting a ride home, managed on my own at home because I’d done all the prep to make it work.

This time is different.  I’m taking myself to the surgical center a week from Wed. for plastic surgery.  The operation will take 4-5 hours (they’re doing a tummy tuck and tidying up my upper arms) and in some magic way, I’ll be transported from the outpatient surgery center to the university health infirmary, where I’ll stay for 3-4 nights.

I already asked a friend if she could come to see me that night and bring a small bag that I would bring to her house over the weekend, with some toiletries, a book, netbook, and chargers for the netbook and cell phone.  Although she’s a good friend, it felt like an imposition to ask.  I don’t want to put anyone out or have them go to any trouble for me.

But I need them to.  I need someone to bring me stuff, to take me home after my few days there.  I can’t lift anything heavier than 5 lbs for at least 4-6 weeks, plus I won’t be able to bend easily with my incision and compression binder on.  Which means I’ll need help with bagging and dumping trash, changing the litter box, clearing snow, stuff I don’t even know about yet.

It’s time to stop being so damned stubborn about it.  To let go of the tight hold on making sure everything is in place.  No matter what, there will be things left undone and help needed.  I’m hoping to be able to do with humility and grace, knowing that people are happy to help if asked and if the task is reasonable & achievable.

Just in case I haven’t said it lately – thank you for the help you all have already given me.  For your friendship and advice, listening ears, gentle nudges, recipes and food ideas, comfort when things are hard.  I’ll let you know how things go.

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5 thoughts on “Too Independent For My Own Good

  1. I am guessing your friend was happy to do such a simple thing for you. People like to feel like they can help as long as the requests aren’t overwhelming. I am guessing there are plenty of people who would be able to do a few things for you. Maybe the nice neighbors that you dug out with in the last storm would be willing to take care of your sidewalk and driveway while you are out of commission? And maybe you could hire Tessie’s cat sitter to change the litter, take care of the trash, and visit for a while to make sure you’re OK.

    I will be thinking of you. Hope everything goes well and that you heal quickly.

  2. What Jen said.

    I know how you feel, as I’m kind of an independent cuss myself. But when someone asks for a favor from me, I’m honored to have been asked and eager to help. I don’t doubt that your friends feel the same way. Give them the gift of being able to help you, dear friend. Hope the surgery goes well. I’ll be thinking of you.

  3. I am totally like you…am still learning to ask for help when I need it and give friends/family the chance to give me the gift of help. I like when others ask me for help, so I have to remember that they do sometimes too. 🙂 Good luck with your surgery!

  4. I had to tell my mom that she was doing a disservice to the people she knew by not allowing them to help her. She had helped them lots of time and it was time to let them return the favor. I’m sure that’s very true for you — you’ve done a lot of good things for the people at work, your friends and it’s not an imposition at all for them to help you. You know how it was when I fell and I had to ask people to do stuff like MY litter box and it was hard as hell. And, as usual, what Jen said. 🙂

    Good luck with the surgery, I’m looking forward to seeing and hearing about it! *hugs*

  5. good luck with surgery!!!

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