Yesterday I purchased the Smarter Happier domain and today I was going to write a first post. This is not the post I had planned to write.
Yesterday I was going to explain how I wasn’t enjoying my job and I was looking for something that allowed more creative freedom. Yesterday I was going to share with you how busy our life is, with both my wife and I working and raising three children. Yesterday I was going to draw an outline (in broad, crayon strokes) of my plan to work smarter towards a happier life.
Then, today, my 38 year old wife had a stroke.
When I got that phone call from the doctor I was devastated. He never actually said the word “stroke”, just described how her face had drooped and one side of her body went weak. He told me that our ten year-old autistic son had witnessed the “turn”. I work an hour from where we live and needed to stop for petrol on the way, otherwise I would have been stuck on the side of the road instead of being beside my family. I am so thankful that my Dad dropped everything when I called and said “I need help” – he picked up my son and checked on my wife before I got back home. The doctor’s surgery called me at 4.30pm to say the ambulance was taking my wife to the local hospital but when I got there at 5.30pm she wasn’t there. Panicked phone calls and an agonising but short wait saw the ambulance arrive. I really didn’t know what to expect when I saw my wife – everyone I had spoken to had said she was “okay”, “alright but shaken” and things like that but you never know if people are genuinely trying to ease your fear, or spare your feelings.
I saw my wife’s feet on a stretcher as she was brought into the emergency room, but the rest of her was blocked by the ambulance officers and nurses.
We were lucky. By the time I saw my wife she had mostly recovered from the event and though she was tired, she was in good spirits.
The doctors suspect she suffered something called a transient ischemic attack, or TIA. I think they kept calling it that because it is far less scary than the lay-man term of “mini stroke”. It happens when a tiny blood clot gets stuck for a tiny moment before being broken down and dissolved. If you’ve heard descriptions of strokes it is exactly the same thing, just briefer. And it is scary as hell.
TIA’s are not a normal thing for a healthy 38 year-old and we spent another four hours getting a battery of tests and scans. In the end I had to leave my wife at the hospital for overnight observation. I had to get back to the rest of the family and assure them that their mum and daughter and daughter in-law was okay.
Tomorrow is more tests, but hopefully my wife will come home.
We live a busy life. It is the life that we have been lead to believe is necessary in order to provide for our family, put food on the table and let the kids receive the education they deserve. My wife’s part-time job is five days a week and now she is lucky enough to have a computer to take more work home. I drive an hour to and from work and spend my afternoons rushing to get home in time to offer whatever assistance I can to my wife who has to do the heavy lifting in terms of the school run and getting the kids to speech therapy or specialists appointments several times a week. We don’t live extravagantly, our kids go to a public school, we almost always cook and eat at home and our weekends are spent “pottering” around the house and trying to recoup enough energy so that we can do it all again the next week.
On paper we live the Australian dream with three kids, two cars and a nice house. I used to worry that there was something wrong with me because I wasn’t happy. Turns out it is not a problem with me, but with my perspective. Turns out that you don’t have to slave away at a job for 50 weeks a year for 50 years of your life in order to be a productive member of society. Turns out you can work from home and support your family and feel fulfilled. Turns out you can work smarter and transform your lifestyle for the better.
Yesterday, when I bought the Smarter Happier domain, I was already heading down this path. Today I was given a kick in the guts that ensured I would really step up to the plate and work at transforming my life. Tomorrow is going to be a better day.
And after that? The possibilities are limitless.