How Abby supports me during a sleepless night.

So I didn’t run today. I could NOT get out of bed when my alarm went off this morning. The reason being that I had a terrible sleep last night. I went to sleep around 10pm and then woke up off and on between 1-4am. No particular reason that I am aware of, just restless sleep and (normal) busy brain I guess. But you know who was not having any trouble sleeping? I took this at 3am. I got out of bed, turned on the light, got my phone out, the flash was used…and do you think she moved a muscle? NOPE.

I feel kinda like crap today – mostly because I didn’t sleep well but also because I didn’t have my run which jump starts my day.

While I don’t think my sleep issues last night were due to anything stress/work related, it certainly isn’t impossible. I’m sure we’ve all had sleepless nights because of something “on our minds”. And not getting a good night’s sleep (especially if it’s chronic) is REALLY hard on our bodies. 

For me, it’s not normally “stress” at work that leaves me staring at the wall in bed, it’s usually worries about families I work with. I work only with kids who have complex medical conditions and the challenges I see them and their families face (while I enjoy my health, house, vacations, etc) can literally make my heart ache. I’ve had to learn how to leave it at work as best I can, but every now and then, a child or family, makes a home in a corner of my heart and sneaks a ride home with me. Those are the ones who keep me up at night. 

And sometimes, while I can “leave it at work”, I can’t always manage it smoothly at work. I have cried on a couple of occasions – not in front of a family, but with colleagues. I’m a girl, ok?? But listen to this…the first time I cried was of course the day that the CEO of the hospital (!!) was with our team. I came into the meeting after being with the family and was giving a summary of the case and I just broke down. One of the parents had said some incredibly critical and damaging things to me about their child IN FRONT OF THEM and I literally saw the child shrink inside themselves. I was mortified that I was crying in front of the CEO (!!) but he said, “Don’t worry Jane, to see my staff care that much about a child shows what an incredible team we have here”. Ok, that’s nice…but still not exactly the reason why I want the CEO to know me by name!!

But it’s not always bad things that bring me to tears. Recently we had a family who had immigrated to Canada a few years ago from a country that is very poor, has political unrest, poor access to modern health care and life expectancy is much lower than here in North America. Our team spent a day with the family (like we do with all new families entering our program) and at the end of the day, the father said, in his slightly halting and accented English, “I would like to take this opportunity to thank you, on behalf of my family. Please do not think that we take any of what you have done for us today lightly. We understand the cost of this type of care that we received for free here, and we recognize, and are grateful for, the passion that your team has for caring for families like mine. We cannot even begin to thank you for all that you are doing”. 

We all had eyes brimming with tears. North American families (and I include myself in this) take for granted the privileges that we have here. And the giving of such genuine thanks happens far too rarely. I am lucky that I will likely never know the hardships that this family has gone through – both in their home country and the challenges of moving to such a culturally different one – but it doesn’t mean that I should take for granted and not recognize what I have been given.

But running helps me manage all these emotions from work. If I’ve had some difficult cases, then running helps me deal with them. Helps me sort through the emotions in a healthy way while pounding the pavement. And then when I feel like I might have made a positive difference in a patient’s life, I get to harness those feelings to fly through a run and feel like I can do anything.

But regardless, at the end of the day, I do really need sleep. LOL!!

Long run tomorrow with 10-13 miles on the docket. Praying to the sleep gods for tonight!!

Happy Friday!!

P.S. While our walk this morning started off rough

She found an empty water bottle (her favorite toy) and things got MUCH better!

2 thoughts on “How Abby supports me during a sleepless night.

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