Monday, February 17, 2014

"Do what's best"

I love this go-to saying. It's what you say when you don't know what to say or do. It's what you say to end a conversation because you don't have any answers and have run out of suggestions. It's what you think to yourself when you don't know what's best.

What exactly is "best" and how do we know when we're doing it?

On a small scale, take this inordinate shit ton of snow we have right now. I'm scared to death to drive on these roads, while others think it's no big deal. So what is best? To take your chances and white knuckle it to work, risking a head on collision for a client proposal? Or stay home and risk repercussions because others made it in and you were too much of a pansy not to? And while we're on the subject, when did it become hero's work to even say you were out in this? I was driving in this stuff today and I didn't feel like a hero - I felt like an idiot.

What does this even MEAN?????
On a grander scale, every day we are forced into decisions that fall to the "doing what's best" motto. From taking that job, to not taking that job. From starting a relationship to ending one. And if you're a parent, "do what's best" can change much more often than a teenager changes his underwear.

I feel like I am truly in a position right now where I don't know what's best. I am second guessing myself every minute of every day it seems. I've lost my confidence, my mojo, and whatever else it takes for me to take the bull by the horns and say, "Look here - THIS is how it's going to be." 

What's best for my mom, who allegedly has terminal cancer? Well, evidently it was hospice. That's what the doc said. The cancer has spread, he said. There's nothing more that can be done, he said. We'll treat her with pain meds, he said. So we did what was best. We put her in hospice.

Well that was more than three weeks ago.  She takes very few if any pain meds, and we had to fight for that. She's getting up in the chair (with assistance,) which astounds the staff. So guess what. She now no longer qualifies for "regular" hospice. Apparently she's not declining at the "expected rate" based on whatever regulations make up hospice. So she can STAY where she is, but under a different "level" of care. And 100% out of pocket. Or go back to the nursing home. We have elected to keep her where she is.

We're assuming that's "what's best," but we are literally going on faith alone. There's no documentation to tell us what her current health status is, and hospice does no testing. She's certainly not getting better, but there are no telltale signs that she's necessarily getting worse. She just doesn't follow any sort of "rulebook for the dying." So what's best? Evidently we just wait for laws to tell us and just follow along - and do "what's best" for her comfort and well-being, whatever that is.

In the past few months, weeks, and even days, I've had to make some very tough, very life changing decisions about my son. Nothing has been finalized yet, but the options have been researched, scrutinized, analyzed and discussed. I have screamed, cried, prayed, stressed, lost sleep and begged for someone to tell me what's best. I still don't know.

What's worse is that moment when you THINK you're doing what's best and you are met with anger and hatred from the very person you are trying to help - because they don't understand that you love them so incredibly much. And that you're trying to do "what's best," when that's really kind of bullshit because you're not exactly sure if what you're deciding is the right thing to do.

That's when I start second-guessing myself. What IS best? Is this best for HIM? What if I'm making the wrong decision? It's like staying in an unhappy marriage "for the sake of the kids" then realizing your kid is effed up because he grew up in a dysfunctional household. It's like driving to work to finish that big proposal and getting sideswiped on the Interstate. It's like a fly in your freakin' Chardonnay. I don't know.

You can't win.

In the midst of all this, I don't know what's best for me anymore. People say to "make sure you do things for yourself." What does that MEAN? Get my nails done? Eat a pint of ice cream? Buy a pretty new dress? Go on a date? A date? Really? Who in their right minds would start a relationship right now? Is that really what's BEST? Maybe it'd be nice for me, but I pity the other guy. Not so much what's best for him.

"Do what's best." I wish I knew what this elusive "best" is. I do what I think I need to do at the moment I need to do it. Unfortunately, many of these decisions I'm making are big and can't exactly be reversed. I yearn for the days when my idea of "do what's best" was deciding if I could ignore the cries on the baby monitor for just 10 more minutes, if I could pull off wearing spandex at the gym or or if I should really have that shot the bartender just bought me.

Those were the days.

1 comment:

  1. I could have written this article back in 1995, Amy. Probably not as eloquently. I seriously thought that my teenager was the worst child in the world and that every decision I made concerning her and also my ailing mother was wrong. My daughter turned out to be a pretty nice, successful woman and looking back on it I realize that I stressed way too much. It's hard not to when you're living it and society says you should behave in a certain way. You love your kids and I pretty much can guarantee they will turn out just fine as long as they know you love them. Which your sons do know. There will be bumps in the road, yes. As for your mom, I've told you the comparisons. Mine was in the hospital for a couple of months before she died and they never made her leave. I thought hospice allowed you six months care. What a shame that there are so many rules. Okay, here goes the cliche: hang in there. Hugs to you.


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