From the editor: Staycation after surgery

By Sarah Nigbor
Posted 2/21/24

Is it sad that I’m looking forward to having surgery because it means I’ll be forced to rest for a couple of days? Never mind the pain, but being able to rest thanks to doctor’s …

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From the editor: Staycation after surgery


Is it sad that I’m looking forward to having surgery because it means I’ll be forced to rest for a couple of days? Never mind the pain, but being able to rest thanks to doctor’s orders means I don’t have to feel guilty doing so. I can just lay in bed and read a book or sleep with no one bugging me to take them somewhere, clean something, feed someone or any other chores.

On Friday I’m having my third sinus surgery in 18 months. Hopefully the third time is the charm. I’ll spare you the details, but it involves more bone chiseling and polyp removal. Once it’s done and healed the hope is I will be able to breathe through my nose, that my chronic sinus infections and migraines will cease. I sure hope so.

But back to the forced staycation. I know from experience that I will be in a lot of pain, but it will be bearable. The second surgery wasn’t as painful as the first, but my doctor at Mayo in Rochester thinks this will be better than the first but worse than the second. The pain doesn’t bother me. That will go away. What bugs me is that the only way I feel I can take a break from things is to be ordered to by a doctor. But that’s the world we live in now.

Every single minute of every single day, seven days a week, is scheduled to the hilt. From dawn until bedtime, each minute is carefully orchestrated and accounted for, time maximized to the best of our abilities. It’s like a choreographed dance and sometimes I stumble and fall. It’s almost a competition to see how much productivity and appointments, practices and tournaments we can cram into the daylight (and sometimes nighttime) hours. Full-time jobs, part-time jobs, school, homework, piano lessons, 4-H, softball, volleyball, basketball, baseball, football, track and field, school musicals and practices, student council, weightlifting, board meetings, volunteer work. My planner is my lifeline. Without it I wouldn’t function. I’m one of those old-fashioned people who likes a paper, feel it in my hands planner. My husband prefers Google calendar on his phone, but it’s far more satisfying to cross things out with my ballpoint pen.

I’m all about leading a productive, meaningful life, but I believe the amount of productivity expected these days is sometimes too much. Work is never left at work. Emails, texts and calls come at all hours; people are expected to be reachable at all hours. Maybe I’m in the minority, but I think that’s true for kids too. There is very little time left for family time or just for kids to be kids, if they want to be involved in sports and extracurricular activities. Having a family dinner that is not rushed or where we’re all present is a luxury to be celebrated. Most suppers are eaten in a rush or in the car on the way to an activity.

My heart breaks for my eldest stepson when I see him roll in from play practice at 10 p.m. and fall asleep in the chair doing hours of homework, only to get up at 6 a.m. to head into the weight room. Yes, it teaches them time management skills, prioritization, perseverance. But mental health is a big concern in students these days, with anxiety topping the list. Could it be that they’re overscheduled and expected to be elite at everything they do? Just a thought.

I mean absolutely nothing against the wonderful coaches who devote time to our athletes, but watching my boys go through traveling baseball (in a St. Croix County town) is eye-opening. Between practices, games and tournaments, we are at baseball seven days a week from April until the end of July. You would swear they’re preparing each kid to be in the MLB. It leaves very little time for anything else. Most of the time I don’t see my husband for days on end because we’re going in opposite directions to get kids to stuff. I think it’s a bit extreme. But we’re told that’s what it takes to compete with other teams.

It might sound selfish, but for a few glorious days, I will be taking a break from my planner and the schedules. I might be in a painful haze, but at least I’ll have a few minutes to myself.

From the editor's desk, Sarah Nigbor, staycation, surgery, column