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Sunday, September 1, 2013

Was I Just Crazy? For anyone "just tuning in" this post may leave you wondering what the heck I am rambling about, I hope you take the time to go back and review my earlier posts so you can catch up with our story. For anyone who has been along for the whole wild ride - Thank you! I very much appreciate your thoughts and comments

Was I Just Crazy?

Moms’ back surgery had gone relatively well; the pain was under control, which had been the primary goal and for the most part she seemed to be feeling better.  We definitely still had some ups and downs, but the good days had finally started outnumbering the bad.  It was also easier to predict when we were going to experience a bad day or two as they normally coincided with a morphine reduction every 7-10 days.

Usually on her “bad” days (the 2 or 3 days following a reduction) mom would would experience some depression and sometimes a little nausea.  Mostly she seemed extremely uncomfortable and fairly self conscious in her back brace.  Mom would comment, “I wonder how much longer I will have to wear this thing” or “I hope I don’t have to wear this to the wedding”.  Some days she was much more insistent , “I am NOT wearing this to the wedding”, Mom would try not to cry

We both knew that we would do whatever the spinal surgeon suggested.  We had come too far; invested too much to risk it all for vanity; Comfort was a thing from our past.  My sister had decorated her brace, hoping to make it more festive.  My thought was that as long as she accessorized with a smile, mom would be beautiful no matter what she was wearing.
By April 5th, moms smile was noticeably missing.  With only two weeks until her six week post-op appointment and just over three weeks until my younger daughter’s wedding, mom decided she wanted to “try” sitting without the brace.  “We see the surgeon in just a couple weeks, let’s wait and see what she says”, although it had been four weeks, I wasn't ready to gamble.

At least for that day, I was able to distract mom by talking about her goals and how close she was to realizing them.  It appeared she was definitely going to live long enough to watch my daughter get married; I really believed my other daughter would give birth to her first daughter while mom were still around to “meet” the new little one; and we were both pleased at how well the morphine reduction was going and I was glad they had started the reduction in the hospital.  Moms’ determination never ceased to amaze me.

By morning, moms’ determination was stronger than ever, but it seemed her common sense had waned.  There was no convincing her to wait any longer for her follow up appointment; she was determined to quit wearing the brace NOW.  I was familiar with that look in her eyes; there was going to be no stopping her, so I decided to help her.

“Okay, we’ll try it”, I said it like I thought I had a choice in the matter.  My mother could be a bit strong willed; OK, she could be downright stubborn. 
Once mom had promised she wouldn't push it too far, I helped her out of bed and into her wheelchair.  By the time she was ½ way through her cup of coffee, I could tell she was uncomfortable.  I asked her how she felt.  “I think we better put the brace on”, mom was already pushing away from the table to return to her room.

We would see the surgeon on April 18th, 2013; nine days before the wedding.  I hoped they would remove the brace at that time; I hoped they could.  Meanwhile, we had no choice but to play the cards we were dealt.  I just wish there weren't so many jokers in my hand!

I noticed my hand was numb.  The truth be known, my hand wasn't the only part experiencing numbness and tingling.  For several days I had been experiencing a whole host of scary symptoms.  I was sure it was stress induced, but that didn't diminish the physical symptoms.  I finally called for a doctor’s appointment and was relieved when they couldn't get me in for several days; I had a lot to get done before I could allow myself to be sick.  I really didn't have time to go to the doctor anyway; on the other hand, I certainly didn't have time to die!

I almost convinced myself to ignore the symptoms; they would go away.  But what if they didn't?  People were depending on me.  I was working myself in to quite a tizzy, which certainly didn't help how I was feeling.

A trip to the emergency room, a follow up appointment and a stress test revealed no physical abnormalities.  I couldn't believe I had to spend all that time and money to be told I needed to relax!  How could I relax?  I had way too much to do to relax. 

Reluctantly, I followed my doctors advice and made an appointment with a psychologist.  I couldn't wrap my brain around how exactly adding another appointment was going to help me; I didn't have any time to spare.  I cancelled the appointment.  I would just have to figure this out myself.

The more I thought about all the things going on in my life and the physical symptoms I was experiencing, the more stressed I became.  The more stressed I became, the more physical symptoms I experienced.  The more physical symptoms I experienced, the more stressed I became. 

Was the stress causing the symptoms?
Were the symptoms causing the stress?
Was I just crazy?


JM said...

It is so easy to fall into the trap of thinking we, as caregivers, do not have time to care for ourselves. So it follows that studies have shown many caregivers either die before the person they are caring for, or end up in ill health themselves.

Seeking help from psychologists and counselors still has too much of stigma attached, which is truly unfortunate. There is NOTHING wrong with admitting that you need help. Seeking help doesn't make anyone a failure - but ignoring their own needs can set everyone up to fail. Bless you, my dear, for getting the help you need.

Anonymous said...

Listening to your body is the first step in taking care of your needs and to care for others needs as well. Sometimes we let the uncontrollable situations take control of our very controllable situations thus making it difficult and painful to overcome...Take deep breaths and realize that God is beside you and walking with you and talking with you all the time. Sometimes it's hard to just say "here, please help me do ?" but realize that you are not "super" woman like every woman I know likes to be or would like to be! LOL...

Anita Scott said...

Well of course you are crazy sister! Silly question. Seriously though, I am so glad that you are able to take care of mom the way that you do. I can't imagine where we might be if you weren't able to. Thank you for all that you do! I love you so much!

healthcare hostages said...

It really is easy to fall in to that trap. I hate those studies; they don't do much for my stress level!

I have no problem seeking help from a counselor, a psychologist, or even a psychiatrist; I wonder if I could find one that would ride in my backseat and listen to my woes? I just don't have the time!

healthcare hostages said...

Yes, God is with me; He is in control!

healthcare hostages said...

Hey! I resemble that remark!

I love you too!