Saturday, December 22, 2007

Trying To Balance Being A Mom With Being Sick

Yesterday was my daughter's third birthday.

My husband took the day off work, and we kept her out of daycare, to make the day special. As usual, the bulk of the duties went to my husband. But I forced myself to "power through" my fatigue and my pain and participate.

And I think it was worth it because as Ellie was going to sleep, she told Scott about how wonderful her birthday was and how happy it made her. Those are the kinds of words that melt a parent's heart.

Scott and Ellie got up at their usual early hour, letting me get a little extra sleep. By the time I came downstairs at 9 a.m., they had already baked her birthday cake and Scott was starting to tint the frosting pink.

We'd made plans to meet some friends (my old playgroup) at an indoor playspace. Ellie was excited to go see these kids she hasn't seen much of since I got sick, but she got even more excited when she saw that I was coming along.

We made a stop at the pharmacy first, which was probably a mistake because by the time we were done there, I was overtired and achy. But I needed to refill my pain meds before things close for the holiday.

When we got to Play Boutique, Ellie had a fabulous time, both on her own and playing with some of her friends (and some kids she'd never met before). I mostly sat in the "parents' lounge" area, where they were nice enough to offer a very comfy couch and chair.

It was so great to see some of the friends that I've barely seen since I got sick in June, but it was also hard to explain that I needed to sit quietly without talking for awhile until my chest pain faded. I wanted it to be like old times, where we could just chat and keep an eye on the kids and talk about everything. But talking was painful for me, and I had that brain fog that seems to go with this lovely illness so even following conversations was hard. I seem to get sensory overload pretty easily these days too, and the music (Christmas carols, which are never my favorite music to hear) seemed so loud to me but it probably wasn't really.

Then we came home, and instead of crashing, it was time for a birthday lunch, followed by the delicious pink cake and then the opening of all the gifts relatives had sent.

I was near tears from pain and exhaustion by the time Scott sent me up to bed at 2:30 p.m. I stayed there until dinner, and then it was pretty quick time for a bath and sending Ellie off to bed.

Of course, silly me, instead of following her lead, I then spent over an hour uploading the days photos to the web so family and friends could see her birthday celebration. No one would have complained (too much :) about having to wait a day or two to see them. But I knew my family in particular was eager to see them and I hate to disappoint so I pushed through.

Now, of course, I'm paying for it. And I don't really know how long it will take for me to feel better. Heck, I'm losing track of what better is, really.

Part of me feels good that for one day, at least, I was able to put Ellie first again. She's had to deal with a lot of changes in her life since I got sick, and I'm glad we were able to give her a good birthday.

Part of me also wonders if it's worth it to her to have one good morning/afternoon, and then have a mom who can't get dressed the next day.

1 comment:

Eve said...

Sick Momma, I sympathize with you and your situation. Fortunately my medical problems didn't become chronic and overpowering until my daughter was in high school and college. My mother also had some severe medical problems from time to time as we were growing up. I admit there were times when my sister and I thought she was lazy. Has that ever come back to haunt me! But we survived and we were close and loving with our mother. When she was there, she was really there. She did a lot of her resting on the couch so that we were at least in the same room with her.

I have diabetes and chronic pancreatitis. Diabetes can be debilitating all by itself. Your pancreas is supposed to produce digestive enzymes so that your food digests properly and supplies nutrients to your body. When it's not working well you might as well be starving for all the energy you get from the food you eat. Add this lack to the diabetes and there are some days when I feel a lot like you describe. I suffer from pains in my abdomen to the degree that some days I cannot stand clothing - I were a lot of loose dresses and a one-piece undergarment. I have frequent nausea and diarrhea.

So, when I say I understand what you are dealing with, I really do. The causes may be different, but the outcome is the same: the inability to function in the world and accomplish anything useful. I hope your doctors are able to find a course of treatment that allows you to take back your life and mother that precious little girl as you would like to do. I found that it really helps to have on-line friends who have dealt with the same problems. A support group that you don't have to get dressed or leave home to find.

I have given up looking for a cure. I'm just happy that some days I have a bit of control over the disease. Proper medication taken as prescribed keeps me functioning at some level most days. For that I am grateful. On bad days, I curl up in my chair (it's more comfortable than laying down), wrap up in a blanket, and watch some mind-numbing tv. And I pray that tomorrow will be better.