As parents of children with special needs we put on brave faces and face each day with a sense of hope and courage. I also know that we harbour secret fears about this parenting journey and the many possible detours that can happen at any given moment. Sometimes things move along in a relatively predictable way and we catch ourselves exhaling instead of holding our breath in a desperate attempt to be ready for the next blow. For the most part these fears do not consume us but sometimes things happen which shine the light on our biggest worries.
I have two major fears which sit in the darkness and are for the most part tucked neatly away unless they get triggered. The first one is being forced to have Meredith placed somewhere other than our home to be cared for due to increasing medical demands which we are not equipped to meet. My second fear is probably related to the first fear in that I have a fear of becoming ill myself and not being able to provide the care that Meredith requires of me. I have been remarkably healthy in my life and in the last decade I have made my health a priority knowing that there will be a ripple effect on all involved if I fall apart. In the earlier years, I admit that the thought of getting sick caused some anxiety and I was a obsessively diligent with my self-care. I have learned to ease off a bit knowing that getting stressed about being well is not overly practical in the long run. Now there tends to be an ebb and flow to my self-care. Sometimes I exercise religiously and sometimes I take a break. Sometimes I drink wine on a daily basis and other times I gulp down protein shakes in place of the booze.
In 2009, the H1N1 flu virus caused a world wide pandemic and panic spread quickly. I, too, panicked at the thought of becoming ill from this serious flu. Truthfully, I panicked more at the thought of getting the vaccine which I had little trust in. In the end, we made the decision to have Meredith vaccinated and my husband and I reluctantly received the vaccine as well. Ironically, over the weeks that followed, my liver went into failure and I became very, very sick. In my attempt to avoid serious illness, I became seriously ill anyway.
And you know what happened? The entire world as we know it didn’t fall apart. I felt helpless and extremely frustrated as my husband had to take time off work to care for Meredith and I had to surrender as my liver recovered. It was terrifying initially as we didn’t know what was wrong with me. I blamed it on stress until I turned a golden shade of yellow. Since that ordeal, which was five years ago, I have been well except for the odd head cold.
Until last week.
For the past six days I have been dealing with sudden and serious SI Joint issues. In the first 24 hours, I saw my Chiropractor, Massage Therapist and my Physiotherapist who I had a previously scheduled app’t with for my shoulder. He couldn’t do much with my shoulder as I was barely able to walk with the SI pain and so he sent me on my way advising me to rest, use caution in my sitting and standing and to ice the area often. My husband had to take two days off work and I sat helplessly by as he took over full care of Meredith as well as the household while I struggled with basic tasks like wiping my bum and stepping into my underwear. But I gave it 48 hours and by Saturday, there was improvement. Just in time as I had three marriages to perform and a prenatal class to teach all day Sunday. Then on Sunday morning, I stepped out of the shower after a fairly restful sleep and proceeded to tweak my SI Joint yet again by bending forward to dry off my legs.
And then things went from bad to worse and I was pretty much immobilized. I was waking in the night in tears from the pain and I was getting increasingly frustrated with every painful movement. For almost eleven years, I have managed to carry, lift, move and hold Meredith and suddenly I am not able to even change her let along hold or lift her.
I realize that I am a lousy patient and although this last week has been a lesson in surrender, patience and trust in everyone else to pick up the slack, I admit I rage when my health fails me. My husband tends to me and everything else patiently and lovingly but the strain takes a toll on him, too, which makes me feel even more helpless and frustrated. I essentially become a fragile hurt bag and I am well aware of it.
The good news is I went to see my chiropractor this morning and he did an adjustment which has improved things ever so slightly. I am still on strict rest as inflammation is an issue. I have figured out how to get through the next few days as far as care for Meredith is concerned when my husband returns to work and I am hopeful that my body will spring back to normal in no time.
In the meantime, I am trying to be a good patient which ironically is not at all how I feel. And I know when I heal, I will be even more grateful for my well body and mind and will be fine tuning my self-care regime to prevent a re-occurrence.