Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Processing unhappy information

With a colonoscopy looming tomorrow, and the prospect of a Crohn's Disease diagnosis, I'm noticing again how I process unhappy information.
Just like when I lve been given hard choices at work, and when I've had stressful things going on at home, I choose to deal with the prospect of Crohn's Disease by not dealing.
I don't think about it too much. It's just a set of words to me at the moment. I haven't jumped on the Internet with my trusty iPhone to research it, and I haven't asked my doctors any questions about managing it.
This aspect of my stress coping mechanism seems to bother some people though. My mother has frantically researched the disease and determinedly ignored my pleas for ignorance and talked over me telling me everything she could until I snapped at her to stop.
My sister and close friend had the instinct to research, more I think for their own sakes and reassurance because they understood my need to just process the words and not the facts for a little while.
But even nurses, when they come across me having a little sobby pityfest behind the curtains of my curtain feel the need to fill my information void despite my best efforts to stop them.
Am I not normal for not wanting to know? Not wanting to be informed? At the moment I feel a little like not knowing means not happening, and until I have a diagnosis I'm clinging to that.
I'm such a control freak in every other aspect of my life that I don't really get why I stick my head in the sand when I get bad news instead of wanting to talk it through and research.
Maybe after tomorrow. Once I know for sure what's wrong with me I can start to invest emotionally in understanding it.

Are you like me? Do you ignore bad news while you still can, or do you face it and deal with it straight away?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Holding pattern

I'm in a holding pattern in hospital. Doctors don't want to be too aggressive (meaning avoiding surgery) in case they do more damage to my messed up insides but they can't seem to repair my insides as fast as the abcess spreads more poison and damage.
In the life is passing me by. My biggest worry when I came into hospital was whether my elf on the shelf (if you haven't heard of it, GOOGLE it, worlds most gorgeous Christmas tradition) would arrive on time for December 1st. Now my concern is that I won't be home to spread the Christmas magic over my home.
I'm into my 4th week in hospital and no closer to being home.
I missed Madeleine's year 7 orientation.
I missed a BBQ with good friends, and since socialising as a family with other families is not something we are often invited to do, this felt devastating.
Lorelei's hair is suddenly long enough for a pony tail, but it wasn't my hands coaxing her little curls into the elastic.
Sebastian is LONG, he curls around my body now instead of fitting across my chest. His little voice finally made the move from wee newborn wails to roaring infant demands. I don't even know when, I was shocked when he started to cry during a recent visit.
There is so much more I've missed, and so much to come that I will also miss. And what's worse, someone else is mothering my babies full time. And they are happy and content with that mothering. I know it's petty of me, but I am jealous of the building bond between my kids and their grandmother, especially Sebastian, even though I know how blessed I am to have people in my life that are able to support us. Rationally I know this extended hospital stay would be worse if my babies were pining for me, so I am happy they are happy, but jealous all the same.
It's times like this that I realise just how many wonderful people we have accumulated in our lives. So many people stepping up to support me and husband Ina myriad of ways whether it be by chauffeuring the kids, providing entertainment for me, or help around the house. I have a lot of good karma to keep circulating once I'm out of here.
In the meantime I make sure I share my magazines with other patients. That counts right?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Great Christmas Truth

Trapped from my hospital bed with no computer or laptop I have to confess I've been a little stuck for inspiration to blog. But my trusty iPhone can still do the job and I thought I'd share my experience last year with having the much dreaded Santa conversation with my almost 11 year old.
I had suspected from the previous year that belief was running in short supply but there was an almost desperate determination from my daughter to keep believing. Like she didn't want to give in to all the kids in her life trying to shatter the dream.
Around about this time of year, in the car on the way home from dancing she suddenly asked the question.
"Mummy, you know magic and Santa and the Easter Bunny.....tell me the truth. Are they really real?"
When she was 5 and asked a similar question, wounded because some big kids at school had teased her for her beliefs I had no hesitation in giving her a flat out yes.
But now was different. My biggest girl has outgrown her innocence and it was time for the real Christmas Truth.
So I answered. "You know that feeling you get on Christmas Eve when you're all tucked in bed?" Nod. "That one were you can't sleep but you really want to so that Christmas comes faster?". Nod. "How about that feeling when you wake up and realise it's Christmas morning and you can come running out to see what Santa may have left behind. How do you feel then?"
"Excited...." My little girl answered slowly. This answer was taking longer than she thought.
"And remember how excited you were to give Jane (anonymous friend) that Justin Bieber cd? You knew she'd love it and you couldn't wait to see her face when she unwrapped it? Well, those feelings ARE the magic, so yes, magic is definately real.
BUT, you are old enough to know now that Mummy and Daddy help the magic to happen."
"Does that mean you put the presents in the Santa sack?" my seemingly younger by the minute baby asked me with a quivering lip.
"Yes. But the magic only has to stop if you say it has to. Daddy and I love being part of the magic, and we love that we get to make magic for Lorelei now too" (our then 7 month old, now 18 months old). You can be part of the magic too still"
My little girl cried silently the whole drive home. Letting go of this one was hard no matter what.
But over the course of December the magic continued. Letters turned up (for the first time ever) from Santa in the mail. At first it infuriated Maddy that Husband and I played innocent to her determination to be "in on the secret".
Other little traditions continued, including the family shot with Santa, and by Christmas Eve Maddy talked her sister through the time honored process of leaving cookies for Santa. No wink wink. Just pleasure at introducing her sister to the experience.
Christmas morning, long after the paper had been stuffed in bins and Lorelei was playing with the box a toy came in Maddy gave me a quick hug. "Thanks for the magic Mum".
Our religion, and family also plays a big part in Christmas for us, I know it's not really mentioned but this particular memory was about keeping the magic alive.
What can I say? I subscribe to the "yes Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus" school of thought.

How about you? Have you done it like a bandaid? Or maybe your home doesn't do the Santa thing. Share your experiences with me xxx

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Getting a CT scan

Its been more than 2 weeks and I'm STILL in hospital. One of my many new experiences in my time here has been a CAT scan, something I've never been exposed to before.
I wasn't sure what to expect, and frankly when I laid eyes on the long cylinder with its bed just waiting for me that would slide inside I was filled with absolute terror.
For no good reason. It doesn't actually look that scary but I was terrified nevertheless.
Because I hadn't realised that was what this particular machine was.
And the only time I've seen this machine before is in episodes of House. And in House, when the patient is inside this machine being scanned he is guaranteed to suddenly start vommitting blood, convulsing, or some other scary shit.
So the whole time my bed thingy was sliding in and out I was bug eyed waiting for the climax.
Which didn't happen.
Surprise, surprise, the process is painless and easy and blood free. I've had 3 now since I got here and while I keep channelling House episodes on the bed most of the terror is gone.
So if you have a CT scan booked anytime soon, my advice is to not watch scary hospital shows first!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Tedium and Soup

I'm still in hospital. It's been a week since the the world went black and my body decided it was time to deal with my health problems.
Every morning at 6am the curtains are ripped back, the fluerescent lights are flicked on, and 2 nurses barge into the room shrieking "good morning! Zumba time!" Which they both think is hysterical. It's not.
And every morning I look at the clock and start the count till bedtime which will scratch another day off my hard time.
The tedium is barely broken by the arrival of the meal cart, with its endless variety of soup which is all the doctors will authorise me to eat.
I wait. Blood is taken. I wait. A meal is served. I wait. Husband drops in for a brief visit with fresh knickers on his way home from work. I don't have the heart to keep him here long when he visits because I can see that the night time feeds, a tantrummy toddler, and a sulky preteen are all starting to get to him so I let him go so he might have some chance at sleep. I wait.....
I don't know how people in long term hospital stay cope. At least I know there is an end in sight, even if I don't know when it is.
I think it's the purposelessness of my day that's the worst. I don't accomplish anything. Watching tv and reading books is only pleasurable when it's sandwiched in between feeding and caring for my kids, maybe a load of washing, that kind of thing. I never realised how much you need meaningful activity in your day to make the leisure activities pleasurable.
Hopefully not too much longer. I'll have another scan tomorrow and a consultation with my doctor in the afternoon so who knows what will happen next?
Ever been so bored you can feel your brain melt? Do share.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Dealing with my health

This is the consequence of ignoring my health.
All along I have known that there was something wrong. Vomiting, lethargy, night sweats and chills alternatively, dizziness and a nasty hard lump on the right hand side of my body.
But I kept passing off symptoms as normal for post pregnancy, and letting life be too busy for a trip to the doctor.
It took me crashing to the floor unconscious and smacking the right side of my face on the way down at 4am when I was trying to make a bottle for Seb to bring me to my senses.
So this is not one of the wordless Wednesdays that I sometimes like to post. This is my reminder to all women that we need to look after ourselves first before we look after our families. Like on an airplane. They always say to secure your own face mask before helping anyone else.
I am trapped in hospital for a while, I'm not even being reviewed till next Tuesday, I just have to sit tight till then with bag after bag of antibiotics going through my system.
The hardest part is being away from the kids. Especially when I haven't really had a chance to organise for being away. Normally I would precook meals for everyone and clear the calendar. At the moment husband and I are taking it day by day.
If I hadn't put off dealing with it so long the abcess growing on my appendix might not have been able to grow so big. And maybe my treatment and care would not take so long.
So the moral of this story is to pay attention to your health needs!