A few weeks ago I had to be in the hospital with one of my children. I stayed with him for the entire time, and while I have decided not to discuss publicly the nature of why he was hospitalized, I can tell you that it was a shattering experience for both of us. The days leading up to him going in were stressful for the entire family, more so than I would have anticipated beforehand, and the days since have passed in a blur of sleepless nights and pain-filled days. While I have had plenty of experience dealing with my own medical issues, dealing with those of my child has been a whole new and pretty bad ballgame. We have been home for almost a week now, and I still don’t feel like I have any sense of equilibrium back. I feel like a stranger in a strange land, trying to function in the world of the normal, and I’m having trouble with things like remembering that laundry needs to be done and meals need to be made. I still sort of have one foot(or one half of my brain) mentally in the hospital, and instead of coming up with menu ideas I’m juggling medication combinations to be the most potent with the least side effects.
I can truly say that I have no clue how parents of children with a chronic illness manage their lives, since this short stint of ours has come close to undoing our family. Our youngest child, put on the back burner, became attention-starved and sad. Our other children, eager to help wherever they could, took on too much responsibility and I’m sure have issues of their own that they are trying not to burden us with. *h, usually the eternal good Samaritan, has been travelling for business way too much considering what’s been going on around here, but he hasn’t had a choice. And I finally hit the wall with my own health yesterday and crashed.
What’s been worse than the physical toll, though, has been the emotional toll. Having a child who is significantly sick is like no other challenge. It shakes you to your core and makes you feel like the weakest most vulnerable person there is. For someone who makes a habit of fighting like a mama bear for her cubs, coming up against hospital policies, teams of surgeons, various residents, miscellaneous doctors, and nurses in every level of competency was just plain exhausting. You never want to make a decision that will put your child in harm’s way; worse than that, though, you don’t want to fail to question someone else’s decision that IS putting your child in harm’s way. And unfortunately sometimes there are grey areas. Not everything can be researched in the moment a decision is required (especially by someone with no internet on her 1990’s flip-phone- that would be me…). So you do the best you can and hope you are making the best decisions.
You listen to your child cry and you know there is nothing you can do.
You watch your child suffer and you know you are powerless.
You try to be strong but really you are breaking inside.
And then you break some more.
Luckily kids are resilient and they are strong and they heal from things. We have moved from acute crisis mode into picking up the pieces mode. I asked a friend to make me some fish I’ve been craving, and she offered a salad and some roast potatoes along with it. I certainly won’t say no.
Mentally I want to clean everything in sight, just to set my world back in order. Physically I want to crawl under the covers with a bowl of thick creamy soup and not come out again for at least a week. Realistically, I will do neither, but I will make supper tonight, clean as much as I am able, help my son manage his health, and try to stay as loving and sane as I am able for the rest of my family.
I have been so shell-shocked for the last few weeks that I literally have had nothing at all to say. But I am hoping that my brain has come back online, and with it I can be back to the blog. I’ve missed you guys 🙂