Category Archives: Illness and Injury

Tidbits

Jenny is turning six tomorrow. I am having a hard time believing it. She is talking constantly about the presents she’s going to get, the friends that will come to her party, and her pink, pink, PINK cake. I’m strategizing for the party and all that pink. White cake turned pink, pink raspberry filling (and maybe some pink cream cheese icing as filling, too?), pink icing and pink flowers. Did I mention that pink is Jenny’s favourite colour. Yeah.

We have a cold. Erik got this cold, started coughing, and went from sort of sick, to sick with pneumonia, overnight in the ICU sick. This is the third time he’s had pneumonia that we know of. I am ready for this to end, for him to be healthy. Which leads me to my third tidbit…

I have been completely absorbed in the book A More Excellent Way by Henry Wright. My in-laws went to his course in Georgia last year and to another one last month. Their lives have been changed. This book and the Be In Health ministry throws a wrench into everything you thought you knew about illness and health. What if you repented and renounced bitterness, fear, jealousy, etc. and were healed? Thousands of people have done just that. Healed of cancers, healed of allergies, chronic, inherited illnesses, etc. I was skeptical until I started reading the medical science behind it and the testimonies of so many people who have gone through this. Mike and I were already planning to go to the For My Life course in Georgia in the future, but now it feels even more important that we go, just to get a handle on where some of these issues are coming from. I am a broken, damaged person probably holding on to things I don’t even recognize. The idea that my physical issues (difficulty losing weight, low immune function, fatigue, allergies, etc) could be tied to my spiritual health has never occured to me before.  The possibility that I have passed some of this to my children already is disturbing. I want to be healthy and whole and I want my husband and children to have the same.

Ben is sleeping until four or five in the morning now. We spent a week sleeping on our hide-a-bed in the living room, letting him cry. I wore earplugs. It worked. I’m pretty happy with where he’s at now and won’t mind if he keeps that early morning feeding for awhile longer. He’s still nursing once after that around eight and at two before naptime and also at bedtime. Four feedings in a twenty-four hour period for a one year old is still a lot compared to some kids, but compared to before, when he was probably having as many as eight feedings a day, it’s good.

I’m getting a tetanus shot on Friday. Jenny and Elias are getting boosters for diptheria, pertussis, tetanus and polio. I told them I would go first. That doesn’t mean I’m looking forward to it.

I haven’t done anything very creative for quite awhile. I’m looking forward to making Jenny’s cake for that very reason. Yes, it’s just going to be eaten, but it is something I really enjoy.

That’s it. I figured I owed the blog at least a little bit of updating.

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Filed under Illness and Injury, Life, in general

Saying Goodbye

I’m back from an eight day break in routine that was, in some ways, like a breath of fresh air.

And then yesterday, I got a call from my mom that has sort of blurred everything that happened in those eight days.

I wrote about my grandma last year, that she was not going to live much longer. That I might not see her again. She fell yesterday morning. It was bad. She has a brain bleed. She hasn’t woken up since then.

They moved her to my aunt and uncle’s house, where my mom, her sister, brother, sister-in-law and dad are all congregated. I would like to go in the middle of the night, in my sleep. But if I had to hold on, I’d like it to be like this. Surrounded by family, saying their goodbyes.

I called there yesterday afternoon. Had my cousin put the phone up to my grandma’s ear. I said goodbye, in my way. I told her I loved her and I missed her and how happy I was to know she was surrounded by her family. She had no response, of course, but I’d like to think she could hear my voice. Another part of her family. Her first grandchild.

I imagine people reading this and balking: “It’s just your grandma. Big deal. All of my grandparents are dead.”

That may be. But she wasn’t just my grandmother. She was a whole lot more to me.

She was my silly grandma, who danced in her living room to the music on the Lawrence Welk show. She was my caring grandma, who let her grandchildren be just as goofy as they wanted to be and never questioned it. She was hospitible in a way I’ve hardly ever known from anyone else – I used to spend weeks at her house during the summers, riding down to the community pool in the back of my grandpa’s truck, bare feet hanging off the tailgate. She came along, put on a bathing suit, and rarely went swimming.

When my heart was broken at the age of seventeen (or anyway, I thought it was broken), I called her and asked if I could come to stay for a weekend. My mom drove me to the ferry and my grandpa picked me up on the other side. Grandma wanted to fix me my favourite foods – she always did – and she set up their motorhome for me to stay in so I could have some privacy. She understood that I would want it, even though I never explained my reasons for running away those few days.

She fussed over us at times, but we always knew it was just because she loved us.

When I had my babies, she sent cards for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, and birthdays, always with a five dollar bill tucked inside for each kid. We saved those bills for years and now have a bit of money to spend on the kids when we visit later this month. We’re planning on taking them to the aquarium. She also sent books for them, and stuffed animals. She called often and usually asked to talk to my Jenny Rose, the great-granddaughter named for her oldest daughter.

I will miss her so very much. I already do, as her health has been declining for some time now. It’s hard to let go. My grandpa seems to be in such good health and I would love to imagine that all of my grandparents would live until they were past one hundred. But it is not to be.

She is not gone yet, but she does not have long. They are talking about her memorial service, hoping to postpone it until we head down for a visit in two weeks and other family members from far away can make their way to Washington. The timing of this really gets me. We planned our trip in hopes that we would get to see her one last time.

What gets me is all the things I never asked her. The last conversation I never had with her. Every time I talked to her, I imagined it could be the last time, but I haven’t phoned in some time now. I feel bad about that.

I’m looking forward to hugging my grandpa and resting my head on his chest, just like I did all the time when I was a little girl. Smell that familiar grandpa-smell. I believe that he’s been grieving for awhile now, seeing it coming. I imagine that there is some relief when it all ends, but a hope lost that there might just be a recovery. I’m thankful that my grandparents have had some fifty-six years of marriage to each other. They have four kids, twelve grandkids and six great-grandkids. I like to think that my grandma has had a fulfilling life and is ready to go. I hope I’m right.

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Filed under Illness and Injury, Melancholy, Mi familia

Mastitis sucks (no pun intended)

I currently have the worst case of mastitis I’ve ever had.  I’m sure of it.  I’ve had it about thirteen times between all four kids, but this is only the second time with Ben.  It came on overnight,  hitting me at about three or four in the morning on Monday.  Chills, high fever, body aches, weakness and one very sore breast.  Usually when I get it, I get some warning – I just get sore one day and some redness and I can go into the doctor and get on antibiotics quickly.  This time I had no warning at all.  I’m feeling a little bit better today – no fever or chills – but still not great.  If you read my other blog, you will have read most of this already..but I haven’t posted here lately.

On Sunday we had a surprise party for Mike’s Grandma’s 75th birthday.  She was genuinely surprised to find 37 out of 42 family members present.  Two of her kids and their wives couldn’t make it and one granddaughter, but otherwise, we were all there.  That included 12 great-grandchildren – all 5 1/2 and under (Jenny is the oldest and Ben is the youngest so far).  What a fun time!  I only wish we could have had a whole weekend to hang out together.  I had never met a few of the kids and hadn’t seen some of the cousins in years.  Of course, they’re Mike’s cousins, but I’ve always gotten along really well with his family.

After such a fun weekend (Saturday I got my hair cut, cut Mike, Elias and Erik’s hair, went to a Christmas party without any kids…it was a good day), I was hoping for a fun week, too, getting ready for Christmas.  This is definitely not the start I was hoping for.  The good news is that I have already gotten four doses of antibiotics into my system, so with any luck, I’ll get better today.  If I don’t feel much better by this afternoon, I’ll have to go into the hospital for IV antibiotics.  And that would really suck. 😦

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Memory

The strangest part of this..whatever it is…is that I have such a hard time remembering things.  When I’m feeling really, really, awful, I try hard to remember good times I’ve had recently.  I know I’ve had really good times with friends, with Mike and the kids, but I just can’t remember them in any detail if it’s been more than a week or so since they happened.  I tell myself that if I focus on the positive things in the past, I can imagine them happening again.  The problem is that I just can’t remember them – no matter how hard I try.

Also attached to this memory problem is the fact that I do things – like send an email – and within thirty seconds, I can’t actually remember if I’ve hit the send button or not.  I actually emailed my dad a second time a few weeks ago because I honestly had no recollection of whether I hit send or not.  Turns out I should have checked my sent mail folder first…

I’ve always had issues with short term memory, but never this bad.  It’s like walking quickly through a busy room with only one thought in your head – reaching the door.  Once you are outside in the quiet, you might remember glimpses of people or things happening, but generally the whole experience is a blur.  It should be a blur – that was the point – get through the room and out the door.  What is in the room doesn’t matter. 

But when the “room” is equal to a week or a month or a year, this lack of memory becomes distressing.

At this point, there are two options in my  mind; hypothyroidism, for which I have much of the symptoms (and family history on both sides), or postpartum depression.  The list of symptoms are remarkably similar. 

Right now I’d take the thyroid problem any day.  Something physical that can be fixed with medication or the avoidance of certain foods.  I actually told Mike last night that I’d rather have cancer than postpartum depression.  And I meant it.

I just can’t imagine getting a whole lot of support or sympathy from certain people if this ends up being postpartum depression that I’m suffering from.  In fact, I can’t imagine telling anyone in the family if that is my diagnosis.  A diagnosed physical problem would certainly elicit a few more offers of help.  And a physical problem can be fixed.  I want to fix this.  It’s killing me.

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Filed under Illness and Injury, Life, in general, Melancholy

Groan

I’m sick.  Ben is sick. 

Laundry needs folding.

Floors need sweeping.

Noses need wiping.

Dishes need doing.

Sleep is elusive.

I’m walking around in a fog.

I probably won’t remember this week.

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Thirty-seven weeks…but hey, who’s counting?

Oh, right, I’m counting!  Three weeks until my due date…twenty-one days.  I’m not going to go into hours or minutes – that would be overkill.

Full term is nice, but a baby in my arms would be nicer.  🙂  I’m getting quite impatient and there is only one way to combat that – stay busy!  Forced nesting, novel reading, movie watching, solitaire playing – whatever works.  I came up with an idea last week that I hope will work for me – I’m going to give myself two options each day on a weekly to-do list.  My options for today are installing the baby carseat or finishing up on our bedroom.  Both need to be done before baby gets here and if I have the energy, I’ll actually do both today.  I was going to just have one thing to do each day, but then I realized it would be all too easy to feel too tired or overwhelmed by one task and skip it, leaving the whole day wide open.  Installing the seat today would be quick and I could do it while the boys sleep this afternoon.  It would take a good deal less effort than cleaning my bedroom but is also something that Mike could do, while the bedroom is definitely my job (only because I want it a certain way and it’s mostly my mess, not his – sheepish grin).  I got about halfway done last week while Mike was gone (more on that later) and it won’t take too much time but I want to do it thoroughly and not just rush through it.  It’s hard to say what I’ll decide on today, but I will have to make up my mind in the next half hour.

So, yes, Mike was gone from Wednesday morning until Friday night.  We survived, but just barely.  Wednesday offered a bit of time alone while my mother-in-law watched the kids, and then lunch with her and my sister-in-law (and all the kids).  That night was smooth and Thursday morning went just fine, too.  It all went downhill halfway through naptime on Thursday.  The boys woke up and Erik was having a hard time breathing.  We’d all had colds for some time so it wasn’t a big surprise, but still a pain.  I put the kids down at seven that night and watched a movie to unwind after a rough afternoon.  I should have gone to bed.  I had just fallen asleep around eleven when Erik woke up for the first time.  What followed was a very long night.  I was up once an hour with one of the kids – Jenny ended up sleeping with me half the night and throwing up twice in my bed – thankfully she’s old enough to wait for the garbage can to be strategically placed before puking.  Elias was only up once to go to the bathroom but then realized that Jenny wasn’t in bed and freaked out.  Meanwhile, I developed pain in my head and nose that felt like a sinus infection, which really didn’t help.  Erik and Jenny both had their inhalers twice overnight and by morning I felt ready to crawl under my bed and hide until Friday night.  We struggled through the day and when Mike pulled in around nine-thirty, I was practically euphoric.  The good news is that we got better over the weekend.  We stayed busy enough but had a nap both days.  We still all have runny noses and I’m still getting a sinus headache now and then, but we are better.  The best news is that Erik never had to go into the hospital.  I’ve gotten used to taking him in nearly every time he has any sort of cough or cold because his breathing gets so laboured.  We just went through that a few weeks ago and I was really not looking forward to it again so soon.

Anyway, now the boys are in bed and I’m fairly certain I’m going to go with carseat installation today.  There is also laundry to be done and I’ve had to turn Jenny down for three days in a row when she’s asked to help me fold laundry.  If she’ll keep up the colouring long enough for me to get the carseat in, I suppose we’ll probably take the laundry into my room and get that done.  It is never ending and there’s no point in letting it pile up for too long – it gets easier to leave it and harder to do when I don’t fold every load or two.

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Filed under Illness and Injury, Kiddos, Nine Months, The H Word

Coordination…sorely lacking.

Well, perhaps this was not an issue of coordination.  More like, not following my instincts to move something out of the hallway in the morning and paying for it later.  I cleaned quickly Friday morning but didn’t bother with a few things left in the hallway.  One was a lei that Jenny got at church.  It has beads between the flowers and is rather slippery if you step on it.  But I didn’t move it, even though something told me to.  Laziness said…what can it hurt? 

I put the boys down in the afternoon and put in a load of laundry.  That’s when everything went bad.  I stepped my left foot over the baby gate between the hallway and laundry room – right onto the lei.  I could do nothing about my leg starting to slide, and soon my right leg was slamming into the gate and taking it down.  I landed backside on the gate and back and head hard on the floor.  And it HURT.  I had a moment lying there, wondering if I was okay, making sure nothing hurt terribly and that I wasn’t bleeding.  It was brief and I even shed a few tears, confusing Jenny (why would Mommy cry from falling down?  She’s Mommy!).  I dragged myself up and laid down on the couch for most of the afternoon.  I’m just now starting to be able to ignore the pain in my neck and shoulders, although turning around reminds me of it. 

The moral of the story?  First, if you have a feeling about something that you should do, do it.  Even if it’s something simple, like moving an object to where it belongs rather than ignoring it (especially if it is potentially hazardous).  Second, don’t step over baby gates when pregnant, particularly when hugely pregnant like I am at the moment.  Move them.  It might take a minute more, but if you’re going to fall, it’s best not to have a gate in the way to make things worse.

And no worries, everything baby-wise is fine.  I paid careful attention to make sure baby was moving normally..but falling on my back, I wasn’t really worried.  I’m still terribly anxious to get this kid out of me as it seems there’s always something hurting lately – not always due to an accident.  To make matters worse, Mike hurt his shoulder somehow (hockey, maybe?) and can’t really help me much, so I’m left on my own for most of the household chores.  In another week, I’ll officially be full term and Mike will be back from his short trip to Edmonton.  This means that I’ll be jumping into “do everything I possibly can to go into labour”  mode.  I’m looking forward to it, even if I actually have to wait another three or four weeks after that.  Never hurts to try, right?

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Filed under Illness and Injury, Nine Months

Where oh where have I been?

I have an answer to that question.  But first:

I am so pregnant right now.  Ugh.  Thirty-four weeks.  Six weeks (probably more) to go.  People keep saying, “Wow, you must be due really soon.”  Yeah, well, some people seem to think May is soon, but it’s not even April yet. 

Good news is, we are having visitors for Easter.  This will make me forget the fact that I’m so pregnant and just enjoy the company.  My dad and my brother are coming up for a very short visit.  I haven’t seen my dad in over a year and a half and I haven’t seen my brother in more than three years!  I can’t wait for them to spend some time with my goof ball kids..and me, too. 🙂 

So, where have I been?  Well, here.  Decluttering at times, playing loads of spider solitaire, getting to bed too late, deciding where to spend the money, working on my final pre-baby number four swap.  Oh, and I left my computer off for two whole days last week.  I was so productive in that time that I decided it should be a regular feature of each week.  It may not be something I can implement after the baby is born, but as soon as I have the energy to get crafting or cleaning done, it’s happening. 

Oh, yeah, and since the 21st (when I last wrote), Erik and I spent a night in the emergency room – he more than likely had pneumonia and was treated for it, but no one ever confirmed that 100% – and Jenny and Elias both had high fevers and nasty coughs that thankfully went away without needing a trip to the doctor or any antibiotics.  It’s been a rough nine days.  With any luck, the next nine will be a whole lot more pleasant. 

Sorry for the silence.  I’ll try not to let it happen again.

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And then I started itching. And coughing.

Pregnancy woes…this one has been full of them.  Good thing I haven’t been plagued by crazy amounts of Braxton Hicks contractions so far.

Last week I started coughing – along with Mike and the kids.  Then I started itching.  I think that was the order they came in.  But the itching was a way bigger deal until today.  It just attacks me out of nowhere – awful itching all over my back, legs, arms, feet, hands, scalp…yuck.  My first thought was that my liver wasn’t doing so good, but after a blood test this morning, it is clear that’s not why.  So now I have no explanation for all this itching..just some Benadryl.  What took me to get a bloodtest was actually a sudden inability to breathe properly.  All last night I’d wake up and try to breathe deep and it would  hurt so bad.  Then this morning my respirations were way up.  Mike took me to emergency but it’s just a virus.  So it’s Benadryl and cough medicine.  And tylenol if the chest pain is really bugging me.  Oh, and 2,000 mg of vitamin C every day.

I am so ready to not be pregnant.  Eight more weeks…okay, I’ll say ten just because that’s as long as it could be.  Ten more weeks.  Ugh.

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Dealing with stress

I’m not good at it.  Dealing with stress, trouble, illness, debt, etc.  Rather bad, actually.  My brain wants to shut down.  I decided this morning that what I’d really like to do is crawl into a hole for six months and just spend all my time writing songs about the hole.  Visitors are welcome, stress is most definitely not. 

My household is sick again.  Nothing but a head cold (so far) this time, but it’s bad enough.  I’m constantly wiping noses – my kids and my own – and my body just wants to stay in bed and recover.  I took Erik to the pediatrician yesterday and did not like the outcome – more pushing for us to get the H1N1 vaccine and the seasonal flu shot.  We had H1N1 – my doctor is quite sure of this – but it isn’t good enough because it wasn’t confirmed by a swab or blood test.  And so this insistence on injecting my entire family with a vaccine that has not been tested nearly enough and may quite possibly cause serious harm to a large number of people who have rushed out to get it.  Maybe we won’t see the effects right away, but what about five or ten years from now?  I’m up in the air about the seasonal flu vaccine – I got it quite often as a kid but am not sure how I feel about it in regards to my own children.  I will have to take Erik in next week for booster shots on immunizations he has already received and I know I’m going to get the same spiel from the public health nurses – if you did not have a confirmed case of swine flu, you MUST get the vaccine and you should get the seasonal because you’re pregnant and two of your children have breathing problems.

I ache to live in simpler times.  No, I don’t want the terrible diseases that people once died from regularly or the struggle to survive past a certain age, but I really wish for a time when the medical establishment was not so interfering.  When our decisions were respected instead of scoffed at.  I think perhaps I need to go live with a bunch of hippies because I know I wouldn’t have to deal with it there.  I have considered taking my children to a naturopath, but according to friends who have seen her, she recommends the same thing for all her patients: no more gluten.  Unless my child is suffering from celiac disease, I am not going to cut all gluten from our diet.  Not happening, end of story.  I want to find preventative things I can do – things I can add to our diet or take away without greatly altering our way of life.  You have to draw the line somewhere, after all.

Meanwhile, all this brain noise is coming one week before Christmas.  One week.  When my gifts to my family are not in the mail yet and therefore will not be getting there in time.  When my exchange gift for my sister-in-law is still not purchased, no baking has been done and no wrapping of gifts either.  We just got our kids through their church Christmas program on Sunday, so at least that is behind us – but all the other responsibilities of the season are upon me.  When did it become so complicated to celebrate the birth of Christ?!  When did it become so stressful?  And how on earth can I get to a place of peace and rest and simple appreciation for the holiday?

Anyway, as soon as I find a nice warm hole to crawl into, I’ll let you all know and send out the dinner party invitations.  Mind you, I won’t be preparing any of the said dinner, but you’re welcome to come over and bring me food.  Just remember – leave all stress and unwanted advice at the door.

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Filed under Holidays, Illness and Injury, Melancholy, Mi familia, Rants