Monday, November 26, 2007

Giving Thanks

A quick note to thank you all for the supportive comments and emails.

A tiny bit of valium (and reducing) helped with the panics! And T is improving, LP has heaps of stitches but is OK and I have had a gentle day yesterday with many hugs. I even managed to take my Mum and a niece out for lunch fairly successfully for Mum's birthday.

Today I am off to work in a few minutes (for a late, early, early) and I have posted the Ultimate Purple Bag to Melissa (photos soon). And the apricots are ripening on the tree and my sister from Melbourne will be here in 18 sleeps. I have more crafting to look forward to - I plan to make an inner child healing doll, as well as a bunch more bags and purses. I went to the Japanese vintage kimono/yukata shop on Friday (yum)

It could be worse.

Friday, November 23, 2007

I had a good day today

I saw the therapist again last night and we did more hard stuff, after reviewing the week that was. I know there is no way out but through, and I know I will feel pretty destabilised for a while.

Its like I have swept stuff under the carpet all my life and now there's no flat areas left to walk on. It is so full of lumps and bumps that stumbling is UNAVOIDABLE. Sigh. So I am biting the bullet and having a sweep out (I KNEW I hated cleaning for a reason). Inner child stuff, self-esteem issues, eldest child stuff, boyfriend stuff, parenting stuff, useless mother guilt stuff, pointless beating up on yourself stuff. All being taken out and looked at. Sigh. Brave maybe, but hard, and I'm not going back to walking around ALL the lumpy bits again. Some may stay, in smaller piles perhaps for another day, or mostly unfixable. But maybe...just maybe... I could let a lot of it go...there's certainly stuff that it would be painful to keep any longer.

I went to work today, and I have come home sane, not too stressed, and will be optimistic about going back tomorrow. When Don comes home tonight we will all go to the hospital together to see T, who has a second small bleed on the brain, but is not too much worse.

Thanks for listening (and commenting). The acceptance and comfort of friends really does help.

Day by day, keep breathing, stay vertical.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Gods know my address

Today's question is - why do the Gods know my address?

You know the cliches.
'Some people have one of those days, I have one of those lives!' Or
'I try to take one day at a time but lately several days have hit me at once'

I seem to be in one of those phases at the moment, which if I think about it is the first time in months (if not years) that I have been so. Hmm, that's an improvement I suppose. And only one of the current crises actually involves ME personally, but the others are very closely related.

Its a little tricky to explain all the ins and outs, but I am in a period of therapy currently and feeling pretty destabilised, bleak, depressed and very anxious. Not my usual sparkly self at all. And I am really falling back on my 'in sickness and in health, for better or worse' guy. This is hard. But I really want to trust him with this and so far he is doing ok with it. A bit freaked out by it, but hanging in, and being a bit of a rock really. Phew. (Thanks hon) I am really NOT used to being needy and clingy, but I am completely wanting to be joined at the hip with him at the moment and needing lots of hugs and reassurance. Its hard. Capital H. And I want it to be better NOW, and it can't come fast enough or reassuring enough, so I am sub-panic alot of the time. Pretty yukky feeling. So not me. But clearly me inside (long story). Anyway...during this last month I have been stickin pretty close to home what with feeling so wobbly and all, and then I got a nasty virus that laid me low too. Cue violins. I am back at work now but still taking medications to help with the panic (its working).

SO late Tuesday night my youngest sisterH rings me and tells me that she is in hospital with her eldest (T=16) as she has fallen from the back of a slow moving car (driven by sis) and got a fractured skull, a subdural haematoma and bruising to the brain. Clunk. Oh crap. Poor sis. T is transferred overnight to the major tertiary hospital for neurology care and assessment. She is conscious and able to move her limbs and speak, but .... oh God, it is sickening. So we rally around and bring food and clothes and practical stuff, and take turns with her as she has a 14 y.o. and 11 y.o. twins as well and an iffy husband. T is improving. And then she calls me in late afternoon (24hrs post accident) and says the police have just been on the phone and it is her 14 y.o. son - he has been involved in a bike vs car accident and is being taken to the children's hospital. Husband had just left the adult hospital after seeing daughter, and was then diverted to meet the eldest son (LP). Holy crap. LP has sustained deep cuts to one knee and various scrapes and bruises but was able to go home that night after a few hours. The twins were with him at the time of the accident, and were taken home to a neighbour while parents were in two different hospitals.

Poor family, poor kids, poor parents, poor twins who witnessed both accidents. How much is enough. My sister is being pulled in all directions. Our Mum stayed overnight with the 16y.o. in hospital while sis went home for a sleep (/fight with husband) I took the morning shift while she dealt with school crap for twins and took LP to Mum's for the day, then to hospital and now Mum is hassling for H to sleep at home tonight because the other kids need her. Mum is calling me to 'talk H into staying home' . H is refusing because the only place she feels she can stay sane is by the bed of the one with a head injury and getting the news directly (and i can see where she is coming from), the other kids need to see T to reassure themselves she is OK (she should be) and their Dad needs to suck it up and get it together.

In the meantime, I can help with very little of this because I am fairly depleted at the moment, and most of it is long-standing dysfunction involving many 'adults' who make their own choices about how to behave towards each other.

So you see what I mean? The depression bit is mine, but the timing of all the other crap that I am also very concerned about is a strain. And will be resolved with time. By (mostly) others. But it is a pretty crap period to be in the middle of. My family don't know about my current depressed state, and I don't plan to tell them because it would be construed as copping out or as one-upmanship, but it is very hard to maintain boundaries for self-preservation when events like this intervene.

By the way... I have 2 other sisters, one in another state who would be very helpful and is distressed at not being here, and another one here who has divorced Mum and has little to do with the other two. She has been informed of the double H/T/LP crisis, but not mine, as she too has partner hassles at the moment and is feeling underloved as well.

Sigh, is this the modern disease? There seems to be alot of it around. Anyway - I wish the Gods would lose my address and stop visiting troubles upon us, but then I s'pose the good things couldn't be delivered either if that were the case. . . .

C'mon good things...c'mon good things...Yesterday my husband came home with flowers and choccies and hugs cos he picked up that I was feeling wobbly. Is he doing good or what?

On a good, comforting note I have made and am about to post the Ultimate Purple Bag to its new owner, Melissa, in Colorado. Bless your heart Melissa, it has been a great pleasure to make a bag for you through all this hassle. My first customer. I have also received many expressions of interest in my midwifery pouches and plan to make a pile of them for sale at work. Even my clients have commented on us wearing them (3 of us in a row have cared for the same women who noted the bags).

I am also wearing a heart related brooch or badge daily to remind myself I am loved and loveable, and trying very hard to keep a even keel. But it is difficult. Even blogging seems risky in opening the door to tears, but I am inspired by the women whose blogs I read and who use blogging to connect and de-isolate themselves, and so i, too, hope to be. Ups and downs are a common experience and ANY tool to externalise it and stop it eating us up has got to help. This is our community, and community shares. I don't want to LOAD anyone, just get some of it off my chest. Besides I only have a couple of readers (I think).

So I have set up the blank etsy shop too (in my spare time) and although it is currently empty I plan to make a small selection of luscious goodies for some fun on the side.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The 8th already?

How did it get to be November 8th already? I just blinked and the weeks flew by.I've been away for the weekend and at work for three days after that so I guess that accounts for 6 days.

My weekend away was for the twice-annual Kalparrin Mother's respite weekend camp. This is a group of women who are linked by all being mothers of children with special needs, and we go away together twice a year to have a kidless, husbandless weekend to rediscover ourselves in the midst of our busy, often chaotic, lives. I have attended 32 of these events since November 1989 and they have genuinely shaped my life (and continue to do so).

We arrive on Friday early evening and settle in to our accomodation, usually a large house or dormitory style setting. We hold an introductions session, where old friends and new gather and set the scene for the weekend, sometimes with a theme. We are then released to socialise and catch up with our colleagues (this is a peer conference, remember) and often have a late night chatting. It takes a lot of effort to get mothers away for a weekend alone, so we make our time count. There are workshops over the weekend for fun, or more serious stuff like journalling, and a dinner event and dancing on Saturday night. There's pampering too - reflexology, Reiki, massages, manicures and counselling if required. Its really great.

When I first attended camp my daughter's paediatrician arranged to have her admitted to hospital and be specialled for the weekend, so I could feel secure enough to go without burdening my husband with sole care of her and our 3 year old. At the time she was naso-gastric tube fed and had massive reflux with violent retching, gagging and cyanosing followed by projectile vomiting. She often threw up her tube which had to be reinserted before the next feed on a 3 hourly round the clock cycle. The worst day for replacement was 6 tubes in one day, but it was usually (only) 2 per day. Every tube replacement meant she had to be restrained and she naturally fought and gagged the insertion. All this to keep her alive, because she had almost no instincts to be hungry and only cried with hunger and swallowed milk (my expressed breast milk) in a coordinated fashion about 5 times in her first two years of life. Those few minutes are precious memories that still make us misty eyed.

Anyway...this nasogastric torture /feeding hassle continued for a year at which point a gastrostomy tube was inserted directly into her stomach. She continued to be a non-oral feeder (and massive vomiter) until the age of 2 when, after an intensive behaviour modification therapy program, she learned that her mouth was not just an exit point, but that she could learn to be an 'eating girl' and put (smooth) food into her mouth and swallow without gagging. Triumph!! We had an 'Eating Girl' party! We invited all our family and friends and supporters and therapists and celebrated Stephanie's oral eating triumphs. It was pretty cool. We weren't completely out of the special needs woods but it was a massive improvement. And I continued to cope by meeting with my colleagues at regular camps and supporting others (and sometimes being supported by them).

This weekend was the 50th camp to be held so the theme was "All that glitters is gold". We had a special ceremony to honour the early organisers of the mother's camps and those who have continued to be involved, including the first-timers who are the future of the organisation. We scattered rose petals, held hands, laughed and cried, looked at photos, journalled, gasped to see long-lost friends, caught up on news, ate and drank heartily, and gave thanks for the gold in our lives - in all its forms. Whether found in the dirt at our feet like alluvial gold nuggets, or panned for with careful examination in the light of day, or blasted out of deep deposits with dangerous dynamite and extracted by acid and cyanide digest - these are the ways to get gold. We, as a group, have used all methods and understand the value of the flecks or nuggets we hold. We were offered these images, and challenged to refashion our gold if it didn't suit us in the current form. At the end we all took home small packets of gold hearts, with some glitter to add other sparkle to our lives, to remind us of the gold we had shared that weekend and to keep.

I didn't feel up to too much gold and glitter this weekend, but dressed all in white to glow a little, with a sparkly heart brooch instead to remind myself that I am loved. The weekend did however remind me of how lucky I am to have such a group of thoughtful, insightful women to belong to, and how much they have sustained me on my journey as a mother and a woman. We would be very happy to never have another mother qualify for the group, but we have been privileged to share many life experiences - before, during and, sadly, after disability - and we are all the richer for it. We laugh and laugh, and may not see each other between camps but we share a very intimate life in so many ways.

So this is some of the background that I bring to my craft as a midwife. People ask did I become a midwife because I like babies? Or because I was inspired by the nurses and midwives who cared for us in our contacts with disability? Well, yes and no. I like babies immensely, but I am more interested in the containers they come in - in women, and families. To see a baby in the context of its parents, and family - THAT is the complete picture. Otherwise I might as well be a paediatric nurse , which is not my calling.

I understand the big picture, that a baby, per se, is not the be all and end all to family life. I know that when a child is born with a disability that the important thing is that a child is born. And that the important thing when a couple become parents of a child with special needs is that they have become parents. Four months in utero, four minutes of life, four years or four score years, that connection between parent and child is immutable. As a midwife I work in this field of transformation, and I love to see that understanding dawn in the families I work with. It gives you hope.

So, where was I? ...having a lovely camp took up a few days. Then I went back to work where I am beginning to find my feet and feel competent. My brain is now finishing the shift with me, and no longer waking me up at night with things it has just remembered from the late shift!

Hmm long post, kids hovering, got a cold and feel like crap (how do tracheas hurt anyway?). Lots to do, including finishing the new Ultimate Purple Bag (2/3rds done). To the shower!