Sunday, February 6, 2011

One of Those Days...

As you know, I love bulbs and I bought these for myself a week ago. I've been waiting for them to bloom but the last few days have been really crazy and I kind of forgot about them. This afternoon, I happened to glimpse and this is what I saw:

And I thought, how appropriate for the week I have had! It was nice to have a laugh about it all - I needed that.

Mom has been sick for a long time. She sleeps a lot, doesn't seem to care about many things and seems to get very little done. I had actually decided not to long ago that she must be suffering from profound depression. I tried to broach it with Dad but, much as I love him, he only has so much room for reality when it isn't so nice and he basically brushed me off. Mom finally got in with a surgeon who told her that her problems were caused by 1. the hiatus hernia she has had for at least the last fifteen years and 2. her non-functional gallbladder. He felt that surgery was necessary a.s.a.p.

What followed was an exercise in frustration. She kept being told that she needed the surgery but she couldn't get a date. There were endless fruitless conversations with the surgeon's receptionist who was supposed to be setting everything up and, after intervention from the family doctor, a date was arranged - last Wednesday.

The family has been gearing up since then. Mom was nervous but also looking forward to the possibility of relief. We were all set to go and then last Sunday, I got the phone call - Dad was sick, my brother had taken him to emergency and he had been admitted to the hospital with his third case of pneumonia this winter (note to all - if you think that smoking for your entire life won't hurt you, YOU ARE WRONG). Mom didn't want to go through the surgery if something was wrong with dad. I was so frustrated, I thought I would lose my mind. For once, it needed to be about mom and not about everyone else.

Monday, once it became clear that dad was going to be o.k., she agreed that she would have the surgery. That is, if she could get to the hospital and the surgery wasn't cancelled due to lack of staff due to the big snowstorm that was supposed to come in. Then, on Monday night, she started to come down with a cold. Would they allow her to have the surgery???

Fortunately, the weather wasn't as bad as predicted and she got there. The surgeon seemed to think that the cold wasn't bad enough to cause a problem. The operation was done and we discovered why she has been so low. A full third of her stomach had entered her chest cavity and her breathing was impaired and she wasn't getting sufficient oxygen. She also had terrible gall stones and a stone in the bile duct (exactly the same as dh a month ago... strange coincidence). Her recovery would be slow and a bit uncomfortable but there is every chance that she will finally feel better.

For me, the rest of the week has been really frustrating. I have been essentially cut off from mom. Since I have the baby and am nursing, I can't go down to help and really, I would just be in the way. All of my information comes through my brother who, while I love him very much, makes me want to run away. He is in this anxious frenzy all the time and while he doesn't know much, he hears enough to decide that she is dying (e.g., when he heard that she had to have therapy to teach her to breathe again, he decided that she shouldn't be home because there had to have been lung damage - it took a long time for me to get him to understand that the training was to teach her to use her full lung capacity since she hadn't in years). I can't explain how awful it is to talk to him. He won't leave her alone for a minute at a time, he hovers constantly, I am not allowed to talk to her on the phone since I might exhaust her and he was trying to arrange with dh to go down there for a while next weekend since she shouldn't be left alone (in his mind) and he will need to get groceries. I think, 10 days after a surgery that wasn't all that major, that she can be left for an hour. I am getting emails telling me not to phone since I might wake her up (nevermind the fact that I haven't phoned since her operation and mom and I have agreed that I won't so she can rest). It's really hard to have to give in to his over-anxiety (he needs help for it but the family, for reasons that I don't understand, panders to his worry rather than helping him to work through it). I've felt guilty because I haven't been able or allowed to help, sad because I miss my mom and grieved by the knowledge that I have been shut out of the family (and I now know, down the road, if there is a more serious health issue, that I will be pushed aside immediately unless I really fight, which I just don't have the energy for).

It's been lots of little things, too. I have burned more recipes than I can list this week, Baby Bean is getting a tooth and isn't sleeping. When my friend, the classically trained French chef, came for lunch the other day, I made a mess of everything I served (my friend is wonderful and was gracious but I felt like a fool). I realised that I miscalculated my salary for the summer and we are going to be much tighter this summer that I had originally thought. I messed up the hat I was knitting for myself and the finished product was less than stellar (I'll share that in a knitting post). My clothes don't fit and I hate Sunday morning because I haven't got anything nice to wear to church that fits. Finally, Dh's cousin's son is missing at sea after a boating accident and is probably dead. The week has left me exhausted and discouraged and beaten down.

It's not all bad, though. I am married to a wonderful man who can make me laugh, even in these awful times. The flower, once we both noticed it, gave us a good laugh (and some jokes from dh about viagra). To finish the day off, I made us some comfort food, an apple-cheese oven pancake (these are seriously yummy). Usually, it rises around the edges and then cheese and apples and sugar are used the fill the middle. I opened the oven door, and this is what I saw:
We decided that the viagra conversation had spread to the oven... again, totally silly but I love that dh can bring the silly back exactly when I needed it.

Dinner ended up being delicious and I have high hopes that this week will be better than last. In the meantime, I'm going to have a nice, hot cup of tea, do a bit of knitting in front of the t.v. and say a prayer of thanks that I survived last week in one piece.


  1. Oh, sweetie, that's a couple of weeks that would make anyone want to run away and take refuge in a cave! If you ever need to come down and see your mom and stay overnight, please know our home is open to you so you can stay with us with Bean, for one thing. For another, it takes time to get yourself back together, and babies keep you busier than anything else I know. I know you expect perfection from yourself at all times, honey, but it's not fair to yourself right now, with your hands full.

    Meanwhile, next time you come into town, borrow a couple of dresses from me for church - I don't wear half of them in the winter, and they would work for you with a cardigan. You can give them back when you get back into yours - which will happen one day, but you can't rush it too much, so you can borrow some of my stuff to get you over that hump, so to speak. (heh) Okay? Let's do that once you are feeling back together - things seem to have settled down here somewhat, despite The Bun being on day 3 of diarrhea, following a day of fever and a day of vomiting before that. (blech) (I am totally tempting fate in saying that, aren't I?)

  2. You are too sweet and you even manage it after three days of caring for illness. There is nothing worse than a little one with stomach troubles. Here's hoping that The Bun is the only one to suffer and things can calm down again for you! You are so good to me, know that it is really appreciated. I'm surviving and I know that after last week, it's reasonably likely that things will get better :-).

  3. I'm exhausted just reading that...I sure hope this week has already started out a little brighter for you.

  4. Thanks, Jill! I hope that the slightly tongue-in-cheek tone with the flowers and food lets you know that I am managing o.k. I am feeling much more peaceful and while I get overwhelmed, these days it doesn't seem to last as long. I was thinking that today - I have my moments but our home and family gives me so much joy. I LOVE having two kids and Dh and I are really on the same page, it's wonderful.

  5. We all have moments - I have them daily! The stress takes it's toll and drives me to my knees often.