I am once again going to try to get a blog post in here tonight. I have been wanting to write for about a week now, and just as I suspected, by the time that I can get to it, I just feel like I have forgotten everything I wanted to say.
Heavy on my mind right now? Sickness. We aren't sick (knock knock knock on wood) yet. So why do I care? Well, some of you may (or may not) know that I have issues with Anxiety, that really unleashed themselves after I had Ardyn. I was an anxious person to begin with, and add motherhood and the fact that the most important person in my world was outside of my body and couldn't be kept completely safe and under my control 24/7, and you have the very stressful postpartum anxiety. My biggest trigger for anxiety? Sickness. Something beyond my control and absolutely bound to happen. The anxiety over illness really hit me when Ardyn was little and I was so so so so sick with the stomach flu. Now most of you may or may not know that I am SERIOUSLY afraid of vomit. Like, probably more than anything except, perhaps, deep water. I DO NOT vomit. Ever. I haven't thrown up since I was in 6th grade, at which time I was about 10 or 11 years old.... never. not once. Not even a little. Not even from drinking (this is probably the number one reason that I have never drank.)
Now, a child vomiting (a young, helpless one) is not my favorite thing, but I feel such agony over it, for their poor little bodies, that I can handle it without an issue. Now, an adult vomiting. No way. When Evan and I moved in together, if he was sick, I literally EXITED the house. I can't tell you how many times I would be positively shaking with anxiety outside on the steps, in the middle of winter (yes, SNOW people! Snow!) in my ROBE (yep, just my robe) in order to get away from the sound of him throwing up. I hate it. I despise it. In fact it took me nearly 8 years to be able to not leave the house. It was all about baby steps. First I would just go on the back porch and plug my ears, and breathe deeeeep meditative breaths. I don't know why or how I became this way. All I know is that my mom is also a hater of vomit, and doesn't EVER throw up, and I believe that she somehow unknowingly passed that on to me. I become seriously anxious whenever around someone who has vomited, whether I saw it or not. Just KNOWING that you are going to or have thrown up is enough to make me want to exit the premises immediately. So, with that background, Illness. Anxiety. Hand in hand.
When I had the stomach flu and Ardyn was small, I was very very nauseous, and when I get nauseous, I can either make it worse, or make it better, depending on whether or not my head has a handle on it. My brain, is all powerful. And I am not kidding. I don't "not" vomit because my body never wants to. I can literally control my body with the power of my mind. Now, I am not claiming to be a sort of superhero. All I know is that there is a lot to be said for your mind and it's contribution towards the reactions your body has. I have learned over time that I can completely control my body and prevent many things from happening. By controlling my stomach and refusing to let myself throw up, I indeed ride out the storm until it comes out the other end (*sorry. not wanting to be all graphic.*) and therefore am much happier (eventually) when it "passes" so to speak. Now when I was sick and Ardyn was very little, I was SOOOO sick. I was on the verge of having a breakdown because I was having a very hard time controlling my nausea and I was literally going to the bathroom every 6 minutes and the between time was spent in bed, with a cold washcloth on my head, and hypnosis sessions playing on my iPod. (they work. They are my rock.)
Ardyn was apparently only interested in being attached to my BOOB. and I have to say, if you have not experienced it, breastfeeding a child is not a great place to be when you think you might throw up or shit at any minute. Seriously. It's just a cold hard fact. But being a man, my husband has no idea how incredibly terrible I am feeling, and believes that he too, is a bit nauseous. So while I am BEGGING for him to take the baby, he is parked on the couch telling me he doesn't feel good. IT WAS TERRIBLE. I was overwhelmed and I was scared and I was so sick. I just wanted to DIE. And I had no one. No One to take care of me and no one to take Ardyn so that I could just be sick and lay low and get over it. Of course, I lived. And then two days later, when Evan truly DID have what I had, and was writhing and moaning in bed, I said "Now, this is what I felt like when you refused to take care of Ardyn. Would you like to take care of Ardyn now?" and of course the answer was no, and I'm sorry, and all that "too little too late" crap.
But that incident SERIOUSLY messed me up. SERIOUSLY. I also believe that the vomit fear surrounds my childhood memories of vomiting, which usually involved me up pacing alone in the middle of the night, shaking and ALONE and waiting for it all to be over. And also the fact that I never felt BETTER after throwing up. You know those people who say "I'll feel so much better after I get sick?" bastards. that is SOOOO not me. I willb e sick for like two more DAYS. That's just the way it is for me.
So anyway. The anxiety peaked at that time. So bad that I actually started to have terrible panic attacks whenever I thought someone was sick. If I sensed that I wasn't feeling well, or that Ardyn wasn't feeling well, or that Evan might be bringing something home to us, I would have a full fledged panic attack. If you have never truly had one, a Panic Attack is a horrible, terrible, emotional, gastro-intestinal, cardiac incident that will blow your mind. And it's not uncommon for them to come in waves. Luckily, I 'mostly' have that under control now. But I still have a panic attack whenever I think one of us is sick. As soon as my stomach starts to hurt, a panic attack is on it's way. But now I have learned hypnosis techniques for getting through them, and minimizing them so that no one besides me would have an inkling of what is going on. The key is not to resist a panic attack, which indeed feeds it and makes it stronger. Go with the flow. it takes practice. I am not saying it feels good, but just saying "I am having a panic attack" to yourself, will do wonders. Practice practice Practice.
So then when I was very very very pregnant with Marek, and Ardyn was just about 16 months old, we caught the VERY bad stomach flu that was going around. VERY Bad. I have never ever ever been that sick ever in my 30 years, and that includes when I worked at the hospital for 6 years, and when I worked as a pre-K aide. I had recently had conversations with my mom about how I was so incredibly set off by illness and she assured me that I was NOT Alone, and that if I really was sick, I could call her and she could take Ardyn. I didn't want her to get this. I mean it was BAD. But at the same time, Ardyn had already had the flu, and she was feeling just enough better to be TOO well to be around us. She was still needing to be fed. And changed, and cared for, and supervised. Evan was sick too. He was throwing up. I was desperately trying not to throw up. It just kept getting worse and worse and diarrhea and vomiting and I was so so nauseous that I couldn't even watch CARTOONS with Ardyn because they might have "cartoon food" on TV. And when I would be laying there on my deathbed Ardyn (bless her freaking heart!) would come to the couch wearing little potholders from her kitchen and say "Look mommy, I baked you muffins so you feel much better!" and I thought I would throw up just hearing the word MUFFINS. It was terrible. Then it took a turn towards frightening. I couldn't eat anything because I just KNEW that I would throw it up. I was taking teeny tiny sips of water so that I hopefully wouldn't get dehydrated, but water was giving me heaves because I wanted to throw up so bad but I was terrified to throw up so I resisted until I was shaking. I ended up being completely afraid, and calling my midwife, and saying "I am so scared. I am so pregnant. I am soooooo Sick" and she assured me that coming to the hospital was okay and that I could get IV fluids and would feel much better, and that I could have anti-nausea meds too. I was so relieved. I had already called my mom for help, but she said that she had to work the next day and couldn't take Ardyn. I was so so scared. I couldn't take care of Ardyn! I couldn't take care of myself! And Evan was sick too and everyone knows how worthless a sick man is! Oy.
So finally I just said to Evan "I am going to the hospital" and we called my mom and told her that she needed to get Ardyn and i was going to the hospital. I spent hours as an outpatient getting pumped with IV fluids and the anti-nausea meds helped within an hour. they did wear off and I ended up pacing the halls with my IV pump, but I made it through with sips of ice water and practically a whole bottle of tums. my lips were chalk white because of all the tums I ate. It freaked out the nurses.
A week later, my mom got it. She was so sick that she passed out and Dad had to try to get her to bed. She said to me "I have never been so sick, and I can not BELIEVE that you were this sick and 8 months pregnant, and taking care of a 16 month old!" I think now she knows that when I say I need help, I really really mean it and I really really need it.
But, you take these two traumatizing incidents, and add in the upcoming flu season with all the talk of how BAD it's going to be, and all the H1N1 scares.... and I am absolutely petrified. Every single day I analyze every sniffle, every cough, every warm forehead, and panic that there might be sickness on the horizon. I know that we are going to get something. I just know it, it's inevitable. We have decided that we will be pulling Ardyn from daycare before the end of October. Just because it seems silly to put ourselves at that risk of bringing home all these illnesses when we don't NEED the daycare, and it's just once a week, and it's more like a "perk." I am being very vigilant about the kids and myself taking our vitamins (I can't control Evan, although I wouldn't mind getting one of those cattle pill pushers and shoving some vitamins into him too) and we ALL will be getting flu shots this year. I don't think the H1N1 vax is in our future at all.... but the flu shot I feel we should have. And I have bought some Emergen-C Supplement that I intended on drinking, and some Emergen-C kids that I wanted to give to Ardyn if she started showing signs of an illness.... but I tell you, the crap tastes like.... well..... crap, and i haven't been able to drink it myself yet. I am going to try to put it into another drink and see if I can hide the taste and make it possible.
So, Ardyn has had the snotty nose for about 3 weeks now. I chalk hers up to the sinus crap that comes with her seasonal allergies. Recently she has been restless and coughing at night, which is just like last fall, and leads me to what will probably be a nighttime cough suppressant before much longer. Now this morning Marek woke up with a snotty nose and I had to sucker him out. Poor litttle guy. And my throat was a little sore at 3am so I spent the rest of my sleep sucking on a vitamin C drop just in case. Oy. I wish I wasn't so afraid of being sick. More than anything, it terrifies me of how things will go crazy when I can't keep up, and how will I give the kids proper care when I feel like crap? And WHY oh WHY can't a man take care of someone when they are sick? What is UP with that?! I don't get it.
Oh well. Enough about sickness. I have laundry to fold and Grey's Anatomy on TIVO. Now you know all my strange anxiety triggers. LOL.