Taking care of a family is tiring. Every parent knows this. Taking care of a family when one or more of you has a chronic illness is exhausting. Only some of us know what this is like."Hospital weeks" feel like a death march on body and soul. I hope there are only a very small handful of you who, like me, knows what this is like.
It's been nearly two and a half years since Little Man had his first Bleed. It's been nearly a two and a half years of worry, fear and the loss of dreams. I'm a mama, we tend to lose our self with the passing of the placenta. Mama's are the whole of someone else's needs and we tend to forget or is that ignore own own needs often. Add a baby with medical needs and you are, at times, lost. We've all forgotten to brush our teeth until 11:00am, we don't shower for 3 days at a time and breakfast often consists of finishing up the cold oatmeal the toddler left behind in his bowl. Mmmm, breakfast of champions.
After Little Man had that first bleed, we spent months on end going to and from the hospital on a very regular basis. One afternoon Sue stopped by. I answered the door a lumpy, smelly, cold oatmeal eating mess. Sue is one of my best friends and she did what any true friend would. She sat me down and gave me a lecture. No, make that the best advise anyone ever had ever given me...
Take care Mama! It went something like this...
"What the hell? You look like Amy Winehouse on a bad day and you smell like swiss cheese." Can't you just feel the love? "Do you think you're doing anyone any good with this self deprivation? Well you're not. Go take a shower and for God's sake, brush your teeth before they start dropping out of your head." I just stared at her. So she said, "I've got the kids handled. Go!" She may or may not have muttered something about my being a dumb-ass, and my trepidation was a personal slight on her parenting and nursing skills.
I worried all the way up the stairs. And then I started the shower water...The hot streaming water and the soap washed away the filth made up of anxieties. I then put on a new layer, of fresh clothes that smelt of Tide and not of despair.
When I finally made my way downstairs, I did not find Little Man in the puddle of blood my imagination had me mopping clean. Instead, I found my sweet boy playing with my friends keys . All the while, Fairy Princess glued hearts and glitter onto a paper hat. It was a blissful sight to behold.
After a cup of tea and more "advise" from a mama in the know (years before she thought she might lose one of her own little Monkey Men to illness). Maybe it was the high from the deodorant fumes or the giddiness from the apple blossom scented shampoo, but I vowed take better care of myself. In all honestly, there are days that I don't get to shower until bedtime and I did eat Girl Scout cookies for breakfast, just this morning. But I do shower and I leave the last of the cold oatmeal alone. I am still sleep deprived and overly caffeinated, but the stench of the past is long gone.