Most moms don't have to worry about what a chronic pain mom has to worry about. Day to day fears that we have almost seem like they couldn't ever be real fears, but they are. For me, with my Avascular Necrosis and Autoimmune Arthritis Diseases, I already have real fears that I am faced with before I lift my head off the pillow that I carry around with me all day long until I place my head back down on that same pillow. We get used to it in a sense. Realistically, we don't really get used to it, but we learn to live with it and how to deal with it from day to day. We learn how to add to our life of chaos a partner, a spouse. For me, it is a husband of 12 years this past June 10th. He knew partially what he was getting into, but when we met 18 years ago, I didn't really know what my life was headed toward so I could only warn him of what I already knew. Later, if we are ready, well as ready as we will ever be, we can add to our lives a child, and even later maybe another child. The chaos does not get any easier to deal with, believe me. We have an 18 month old, as of Thursday June 14th. He is quite active, a very physical child, much more active than I was at that age. He is doing things now that I didn't begin doing until I was 5 years old or even older (well not the talking; I had that down by 11 months, and still nobody has been able to shut me up).
So Michael is now 18 months old, as I was saying. He runs, jumps, sings, knows his alphabet, counts to 5, speaks 2 languages (English and Spanish), eats with a fork, knows his colors, can work a smart phone, has been able to work the stereo since he was 6 months old, can work the DVD player, can work the TV remote, loves blocks, books, and cars...He is tall, thin and handsome. I love him more than I thought I could ever love another human being. I knew going into this, adopting Michael, that it wouldn't be easy. For me, there is not a lot that IS easy. It isn't easy to clean, cook, get dressed, eat a meal with utensils, bathe, walk (not always), paint my nails, put my make-up on, fix my hair, floss my teeth, etc. You get the jist of it. Many people questioned why I would adopt a child and how I would be able to do it. People like myself who have chronic pain diseases and disabilities such as Avascular Necrosis and Autoimmune Arthritis, etc. CAN raise and take care of a child. It is not always easy, and it may not always be done by the way the books say to do it. But it definitely CAN be done. There is no reason why a person like myself should be denied this beautiful experience.
Right now it is a difficult time. I am going through such horrible guilt. I had to get my right hip replaced on May 10th. It almost completely collapsed just after the holidays 2011. My hubby and I agreed the best time to schedule my surgery would be the beginning of the summer when he didn't have to teach so he could help me out as much as possible. I had the other hip replaced 8 1/2 years ago. Back then it was also just the 2 of us since we live away from family, but we also didn't have a child. Adding to the mix this time around is Michael. We were on the wait list to get him into full time day care at the day school he was attending a couple 1/2 days already. I had been sending him there a couple 1/2 days so he could be around other kids his age and around illnesses to build up his immune system. I started that when he was 9 months old. Now he is attending full time which is Mondays through Fridays 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. This helps us out because Jim can drop him off in the morning, go to work, and then pick him up on his way him. I am home all day by myself, but I don't have to worry about Mick. He is taken care of. It is a great place, religiously, socially, and educationally.
The hard part is that Jim goes to work all day, and he takes care of Mick in the morning and the evening. He gets up with Mick in the morning to give him breakfast, gives him his bath at night and puts him down at night. He also gets up with him in the night if he has a rough night. Meanwhile, I do nothing!!!!!!!!!! I am recovering so well. I am walking without any assistive device! I have precautions though. I cannot bend over past 90 degrees. I can't turn my foot inward or twist, and I cannot cross my legs over each other. I also cannot lift or carry Mick. That is huge!!! For a while I was on the couch with a gate around me so he couldn't get to me. I called it my island. Mick would throw toys my way to play with him. I would just toss them back. If I had to use the bathroom, Jim would take Mick into another room so he didn't see me move from my island. So sad..........
So now that I'm walking around more, Mick is following me around more. We are allowing him to walk up to me and sit on my lap for a bit, but he tries to climb down and back up. When he does this, he pushes off my leg with the new hip which isn't a good idea. Also, he tries to climb behind me which causes me to lean forward which could make me go past 90 degrees easily. He doesn't understand why mommy can't get on the floor and play, why mommy doesn't go for walks with him and daddy, why mommy doesn't sit at the dinner table to eat with him and daddy, why mommy doesn't pick him up, why mommy doesn't come in and get him out of his bed, why mommy doesn't give him a bath, why mommy doesn't hold him ever anymore.............
I have such a hard time myself, just watching.........
My hubby is beginning to lose his patience. He is having a hard time looking at me on the couch all the time. He has a hard time believing I can't do anything to help him with Mick. Many times I just look at him while he is having a hard time with him. I am thinking how horrible I feel that I can't help, while he tells me he can't believe that I can't do anything yet because he thinks I'm moving around so well.
Thing is that this whole thing can be so frustrating! We can appear as though we are doing so great. We feel better. After the diseased hip is removed and replaced with a new metal hip, the pain is gone. We have the surgical pain for a while until the incision is healed because they cut through muscle and tissue. Also, we are doing physical therapy and rebuilding that muscle so there is some muscle pain. We begin doing more things. We stop using an assistive device. And if you are anything like me, type A personality, you will try to do as much as possible, pushing the line of the precautions. I have been cooking, putting laundry in the wash and from washer to dryer, swimming, putting clothes in the closet and drawers, playing with Mick on the couch, walking more, and trying to do more with Mick without going against my precautions. So I am pushing it, and perhaps too hard. I fell on Thursday. I was frying a hot dog for Mick, and I dropped something on the floor. I have been picking stuff off the floor by extending the hip replacement leg back straight so that when I bend down to the ground I am only past 90 degrees on the other hip replacement side. Well, when I bent down, I hit my head on the counter, lost my balance set my foot down just as I reached what had fallen to the floor, basically touching both my toes and then falling. Bad news!! Not only did I risk dislocating my hip while bending over, but falling certainly didn't help!
When Jim came into the kitchen, I was crying. He told me to go back to the couch, and he would continue making the hot dog for Mick. I told him I was fine and that I would finish it for him. I did.
Today, I was getting ready to eat a bowl of cereal on the couch, when Mick came charging through, and he fell right in front of me and hit his front teeth on the coffee table. Jim and I were both so upset. I was upset because I couldn't get to him soon enough, and if I could, I might have risked dislocating my hip in the process. Jim was upset because he feels so overwhelmed. He thinks it's so hard to work, take care of a child and take care of me. After 3 months, my precautions will be lifted, and he shouldn't have so much stress on him anymore.
I told him that there is a reason that I am the one that needs to get joint replacements. If he can't handle the stress with what he is dealing with right now for a few months, how could he ever deal with the stress we all deal with all the time.
I think that our lives are always stressful. We have to know how to cope, or we would totally lose our minds, we would stroke out, or have blood pressure through the roof! When I watch him totally fall apart over these things, I think about how we all have learned how to simply balance our lives. I think that is the answer to everything~balance. I keep telling my husband that he needs to balance and prioritize his days. He wants to do everything and please everyone. He could never have a chronic illness!!!! He was so worried about having the bathrooms cleaned before my parents came in town to help me out while he went out of town. They were coming to help. They could clean the bathrooms. No more stress. Problem solved. Instead he made himself sick over the whole thing because he couldn't find the time to clean the bathroom.
He was so upset about Mick falling today also. He kept putting it on himself. He was saying things like he couldn't handle another stressor. I told him to give Mick some ice water to drink. There was nothing else to do for him. His tooth was fine. They won't stitch his gums. Gums will bleed a lot because of it being in the mouth. It is the third time he has hit his gums above his front teeth. The other 2 times were at day care playing outside when he was first learning to walk. There is nothing you can do about it. When I try to calm him down, he gets upset. He needs to figure it out for himself I guess. But, for sure, you can ask anyone, we as chronics, are the best at organizing our time because we know what will overdo it, what will be too much, what will wear us out, what will be just over the line for us. Perhaps we should teach a class.........
As for the guilt..........I don't know about that. I think as chronics, we will always have it. It is hard not to. On one hand, we can do anything we want, anything we put our minds to. On the other hand, many of the things we do are done differently. We can't always do what we say we were going to do, so we can't make promises because we don't know if we can keep them. That is hard when you have kids. Wanting to be normal is always a dream although we most likely will never achieve it. We can always do things differently which makes raising a child possible. My husband and I have raised Mick for 18 months without any help until my hip replacement. I think that is proof that it is very possible especially since normally I am home all day with him while Jim works. Jim comes home, and he gives him his bath and puts him to bed. That is our normal. That always worked out fine.
I just want to say to all of you mommies with chronic pain, chronic illnesses like me, don't give up. Keep up the good work. It is father's day, so happy father's day, daddies, and thanks to all the fathers who have helped all of us mom's out so much. We appreciate it so much! Moms need to know that the dads believe in the moms, and the dads need to respect the moms. Listen to each other. Love one another. Do what you can for each other because what you do to help each other is really helping your little ones.