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Archive for June, 2013

So, here I am. Ready to face stuff that I have been valiantly trying to avoid. No dice.

Warning: more taboo stuff.

I don’t feel like a mother. No, I don’t know what a mother is supposed to feel like, but it is a far cry from what I thought it would be. Many experiences of emotion have dramatically changed since the stroke – a muted sense of emotions that I used to feel so strongly. Love, happiness, sadness, all of it. So, here is the problem – I have had an incredible sense of connectedness to babies before. I don’t feel that with Andrew. It is confusing, frustrating, and makes me continually question my worth as his mother. This originally led to feeling that the world would be no different whatsoever without me. Of course, I knew this for what it was and saw my doctor to up my anti-depressants. While I no longer have these thoughts as strongly (they have always been niggling in the back of my head), I still have such a muted feeling of love and happiness for Andrew. I don’t care if others have experienced it, I cannot possibly believe that I could be as remotely a good mother as Andrew deserves. I hate that feelings that used to come to me so easily don’t tug at me any longer. How awful to say this about my own child. He is so very awesome and adorable and everything that anyone could ask for, now this is on the internet. I hope that I (1) change and (2) can explain this without making him feel awful about himself.

I have been called out at work. I have avoided posting about new cognitive issues for a really long time because I have work friends on Facebook where I link to this blog.

Memory problems have been plaguing me every since the seizures have popped up (what is that, almost 2 years or so?). Not just things like “hmmm…what did I have for breakfast this morning?” kind of stuff. Worrying stuff like picking up a prescription and forgetting and returning to the pharmacy, literally the very next day to pick up the same prescription. Like Bob telling me that he is grilling chicken for dinner and I ask him repeatedly afterwards if I should make something for dinner. He has been utterly frustrated with me. I totally don’t blame him. How old would that get (and how quickly)? It’s not just sometimes either. Never just once a day. Multiple times a day and it drags into work. Today, I wanted a bottle of diet coke. I knew it cost $1.25 and I gathered a dollar bill and searched for a quarter. I was so focused on the quarter that I grabbed one and walked down the hall. As I got to the machine, it dawned on me that I would need more than $0.25.

I realize that this example sounds silly. The thing is, I have been trying to compensate by taking detailed notes of meetings, conversations, and articles that I read. Once away from the meeting, conversation, or article, I cannot recall pertinent information. I have read an article several times not realizing that not only did I read it, but I took more than one set of nearly identical notes about the article. I knew that I have a sinkhole in my memory and that seemingly random information falls in never to be recalled or gathers on the edge to be remembered, but I didn’t realize how deep and serious it was until very recently when a concerned supervisor asked about it.

I struggled with how to respond. I could simply say “yeah, so I’m trying to deal with some stuff” (weak answer) or I could be painfully and humiliatingly honest. Honesty won. I cannot begin to explain the pain and struggle it was to press the send button. (1) Having to admit these problems to myself. (2) Admitting weakness to people I respect. (3) The frustration that comes with brain damage since I can’t point to my brain to say “see this right here? See how there is a black spot? That’s a problem.”

I have contacted my neurologist (apparently more than once, ugh) and cannot get in until October without the doctor’s explicit permission given his schedule. I know that this is how it goes. Medical specialists have packed schedules. I’m hoping that he can get me in sooner, but what if he can’t? What if I have to wait until October and my memory gets worse (not sure this could happen, but it is a worry)?

So, where is the good stuff, you ask? Grab your hats, I’m about to blow you away!

Andrew has tooth! One little sharp razor blade on the middle bottom. It is just breaking through but it is so stinking sharp! Others are on their way and although he is in pain and drooly (his cousins call him Droolpy!), he is taking it in stride and is still so happy and talkative (he is trying out all sorts of consonants and vowels). He really doesn’t let us get a word in edgewise. If you hear him talking, do not believe a word of it. He is just telling stories. We did not do what he is complaining about and he did not do what he is bragging about. He just doesn’t know what a lie is just yet and has a troubled relationship with the truth.

There is no doubt in my mind that I love him so very much. Bob is so smitten with him – Andrew has Bob wrapped around his little finger. God help him while he grows. His parents will try not to be helicoptery and overbearing, but there is no telling what will happen. 🙂

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So on and so forth

So, life is a lot busier now. Not unmanageable, but dang busier, that is for sure. For the first few months, Bob and I traded off nights for getting up with Andrew – every other one was mine. It was nice to get a ‘full’ (I mean, not really FULL full, but full enough to count) night sleep every other night. Then, THEN!!, Bob went off to Nigeria for 2 (TWO!!) weeks and I was a single mom during that time. I don’t know how people do it – I ate like crap, was exhausted constantly, the house looked a mess, and I was a mess. It didn’t really help that I got sick and as I was getting over that, Andrew got sick and gave it to me. It’s horrible enough to take care of an infant when you are sick, but when you’re both sick? The hole just got deeper, like a lot deeper. To put it simply, it was hard. Really hard. At one point, I left Bob the nastiest of all nasty grams on his voicemail. Andrew was crying and screaming, I was washing bottles AGAIN, it was a weekend which meant I was the only person to entertain Andrew every minute (the kid needs all of the attention in the world), and the house was awful. It will never happen again, Bob. Never.

So, anyway, now that we have dispatched with the necessities, let’s move on to more interesting (to me) stuff.

Benefits from the pregnancy on the stroke stuff: I now have a sense of satiety. Yay! I’m hoping this will make losing weight easier because, dang, baby weight is really hard to ditch. (quite possibly from the disturbing addiction to Taco Bell tacos and McDonald’s cookies during pregnancy, but you didn’t hear it from me)

Costs from the pregnancy on the stroke stuff: weight, as mentioned above. This is difficult because any added weight makes movement just that much more difficult. I’m looking forward to dealing with that soon, but apparently I’m not ready yet.

Oooh, I forgot about another possible benefit (may or may not be related to the pregnancy) – my walking has improved! If I concentrate, I can now roll my foot during contact with the ground. When you walk, your heel strikes and then your foot ‘rolls’ from the heel forward until you push off with the ball and toes of your foot. It is going to take some time to make this automatic, and I need to concentrate on it with every single step until that happens. I was thrilled when I first discovered this. Woo hoo!

Stairs are more difficult because 1) the added weight and resulting balance problems from losing weight and the change of center of gravity (discovered by falling downstairs and spraining my big toe) and 2) I’ve discovered that walking upstairs is difficult because I don’t have the strength/coordination to be able to push off the lower step to the upper step. I’m working on it though. 🙂 Oh, and apparently having difficulty finding words does not help in communication. Bob asked where the burp cloth was and all I could say was that ‘it’s on the thing next to the thing’. Surprisingly, this did not help him find it. Weird.

Also, I had to give a presentation at work, even though I practiced it, I could not find my words. I actually had to ask the audience the word I was looking for – I could easily define the word, but not recall the word itself. Embarrassing.

I have other stuff happening, but I hesitate to talk about it right now because I’m still working through it, both how to deal with it and what it means. Updates to follow.

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