A Tale of Two Mommies

…because more seems excessive…

Tag Archives: health care

Pillow Talk and Other Conclusions

Little by little my pressure release valve turns. Much of my acutely bad days are very specific, last a day or two, and then life moves on…until the next cycle where I repeat the process.

Image result for steam pressure

(Shutterstock knows how it is…)

Yesterday I learned my pap smear is fine…exhale. I’m good about doctor visits, which includes whatever annual check-up. I am especially diligent about appointments having to do with my lady parts. I have a history of cervical cancer that led to two cone procedures ten years apart. I don’t remember when the last one was, certainly at least a few years before my pregnancy with Little Man. I could have sworn I had the exam last year, but there is no record in the computer system. So, either something else was bungled when the hospital that includes my physician’s office switched to a dramatically new computerized system, or I forgot. I’ve never forgotten to have the appointment, but my memory isn’t great with a lot of things.

I had my primary care doctor do the exam, which I was fairly uncomfortable about. I never realized how little I liked having men rooting around in my nether region for an examination until I had a woman do it. I always thought it was just an unpleasant procedure that made me anxious. I have a trauma history, so it isn’t a mystery as to why such an exam would bother me. But, now that I know the difference, it’s more glaring a decision to make. At the moment, however, it’s too much to sit in the waiting room of a large practice that is perpetually spilling with pregnant women. My primary care doctor has always been pretty fantastic, unlike most of the other doctors I’ve encountered though my health travels. I decided to pull up the big girl pants, and just do it.

Image result for adulting gif

(Live at Everett couldn’t fit in “Neener neener…”)

I was nervous going in for many reasons, but mostly worried that having lapsed a year something was wrong. I don’t want to be overly dramatic about this. The cervical cancer I get moves at a glacial pace and easy to treat, but I still worried things weren’t okay. In reality it was more about the addition of another thing to think about, but I’d still been holding my breath about it. I abstractly knew this, but sometimes it’s hard to understand weight until it’s gone. This exam has been plaguing me for months. But, I’m okay…exhale…and another item from my list of thoughts removed.

I’d like to say I’m a spectacular parent. I suppose I’m a good one, but with so many things bombarding my mind, it’s hard to feel my best. It’s hard to stay in the moment and just appreciate. I can in finite spurts, but there always seems to be consuming competition.

My parents were up for Thanksgiving. I’ve mentioned a few times of how my son struggles with the excitement. I’m more in tune to this mechanism than I’m describing, but it seems each visit my son struggles a bit more…sooner and more intensely. This was about a three week visit with an unusually jammed schedule. The week of Thanksgiving my son had no school…changes in routine consistently hard for him. The saving grace for vacations or lack of structure is that I’m around and shepherding him through his days. If I’m present doing the lackluster mundane life stuff, he’s usually fine and quite chill…both kids are. The past few weeks, though, were meetings and appointments and simply a cacophony of stuff that required Mr. Man to spend some hours or much of a day under my parents’ exclusive care. He loves Nana and Papa, but not as much as he loves a normal day with me. He will simultaneously be exuberantly excited for the time with my parents, and seething at me for reasons he is a little young yet to explain.

But, for three weeks he’d been aggressive toward me. Little Man isn’t really an aggressive kind of kid. Certainly tired or hungry, but it’s isolated. I often get the brunt of it, but probably more do to proximity than anything else. The past few weeks, however, was intense, frequent, and mostly directed at me. Sometimes he’d stand inches in front of my legs and give this Damien glare that is creepy at a level I can’t describe.

Image result for omen damien

(Having the occasion to reminisce about my horror movie loving days I realize Little Man completely blows this kid out of the water…no contest.)

Other occasions he’ll begin hitting me without obvious antecedent, and sometimes quite hard. And, while I intellectually get where a four-and-a-half-year-old is emotionally, and I know he still loves me; this kind of thing very much hurts my feelings. I’ve been vulnerable anyway, and just don’t need my little man to be focusing his ire at me, especially in such a hostile manner.

The other night I was tucking him in. We have this routine called “dinosaur jokes,” and while it’s kinda a dinosaur thing, it isn’t remotely a joke thing. Its genesis was jokey related…more like word play I can’t quite remember the specifics of. It was an impromptu spin from a book my son never wants read, but somehow has memorized. I couldn’t get him to change his diaper or something, and he was getting mad. I began this word play thing and it became something he started requesting almost every quiet moment of the day for weeks. But, now it is exclusively a night time bed routine, and it’s somehow morphed into something else entirely.

My son makes a comment, and I as the dinosaur (indicated by me saying, “Roar,” before my statements) respond with some kind of sequence or cause/effect remark.

Image result for dinosaur dance gif

(Tenor must be listening in on our dinosaur joke extravaganza each night to create an equally believable dinosaur characterization.)

The last few weeks it’s been about the dinosaur eating his fruits, vegetables, and bacon. We have ten rounds that I count down, and invariably he speaks about sharing whatever food items with friends and family. Even when it isn’t about food, he will rope in friends and family.

Occasionally, however, this exercise becomes a way for him to express what’s bothering him. The last time was a conflict with a peer that he needed to work through at the beginning of the school year. But, the other evening he was talking about the dinosaur missing people. The phrasing, however, didn’t make a lot of sense. The only thing clear was that the dinosaur missed people he loved. My parents were leaving in the next couple of days. I assumed his focus was on that, but I know better than to run with such assumptions, as I’m often wrong…or not exactly right when I apply my logic to his thinking. Little Man regularly perseverates on things that aren’t immediately obvious. So, I asked an open ended question at the conclusion of the “jokes”…certainly I can’t interrupt the ten exchanges. That would be madness!

I don’t remember my exact wording, something along the lines of: Are you missing someone? Do you want to talk about it? He did, in fact, want to talk about it. His face close to mine facing me on his pillow, and quietly tells me he doesn’t like it when I go away. While he noted the days of appointments, he was mostly referring to when I teach one morning a week. Interestingly, he hasn’t had a problem when there are hired sitters watching him, unless my absence is two days in a row with no time in between that he can spend with me. We had a conversation about how I need to have things for myself to be a happy mommy, which I don’t think he could accept in that moment. He repeated that he has been missing me and mad. We talked some more, and I haven’t mentioned it to him yet, but this weekend I’m going to try to take him out for a day with just the two of us…that hasn’t happened for a while, and he’s been asking to visit one of our local mall haunts.

After my quiet conversation with Little Man, I returned to my bedroom telling my husband what had happened. I relayed that I don’t understand why he misses me because I’m around all the time. That isn’t delusion. Even with my appointments and such, I’m rarely away from my kids…that’s what it is to stay home. Sure, my son has school three mornings a week, but that was completely absent from his lips moments prior. My husband looks up from whatever he was watching and says, “You’re his person,” and returns to his program. It might have been hormones or fatigue from the second cold in a month, but my eyes became watery. Sometimes I don’t feel like a particularly good parent that’s present and joyful. I don’t think I’m necessarily terrible, but some days it’s hard to engage. But, with all of the distracting colliding thoughts in my mind that make me feel irritable and wanting to escape from myself, I don’t know that my son knows the difference.

Advertisements

Cause for Celebration

Make no mistake, I still feel a nonspecific yuckiness, and will continue to feel out of sorts until I get a handle on things and recover from the grief that my body decided this pregnancy would require a little more TLC than I’d like.  But, I’m thankful I did not keep this news to myself, reminded of the wonderful support of new friendships I’ve formed since the birth of my son.  But, the pivotal rebound can be credited to a very close friend of many years who has an uncanny natural ability to talk me down from a ledge.

Some days have passed; I can’t remember how many exactly, but it isn’t as many as it seems.  Perhaps it’s best to say hours at this point.  As I trudge through the beginning of an uncertain process, I’ve embraced all the necessary things that will help me grapple all the stuff that piled in a week’s time:

  1. Sugar free chocolate isn’t bad, and I’ll have the extra benefit of not encountering constipation for the remaining two months or so of my pregnancy.  I realize, however, that I will need a contingency plan as to prevent adding artificial sweeteners as a superfluous food group.  I plan to explore “no sugar added” products.  Cookies are a solid second to chocolate…
  2. Not an ongoing habit, but it certainly helped me yesterday:  bacon.  Bacon makes everything better, and when you add avocado to your BLT on a wheat wrap, then, my friends, hope there is no remaining spring mix in your teeth as you present your coy smile to onlookers viewing an orgasmic reaction worthy of Meg Ryan.
  3. Considering further the commitment to consistent sugar level testing, I figured after spending a couple of months puncturing my skin seven times a day, I will be that much closer to building the courage to obtain that amazing tattoo I never thought I wanted.

So, it’s the beginning of a new week, and likely containing my first appointment in the abyss…  I always enjoyed spelunking.  Enjoy always will be an excessive term with this situation, but I will tolerate it by ensuring I maintain a steady supply of cookies with the occasional Russell Stover assortment.

What does quicksand feel like?

My primary hope writing this is coherence, as I usually wait some time to have semblance of bearings with difficult things.  But, how do I even talk about this when I’ve always been such a failure at person-to-person discussions regarding things that are troubling for me?  I’ve been trying the last week using likely the wrong supports most of the time, but they are around during the day when I either have time to think about or look at my beautiful boy knowing this experience is not the same on such an important level.

I retook my three-hour glucose test, which was an experience generally less heinous than the last; probably a consolation for the eventual news that I’m still diabetic, but at least my values make sense.  They are different values this time.  For simplicity it is easier to name them, and I apologize for the air of droning such description entails.  This second round my fasting blood sugar lower, 76, but considering the last test had me at 80, I’m still a rock star on that front.  Whereas my first test had my first hour draw within range, yesterday’s was 207…well above anything remotely desirable (I think the maximum level allowed is 180).  My first test had my second hour draw nine above the range, but dropping as it is supposed to.  Yesterday’s rose to 217.  For my final draw three hours after chugging the drink that somehow missed its place in the history of noteworthy culinary excellence spiked to 180 when it should have been close to fasting levels.  That was the rub that had me retake the test; apparently with a fasting level of 80, such a spike is not possible.  Yesterday’s third draw level dropped off a cliff to 86.  The range would have respected a 140 level.  My dad said it’s strange to drop like that, but it sounds like it’s nothing that indicates a problem with the test.  Other than knowing there is a problem, I couldn’t describe much else.

The referral from my Ob-Gyn’s office is in transit as we speak.  I was told to call later this afternoon to make an appointment with the diabetes clinic.  So, there it is.

I can’t stop myself from crying about this whole situation; it’s been like this for a week now.  I’m not even sure why that is, but I’ve had plenty of people telling me not to worry about it because it will be fine (translation: You’re behaving like an overly emotional child.) or it’s for the health of the baby…maybe I’ll be added as a footnote (translation:  You’re behaving selfishly about your objection to experiencing this entire process.).  The thing is, I know all of this, and I can’t tell anyone why I’m so upset.  Yes, the prospect of stabbing myself with a needle seven times a day to check my blood sugar (I asked my endocrinologist to look at my blood work in the system, even though she will not be involved in the treatment.) leaves me nauseated with anxiety.  Apparently, it really isn’t a big deal as EVERY FUCKING PERSON begins to describe in great detail the specifics of the sugar checking experience and how minor this entire situation is.

My endocrinologist thinks I may very well need insulin; who knows…It isn’t like I have a handle on anything anyway.  Let’s just add to the situation because more is really moot at this point.  It’s just a flood of what the rest of this pregnancy will be like until I actually start the process.  I suppose I should feel sick by how dire my second opinion was regarding my results; honestly, I’m not.  I told my dad; he doesn’t understand her assessment, saying no one has a blood sugar result under 120 one hour after eating.  When you look at the test range, the lab agrees.  My gut tells me she wasn’t careful looking at my results for something she didn’t order and doesn’t routinely do; not the first time I’ve had this problem with her, but appreciate her willingness to help.  It was worth a try for some clarity before my first appointment with the clinic.  The desperation for a foothold I’ve been feeling for a week borders pathetic.  Maybe what bothers me so much is that I was too eager to reach out for something I knew would likely be unhelpful, but wanted so very much to believe that  maybe someone in this moment could give me a structure to clutch as I feel myself sink.

Yet, when I read her message, the floodgates opened, and I can’t control the weeping.  Why is that?  I’m not worse or better off than I have been.  Nothing is relieving this horrible pit feeling.  It’s just more waiting until the process begins.

I don’t know why this is so difficult.  I suppose I should have some deep Mommy dramatic crusade that I worry for the life of my daughter, but I don’t.  She’ll be fine, and behaving like a pain in the ass around our house in no time.  I’ll have to make whatever lifestyle changes this process requires; fine.  I can’t imagine it will be anything so dramatic that I’ll look like the lost tribe that managed to find civilization centuries later.  Okay, I have to do something about my chocolate intake; I’m sure I can figure something out as an alternative.  I’ve already cut it back almost entirely once I found out I had a problem with my glucose levels.  Sure, I don’t know what the specifics of my diet will be, but I’m fairly certain virtually freebasing anything from the cacao plant is out.  I’ve mentioned the needle thing; whatever, I’ll deal.  It likely won’t be the most painful or unpleasant experience of my life even if you disregard the blessing of vaginal childbirth.  I can’t imagine I’ll need insulin.  I haven’t found much online that is helpful, but the few message boards I’ve perused described women with more significant glucose issues who were managed with diet.  I have a friend having her second round of pretty severe and hard to control gestational diabetes; she didn’t need insulin.  I’ll get a handle on the appointments and classes and whatever else I have to schlep a toddler to who will undoubtedly save his best tantrums for such occasions…Do they make baby Valium?  Maybe I should take my own and let him do his thing…He’s cute; they’ll deal…

So, why am I an absolute mess when I think too much about all of this?  What is my problem because it very much is my problem, which I am reminded fairly frequently when I start trying to talk about it?  I know the people who love me have the best intentions, and it’s hard to know what to say.  Maybe it’s loneliness.  Maybe it’s fear, but I don’t know what I’m afraid of.  Maybe as much as I know I didn’t cause this to happen with this pregnancy, didn’t I on some level?

My son knows Mommy has not been her best the past week.  He gives me pats on  my thigh and sweet looks when I’m staring off into space.  He cuddles me and pats his sister with his delicate, small hands.  The Warrior Queen, however, gives me a strong jab, “Suck it up and push through.”

 

Sugar and Spice, but Not So Nice

I am a lot of things right now, but it’s all such a rush that I can’t place exactly what I’m experiencing.  Maybe the specifics don’t matter because it isn’t good.  I was an idiot for my one-hour glucose screening; perhaps too arrogant.  My appointment was at three, so I wouldn’t be fasting like I did with my son.  I should have opted for a first thing in the morning appointment…coulda, should, woulda…  Without thinking ate three servings of chocolate before heading out to my appointment.  Even though I had a bit of a drive to the hospital and an ultrasound first, both were surprisingly efficient.

I failed the test and sentenced to the unpleasant three-hour glucose test.  I’m fairly phobic of needles, but felt optimistic with the nurse who drew the first of four; it was virtually painless.  Just as she wrapped my arm in a fancy way that eliminates bruising like magic, she informed me someone else would be taking my last three blood samples.  I knew this other person; she is terrible.

Over the years I’ve made my peace with undergoing blood tests; I no longer feel as though I will faint.  I must say, though, this individual gives me a run for my money.  Not only is the needle stick painful, but so is the duration of the draw.  I can’t believe I managed the remaining three like a mature adult with blasé, humorous commentary.  Although, if I’m honest, the third one left me a bit green with an aching arm for forty-five minutes.

But, I left hopeful.  I did not have gestational diabetes with my son.  My only risk factors are my age and my father’s diabetes that he manages with his diet.  I eat well and exercise religiously.  I was at a healthy pre pregnancy weight.  My fasting glucose has always been good, and it did not occur to me, or perhaps I didn’t want to consider the fact that things would not continue to move along as they should for the duration of this pregnancy.

It was Friday, and with the blessing of technology, I was able to see my results at eight that evening.  My fasting level was perfect; literally, in the middle of the range.  My one-hour was well within range.  My two-hour was a bit out of range, but falling.  My three-hour shot up to well past any of the other numbers; it was almost 200 actually.

Looking at the screen in an incoherent daze, I needed my husband to translate what was happening.  The next step was calling my father, a physician who manages his glucose effectively.  I relayed my numbers, to which he informed me that with my profile, the last value is impossible.  My father-in-law with the same professional and health resume as my dad said the same.

The weekend passes, but I felt every minute.  Apparently Dr. Google never encountered my issue…that’s comforting…

I call my Ob-Gyn Monday; It’s her day off…lovely…I find waiting exhilarating…  I leave a message for her to call me back; not a nurse.  If my last number is strange, I don’t want to wait by the phone with a vomiting child going through a hierarchical process of repetitive explanations to befuddled listeners.  I love to talk, but at some point the simple thrill of conversation is lost.

Later Monday a nurse calls…so glad communication is so effective at this practice.  She doesn’t tell me my results, rather conveys that they are referring me to the diabetes clinic as though she is offering me a cheese sandwich in such a way that I will find it mildly amusing…I didn’t.  She didn’t know I called and she doesn’t know anything about my specific results…that was the high point of the conversation.  Not only is this individual unaware that a diagnosis of gestational diabetes is not received as good news, she continues to tell me that I will be assessed by the clinic checking my sugar multiple times a day for several days…Apparently, that was the appropriate response to, “Something isn’t right about my fourth glucose value.”  Then she brattles on about all these classes and appointments I will have to attend, but she doesn’t know if I can bring my son with me.  When I attempt to ask for clarification, likely inarticulately advocating some of the challenges, she changes her tone to perfected patronization that this is important for the health of my baby.  Had I been of a better mind at the time I could have said something to the effect of, “Thank you, Captain Obvious, clearly my reaction is because of my intent to peace-out because of this minor inconvenience.”

I like to think that I’m a fairly level individual.  I’ve successfully created and run behavioral schools for adolescents that were mere months from shutting their doors.  I’ve worked with various incarcerated populations.  Suffice it to say I’ve had diverse and colorful employment experiences, and to manage those well I like to consider that I’m not a complete wing-nut, even while preggers.  But, perhaps I’ve been mistaken all these years…

My husband was out of the country, succumbing to whatever ailment of the week  my son contracted as soon as his plane landed.  My son’s stomach bug in conjunction with a snow storm keeping us homebound kept me isolated much of the week.  How many days did I receive unsolicited advice and various inquiries?  These past days were a blur with the finale having my son relapse a bit with his illness and unable to be independent.  I had such lofty plans for my husband’s return; my intent to ensure small things were completed, so he could sigh in relief in stepping through the doors.  Three guesses if any of this happened, and the first two don’t count.

Last night my doctor called with the comment to check-in because of my fear of needles; she was equally confused.  Clarifying my concern about the final glucose value resulted in her confessing that she just looks to see if her patients pass or fail.  It’s been twenty years since her residency, and she just doesn’t remember glucose values.  Should I be pleased that she took my word for it that the fourth was amuck?  Interestingly, when I called the clinic earlier, they did not receive my blood work…an unusual occurrence?  Had I never said anything I would go through the gestational diabetes intervention without anyone looking at my actual glucose results…hmmm…

At the end of the day, I’m taking the three-hour glucose test again tomorrow morning…with the same phlebotomist.  I’m tired, waking up with hip pain every hour for the last two nights that intensified from the other two trimesters.  I’m drained and scared.  I’m many things I can’t identify, but I feel foolish.  I don’t feel particularly hopeful this will relieve my diagnosis, and after this week I don’t know how I will manage the gestational diabetes intervention.  I know I will because I have to, but what am I going to do?

 

%d bloggers like this: