Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I Love My Dogs, and Other Thoughts

Warning: Long, rambling, brain dump of a post!


It sounds like a title I'd give to my essay if I were in 4th grade. That's about how well my brain is working these days, so there it is: I love my dogs.

The Woo went to the emergency room yesterday after eating a chocolate bar out of E's pocket. This is the second time this has happened, this time we were wise enough to know to go immediately, induce vomiting (poor guy) and he was home within the hour, a little sleepy from the meds but in tip-top shape. Last time it was touch and go whether he'd survive for about 24 hours, one of the most terrifying moments of my life. I love my dogs like they are my children. I saw a license plate holder the other day that said, "All my children have paws" and I thought, "me too" and then winced, it made me so sad. There was a day I would've probably thought it was a cute little statement for someone as dog-crazy as I am, but now, it just makes me sad, that the only living beings I have to "mother" are of the four legged variety.


My grandmother has been moved to a skilled nursing facility. The pneumonia has cleared, her heart has stabilized, but she is basically refusing to eat, and she is angry and disoriented about being there. Every time someone visits, she begs them to take her with them when they leave. She says there are "bad people" there. She talks in and out of coherence, at times telling lively stories about little boys and going to "the eating place" and the library in her old neighborhood, then tells me to check the freezer to see if there's any meat in there I need. She is 97 years old. She wants to die. It is breaking my heart to watch her crumble like this. I am angry that she doesn't "get" to die on her own terms, when she wants, how she wants. I am angry that she can't close her eyes, fall asleep, and never wake up. I am angry that her body isn't ready to go when her spirit so very much is.


We are supposed to leave for Maui next Friday. The trip seems tentative at best right now, with Granny in this condition. My family is insisting we go, "no matter what." I can't help but feel that she is going to die while we are on the plane there, and we will have to land, and turn around and return home. I guess I should be thankful I bought trip insurance. I am so angry, so frustrated, I find myself feeling (again) like a fourth grader, crying "BUT IT'S NOT FAIR!!" And I keep hearing this voice, "Life isn't fair, Sarah, life isn't fair."

I think I've had to hear that phrase more times than the average person. At the same time, I've also lived a life of great privilege. I am blessed in so many ways. And yet, my life feels extraordinarily difficult. Unfair.


I've been grappling with major anxiety attacks lately, pretty much full blown panic, I guess. It doesn't feel right for me to say "I'm having panic attacks" but when I hear E, and our therapists, and a few dear friends who I've let in to witness them all say as much, I guess I have to agree that that's what's going on. I've had some major trauma in my past (even before the nightmare of a 71 hour labor with shoulder dystocia and a 15th degree episiotomy came into play). All the therapists "on our team" are convinced I've got some serious PTSD-stuff recurring right now, that the trauma of Otis's labor and delivery and death has compounded the trauma that was already there and my body and brain are having some serious difficulty assimilating it all. It helps to have a name to it, I suppose, to have it identifiable. It feels like E has gotten a lot more compassionate around it too, giving me space to have these fits without feeling he is to blame, or feeling like he has to somehow fix them immediately; but at the same time, it terrifies him to see me so desperate, in so much pain and fear. We're researching some different treatment plans, including EMDR and different meds. I don't want to go on ADs, I know that much, and so far it doesn't seem like that's the route we're going to take. We're talking today with a doc about some faster acting, shorter lasting, "immediate relief" type meds. Totally goes against my style (I hesitate to take advil, for crying out loud...) but it's feeling like right now that it might be important for me to at least have something that can take the edge off when the world turns black and scary.


I go in for my HSG on Friday. This is the test where they'll squirt my uterus and fallopian tubes full of dye and then take x-ray pics of it, to see if there are any structural anomalies or if I have a blocked tube or anything. It's part of a standard infertility work-up, which I don't necessarily think is necessary at this point, but since I'm seeing the RE under the umbrella of postpartum endocrinology, it's covered by my insurance, so she's going ahead with a full work-up just to cover all the bases, I guess. The hysteroscopy, where they look at the inside of my uterus with an actual camera (oooh!), will be next month, since we couldn't get the timing right for this month's scheduling. All my bloodwork so far has come back stellar, with the exception of lowish progesterone, which I had before Otis as well. Hoping that supplements I took then might help me now, so I've started those again. I'm keeping fingers crossed that my cycle really is normalizing - each month has gotten better.

Which brings me to my thoughts (at this very moment) about TTC. Having heard that all my bloodwork looks stellar and having "very healthy eggs and ovaries" according to my RE, I feel like I've got a little more breathing room about the urgency of trying to get pregnant. My hips and joints are still pretty weak - I was cleaning up the house the other day and crawling under the sofa to pull out dog toys and when I went to stand up, everything tweaked out of place and I was in excruciating pain for a moment....It was one of those reminders that pregnancy was really hard work on my body. I had an incredibly healthy pregnancy, and it was still very hard work. My body is still recovering. It's hard for me to remember that, and of course were I to have a baby with me, I'd be much more aware of it, but I am trying to remember that things are still settling back into place. It's why my doctor says that normally he recommends a year of recovery between pregnancies. (Of course they're not telling me that because I am geriatric, in childbearing terms.)

The urgency seems to have abated a bit, at this very moment at least. I really do want my body to be healthy and able to carry a baby to term. Not only that, but I'm going to get greedy here (Fate, do you hear me, I am NOT trying to tempt you, really I am not, I am just wishing and hoping and stating a hope, ok?) and say that I want to do that in an ideal world a second time after that, as well. And so yes, time is of the essence, but my health is too. My aches and pains remind me that my body is still healing. I've made enormous progress in four months - I've lost all but five pounds of my extraordinary ~60 lb weight gain, I healed a torn abdominal muscle, reintegrated a separated pubic bone, I recovered from lots and lots and lots (too many to count, according to my doctor) stitches...I want to remember how far I've come. My OB told me that it was likely I wouldn't be comfortable having sex again until late January - I beat that deadline by over a month (go me!) so I have to trust that my body is doing well. I am not broken. I am not broken. I am not broken. I am healing. I am healing. I am healing. I WILL get pregnant again, I WILL have a healthy pregnancy, I WILL get to bring my baby home from the hospital. Please?


Ah yes, but there is that voice, "Life isn't fair, Sarah" - I live in constant fear of having that phrase pounded over my head again.


KnottedFingers said...

I'm glad your puppy is ok. But I'm sorry to hear about your grandma. I'm praying your grandma is ok and hangs on for a while as it sounds like you should get away. Vacationing is a great way personally for me to get rid of my bad bad anxiety. I'm just so distracted I don't think.

I hope all your tests go well sweetheart without any discomfort or much for you at all

Monique said...

I'm sorry about your grandma and everything else. Wishing it were different. xo

still life angie said...

I hate that phrase, and always hear my father's voice echoed in my head, "Whoever said life was fair?" Me. I wanted life to be fair. But it is not. It just isn't. And it is terrible. I hope that Maui comes for you and isn't riddled with the anxiety of home-worry. xo

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you sweet grandma.. I wish life and death came on such different terms sometimes.
No, life is not fair- it just 'is'. I think you have done a beautiful job of navigating your path- give yourself credit for that mamma.

katherine said...

I'm not even remotely in your shoes, but:
I've lived through that PTSD feeling -- the asphyxiating anxiety, and the resurfacing of old, bad stuff, once seemingly unrelated grief strikes. I found it to be one of the most debilitating states -- and my heart breaks to think that you have been going through this. Now on the other side of it, I suspect this anxiety was very much hormone-related. Once my cycles stabilized, I felt a little more sane. Maybe there is a chance that also applies to you? Whatever the case, taking the edge off sounds terrific. I wish I had been smart enough to think of that when I refused meds...

Wishing you all the best -- a good edge-ablating solution; a Grandma who makes it through your Maui trip; a great Maui trip; and perhaps a "gift" from Maui that will make your RE redundant. Even though there is no urgency :)

æ said...

Hey you. It's past my bedtime on a work night BUT...a quickie little reminder that I love you. We had a huge snowstorm right as people got off work here tonight with traffic piled up everywhere and it reminded me of the last time that happened and I was stuck in it--I called my grandparents to chat and it was the last time I talked to my grandmother. And then you know how ready my grandfather was to go after saw me through a lot of that, and I'm really sorry Granny is there now.

You know, just like grief and depression get muddled and indistinguishable, so does PTSD with several things. Panic, anxiety, acute stress,... I don't have a point about that. Just thinking. And thinking also about the traumas you managed for so long, in various ways, and how it'd sure make sense to me if they were all open now. If you EVER want to talk EMDR you know you've got me as a clinician and client I hope. I don't suppose your new therapist does it? I have ideas about what it might be like for you...complex, you know, because of the old stuff. But doable, Sarah. And we could find you someone really great with the resourcing/positive piece. I'll call all my therapist friends for help! Or maybe we' ll send you down to St. Barb :)

Anyway, you do know where to find me. (forgive any typos or bizarre autocorrects, iPhone won't let me scroll up to check)


Tess said...


Any of it, just like L says - 'it just is'. I wish I had some sort of wise words to say, to give comfort, to ease your mind - I truly can't find anything good enough; I am sorry. Have you smashed all your birthday crockery already?

Good luck on both the HSG and getting away on holiday this friday - I hope you'll not have to return early for any reason; but the flip side with your Grandmother is just as heart wrenching! Talk about being stuck between a hard place and a rock!!
Thank goodness for rushing The Woo to help quickly - bad dog, for sneaking chocolate (now I could be talking to myself for that one too).

So much love to you Sarah, strength and good luck
More love

Missy said...

Life isn't fair, but it still shouldn't pile so much crap on one person in such a short period of time. It is beyond cruel. I hope life slows down and eases up for you mama. May your granny and your heart find peace. May your beloved Woo heal quickly. May the HSG and other procedures leave you with answers. And finally may your trip provide you both with relaxation and love. Sending all my love your way!