Archive for the ‘healing’ Category

CRUEL TO BE KIND
January 11, 2016

I had a bit of a revelation this past weekend. Perhaps somewhat overdue revelation but I had it (finally) and it’s put me to shame.

A discussion about something Cole related with my husband turned, as it often does, into an argument. I took my frustration out on him and got nasty. It’s my M.O. – not one I’m proud of but it happens a lot when we get into these emotional conversations. I think a lot of people do the same, and it is a learned style of fight that got passed on to my by my mom and brother. Hurt the ones you love.

The revelation I came to, is that my frustration when discussing difficult things in my life, is that we’re discussing difficult things in both of our lives. Shared frustrations, concerns, fears, anxiety, and stresses. When I talked to friends about these things, I have an outside opinion to bounce things off and to bring in different views. When I discuss things with my husband, the frustration is that we’re both in a similar place and it doesn’t help to remove me from where I’m stuck.

I’m not sure if I’m expressing that properly but in my head it makes sense and it struck me that it’s the root of some of the anger I direct at him. He can help me resolve some things because he’s looking for the same resolution, and I can’t necessarily help him. Sometimes you need a trusted or knowledgeable outsider to provide perspective and insight.

While I know that my fighting style is cruel, and not appropriate, especially when aimed at my partner, someone I love, this recognition I had gave me cause to reflect on my misguided anger in a way that I haven’t before. It gave me a deeper awareness of my failing. When I’m hurt, worried, concerned, or even appropriately angry, it’s not useful or helpful to deflect it upon someone else, especially someone who is often sharing the same emotions and therefore doesn’t need the additional burden of my wrath.

We’re going to fight still, everyone does, but I’m really going to make a bigger effort to stop to better understand the whole of a situation and what might really help to resolve it before I lash out.

Maturing can be a real bitch sometimes, especially when the mirror reflection is of someone were not proud to see…

BABY ELEPHANT STEPS
November 5, 2015

Cole’s doing an intensive two-month long, three days a week, bout of physical therapy. He’s getting up on his feet, standing and stepping using a Lite Gait treadmill system. So far he loves it. It’s hard work and already this week he’s doubled his walking distance. After four months of largely reclining on a bed or sitting in a comfy Chill Out Chair, it’s got to feel good to get his body moving again.

IMG_0114

This is a boy who for years would repeatedly respond to almost any question with “I want to move my body” on whatever communication device he happened to be using at the time. He has always preferred to be on his feet, whether supported by equipment or human.

Until the surgery, he even liked to move when he was sitting, the “kicky dance” as we fondly call it. When he hears music he likes, or sees something funny or entertaining, he would kick his legs and feet whilst drawing his hands to his hips – think River Dance but seated. He started doing this when he was baby and continued up until the surgery. We are just now starting to see the tiniest bit of foot action, giving us hope that the kicky dance will return. It’s adorable, and the smile that most often accompanies it is beyond infectious.

I feel relief in the joy he seems to be taking from doing the physical therapy. While his endurance still needs some building (he’s exhausted at the end of the day, which makes evenings a bit trying for all), he’s finally starting to show signs of psychological recovery from the surgery. His body and mind did not heal at the same rate but it seems like the mind is starting to catch up finally.

The holiday season is a time of year Cole loves, giving me lots of hope that between all of the strength and walking training, and his love for all things holiday will have him completely back to his happy, strong, amazing self in the New Year! I’m also holding on to hope that we can stave off the constant listening to holiday music until after Thanksgiving…only 21 days…could happen…

PHENOMENAL CAT
November 2, 2015

Prior to Cole having his surgery I read a funny article about the healing power of a cat’s purr (Healing Power of Cat’s Purr). I shared it with my husband because we have a cat, Charlie, and I thought it was kind of interesting. He scoffed at the idea, as he’s apt to do when I share something off the beaten path, and particularly when it comes to health or medical related subjects.

Charlie is about twelve years old. We adopted him when Cole was two, along with his brother (Nick) and sister (Nora), both of whom are no longer with us. Charlie’s a fairly independent cat. He’s always liked Cole and as he’s aged he often tries to sleep on Cole’s back or bottom (Cole prefers to sleep on his stomach), but otherwise, we don’t typically see much of him during the day. Charlie spends his days sunning outside, visiting a few neighborhood dogs and cats, and doing whatever cats do. He relishes his independence.

However, Charlie’s routine took curious turn when Cole came home from the hospital following his surgery. Charlie became a caregiver. He took to vigilantly curling up between the casts during the day and night or draping himself over one of Cole’s legs with his head resting on Cole’s hip, purring. Purring a lot. Purring healing purrs.

He spent every day of Cole’s healing nestled on or near Cole. We took to calling him Nurse Charlie because he was so consistent. When Cole was moved to another room, Charlie would curl up in the spot left by Cole until he returned and then would reposition himself to be close to his charge. It was really fascinating. He took his nursing duties very seriously.

IMG_0088

Even now that Cole’s returned to his usual routine and is out of the house during weekdays, Charlie still hovers nearby and curls up with him for bedtime. It’s rare that if Cole’s resting on the bed, Charlie’s not nestled right next to him. It seems he’s not quite ready to stop caring for his precious patient.

Funnily, my husband and I both took to posting #NurseCharlie photos on our instagram accounts and when he was recently away on business he had lots of inquiry about Nurse Charlie. It would appear that our cat has captured some hearts. Perhaps he needs his own instagram account!

SEE THE LIGHT
September 11, 2015

This week has been all about filling my mental toolbox.

I’ve come to realize that if I want to successfully help Cole with is anxiety I need to arm myself with some useful tools and strategies. My approach, generally to try to reassure him that everything is going to be all right and to spell out every step of each day so that he has a complete understanding of the days expectations isn’t working, even just a little bit. Last night I started reading a book about dealing with kid and teen anxiety and they eschewed my instinctive actions practically from the first page, so I have some reading to do this weekend to see if I myself can get a better understanding of anxiety and methods for supporting Cole.

I am also adding some creative tools to my box. I have quite a few DIY home projects I want to work on and while I’m not necessarily a builder, designer, or mason (some involve brickwork!), I do have some visionary qualities and want to build on that. Saturday night I’m attending an art party where I’ll paint and drink wine, both with the intention of sparking my creativity. I’m not a painter, but it sounds fun and I’ve come to realize that I don’t pursue fun enough. I need to play more!

I’ve also recognized that I have a tendency to procrastinate so I’ve been working on moving myself forward instead of being stagnant. The summer left me a bit shell shocked and I felt like I didn’t accomplish any of the little projects I had wanted to take care of whilst being tethered to the home front. Now they are all screaming at me to take care of them!  Each little task that gets handled makes me feel lighter, and brighter.

Even though things are still in flux and Cole’s still not back to his old self entirely, I realized that me standing still isn’t going to help anyone.

On a really positive note today, Cole happily stood up for about ten minutes at his physical therapy evaluation…Maybe he realized that moving forward even just upward, is better for him too!

IMG_0114

PAIN & SUFFERING
September 8, 2015

This past weekend seemed longer than the long weekend actually was, if that makes sense. I continue to be frustrated in my inability to discern the nuances of Cole’s pain and anxiety. I find it odd that nearly three months out from the surgery he’s still in so much pain and discomfort. It doesn’t seem to be improving at all. My husband suggested we take him to see his surgeon a few weeks ago and at the time I thought it unnecessary, and he didn’t push it. Now I kind of regret it. We have a long set follow up appointment with her next week so at this point it makes the most sense to wait for that but the fact that he still seems so fragile physically, and mentally (which is a totally different beast) concerns me.

He came home Friday and cried for well over an hour. Not a whimpering cry, but a wailing, heart wrenching cry. Nothing I did helped or consoled him. He just cried himself out.

My husband was still away and friends had kindly brought a birthday party to me as it was my actual birthday. Cole was excited to hangout with his friends (their children) and to watch Pitch Perfect 2 with the gang. While the moms sat in the backyard enjoying champers and cheese, the gaggle of kids watched the movie, shuffled around the living room, talking and laughing, and Cole slept more soundly than when he’s tucked in bed. He slept through the movie, the singing of happy birthday, eating of cupcakes, and gentle hugs and kisses to his sleeping self as everyone piled out. He slept through me moving him, pajamaing him, and slept pretty soundly till morning.

Saturday we were supposed to hang out with my mom and Cole and she had plans to take me out for birthday sukiyaki (a word that Cole finds hilarious!).   However, when I suggested we start getting ready to go pick her up, he outright panicked, and continued to do so for the rest of the day. He couldn’t seem to stop himself from hyperventilating and worrying about every movement, touch or suggestion of change. He finally admitted to me that right now he needs his Saturdays so be plan free and that he only wants to hang out in my room, resting on the bed, watching TV or movies. No suggestions of going out, no trying to move him to different rooms. I don’t understand, and I don’t really like it but if he feels like it will help him regroup after the week or whatever, I’ll respect it. For now…

Sunday I managed to get him out of my room because my brother and sister-in-law surprised us with coffee & bagels, so I just moved Cole. He wasn’t pleased but he settled down fairly quickly and enjoyed hanging with them. His dad got home while they were there too which helped boost his day even more. The three of us actually got out of the house for a bit and he enjoyed some bath time.

Monday though was more of the same refusal to leave the bedroom. He just struggled to hold it together all day. It’s really starting to freak me out, and to worry me. I’m so unsure of what’s physically paining him and what’s mentally debilitating him. Both seem daunting on their own but pair the two, and throw in normal teenage hormones and stresses and then try to figure out what’s what and how to help. I honestly can’t. As a mother, it’s the worst feeling in the world to know that you simply have no answers, solutions, or comfort for your child.

We’ll see what the week brings. Lately he’s done so well during school hours, and at homework club, and then falls apart when he returns home. I tried finding solutions to that last week with some success, but I’m not confident that this week will be the same, though I’m not sure it could be any worse. Mustering a little optimism, maybe it will be better for him…