The Face Of Illness

This is what Sean looked like Saturday afternoon after throwing up more than 16 times in less than 12 hours. Poor little man couldn’t keep anything down. He had to have an IV put in, and received an anti-nausea pill and two rounds of fluids, after which he felt MUCH better.

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Life, Interrupted

I seem to be unable to put an entire cohesive post together, so think of this as expanded bullet points.

If I were a car, I’d be a lemon

I had shoulder surgery when I was 19 years old. It was an old sports injury, the doctors had shaved the interior of my shoulder socket to prevent grinding and shrank my shoulder muscles so my shoulder would stay in the socket. I thought I was done with that issue.

Except that for the past five years or so, my shoulder would slip out of the socket once a year. Until a couple of months ago, it was only a little slip and I was able to put it back in the socket by myself without incident. Kinda like the end of this clip, except I don’t slam it against a wall, I lean and gently twist and nudge downward:

Sorry for that.

Anyway — in late March, my shoulder FULLY slipped out of the socket, prompting an ER appointment after there was lingering pain after I got it back in the socket. After sending me home with a sling after a round of X-rays, I was referred to a shoulder specialist. He’s ordered an MRI, but at my appointment last week while he was assessing my arm, an offhand comment he made really caught my attention: “You have to think about how you move your arm.” It’s true. He’d tell me to reach above my head as if trying to get something off a high shelf, and I’d pause, rotating my shoulder and arm, trying to find the correct angle. I never even realized I was doing it.

He also commented on my limited range of motion. He called it “significant to severe” in its limitation. His bet (he’s 99% sure) is that I have a lateral tear, which the MRI will likely confirm, because this guy was GOOD. And once it’s confirmed, I’ll be having surgery on my shoulder. AGAIN. To repair the tear and to “laser” my shoulder muscles to shrink them again. In the meantime, I’m blowing through my supply of Aleve and Motrin with ridiculous rapidity.

Stress Management = messy house

For awhile, I was staying up to about 1 a.m. daily, trying to stay on top of cleaning the house. I was getting less than 5 hours of sleep and essentially burning myself out. My “to do” list was so long, ever growing, that I actually considered getting some no doze just so I could get ahead. That list, and my daily responsibilities, began to weigh on me. I started to feel like Atlas. Except that my burden had shifted to my chest: I could barely breathe from it. I’d find myself having issues drawing a deep breath. The pressure on my chest was so great I started having panic attacks. Hyperventilating. And not knowing why.

I talked to a counselor, who as a stress management aid, told me to take 10 minutes for myself each night, and to give myself a set bedtime and that no matter what I’m doing, when that bedtime hits, to go to bed. No excuses.

My house is now a disaster zone. It’s ridiculously messy. But that feeling of not being able to breathe? It’s gone. I’m not hyperventilating. No panic attacks. Just feet that have been pierced by tiny, sharp, plastic toys as I try to cross the living room.

Total Upheaval

The Fiscal Cliff has pushed us over our own proverbial ledge: Hubbs was laid off a few months ago, and despite calling our mortgage company the very next day, we’re still in loan modification purgatory — meaning we’re still waiting for an answer as to whether they’ll modify our loan. And they just asked for more documents. Again.

As someone living between the proverbial rock and a hard place, it doesn’t feel as through they’re trying to help me. At all.

And so we’re going to rent out our house for a year — or more, depending on how things pan out. This means moving in with my incredibly generous parents. It means renting a storage unit. Discarding a ton of stuff. Trying to fit everything we need for daily life into two 8×10 bedrooms with only the teensiest bit of overflow.

It means upheaval for my children, who will need to adjust their expectation of what “home” is going to mean. Who will need to adjust to brand-new teachers and a brand-new preschool. But it also means more love: They’ll be living with their grandparents and uncle — enough to send them jumping up and down and yelling “yay!” when we told them. They’ll have dinner at my grandparent’s house once a week, which warms my heart because I grew up doing the same thing and have wonderful memories of those dinners and visits.

I adore my parents. I’ll never be able to thank them enough for helping us. For upending their house to make room for us. For my dad grimacing, but allowing me to paint the kids’ room a light blue — despite abhorring any wall color but white.

I never expected to move again. I was going to grow old in this house — watch my kids grow up here. They took their first steps here. Said their first words here. I expected to walk with them, hand in hand, on the way to their first day of school from our front door. I expected to teach them how to back out of this driveway when they learn to drive.

Maybe I still will. You never know what life brings. But not matter how it turns out, we’re together, and we have a loving and supportive group of family and friends that are with us no matter where we call home. And in the end, that’s what matters most.