Thursday, March 31, 2011

When a Kid is Sick

When a kid is sick, most parents tend to pamper their kid. They'll bring them special treats and/or sit and read to them or just tuck them in securely and hold their hand. When it's time to eat, they'll cook foods that their kids like and if the kid is too sick to get out of bed, they will bring it to them and help them eat it in bed. Basically, they will try and make their kid feel better emotionally as well as physically. At least that's what I imagine.

When I would get sick, my mother wanted nothing to do with me. She would just leave me alone in my room. If she had actually taken me to the doctor and there was medicine that I was supposed to take, then she would bring that in and make sure I took it. But she wouldn't sit with me and tell me stories. She never brought me special treats. She never even brought me regular meals. If I wanted to eat, I had to get out of bed and come to the kitchen and eat whatever she had cooked. If I was too sick to come to the table or if I didn't want to eat what she had cooked (she cooked a lot of foods that I was allergic to), then I was out of luck.

I remember one time when I was in sixth or seventh grade, when I had some sort of fever, headache and body ache illness going on, that I went for three days without eating anything. My mother knew that I hadn't eaten anything. When I finally managed to come to the kitchen to eat, she commented on how many days it had been and that she had wondered how long it would take before I got over feeling sorry for myself and came out to eat something.

Waking Up Is Hard To Do

This post was copied from an old blog that I no longer keep up. It was originally published on November 5, 2008.

I woke up this morning with a nasty headache. I still have it. But at least I didn't have a panic attack when I woke up. Eight out of ten mornings(or thereabouts), as soon as I realize that I am actually awake, my heart starts pounding and my mind races, and I become terrified because I will actually have to get up and face another day. I'm not exaggerating. I'm really scared to wake up. I'd much rather just stay asleep(permanently). Some people are afraid to go to sleep because they have nightmares. Well, for most of my life, I suppose, my day to day existence was a nightmare. My life isn't that bad now. My external situation is actually pretty good. My husband loves me. My kitties love me. I have lots of books to read. But the wiring in my brain still thinks that being awake means being in emotional pain. So almost every time I wake up, I panic. It doesn't last long, a few minutes maybe, then I calm down. Unfortunately, this mornings headache isn't going away. I suppose I should take something for it...
Practicality... bleh...

Update 3/31/11: I still wake up with panic attacks. I now refer to them as my UMPA's (Usual Morning Panic Attack). Though I think the frequency may be down to seven out of ten mornings. It might not be much, but it's an improvement.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Physical Therapy

When I was 12, I had to learn how to give my mother physical therapy. I'm not sure why they chose me to do it instead of my older brother. Apparently, my father simply wasn't co-ordinated enough to manage it properly, but as far as I know, they never even tried to teach my older brother how to do it. Of course, he was the difficult child and I was the obedient one, so that was probably it. Or maybe it was because I was a girl and he was a boy. Everyone knows that girls are better at taking care of people than boys are, right? Even if they are two years younger and far more emotionally vulnerable.

Anyway, my mother had a very nasty lung disease. My family referred to it as terminal bronchiectasis. I don't know if that is the actual scientific name, but that was what we called it. Basically, my my mother's lungs were slowly, but surely filling up with infected phlegm. One of the ways to get this phlegm out was to put her on a tilted board with her head downwards and rhythmically beat on her back, sides and front with slightly cupped hands until she hacked up some of the phlegm. We would then look at it to check what shade of yellow, green or brown it was, and if it had any blood in it.

We did this physical therapy three times a day, morning, afternoon and evening. Each time, the whole procedure took a little over an hour. 10 minutes for her left back, 10 for her left side, 10 for her left front, then 10 for her right back, etc... She would usually cough up phlegm 2 or more times during each 10 minute section. I hated it. I hated the sound of her cough. I hated looking at the mucus covered tissues. I hated feeling her body struggle first to breath, then to expel the phlegm that was slowly killing her. It's not that I didn't want to help my mother. I did. It was just that being forced to be so intimate with her disease was extremely stressful for me. I was, after all, only twelve.

I had been told that by performing this physical therapy on my mother, I was helping her to live. But all I could feel as I was drumming on her body, was her dying beneath my hands.