The Holidays are gone, the weather sucks big wampum, it is a new year, and an update is in order.
I have continued to watch Baby B., who wears me out and makes me laugh five days a week. He has just turned a year old, so is walking like a T Rex. I bought him some clothes, and accidentally got him a pair of “skinny jeans.” Folks, if you have never watched a one-year old diapered butt toddle away from you in skinny jeans, you are not enjoying your life to the fullest.
His favorite toy is a ball. Three hundred dollars’ worth of toys, and he wants the ninety-nine-cent ball. His favorite thing to do with it is to push it under a chair, desk, dining room table or to the back of the couch, and then inform me that “I tuck,” as in, “It’s stuck.” Seventy times a day. Requiring me to go get it.
Despite walking and talking, he is still very much a baby who is not ready to give up his bottle, and who wants held and rocked when sleepy. One of my favorite things is to hold him until he drifts off, then lay down with him on the couch while he naps. There is something so calming about baby breath in your face; the soft sigh of a baby comfortably sleeping.
Thanksgiving was a different affair this year. I held it at my house, with the boys, their dad, and friends. It was lovely. It was the first Thanksgiving in my entire life that football did not blare from the TV. The boys went upstairs to play Xbox, the girls decided on episodes of “Pretty Little Liars,” and the elders took turns playing with Baby B. and not telling the same story for the fiftieth time. Other than the time I went to Vegas over Thanksgiving, it was the first time in my life that I could have cocktails at a holiday meal. Baby B’s grandpa enjoyed some Grey Goose with cranberry juice, and I poured some Cherry Chocolate Bailey’s Irish Crème over ice, making the kitchen clean-up MUCH more pleasant!
The oldest, Noah, fulfilled his dream of lighting up our house with Christmas lights accompanied by music over the Thanksgiving holiday. My fantasy of having a house full of kids and feeding them all pizza came true. Nobody fell off the roof. When it was all done, I giggled like a fool when the lights and music came on. It was awesome! Noah is much handier than I had known, problem solved like a genius, and darn near froze. We may leave the roof lights up to save time next year, so we can add to the display. We may leave all of the lights up, download Thunderstruck by AC/DC and some other favorites, and rock the neighborhood for July 4th. Who knows?
I was rolling into the holidays with a big ole smile on my face. The house was decorated. My kids were happy. I had a little one to buy for. The company Christmas party was coming up. And then, it happened. Sometime, at the end of November, or beginning of December (who writes this stuff down?) I rolled out of bed crippled. Literally crippled. I stood up, and dropped to a crouch.
You’ve all had a Charlie Horse, right? A muscle spasm in your calf or foot while you were in bed that made you leap up, screaming? A situation where you beg God to make it stop or to kill you right then and there? And either way is fine, since it hurts so bad?
Yeah, Charlie Horse in my left buttocks, sciatic nerve pain shooting down my left leg to behind the knee. I’m doing massage. I’m doing Lamaze breathing. I’m begging for relief. I’m doing ballet moves. I look like a flamingo. I am in agony. It is 6am, it is dark outside, the dogs’ want to go out, and Eli needs taken to school in 50 minutes. It’s not bad enough for an ambulance, but I can’t walk. I can’t think.
At some point over the next month, I lost my ability to sleep on that side. At some point, I lost the ability to sleep on my back. I did all of the things…the stretches, the heating pad, the Tens Unit, the pain pills left over from a surgery. I stopped lifting, and stopped vacuuming.
I left the company Christmas party after only three hours. A week later I had the entire staff, with their kids and grandkids come to my house. They sat outside in the dark in lawn chairs and watched the half hour long light/music show. They came in to find Santa and Mrs. Claus, with a stocking for all of the kids. We drank hot chocolate and had a selection of hundreds of cookies. It was a fantastic evening. Baby B. attended and had no use for Santa. When everyone left, I sat helplessly in my little nest on the couch, heating pad under the butt, Tens unit zapping my muscles, wishing to God I had morphine.
Noah came home for his college Christmas break, and literally did everything that I couldn’t. We made it through Christmas, and the day after, had a small get-together for the WVU Bowl game.
I held my own birthday party. With the help of my Next Step Therapy Family, there was catered food, a full bar with bartender, a karaoke DJ and dance floor, and an amazing Unicorn cake. I celebrated my 50th in my house with fifty to sixty of my favorite people, and had a wonderful time, except for the never-ending pain in my hip and leg. I share a birthday with my youngest, Eli. His gift was a professional movie popcorn machine. My favorite moment of the night, next to finding Eli and his friends singing karaoke, was a group of adults asking if we could please, please try out the popcorn machine. The next thing I knew, there were people at my dining room table, in the living room, in the music room, around the bar, and out in the garage, eating a bag of popcorn. It was a good, good night, but by the end, I was in agony.
I finally had to give in. Somewhere around day forty-five, I was weepy, frustrated, and cranky. People who don’t suffer chronic illness and/or chronic pain just don’t understand that the inability to sleep for more than a few hours at a time eventually leads to sleep deprivation which in turn makes your mind foggy. Intense pain that prevents you from doing the simplest things, like standing at the counter to prepare a meal, or vacuuming will make you short-tempered.
I finally made an appointment with the chiropractor. He thought I must have had a car accident or a fall. For two weeks, I have not had Baby B., because I literally cannot get over the baby gates. My routine for the past two weeks has been: ice pack, rub down with ointment, heating pad, stretches, repeat.
Netflix is my new best friend. I have watched 72 episodes of Forensic Files. Mostly what I’ve learned is that people are stupid and I can never kill anyone (not that I’d want to) because they can now DNA trace household pets. Given that I have two dogs that each shed a puppy every day, and I am unable to sweep more than one room at a time…I’d be going to jail.
I have watched Ozark (reminds me of Justified) and Sense 8, and am currently on The Colony. I have watched 47 Meters and will never, ever, get in a shark cage. I watched the new movie release of Open House, and let’s just say, there are two hours of my life I’ll never get back.
I’d love to be watching Baby B., working on a house project, having lunch with my friends; you know, living my life. Instead, so far today I got Eli to school, got a shower, put on clean clothes, took my pills, made it to the chiropractor, picked up a prescription, and after a twenty-minute session with the ice pack, I am now in my nightgown at noon with the Tens unit zapping my back. However, compared to ten days ago, I am much, much, better, and for that I am grateful.
To all of our readers and all of my friends that suffer chronic pain and illness, my heart truly goes out to you.