my tragic right hip

Busting out bad joints all over the place

September 23rd, 2011

Notes From A House Frau: The Final Edition?

When Life Hands You Lemons: Suck Them, Hard.

Right now, the only fresh fruit the RRBB will eat unfooled is a lemon. This photo’s a bit blurry and disguises his actual enjoyment, which vasilates between, “oooh sour!” to “ooooh delicious!” in a matter of seconds, but it cracks me up beyond belief when he chows down, peel and all, on something most people generally use as garnish or to bolster a shot of tequila. Awesome.

It’s been a very trying few weeks. We closed the cottage, which is always bittersweet. It’s hard work and it’s made even worse by a baby who hates being in the cage of a play yard. The summer feels over. There’s a touch of cool that shades the hot of the days now, and I am this-close (eight business days and counting) to heading back to work after my maternity leave. I can’t believe the year is almost over — I will be going back almost to date to when I ended up in the hospital with my bleeding lungs and I wish, I wish, I wish I was better by now. Yet, I am not. Between the massive amounts of disease meds, and the pummelling of the disease itself, things aren’t desperate or dire (there’s very little active disease in my body and I have few symptoms) but I am sicker now than I have been in months.

It started in August, my blood work spiralled downwards — collapsing white blood count, demolished hemoglobin — all from the cyclo. The SFDD had moved offices and he was all mixed up as nothing in his office was working and the layout was terrible in terms of organization. So, he almost didn’t look at my blood counts. We ended up in his secretary’s office and when she pulled up my file she gasped: “OH!” He looked over her shoulder and did the same, then he asked to sit down, and exclaimed, “Oh MY GOD.” That is not what you want to hear from your SFDD. Like, at all.

Turns out the meds are making me sicker than the disease, naturally, and because he was on vacation and didn’t see the results, I went a whole other month with the drugs attacking my system when I should have cut back on the meds or switched them out entirely. No wonder I have been feeling so truly horrible. On top of that, the BP meds they have me on to help with the protein passing through my kidney were collapsing my blood pressure too — I had readings of 80/40! The doctor said that the numbers were irrelevant; it’s only important if you are having symptoms, but between the low hemoglobin, the non-existent white blood cells, I honestly don’t know what’s a symptom and what’s not. All I know is that I’m feeling worse than when I was coughing up blood — at least then I could SEE what was wrong. I’m not going to lie — in the car on the way home from the doctor’s office, after hearing about the terrible blood results and the whole mess, I bawled. And bawled some more. I’m tired. I haven’t slept properly in over a year, again, the prednisone coupled with a newborn/now infant means I’ve been awake so much that I kind of forget what good sleep actually is.

Annnywaay. Between the bad blood, the worse blood pressure, and the silly old busted pelvis, it’s been a heck of a long summer. Indeed, it’s been a hell of a long year. No sleep. Little rest. Thank goodness that we have, decidedly, the best baby in the world. With the exception of a few trying moments, he’s simply a delight, or else I honestly have no idea how I would have coped. And now, to add insult to injury, I have to go back to work as sick as I was when this all began an entire year later. What’s worse is that I had all these ideas in my head about how this year would go — how everything would go — and it was so far from where I ended up that I am actually embarrassed to go back to work. Prednisone plus pregnancy equals many, many unwanted pounds that I can’t fit into any of my clothes, so some new clothes, and that leaves piles of stuff sitting in the corner of my office, waiting for me to get back to normal. Except, there is no normal. There hasn’t been for a long time. There’s a lot of new followed by some bad news coupled with some other sh*t to get through. Now, there will be a whole world of new to take in — and sometimes, just for a moment, I am not sure if I can do it. In a way, I know me working will be good for all three of us, get us back to a world where the only free time I have isn’t filled up with doctors and tests and results and more doctors and more bad news and some good news and less good news and then bad news and broken bones and broken dreams.

It’s cliched, I know, but the RRBB remains such a bright spot in my (our) lives. There are moments when I can barely believe he exists in my world he makes me so happy. And it’s not a fleeting, pee-yourself-because-you’re-watching-Larry-David kind of happy, it’s a deep, rich, different feeling that I can’t properly describe. There’s been a lot of flack in the celeb gossip world with people like Gywneth and Jennifer Garner talking about motherhood, saying it completes them, and a lot of other typical stuff that offends all kinds of people with its “my life meant nothing until I had kids” positioning. Somehow, I don’t get as mad because I can understand what they mean even if I would never say such things simply because I think that motherhood isn’t something that can be reduced to a sound bite — not that that is what those two women were doing (and I am trying hard to make a point here, I promise) — but it gives the media something to complain / gossip about. Then there’s the whole other issue of why the media feels it necessary to ask movie stars about their parenting but whatever.

So, my point — that both Garner and Gywneth spoke to the fact that motherhood “completed” them in a way that their other achievements had not, and that every woman’s deepest desire is to be a mother or some other claptrap. Sure, it’s an amazing experience but my life was awesome before we had the RRBB. And all of my friends who have chosen to not have kids — their lives are equally as awesome, filled with amazing trips, really cool jobs, lots of interesting dinner parties, etc. One is not better than the other. People that make these kinds of pronouncements make me upset in the sense that we’re further engendering young women to be programmed to think that they can only be fulfilled by having a baby. For me, it was important and something incredibly special. For other women I know, not so much. Either way is just fine — either way is perfectly normal, either way is equally as fulfilling. In a sense, it’s all just different — different choices to find out who you are (or, in the case of life with an infant, you discover this by default when “you” is taken away entirely) — and declaring one superior over the other without specifying the “I” in the case of these celebrities makes me a bit mental. No one should be making pronouncements in this day and age about the state of “motherhood” without clarifying where it’s coming from — there are no universals, there are no simple answers, and there really shouldn’t be a catchall phrase to encompass what it brings to you life. Yes, for certain people, myself included, having a family became important once we discovered his existence but our choices aren’t necessarily the right ones for every couple out there.

He’s only 11 months old so I still remember, intensely, our lives before him. Sure, a lot of it was spent being in a state of sickness, battling the disease, the blues, fighting with myself to get something written that’s longer than a blog post and more in-depth than a short story, and reading. After him, truly, the only bit of me that has survived is the reader. The sickness-battler has reached the end of her rope with this last round of bad news and I’m dying to go to the movies and eat a giant thing of really fattening popcorn. I honestly looked at my RRHB at 6AM the other day and said, “What did we do before this?” I’m ready now to remember. I’m not willing to give into the idea that my life wasn’t complete or amazing before him: I’ve been to Paris, London, Belfast, New York — and lots of places in between and all of the places I’ve been, the people I’ve met, the things I’ve done, they have made the person I am, the person that can raise the RRBB to be an interesting (I hope), well-read (I hope), well-adjusted (I hope), happy little fellow that realizes that while I was pretty much completed before he arrived, there’s so much life that we all have to live together, and that’s the truly exciting part. Maybe I’ve never won an Oscar or anything approaching kicking ass in a JJ Abrams TV show, but I’m okay with understanding my own version of motherhood means enjoying my life a little differently — always with him in it, excited and totally in love with every bit of him — than I did before, but knowing exactly who I am, because I’ve lost so much of myself this year it isn’t even crazy.

Holy. Moly. I am rambling.

2 Responses to “Notes From A House Frau: The Final Edition?”

  • Monique says:

    You can ramble all you want and I will happily read every word of it. Sometimes fighting your body takes all you’ve got mentally and physically. I am incredulous at your ability to superwoman your way through. I believe in you. I cheer for you. And even though I am many provinces away, I’m here for you.

    Good luck with the first day back at work!


  • Kerry says:

    And though I know your own experience has been extraordinary in so many ways, you are not alone in this statement: “What’s worse is that I had all these ideas in my head about how this year would go — how everything would go — and it was so far from where I ended up…” xo


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Girl with titanium hip will rock. Girl with titanium hip will write. Girl with titanium hip will read. Girl with titanium hip will battle crazy-ass disease called Wegener's Granulomatosis. Now stuff that in your spelling bee!

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