Why I never get anything done or why parenting is not so simple when you’re chronically ill

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So this is morning’s disaster, or why parenting with a chronic illness isn’t as simple as all that.

The Chicklet cried sick.  Tummy trouble, gastro.  The same stuff. She spent most of the night with me, because she was too anxious to sleep alone.  All because of the possible surgery, which I have reassured her over and over is unlikely to happen.  No amount of telling her to put it out of her mind works.  She isn’t even consciously thinking about it, in fact she is consciously trying to think about other things, but she still has that revolting nauseous, churning feeling, and a strong feeling of impending doom.

Anxiety. Doncha love it?

I know how she feels, and it feels horrible. But she needs to work through the steps and stop feeding that feeling. It’s the only way.

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I try to help, remind her of the strategies.  We work through them. In the end I just keep talking to her about other things, fill her mind with other topics, until she falls asleep.

Long night, but I did get sleep.  So did she.

But this morning, the anxiety was there again, despite me telling her many times she won’t be having the surgery until I’m completely convinced she needs it, and at this stage I am not at all convinced.

So I made her get on the bus this morning, and off to school she went.

I got txts from the bus telling me how sick she was feeling.

She usually gets to school at 8:20am, school doesn’t start until 9am.  None of her friends were there.  The school has a ‘Wellbeing’ centre where the kids can go if they need support, but it doesn’t open until 9am.  Helpful.

She was starting to panic and melt down and she had no support people with her.  We texted back and forth, again me just trying to take her mind off her worries, texting about school, about her friends, about plans for the weekend, anything, just to keep her engaged, not alone, and so that she would stay at school, rather than taking off for her friend’s house.

9am came and she went to class. I hoped that would be the end of it.  I figured once she was in class, busy, engaged, the anxiety would wane.

Nope.

A call from the school at 9:30am saying she is sick and I need to come and get her.

Can’t ignore that.

But I didn’t really want to drive the 12 minutes to the school and the 12 minutes home again.  I am past the magic 9am, and not messed up like yesterday, but it’s still a big ask.   I was light headed and nauseous, but I had to go.

Truth is I was going to try and do a light workout (ten minutes treadmill walking, ten minutes recumbent bike), but picking up the Chicklet replaced that plan.  Can’t do both.  So I’m annoyed, as well as nauseous and exhausted.

But what else could I do? Tell the school to keep her in sick bay all day?  Not really.

I would have been better off letting her stay home today.

But she has missed a lot of school already this year.  So I sent her.  The conventional wisdom is always make them go to school, but it’s a little more complicated than that when you have a chronic illness.  I shot myself in the foot by sending her to school.  Took this morning’s energy and spent it on her, instead of on me, and the things I needed to get done.

And this is why I never get anything done. There is always a kid issue to deal with lately.

This is why I haven’t sent my records off to my immunologist yet.  A healthy person would have taken about an hour to scan the relevant reports and emailed them off with a brief explanation.  Me, I’d take about four times that, because bubble brain and fatigue.  But when I keep getting interrupted I get nothing done.

We’re both home now and we both need to lie down.  I’m worn out and its 10:30am.

She wants to talk some more, but I just don’t have it in me. I’ve given her an iPad, and Netflix and told her to relax in bed.  I have spent all morning talking about her anxieties. Enough! I told her talking about her anxieties is just given them power. STOP thinking about it, STOP talking about it…just stop.  Distract yourself with whatever you need.  Yes, it feels physically horrible, but focusing on it only makes it worse.

And I need a break.  People who are depressed and/or anxious are often incredibly self-absorbed, but they can’t see it. Part of helping them IS pointing out that not everything is about them.  That I am sick too. That now I need to lie down. That she will be fine. And she needs to use her own coping skills to get through these feelings.

She is physically unwell also though.  Gastro again.  So it’s not lactose intolerance, because she hasn’t had any dairy for six days, and the gastro continues.  Next thought is Celiac.  I’m not telling her that she’ll need a biopsy to confirm or deny that diagnosis, she’ll just have hysterics over an endoscopy.  No need to go there today.

Yesterday, after the surgeon’s appointment, I made an appointment with my kind GP. The Chicklet feels very comfortable with him, and can talk to him.  I made the appointment so that we could talk about the surgery and get his opinion on whether it’s really necessary, and to get a referral for a second opinion.

I’m very glad I made that appointment, it’s at 3:40pm today.  We’ll also go over the bloodwork she had done last week.  She is physically unwell, and her illness is making the anxiety worse, not the other way around. The sick came before the anxiety, this is the part I have to make the doctors understand.  They like to blame everything on anxiety, especially when the labs are unremarkable.

To be honest, I’ve blamed it all on anxiety too, but it’s been going on for too long now, and it’s too severe.  She’s physically sick, and it’s time to find out why.  Diareah, stomach pain, joint pains/growing pains, and she looks anemic, pale as a ghost.

Lots of people say she’s faking.  But at this point, I don’t think so.  She was looking forward to going back to school, and she and her friends are doing well.  She’s very open with me.  We talk about sex and drinking and drugs and who’s doing what, and when she’s been in peer pressure situations.

Why would she lie about liking school?

Why would she lie about being sick if she wants to be at school?  Also, this morning she went for Math (which she hates). Her next classes were Drama, Music, then English.  IF she were faking I’m quite sure she would have gone to Drama, which she loves, Music, which she loves even more, and called me at lunch time to get out of English!

Still, it’s hard. Now its 11am and I’ve achieved nothing today.  I haven’t even looked at my facebook feed. Usually I get up and look at facebook while I have coffee and wait for pain meds to kick in.  I’ve been too busy this morning.  Very busy, but achieving nothing. Story of my life!

I should have just let her stay home.  I woudn’t be wrecked now at least. Or I would be, but it would be from a light gym workout.

So why am I having a rant and writing a blog post when there are other, more important things to do?

Because I need someone to talk to. Cos this stuff is hard to do all alone.  It’s hard to always be the only parent, the only support person.  To never have someone else to hand off to.  To make all the decisions, all the time.  To have no one to discuss the issues with, no one to agree or disagree, to work through the issues, to help come to a decision.  No one to reassure me that I’m doing the right thing. No one to take over when I need a break.  No one to vent to.

So I blog.  I vent here.  And I feel better.  And I also have a record of what the hell I was thinking J.

And now I’m going to read my email and answer some messages.  My phone notified my this morning that there were messages from friends whom I want to reply to. Just haven’t had the time to do that yet…

And then I will lie down for half an hour. Then get the records together for my immunologist.  And keep working through those other things on my eternal ‘to-do’ list.  Until it’s time to take the Chicklet to the GP.  It will be 3:40pm in no time.

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6 COMMENTS

    • Thanks Rochelle. Already doing better now. Rest is good! And the Chicklet is taking a nap. She needs the rest too. Take care of yourself too x

    • Yes, she has a very good psych, she currently sees her monthly and she has been seeing her for many years. She sees her more often when the anxiety is bad, and we have an appointment in two weeks. I may bring that forward though, it would probably really help.

    • Thank you. Yes, I agree, she should be at school and having fun with her friends. Im sure its nothing serious, and we’ll get her feeling better soon.

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