Tag Archives: pain

A Tango With Pain

This morning began as all mornings usually do, with the promise of hope and accomplishment.

Then, I got out of bed.

I stretched, as we all do upon waking, and something in my right shoulder or back shifted out of place. I audibly gasped, and J asked me what was wrong. I told him I was fine, finished up in the bathroom, desperately trying not to scream as pain washed over me while I washed my hands.

I opened the door, hunched over, and made it to the bed, where I knelt down and rested my upper body on the mattress, head in my hands, my hair falling  down around my face. I tried to move so my hair would allow me to breathe but I was wildly unsuccessful. I stayed there for a short bit, until the pain eased enough to allow me to climb into bed. J moved the pillows out of the way for me. I attempted to do the Cobra Yoga position which will sometimes pop things back into place but all it did this time was steal my breath. I grabbed a pillow, rested my head on it, and that was that.

I was stuck in bed for awhile.

I made it downstairs after the pain subsided and managed to eat an English muffin along with my morning medication plus ibuprofen. We menu-planned as I sat, nearly immobile with fear on the couch, and decided to go get J’s van while I was feeling better. Somehow, I managed to drive my 5spd to the dealership and back home. It wasn’t that bad because I was sitting down and there was not a lot of sharp movement involved in driving.

Once home, as J ran errands, I decided to fix his daughter’s nightlight in her bathroom and that’s when my lower back decided to join the party. After I got the new bulb placed, I retreated to our bedroom, tossed two pillows in bed, grabbed my body pillow, and curled up with the two pillow behind me, and the body pillow intertwined with my body to prop me up. A neck pillow lay on top of my regular pillow. I was as cushioned as I was going to get.

J finally arrived back home and came upstairs right as I was uncontrollably drifting off to sleep. It was not my intention to fall asleep but the pain was so great I could do little more than sleep. I slept until shortly after 3. He brought me some cheese (I wasn’t very hungry nor was I interested in sitting up for a long period of time to eat), water, and some Aleve.

I tried to get up shortly after to use the restroom only to move horribly wrong and fall back onto the bed, utterly defeated, tears streaming down my face, terrified J would need to help me.

I’m stubborn, though, and I made it on my own.

Eventually I took a hot shower right as J & his daughter ran errands. It helped slightly but not enough to kill the pain. J came home with patches and a heating pad. I opted for the Capsacin patch which helped somewhat and allowed me to get a few things popped but as I sit here, now using the heating pad and finally on Tylenol Arthritis, the pain washes over me as if high tide were rolling in.

Pain is my nemesis but over the past couple of years, it has worsened immensely. I have a threshold of pain I live with on a daily basis but when things go above this threshold, I get bitchy. Today? Today I would qualify at triple my threshold. I’d rather be asleep, to be honest.

Tomorrow, my goal is to make it to the gym to sit in the hot tub for as long as I can tolerate it to help with this. I may swim, I haven’t decided on that yet.

Just like PPD, the pain has taught me to be patient with myself, to be willing to take care of myself, and to let others do things for me. For some reason, I am less willing to do these things with the pain than with the PPD which makes no sense at all because with the pain, I am physically incapable of doing all the things. Perhaps it is the frustration of having the capability suddenly snatched away which initiates the frustration, who knows.

Pain is a cruel mistress, y’all. May you never end up in a permanent tango with her.

2014: Breathe, Yawp, Live

‘Tis the season to split oneself between the nostalgia of days gone by and the promising anticipation of sparkling new things yet to arrive. It’s the time of year we find ourselves inundated by “Best of” lists and the ever daunting “resolution” lists. December ends and January begins in an odd state of limbo swirling around us as if it were a beautiful and haunting blizzard threatening to swallow us whole if we stopped long enough to stare at the accumulating drifts of lists beneath our feet.

Is it okay for us to stop and stare at this vortex of nostalgia and anticipation? Will we be awestruck by the ferocity of the electricity dancing about in the overhead clouds? Or should we doggedly march forward, one right after the other, heads down, ignoring the invigorating storm?

Stop and smell the roses, we are told. But we are also told not to let the grass grow under our feet. Take the road less traveled, it will make all the difference. Do not go gentle into the good night, rage, rage against the light. We are all meant to meet that light one day. But until then, take the road less traveled and refuse to do anything less than rage against it. Yawp until you can yawp no more. Live life, don’t let life live you.

We seek, in life, a balance of joy and sorrow. We reach for joy when the sorrow shreds our soul to the bone, bleeding our hearts dry until there is nothing left, not even the marrow to suck out of life. So we are still, frozen, in grief, pain, whatever the reason, until joy surges forward and replenishes the marrow and our life force. With this resurgence comes the drive to rage against life. How do I know this? Because I have been there – splayed open for the world to see, my heart atrophied and hardened on the bare floor, aching for hope and love. It stayed there awhile, resigned to never finding love again, trapped in the penumbra of a hovel deep in the woods. Yet, it still beat and now, it is full of life-blood, dancing in the light of joy because of a daring rescue.

I wish that for those who read this. I know so many who have lost or faced difficult changes this past year. I am here to tell you that it gets better. The grey lifts, the sun rises, and the sky does fill with spectacular colour. It never stopped. It’s just waiting for you rise up from beneath the waves and see the tango of exploding soft oranges, pinks, and pale blues as you watch, breathlessly, the sun languidly traverse a cerulean sky until the clouds, holding hands, bed the sun beneath the horizon. As your feet find the shore, caressing the wet sand for the first time in eons, you exhale, letting go of the shattered soul which has claimed you for far too long. You slink out of your old soul and into your new one, the promises of joy filling your heart with a joy more beautiful than any fully bloomed scarlet rose covered gently in sweet morning dew.

Breathe.

Yawp.

Live.

This, this is your year.

Make it so.

A different kind of dark

Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders carry with them their own kind of dark. It’s a loud dark for many, filled with noise, thoughts, and frustrations bouncing off the ceiling, like bats fleeing from a cave when their “radar” isn’t quite working. Instead of flying perfectly out into the night, they bounce off the walls and fall down. But they get up and try again. Why? Because out in the world is their food and they need to eat. So…they have to leave the cave.

Try, try, try, try again. It’s not how you fall that matters. It’s how you get up.

I’ve been in that cave.

I tried, tried, tried and tried again until I finally flew free into the night, the sweet smell of honeysuckle surrounding me as mists of fresh rain drenched my face. Freedom from that cave is a feeling I will never forget.

But now, I find myself in a different kind of cave.

A cave made of physical limitations instead of mental struggles. This is not a prison of my mind. It is a prison of my body. Sadly, sometimes, it is both.

Today has been particularly difficult.

The pain started last week while I was traveling. I drove nearly 1800 miles in 7 days. Slept in different beds, didn’t have Tylenol and Ibuprofen with me, and spent hours sitting in a car (at least 28 hours just traveling, that doesn’t include the time driving while at my destination.) Driving through snow, ice, near-tornado conditions (I left Georgia the morning of the Adairsville Tornado), more snow & blizzard conditions, etc. On top of just sitting, driving was also stressful because I had to be very mindful of the not-so-awesome weather around me.

Since I’ve been home, the pain has spiraled down, increasing. I can’t get ahead of it. I went back to swimming this week. I’ve managed 25 laps, skipping Monday because I was exhausted just trying to scrape ice off my car.

I fear another flare is on the way. I am hoping it’s not but I can see it, hovering around the corner, giggling excitedly with glee at the prospect of tackling me once I get close enough.

This kind of dark SUCKS.

It sucks because there’s nothing I can do to prevent it. I can swim, I can take meds, I can avoid a large amount of carbs, and still… BOOM. There it is, waiting to pounce.

Today’s time in the pool was rough. I only went because I hurt. I forced myself to get in the pool and start swimming. Halfway through my body decided to quit. So I forced it to swim the final laps. I’m sure I looked like Elaine trying to dance in the pool but I didn’t care, dammit. I was there to swim at least 10 laps and by JOVE I was gonna put in my 10 laps.

As I got out of the pool, I faltered. To grab my towel, my mind had to slowly instruct my arm to reach out – as if I were an infant just learning to grab a toy. Don’t even get me started on the holy mess that was me trying to dress myself after showering.

Days like today are disheartening. Days like today are when the tears threaten to fall and I get angry. Angry and frustrated because I am still young and my body shouldn’t be doing this to me yet. But it is and here I am, in the dark.

Know what I’m gonna do tomorrow?

The same thing as today.

Because I didn’t kick ass through two severe episodes of postpartum depression to learn how to roll over and give up. No sir.

I kicked ass through two severe episodes of postpartum depression to learn how to FIGHT BACK.

Tomorrow, the battle continues.

I will win, just like I did today, even if it means I don’t get to leave the cave just yet. As long as I’m moving forward and doing my best, I will be happy with any amount of progress.

My deep dark painful secret

This year, I plan to work diligently to blog more, to write more, and to find my voice again. It’s been a rough couple of years in my world and it’s been rocked in quite a few different directions. 

I’m writing today to share with you one of the biggest way in which my world has been rocked in the past few months.

First, if you have followed my blog for any amount of time, you know that I found love in the summer of 2012. He still takes my breath away and is more than I could ever dream of having in my life. He and I truly are soul mates –we don’t just finish each other’s sentences, we steal each other’s thoughts.

In order to explain to you fully what’s going on with me, I kind of have to back up a little bit. And then jump forward, then back, etc. So hang on. This might get bumpy.

In the summer of ’95, I fell while working. I nailed the middle of my upper back. It hurt. A lot. To the point where I could barely move. But, I was young and naive so I just powered through it. I continued to have issues with upper back pain throughout college, particularly after a car accident. I saw a few doctors, including one who told me I was fine and there was nothing he could do for me –that I just needed to let it heal.

So…I accepted this “pain” as something I would just have to live with. Most of the time, I was fine. By this time though, I had developed a “tic” of popping my back and my neck. I pop my neck and my back every few seconds now, and it migrated to my shoulders eventually as well. These days, I am unable to sit still because I am constantly adjusting my body in search of the most comfortable position.

Then I had kids. While pregnant, I had severe issues with pelvic alignment. My pelvis popped out of alignment and would stay out of alignment nearly my entire first pregnancy because my doctor dismissed it as “normal pregnancy pain.” I had no choice but to accept this as he was pretty much the only OB in town. After birth, I felt better but still had back and neck issues, made much worse while my pelvis was out of alignment.

With each pregnancy, I continued to have pelvic issues. Although the OB’s for my second and third pregnancies did not dismiss it and I received physical therapy for the issues.

About a year after my third pregnancy, I decided I had to lose weight. I had ballooned up to 281 lbs and that was just not acceptable. I could barely stand up from a seated position and my feet felt like they were on fire all the time. I don’t even want to talk about my back – I was in constant pain.

So I watched what I ate and exercised – first on the Wii then out and about with walks, hikes, etc. I lost 50 lbs in six months.

Then I went through a divorce. Moved home with my parents. Worked hard to continue exercising but eventually, I became so depressed I stopped. Also – I injured my knee while riding the exercise bike and was forced to stop, scared to start-up again for fear of re-injury.

Fast forward to this past summer. I started to go to the gym with my boyfriend. I hit the pool –hard. Within just two months, I was up to swimming breaststroke a total of 120 minutes a day (twice a day). I felt AMAZING.

Then… I didn’t.

I was exhausted. Tired. To the point that I could barely keep my eyes open during the day. I slipped in and out of consciousness during the day and yet still slept soundly at night. My left arm wasn’t functioning properly and my eyesight was blurry when I woke up and for most of the day. The simple act of even walking from the bedroom to the bathroom wore me out before I even got out of bed to do it.

At first, we thought maybe it was PMS. I’ve had sheer exhaustion days right before Aunt Flo arrives — but then AF came and went and I was still exhausted.

I tried to swim again. I swam eight minutes before my head began to pound and my eyes felt like they were about to pop out of my skull. Defeated, I slunk from the pool, infuriated, confused, and extremely worried about myself.

We talked over the possibilities. Could it be related to diverticulitis? (I’d gone to the ER with a serious stomach pain issue earlier in the summer – we had since decided it had to be diverticulitis as it wasn’t gallbladder related and only happened when I ate nuts or seeds). No – because that wouldn’t explain the extreme fatigue and grogginess plus I didn’t have stomach pain.

What if it was … wait.. neck related? I decided, the weekend after my birthday, to go walk a 5k for Mental Health. IF it was neck related and not systemic, I wouldn’t be fatigued afterward as walking isn’t jarring on the neck, right?

I walked the 5k, no problem.

I started sleeping with a neck pillow that night, and felt slightly better the next day –almost no fatigue.

We made an appointment for me to see a doctor the following Monday. After sharing with her my entire story, she suspected that I had something called “Ankylosing Spondylitis.” She wanted to refer me for a blood test to check for the marker. Thing is, after some research, you can still have it EVEN if you don’t have the marker. I don’t have health insurance so I can’t afford expensive blood tests, particularly ones which may be inconclusive.

The more I read about AS, the more I am positive it is what is wrong with me.

Ankylosing Spondylitis is a form of arthritis which centers on the neck and the spine. It causes all sorts of issues similar to the ones I have experienced. Flares are exactly like the episode I had in September and the eyesight issues are a well known accompaniment. Ultimately, AS can be responsible for fused vertebrae.

For the most part, I’m doing okay. Sure, I have my bad days but for now, the good ones are outweighing them. But when I have a bad day, the pain and the pressure causes what’s referred to as a “brain fog” and I can’t think straight. I’m forgetful now. Sometimes downright stupid. I will talk and get words wrong or mispronounce them. Or I’ll completely forget what I was saying mid-sentence.

So if I tell you I’ll do something and I don’t follow through – it’s okay to push me or remind me. Because chances are I have genuinely forgotten as a result of all of this. It’s terribly frustrating and embarrassing.

Right now, as I sit here, typing this, I’m having to blink quite often because my vision sucks this morning (and it’s not due to bad eyesight, it’s the neck thing) and I’m also forcing myself to hyper-focus because I am in a bit of a fog today. I imagine it’ll clear by three or so – it typically takes all day.

I am waiting for a new swimsuit from Land’s End so I can get back in the pool and swim – it’s one of the few exercises which is known to help with AS. What’s most frustrating about it is that I can no longer sit or stand for extended periods. So my day is now a delicate balance of sitting, standing, and making sure I am not overexerting myself into a flare. It kinda sucks but..it is what it is.

Exhales.

So there it is. That’s what I am dealing with now, on a daily basis. I keep telling myself it could be worse. I could be unable to move at all or need to rely completely on someone (and some days – I do need my boyfriend to help me stand because this thing also affects knees and well – standing is pretty damn hard without knee power). For now – over the counter meds work. We recently purchased a new pillow for me and it has helped so much I haven’t had to take meds. I may need to take meds today though. And that’s okay.

I’m a survivor. I’ll survive this too.

Rain Tears

Here Comes the Rain Again

Yesterday, as we hustled out the door to head to the gym at 5:00am (seriously – who does this?), we were surprised by the downpour just outside our door. It was a soft, quiet downpour in our neck of the woods but by the time we arrived at the gym, the rain fell harder and drifted sideways somewhat, thanks to the growing winds associated with the storms heading our way.

We went inside, I changed, and hopped in the pool. I swam for 40 minutes, engaged with focusing on my stroke instead of the rain just outside the massive windows next to the pool. Once in the hot tub though, I could see the rain, illuminated by the parking lot lights. It still fell quite heavily, according to a fellow soaker.

The rain didn’t stop until last night.

Throughout the day, it wavered between insanely driven to soft and quiet. People in the apartment complex ran to and fro, many covering their heads as they dared to venture into the uncovered spaces. I heard a few giggles from children and witnessed just a couple of adults use their regular strides as they headed to their cars.

Then it hit me.

Rain feeds the vegetation around us. Without it, we wouldn’t have ancient oak trees, green grass, gorgeous flowers, delicious vegetables or fruit. We wouldn’t have the oceans, lakes, ponds, creeks, fish, and all the other flora and fauna which depends upon the very vitality the rain provides as it falls.

Even though many of us don’t like the rain, it provides the means for our planet to thrive.

Boom.

Each of us is different. Each of us reacts to crying in our own way, just as each of us protects ourselves differently when it rains. Some of us run. Some of us use umbrellas. Some of us cover our heads with our hands or a magazine or newspaper. Some of us meander through the rain, not caring if we get soaked and enjoying the feel of every drop on our skin.

Bottom line – we all cope with the rain differently.

Tears are a part of processing emotion. Some of us cry at the drop of a hat or an overtly emotional commercial. Then there are those of us who hold our tears in until they burst through all our carefully constructed barriers, causing a flood as our emotions tied to those tears release. Then there are those of us who just don’t cry at all.

There is no right way to process emotion. There are unhealthy ways to process emotion, yes, but there are so many variants on the healthy ways to process emotions. Just like a walk in the rain – we all do what feels right for US.

Rain allows our planet to grow and thrive.

Tears allow us to grow and thrive.

It’s okay to let go and cry, it’s okay to breathe deeply and open the floodgates.

It’s not okay to pretend everything is okay when it’s not, to keep things to yourself if you’re hurting. What’s important is to remember you’re not alone – no matter where you live – (in a flood plain, a rainforest, a desert…) just because how you process things looks different than how someone else processes them doesn’t mean you’re wrong.

It just means you are human and an individual.

Whatever Wednesday: Finding Happy

When I was 5, my Aunt died. Then several other relatives passed away at an alarming rate. Much of my childhood filled to the brim with memorial services or talk of how yet another relative succumbed to the ravages of cancer. Some relatives I was very close to yet other relatives, like a distant cousin named Keith, I barely knew. But still. Death. Always peering over my shoulder. Always there.

School wasn’t any easier. I grew up in a small mostly white town at the Jersey Shore. On the walk home, it wasn’t unusual to see a Lotus, Ferrari, Porsche, Maserati, Benz, or BMW. And yes, I mean on the same day, not throughout the week. We had a Dodge Ramcharger and a Datsun. The Ramcharger was rusted out. It’s special feature was that we could watch the pavement slide by as our parents sped up and down the Turnpike and other badly paved roads. This was awesome unless.. roadkill. Then EWWW. The other kids weren’t nice to me. They teased me. Called me “Corroded” whatever the hell that was supposed to mean. Yeah, I was even bullied with intellectualism. Awesome, right?

In the 6th grade, we moved to VA. Given the opportunity to reinvent myself, you better believe I did. I had friends the first day. Things were awesome until High School when I bloomed. Yes, I mean BLOOMED. The ensuing sexual harassment sucked. I endured it until I graduated because, well, I was a kid, and my memories of bullying as an elementary kid came flooding back.

Then? College.

Wow, college. No more sexual harassment but there was that time in my dorm room when an acquaintance tried to force something on me. Thankful for strong legs and a good aim, I survived. He did too, but believe me, he never spoke to me again.

During college, I drove a lot. I sat at a local state park and made friends with ducks. I stood in the middle of a lake during a thunderstorm and let the rain beat down on me, praying for a lightning strike just a month or so after my grandfathers died within 19 days of each other. Clearly I survived.

I found myself then, deep under all my pain, all the crap which had been buried on top of me. Strong. Beautiful. Amazing. I promised never to lose myself again.

Only I did.

I fell back into a hole, dug by myself. I sacrificed myself for what I though I wanted. For the life society trained me to believe was mine. Only it wasn’t and I was drowning just like I wanted to do that day when I waded into the lake.

I needed to breathe.

I’m breathing now. It’s taken me 9 years and a few months to get here, but I’m breathing. I’m smiling. At the beginning of the summer, I couldn’t smile. Once I started smiling, my face hurt. For two weeks. Yes, my FACE hurt from smiling. That pain, though, the pain in my cheeks, my jaw, my head, was a pleasant and welcome pain. Yeah, this summer has hurt. It’s hurt like hell. But I’m welcoming the pain. Because the pain means I’m feeling again. It means I’m no longer numb. It means I’m living. Loving. Embracing.

If living my life requires that I go through periods when walking on shredded glass would be preferable, I’ll take it… and I’ll smile despite the blood and tears. I’ll take the pain. I’ll take the happy. I’ll take the joy of finally exhaling surrounding it all.

In this moment, no matter what, my life is beautiful.

It’s beautiful because I am living it.
No more apologies. Just me. Living. Outloud.

Postpartum Voice of the week: Sue of @SueandFadra at Lives Less Ordinary

As I was clicking through all the Postpartum blog posts from this past week, one stood out.

The sheer honesty, power, intensity, and raw emotion of the writing leapt off the screen at me. I found myself nodding my head several times, connecting with her story. It is a rare thing to find a writer who not only opens up about her experience with mental illness but does so in such a way that she captivates you, drawing you in until it is just you and her words.

You can find her story here.

Sue’s story really started to speak to me when she mentioned her issues with her pelvis. I had similar issues with all three of my pregnancies. It was never as severe as hers but lemme tell you, when your body produces entirely too much relaxin and your hips can barely keep themselves together to keep the baby in, the pain is excruciating. During my first pregnancy, I could barely put on underwear or shoes without weeping from the intense pain. Turning over in bed? Out of the question. I prayed I wouldn’t have to pee in the middle of the night. We had to get a tempurpedic mattress topper just to make it tolerable. And sleeping on my side (ie, on my HIPS/Pelvis) made things worse. My first OB, classic knowledgeable God that he was, simply told me “Welcome to pregnancy.” Sorry dude, but normal pregnancy should not have you in tears as you get dressed. I ended up on self-commanded bed rest the last two months of my first pregnancy because walking around hurt too much. I stayed propped up on the couch with a vibrating heating pad most days and watched TV. It sucked.

My second pregnancy began to head the same way at four months along. New OB this time – I got PT, which helped. Third pregnancy, symptoms showed up at three months. I got water therapy and it? Was a lifesaver. I ended up agreeing to getting induced at 38 weeks because by that time, baby was so low and weighing so heavily on my weary pelvis that I could again barely walk.

Often times, doctors here in the US are misguidedly unaware of this rare pelvic disorder and brush it off as “normal” pregnancy pain/adjustment. But it’s not. And it can disable you for life if handled incorrectly, especially if you have a vaginal delivery and are suffering from a severe case of it as Sue found herself. For most, the pelvic pain does fade after birth but many women struggle with pelvis issues for life. I could feel my pelvis shift in and out of joint after my second pregnancy, especially when driving my car. It was worse after my second delivery. I can still pop it in and out of joint. But lemme tell you, it hurts like the dickens if it’s out. Oh, the burning, the aching… it’s enough to make me want to take a tranquilizer. I am doing much better these days as I’ve been faithful with doing yoga each and every morning. But the issues caused by pregnancy and relaxin will haunt my pelvis for life, I fear. It’s a large part of why I will never get pregnant again. I don’t think my pelvis could handle another pregnancy. Physically and mentally, I am done.

Enough about me though, let’s get back to Sue. This is, after all, her award post! (I apologize for the digression, it’s just so rare to read about someone else who went through similar pelvic issues during pregnancy!)

Sue’s post is entitled “My Voice, My Depression” and with those words, she owns her Depression instead of the other way around. Sue takes back the power which Depression can hold over so many of us.

My favorite passage:

I am desperately trying to get past this time in my life, but I know it will take some time. I have acquired the amazing talent of hiding all of what I have said above from the rest of the word. If you see me on the street you would think nothing but, there goes funny, upbeat Sue. While underneath I an working, fighting and choosing a happier path than I have had the last few years.

These days are hard because I am trying my best to work though them. Emotional work is extremely difficult. It consumes you and can bring your life to a screeching halt.

Sue is in the middle of her Postpartum experience, still struggling, still fighting to escape the fog and the darkness. And yet she has written with such clarity about the journey she is currently experiencing. For that, she is The Postpartum Voice of the Week.

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Whatever Wednesday: Sweet Pain Relief

For close to a month, I have struggled with a toothache in my lower right molar.

I went through a full 10 day course of Antibiotics.

The toothache calmed down.

Then the bastard had the cajones to check back in to see how things were going. Ppppth. Thoughtful but oh so not necessary.

Last Wednesday, I visited the ER in a desperate attempt to kick it’s arse.

Antibiotics and prescription pain medicine. Sweet relief, right?

Wrong.

This bastard was here to stay.

I spent all day Wednesday and Thursday in bed. I threw up. I managed to eat. I wanted to cling to the ceiling and never come back down.

Friday I had to force myself to help with our yard sale efforts.

By Saturday morning, I was exhausted. Yet I made it until nearly 11am until I had to call it quits and collapse into bed, once again, defeated by a tooth.

Sunday morning we skipped church. I felt great for most of the day, only taking Extra Strength Tylenol. I stayed out of bed. Finally! I had turned a corner! Hope began to creep into my heart.

By Sunday night, hope skipped town and Hell all too happily took it’s place.

Monday morning found me writhing in bed, eyes rolling into the back of my head, shuddering, clenching my hands into fists which nearly drew blood, crying out to God to make the pain stop. Even after administering the maximum dose of pain medication. I wished for unconsciousness.

My husband got on the phone with our church, the local walk-in dentist,  managed to snag me an appointment with a local dentist recommended by our church later that afternoon.

By my appointment, I found myself again in the throes of wicked pain. Wicked, wicked, wicked pain. I prayed for the pain of my first labor – and that’s saying a lot – my first labor was Pit riddled with a non-working epi. Nasty stuff, people, nasty!

The dentist examined me, made a phone call, and scheduled me for extraction the next morning. He also wrote new prescriptions for me, including an anti-nausea med. God bless him.

Tuesday morning, I practically skipped over to his office to get this bad boy removed.

The dentist who extracted my tooth was amazing. Course, the Nitrous Oxide and damned fine Novocaine (which didn’t wear off for another 6 hours or so) helped.

I sit here with a gaping hole in my mouth. Sure, it hurts. A little.

What was the cost for all of this to me?

Absolutely nada.

And that folks, is the miracle.

God is good.

What a week!

Monday was Charlotte’s cleft repair, pharyngoplasty surgery, and ear tubes.

Tuesday morning she got the nasal tube they put in to aid in breathing removed. Then she ate. And ate some more. And drank.

So we were discharged Tuesday afternoon.

She stopped eating Wednesday morning. Stopped talking by the middle of the day. She was also refusing all medication and foods.

We were instructed to return to the hospital.

So we did.

And there we stayed until yesterday morning when her appetite and fluid intake finally picked up enough to make me feel comfortable with bringing her back home.

Our stay was riddled with issues.

The first issue was failure to get written consent for her ear tube surgery. The surgeon took the time to track down where the breakdown in communication happened and did apologize to us but then just a few sentences later admitted that post-consent happens quite a bit in her practice with her adults. Yeah. We’re SO not going back to see her.

Second issue arose during our return to the hospital. The ER had a hard time getting ahold of Charlotte’s doctor to approve admission even though we had been instructed to return by them. We arrived at the ER at 830p but did not get a room until nearly 2a Thursday morning.

Third issue was our day nurse on Thursday. She was a bit flighty and had a propensity for over-explaining things and failed to be prompt in her attention to us. My daughter’s med pump went off repeatedly as did her fluid pump with no response from her whatsoever. She was apologetic and spent some time trying to kiss Charlotte’s behind but I had the nurse replaced. It’s not my kid you have to impress, lady.

Fourth and fifth issue happened on Friday.

Fourth: A tech walked into our room and asked if I wanted to give Charlotte a bath. I said that I did. So she got everything ready and decided we needed to give Charlotte a sponge bath in bed. We had Charlotte lean back over a bowl of water and wiped her hair down. The tech realized she didn’t have water to rinse with so she went and got some while I tried to keep Charlotte calm and still. The tech returned with the water and began to pour it on Charlotte’s head. Charlotte screamed. I reached up and felt the water. It was absolutely scalding. I immediately told the tech to stop and get out of our room. The water she had gotten was entirely too hot! She acted surprised and I had to ask her several times to leave the room. I asked our nurse to make sure she was not allowed back in our room. I didn’t see her again during our stay.

Fifth: At about 1p the phone in our room rang. I answered. It was a prank call. I hung up. They of course, redialed. I was very unsettled (they said horribly mean and rude things to me) and called our nurse. He came right away and handled the situation beautifully. Unplugged our phone and had our phone number changed. A report was filed.

I don’t tell you all of this to complain. I’m telling you all of this to stand strong. I got flustered only twice during our stays. The first was immediately after surgery when we had to hold Charlotte down as the anestethia worked its way out of her system. She was angry, confused, and frustrated. Kept pulling at her IV, her nose, and wanted to be done with all of the pain. I admit that I cried. It took four hours for her to finally calm down.

The second time was when we got prank called. I was very very scared. I didn’t know if it was someone from inside the hospital or outside. I felt very vulnerable and afraid. I even had a plan in place if someone we did not know were to burst into our room. But nothing came of it and I was able to get back to sleep within the hour.

I am glad this past week is behind us.

On a positive note, Charlotte’s speech is ALREADY improved. She’s saying words that we can now understand a lot more often. There are sounds she struggled with before that she is now making with seemingly no effort. We still have quite a bit of work ahead of us but for now, we’re miles away from where we were this time last week.

Last night was rough but I have hopes tonight won’t be as bad. I think she’s got some night terrors and trauma residuals going on as a result of spending the week at the hospital. Teething tablets and a night light finally helped her go to sleep on her own last night but she spent the bulk of the evening in the living room with me. We’re going to have her return to school so her mind will have other things to focus on as well to help leave the memories of this past week behind.