Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dealing With It

Sometimes, getting it out can be beneficial. I'll hope that this is the case here.

We spent last week in Iowa. This year, Iowa hasn't been as fun as it normally is. My mom had a pressure sore at the end of 2009 - the cushion in her wheelchair "broke" - the fancy shmancy cushion that keeps her from getting pressure sores. She coddled it along while she waited for the new one to arrive. And, when the new one arrived - only three days later - the damage had been done.

For a few months, they tried to get it to heal unsuccessfully - and eventually she landed in the hospital with a pretty serious infection. Pressure sore wounds + infections + paralysis are just not good, folks.

She ended up having surgery to try to heal the wound - but that proved unsuccessful because the radiation from last year's uterine cancer caused the skin in that area to not heal correctly. She's now been home for about 12 weeks with a wound vac on - and it is SLOWLY healing. The doctor estimated another 6 - 8 weeks on Monday. On bedrest. The poor lady hasn't been out of bed since around Christmas. SIGH.

So, the trips to Iowa now include a lot of stuff. Going shopping (ok, so that isn't bad), dreaming up projects for mom to do, kicking dad's behind into order, cleaning - a lot of "stuff". Thankfully, the kids are old enough that they can pretty much take care of themselves and they will spend a lot of time "hanging" in grandma's room watching TV, playing on her computer, doing crafts, running around her room & being generally cute. In the evenings when a lot of the stuff is done, I talk with mom.

I learned on this trip that she signed a DNR on her last hospital admission - and she wants us to abide by it. She doesn't want to become any more handicapped than she already is - she couldn't handle the effects of a stroke or losing her ability to use her arms.


I took a leadership class in April. I think a lot of it goes back to being one of the only women in the organization. Funny how aggressive men are "driven" and aggressive women are "bitchy". The class was great, though, and I learned so much.

Part of the class is working with a one-on-one leadership coach. Mine was a psychologist as a well as a former business-woman. She nailed it pretty quickly for me. I suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress. Gee, I wonder why?

I know I still haven't processed everything that happened back in 2004 - how could you really be expected to do that? My kids were born at 27 weeks on April 30th - I haven't met a preemie mom yet who deals with that guilt very effectively. 3 weeks + 2 days later, my parents were in a head-on collision (drunk driver) at 2 p.m in the afternoon on their return home from seeing my kids. I was pretty convinced at that time I was going to lose them. I remember getting the phone call, finally reaching the Iowa State Parol & hearing about the accident, and literally curling up into a ball in the corner of a closet. I dealt with that beautifully, huh?

For about a week, I dealt with 3 hospitals as we tried to assess both parents conditions and was still dealing with the itty bitty babies in the NICU (all 4 family members were in ICUs). Then, they transferred Tanner to another NICU in another Hospital because of his liver issues. Tanner had 2 sugeries - mom had more than I can remember.

Things returned to "managable" on August 23, 2004 - Tanner had been diagnosed with Biliary Atresia (and he would need a liver transplant in February 2005), mom was home (in a wheelchair), and Morgan & my dad were home.

So how come after six years, I still hav a hard time processing it all? How does hearing that my mom signed a DNR bring back that old guilt / anger?

Yes, I do have the number to a good therapist.