Saturday, April 28, 2012

When Mom Goes To The Hospital

There was a long lag between posts on my blog.  I've been dealing with two situations that made it very hard to write, and which were hard to write about while I was dealing with them.  But I do need to write about them now that I've had a chance to get detached from the situations, because they are unfortunately very real situations that can come up for many moms.  I'll start by looking at a health issue.

As a mom, I've always thought the worse thing that could happen is for one of my children to get sick.  My health has never been at the forefront of my thoughts.  Sure, there are things I can't do that other moms do, but there's so much I can do - most particularly, love them like crazy - that my health issues have never really gotten in the way.  Like other moms, I've been reminded that we need to take care of ourselves - like they say on the airplanes, get your oxygen mask on before you put one on your child - but like other moms, I've found that easier said than done on a day-to-day basis.

But I have realized that an unexpected health crisis for me can fall in a close second.  I went to the doctor one day because one leg was bigger than the other, and before my head could stop spinning, I was admitted to the hospital.  I was there for a week for treatment of a large blood clot in my leg.  As tough as that was, the worst part was worrying about my kids.  They left for school one morning, and when they got home, they found out that Mommy wasn't home and that no one knew when Mommy would be back.  And despite that unexpected situation, they still had to go to school and be taken care of amidst the chaos.

Even though I wasn't able to be with them, there were still some things I could do.

Hospital visits - This has got to be an individual decision.  I had decided that I didn't want the children to visit me, because I knew I looked like a mess, and I didn't want to scare them with all the tubes stuck in me and all of the other scary things about a hospital setting.  I was in the cardiac care unit for several days, and I was glad they had a rule that children under 12 were not allowed to visit.  One of the nurses told me she would bend the rule for me if I wanted to see my kids, but I knew they'd be absolutely terrified by what they saw if they did.  It was unnerving enough for me to see the setup when I was wheeled out of my room for procedures, and I was old enough to understand it better than they would.

But don't forget the phone - I had a chance to talk to the boys on the phone, and we had a terrific time talking.  I was as upbeat as I could be, given how bad I felt, because I didn't want them to worry about me any more than they already did.  I focused on trivial things that wouldn't scare them, like Mommy sitting in bed watching TV.  I made sure that they knew I had brought my pillow pet to the hospital with me (yes, I sleep with a stuffed animal!  It keeps me from contorting my arm and making my hand cramp during the night), and it did make them feel better to know that I wasn't completely alone.  They could relate to sleeping with a pillow pet, and it was definitely not scary for them to imagine me lying in a bed with a stuffed bunny rabbit.

Think about hubby - My husband is a fixer, and I knew it was driving him nuts that he couldn't be everywhere for everybody, and that he couldn't get me out of that hospital any faster.  But I insisted that he leave every night to pick up the kids from after-school care and not to visit me at night.  Even on the hardest nights in the hospital - including one where I couldn't stop sobbing until I had been brought quite a bit of lovely sedatives - I knew my husband was in the right place being there for the kids.  I had no doubt, even at my loneliest times, that his being home parenting our children was the place I needed for him to be.

Ask for and accept help - Thank goodness we had so much family in town.  With both sets of grandparents and an aunt around, the kids were surrounded by people who wanted to do anything they could for the boys.  The boys got to eat meals with adored relatives, so it didn't feel bad at all.  This help continued after I got home too, since people were nice enough to bring us meals.  Since my kids aren't picky eaters, they loved having people making yummy meals for them.  I owe a special thanks to the dear lady who introduced my kids to lasagna - I could never get them to try it, but they adored the ones she made for us!

When you've home - No matter how tired you are, or how much healing you still have to do when you get home from the hospital, the kids missed you terribly and need whatever you can give to them.  Luckily for me, my boys were at an age (6 and 7 years old) that they were content cuddling.  I couldn't get around much, but they could climb onto the sofa and curl up next to me, and that was all right for all of us.

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