Friday, February 6, 2009

Pissed for 10 Seconds: On Remembering the Difficult Days

Recently, I was reminded of the unique position of where I've been over the last 19 months. That's just what happens when you and your family have gone through one of these survival periods.

I havn't had too many days in the last few years where I've actually been upset enough to get pissed. But the other day I saw a picture of Rosemary when she was about 8 months old, and I got a rush of adrenaline in the pit of my stomach. In that instant, I became incredibly pissed. I felt like the necessary insanity of that time had robbed me of the normalcy that I had craved for the first year of her life. I just don't remember much detail surrounding those months, and I can't recall having too many moments of not having to worry about Rosemary's life. It was so constant that everything else just kind of flew by in my rear view mirror. I felt like I missed having my baby, I blinked and now she's 19 months old. I know that particular part of having kids is normal, they all grow up too fast. But this has been a whirlwind.

I was so wedged between keeping her alive and trying to predict if each incident of vomiting, fever, SATs dropping or crying was going to be the next straw that broke the camel's back sending us rushing to the ER again. I just kept blindly walking on the treadmill of life. I was so fearful for her life from day to day, I had a very difficult time trying to stop and enjoy it. Of course this challenge has given our family an indescribable amount of wisdom, patience and positive perspective, but it was the most difficult time I've ever lived through. I don't know how, but we're probably some of the happiest people on the planet.

New moms don't get any sleep to begin with. When you throw placing NG tubes, insuflons, feeder bags and all of the medical tubing, tape and monitors in kind of forget who you were before all of this began. You instantly jump into the role of surviving. Rosie and I have always had a crazy and beautiful understanding that living sometimes means that Mommy has to reluctantly inflict some discomfort...only to survive. She's been so forgiving. I don't know anyone as forgiving as her. I still have to place a feeding tube into her G-tube (button) 3 times a day, but it's better than the memories of placing an NG tube up her nose. Even at those times, her little eyes would look up at me with that look of "...I know why, but damnit Mommy!" She would sigh when it was over and then put her head on my shoulder. I probably cried more than she did. She's the strongest little kid. It's been almost a year since her second open-heart surgery, it was Leap Year and it was a blessing.

Rosemary is doing awesome. And finally, so am I. I'm here, typing, and not crying over not getting any sleep or having to sleep in the ER again. We're not there. We're here, and I'm grateful. I was only pissed for about a total of 10 seconds that day...and then Rosie literally knocked on my door, I opened it and saw those big, beautiful brown eyes staring up at me, and she smiled.

That pissed feeling in my gut went away in an instant.

If I have any advice or sentiments for anyone going through this right now, know that the hard times will become memories. Just do what you need to do for today, it's hard, but you will find your peace.

1 comment:

Sicilian librarian said...

Who would have ever thought that a little girl from Homer City would one day grow up and write such a beautiful, moving tribute to her own daughter. I know that it too often seems like "the road is long," and in your case, "less travelled," but with your strength and the help of your wonderful family I know that the light at the end of the tunnel will be the sun shining on you and Rosie. The Irvin girls have always had a special place in our life and if you ever need a shoulder please know that we will always be there for you.

The Mistretta Family