Sunday, January 25, 2009

Adjusting

There is something very familiar in this whole ordeal that reminds me of the adjustment we faced when we came home with our first (screaming) baby. In both instances the first thought was whether life would ever again be the same.

Which brings me to something I failed to share. Just 28 years ago to the day I was in the very same hospital on Inauguration Day (that would have been Ronald Reagan’s) in a considerable amount of pain giving birth to my son, who took quite a while to make his appearance. There must not have been much of a crowd because we zoomed into town in no time since there was no rush hour traffic and obviously no bridges were closed. Sort of ironic, yes?

For the first three months, our new baby refused to sleep more than a couple of hours at a time. I tried valiantly to have a routine, but there was none. I felt angry and abandoned as my husband cheerfully left for work each day and I stayed home with more of the same. But eventually as I became less resolute about exclusively breastfeeding and our son grew a little, life got better again. Different from before but better.

I discovered coping skills, like after grocery shopping putting the baby in a playpen while I unloaded the groceries from the car and put them away. God forbid he should stay too long in a playpen! I learned how to work outside in the yard, leaving him to roll around on a blanket in the grass. And he finally slept through the night, making me feel like a totally liberated woman. At some point along the way I even remembered about sex, something most women want to deny completely for quite a while after giving birth!

And so it’s already happening with my latest life trauma. As much as a total disaster our first night home was (D saying YOU SHOULD HAVE GONE TO REHAB), last night was totally different. My wise friend Deborah was over last night and recommended that I take a Percocet before going to bed. (I had determined not to take anything other than an occasional Tylenol from that point.) So I took the little pill. Not only was the night less painful, but I slept a deep happy sleep and woke up feeling so much better. She is so smart in so many ways.

The healing process is simply amazing. I can already feel the muscle strength returning to the bad leg, giving me a lot more stability when I stand and move. The home-care PT guy’s advice for getting into and out of the bed were of great help. Yesterday I managed to go up and down stairs 2 times all by myself (with crutches), water the plants, cut up the bok-choy stir-fry ingredients for dinner, and make a cup of tea. Baby steps, right?

I’m due for a hair appointment in a couple of weeks. At my wonderful piano teacher’s suggestion, I’m going to do the color one more time. She said, “Your face is too young to have that gray in the front.” She has lots of wisdom that goes beyond music. Did I say she is related to Frank Rich of the NYT? Anyway, I touched base by e-mail with my wonderful hair stylist who thought they could figure out how to deal with me on the first floor of the salon. He even offered to come to my house if needed. Aren’t these people great?

So a new routine emerges and I start to settle. It’s not where I had hoped to be today as I visited a dear friend in SF, but it’s OK. I’ve turned the corner. What’s ahead is different but just fine. And people never fail to amaze me in their willingness to help.

7 Comments:

Blogger Cyndy said...

Wow, those aren't baby steps, they're leaps! I can't say you'll be fine in no time because you are fine already!

There's nothing like a good night's sleep, and it's amazing what a little Percocet will do when you really need it. I'm so glad Deborah prodded you in that direction - I'm also one of those who avoids painkillers at all costs, but sometimes they are really necessary. Congratulations on your excellent progress!

10:14 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

It's amazing the difference one day can make!

11:38 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Cyndy -- You recently found out what having a bum foot can do for your life. These things make us realize what a wonderful thing the body is, but every part has a critical purpose!

Kristin -- I totally agree. And a good night's sleep helps enormously!

12:31 PM  
Blogger Merle Sneed said...

My best for a speedy recovery, Barbara.

2:06 PM  
Blogger e said...

I'm so glad things are improving! I knew they would!

6:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Barbara, it sounds like one of the many lessons/blessings of this experience is really allowing yourself to RECEIVE from your loved ones, yes? You know so well yourself that it's a gift to be able to offer help to another; so, now you are providing others the opportunity to give. It's all one circle of giving and receiving, like your beloved Mobius strip.

Wish I could be there to do more!

So glad you're feeling better!

XO,

--F.

11:09 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

I can't even imagine how your hip and leg feel but you must feel so much better now that you can do dinner preps!

Keep on!

11:59 PM  

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