One Step at a Time

Daughter was released from the hospital last night. She was very anxious to go home and very happy to be going. She had to go back today for a treatment on an out-patient basis and has five more treatments over the next couple of weeks, but so far they seem to be halping. Her color and attitude are good and she's smiling… all on very little medication. She still has some confusion and memory loss the days of the treatment, but after a few hours things start coming back to her and if you talk a bit about something she's forgotten her brain usually fills in.

Please keep your good thoughts going. I can't tell you how much they are appreciated. You've all been terrific.

Bitter on the Tongue

Dear Ex-Husband,

Throughout the years I have tried hard to be understanding of your life, perhaps my guilt leading me to overcompensate for your shortcomings. When we divorced many many years ago, I did everything I could to be pleasant to you, your family, and eventually your new wife. Although I was seething with anger every time you blew off your kids' weekend visits, I bit down on the anger and never spoke to or around the kids with anything but good where you were concerned. I wished you only the best as you gradually stepped out of their lives and became a ghost of a father to them.

As they grew, they learned you were not to be counted on. I heard time after time of family gatherings with your family that you never attended. Birthdays that passed without even a phone call. Numerous times when your kids worried about you… and wondered if you ever had a thought about them. If it hadn't been for your parents and siblings, I wonder if you ever would have contact with your now-grown children?

Then came weddings. You appeared on cue to walk your daughter down the aisle and to play 'host' at your son's rehearsal dinner… all the while you have not been 'dad' for a very, very long time. Oh, and didn't offer a nickel toward helping to pay for anything. Just let everyone assume you had. Bitter? Yeah. I'm getting there.

I think the final straw has come. You have known what your daughter is going through because your parents have told you, your siblings have told you, your son has told you… and yet? Not one inkling of support until your sister finally comes from out-of-town and lays a gigantic guilt trip on you to go with her to the hospital to visit. Then I hear you only stayed about an hour. One hour out of the two she gets for visits… and lives for because of the boredom she suffers the rest of the time she is there. An hour to talk about all that you haven't spoken of for months? An hour to let her know  you love her? Did you even tell her you love her?

I will not say anything. It isn't my place anymore. Still? It leaves a bitter taste in my mouth and anger in my soul.

Sincerely,

The Ex

One Day at a Time

Monday was a rough one. Daughter had her treatment, then had horrible nausea and a migraine to show for it afterwards. They gave her shots of pain killer and anti-nausea medication, but by the time we saw her in the evening she was still suffering and was swearing up and down that if the next treatment was as bad, she was done.

Luckily, Tuesday was a day off from treatment and she was feeling better that evening. She didn't appear to have any memory loss until we were talking about the day my younger daughter and I had gone to her house to play World of Warcraft and were there most of the afternoon and evening. She got a blank look and couldn't come up with the day at all. That was a couple of weeks ago.

Yesterday she had another treatment. When we went to see her last night she was in good spirits and told us she had no pain this time, no nausea. They'd given her some medications during and prior to the procedure that evidently helped that problem. Thank goodness! She did say she came out of the procedure with absolutely no memory of where she was, what she was doing there, or when they explained she was there for ECT she had no clue what ECT was. She said it took awhile, but eventually it came back to her. However, last night she did have to re-learn the card game.

Except for a couple of other patients who startle her with their unpredictable outbursts… she's getting along okay. She's supposed to be staying until next Wednesday night, but now she's talking about seeing if she can get out tomorrow, Friday. I have mixed feelings about this. Particularily since she's not had more than a couple of treatments and although she seems to be doing quite well and looks good, even on very little medication, I'm just not sure I trust her yet to be home… at least until she's had a few more treatments. Call me selfish, but I'll worry a lot less if she's under the watchful eye of the medical personnell for a bit longer.

On the up side, I've been spending more time with my grandson. He and I have been going to dinner and I'm finding out a lot of things going on in the mind of a ten-year-old boy. It's been awhile since I've had those insights.

Once more, I appreciate all you comments, prayers, and well wishes. Thank you for every one of them.

Hanging In There

Thank you everyone for such kind and supportive comments. I and my family do appreciate them so very much.

Just a couple of things. She is doing well and seems to not be frightened now. Her first session is today so we'll see how it goes, but last night and over the weekend she'd even started joking about the memory loss. She is reading a new book and was saying she was going to have to keep starting it over… and when we were playing cards last night her husband taught us a new game which my daughter promptly quipped, "You know you're going to have to teach this to me all over again tomorrow night, right?" It is nice to see her sense of humor is back.

The weather still sucks. Yesterday half the day was sunny (the second half) so that was very nice to see… although it didn't get as warm as they'd predicted, it was better than what the rest of the week is looking like. Later this afternoon we've got thunderstorms coming through and they're predicting by the end of the week we could have 2.5". Enough, already. Hubs hasn't started pulling out his hair in frustration for not getting to the field… yet. Won't be long, though, and I can see it coming.

Please forgive the sporadic writing and reading. I know you understand.

Shaken

Some of you know, and maybe even experienced, the earthquake that hit southern Illinois yesterday morning. According to our news reports, some people felt it as close as Des Moines, which is only about 40 miles from us. Although I can't say we felt it, my husband and daughter-in-law both woke up unexpectedly at that same time yesterday morning, so it is possible they felt something, For my family, the real shaking began a few hours later.

I told you about the troubles my daughter was having in a post a couple of weeks ago. She put in her time in the hospital and was doing better and even got released sooner than she originally expected. Home, she appeared to be doing okay to the point where they even let her husband go back to work this past week. She was home alone and was trusted to be home alone. Before you start worrying, she is still alive and didn't try to harm herself. She was having a pretty good week until near the end of the week when the weather got really crappy again. Wind, rain, more rain, more wind, cold… I swear, it is enough to make a person who isn't having difficulties depressed! On Wednesday we had a long, good talk and I thought she wasn't doing too badly. Then on Thursday evening she told me it had been a rough day, but she didn't know if it was the depression, the weather, or if she was just coming down with something. She was scheduled to see her doctor yesterday, Friday, so would talk to him then.

I got a phone call from her yesterday around noon. Her husband was taking her home to pack her bag… she was being re-admitted to the hospital. This time she was crying not out of frustration because she had tried to end it all but because she was upset and scared. She is going to have electroshock therapy.

They are taking her off all her medication. Monday she will start a series of nine to twelve treatments, three times a week. At this point they are thinking they'll keep her in the hospital for all of next week and she may be released the following Wednesday, depending on how things go… then have the remaining treatments on an outpatient basis. At first thought the vivid scene from "One Flew Over The Coocoo's Nest" with Jack Nicholson comes to mind. The barbaric scene has tormented many a person with mental illness and the fact remains, in earlier years this was a very barbaric procedure and was not done in a humane way. Times have changed. They now have learned the procedure does have a place in modern medicine and that it can be done with anesthesia and muscle relaxers and the discomfort can be minimalized.

Still. That helpless feeling is back in full force. This is a path I've not walked before. i can't give my daughter the benefit of my experience. I can't tell her that I've done this and it will be okay. I was trying to explain this to my husband on the phone yesterday as I told him the situation. He quietly said, "Now you have to be like the rest of us. This is how it was when we watched you going through it." I guess if that is meant to be a life lesson God wanted me to learn then He can stop smacking me upside the head. I get it.

I haven't been good about getting around to everyone's blog. I know there are a lot of things going on out there in your world. When I've gotten around even a little I've seen things happening with you, your loved ones, your friends, your family. As much as distance of time and space seperates us all, we still have a bond… I feel it. Do you? Although I may not have been there lately, I still care. I still want to have hope and belief that you are all doing well and that the things that are troubling in your life are being resolved, healed, mended, better. I want good things to come.

Over the next couple of weeks, if you could, just give a little good thought my daughters' way, okay? I'd surely appreciate it. The doctor says this treatment could be life-changing. There is a 90% chance she could come out the other side and not have to suffer from depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. There is a great chance that instead of being on large doses of five or six medications, she may be on one or two… and at a tenth of the dosage. There is a side effect of memory loss and that has her terrified. She's afraid she'll lose "herself", forget "who she is". Again, I can only look to the research and the doctor and listen when they say she will probably lose the next two weeks of her memory. She will 'fill in' with previous memories of another day spent at the hospital, as that is what the mind does. Still, she will at the core be herself and will be cognitive and be able to make decisions and know who she is in the moment. I can't think this will be a fun time or stress free. However, I weigh the memory loss with the potential loss of depression, anxiety and suicide and I've got to think this is a good thing. At least, that's the light at the end of the tunnel I am personally holding onto.

I love my kids. I love my daughter. I wish I was the one carrying this burden, so she wouldn't have to. I want it to be all right. I need it to be all right. I'm just going to go with, "It will be all right" for now. Still? The ground can stop shaking any time.

FB BFF

I just made that up.

What does it stand for? First, Best, Blog Friend Forever. Way back when I started this blog thing I had no clue what I was doing or where it would go or how it would get there. I seriously was flying by the seat of my pants. Then I ran across someone who gave it all some clarity and let me realize just what you could do here and what it all could be, when it grew up. To be honest, I don't even remember how I found her site. All I do remember is when I found it and started reading I was overwhelmed by the things she was saying… and the honesty in which she was saying it. I had a moment when I was just thinking… "wow. she's just like me."  Since then I've found even more similarities in our backgrounds and life experiences. Oh, sure, we've got a lot of differences, too. One glaring one is that I'm about 20-some years older than she is! I find some comfort in knowing that some people can figure out these things a lot faster than it took me.

She's become a true and trusted blog friend. Always here to comment and encourage, always giving of herself 110%. Is it any wonder she has such a huge following?

So… who am I talking about and why? The lovely Sizzle, who many of you know. Today is her birthday! Go on over and wish her a great day and be sure to tell her 'Sue sent me'! While you're there, click on her link to get her birthday wish gift – just by clicking the link she's provided, you can help her win a new website design! Nothing to spend, just a click.

I can't wait to see what her "Fella" has cooked up this year for her birthday. Whatever it is, I'm sure it will be great. He seems to make her very happy… and there isn't a thing wrong with that, now, is there? Happy Birthday, GF… or should I say, FB BFF?

Helpless

Many years ago when I was a child I lived a secret life. One face was presented to the world. That face was good and sweet and happy. I laughed when I was at school. I loved school. Of course I did. It was somewhere else. Somewhere else was a good place to be for me. Somewhere… anywhere… but home.

As life changed and I grew escape became an overwhelming theme. One of my escape scenerios was of the permanent type. I saved up pills stolen from my mother's stash of tranqulizers and felt that was going to be For The Best. As luck or fate would have it I had a change of heart and threw them all away.

Many years later voices in my head began yelling about things that I had done, things that had been done to me, and the cover up I thought I had managed… unsuccessfully. In a no good very bad time I had, for lack of a better term, a nervous breakdown. In that very dark time of my life I put my sweet children and loving husband through hell. Again, thoughts of checking out came to the forefront. Once more I thought it would be For the Best. Once again, luck or fate stepped in and a more rational voice took over.

I've talked about this before over on The Dark Madness… but now it has to come over here. Why? Because that is what has happened. It has intruded once more into my life. The happy life. The better life. The good life. It has come crashing in with dirty feet and stinky breath and made its ugliness known again.

This time, though, it isn't me who is going through the darkness. This time it is one of my children. My beautiful eldest daughter. Wife, mother, incredible woman. She's facing this demon and I feel so helpless because I can't do anything to pull her away from the abyss. I'm trying. I am. I'm trying to make her see that there is hope. You can come through this darkness and you can find true joy and hope and a good life. I just pray it is enough.