The Archers Bring Back Bad Memories

This week in The Archers, Ruth Archer suffered a miscarriage just after finding out she was pregnant. She was trying to reassure herself by saying things were no different from when she was still blissfully ignorant of being pregnant. But this all brought back our personal experience of miscarriage when Jane lost a baby after just 10 weeks. In theory, you are no worse off than when there was no baby, but the loss of hope is a painful wound, and that’s just what Ruth’s mother told her.

She is of course correct. Jane was 38 when she was pregnant in 2004 and because we realised that realistically our time was limited, the loss of that hope was a crushing blow. Along with it came the thought that our chance had gone. I know its hard for those not involved. What do you say to someone who’s gone through that? The amount of times I heard “these things happen” was amazing. Yes they do, and who can say why they do. In our view, it just wasn’t our baby’s time to arrive, and thankfully we were blessed in 2005, and Matthew was born in October that year. We loved him as soon as we saw him, but I wonder if our loss in 2004 gave his arrival added poignancy.

Its hardest on the woman of course who goes through the physical as well as the emotional pain. Its hard to explain how badly it makes you feel. There’s no obvious external giveaway, but as I said above its the loss of a possibility that hurts the most. I’ve seen some criticism of the storyline, and the fairly graphic description of the process, but it still seems a bit of a taboo subject that can’t be uttered. Its little wonder that people don’t know what to say to those affected, so well done to the script writers for having the nerve to tackle it. Maybe those that have to suffer a miscarriage will get more understanding from those around them, and will ultimately help them through a tough time.

Long Week for our Aspie

As many will know, our little aspie – Daniel – has been in hospital this week for an op on his knees. The operation went well, and recovery is well underway. Slow recovery. Like most ASD children, sitting (or lying) around waiting isn’t something they are capable of managing and the strain has been telling on Daniel. His view of the op was that he’s be on his feet the following day and would be walking out of the hospital. The reality has been very different, and he’s found it hard to cope with. There’s a lot of work with the physios involved, and he’s been resistant to their input because however necessary it is, it hurts. Its difficult for him to accept that he needs to go through that to get home, and he’s desperate to get home having watched other children be admitted then discharged before him.

When I took Matthew to see Daniel last night, it was evident however that he was starting to make good progress. He’d been on his feet for 30 seconds (it doesn’t seem long, but for Daniel it was a triumph) and had been able to go through to the play area on the ward. It really lifted his spirits to think that he was moving forward at last. When we saw him, he was looking much happier than he had the day before. Despite the work with the physio, I think he sees discharge coming a little bit closer, and that is motivating him at last. Its a big psychological barrier to get over, and now he’s done it, I think he’s progress much more quickly. The positive sign last night was that he and Matthew had a little “debate” over which DVD they’d watch during the visit. Matthew had been fantastic with Daniel this week, and has been so worried and caring, but to see them resume some of their normal day-to-day interaction is a move forward, and is a clear sign that Daniel is getting better.

But its been a long week for him. Inevitably there’s been a lot of waiting for him. Waiting to see the doctor, waiting to have details taken, waiting to go down to theatre, waiting for medication, waiting for food. Its been difficult for him to cope with all that but I think its now starting to work as a motivator for him. If he can prove to clinical staff that he’s capable of moving around, then he’ll get home and the waiting will be over for him.

We’ve still got no idea of how he’ll cope around the house and getting to school in the immediate term, but that is a worry for another day. Right now, Daniel just wants to come home, and that’s something we all agree on.

Who’s Worried Most?

A while ago I posted about Daniel’s upcoming operation to pin his knees to straighten up his legs (https://theworldofneil.wordpress.com/2013/11/27/apsie-operations-asd-brother/) Today we took Daniel (and Matthew) along to the hospital today to have a look round the ward where Daniel will be heading next Monday for the op, just so he could get comfortable about where he’s going, and what it will be like. He was happy enough. There’s a Wii with Mario Kart in the play area, and he’ll have kids TV at his bed, so all is well! He was all very matter of fact about it, and is now of the view that next week can’t come soon enough.

But it seems its not Daniel that’s worried most. Matthew was highly agitated today, was continually telling Daniel to be careful, to not run, that toys and children can get lost in hospital. His eyes were everywhere when we got up to the surgical ward. He knows what Daniel is facing, and despite being like a typical sibling, he cares deeply for Daniel. Woe betide anyone who threatens Daniel’s safety. He already has a plan for next Monday. I’ll take Jane & Daniel up to the hospital, return home to pick up Matthew from school, head out for tea, then visit Daniel in the evening. I think Matthew won’t rest easy until he’s seen Daniel and is satisfied that he’s come out of the op in one piece.

The Tuesday will be tough to judge. I don’t think Matthew will settle truly until Daniel is home again, and it will be a judgement call on the Tuesday morning whether or not to send him into school. Matthew’s ASD means that he becomes very anxious very quickly. and having him in class may prove too disruptive for the rest of the class. The educational experience may be too diluted for Matthew’s benefit too as it may be too hard for him to concentrate on the work at hand.

Daniel’s head is in a decent place over the operation, but for Matthew? Well, he needs to get himself prepared for it. Its something that’s beyond his control, and he doesn’t like that at all. He’s worried about Daniel on top of that, and he can’t express that concern out loud, but instead will just get himself wound up. Its up to us to reassure him that Daniel will be fine. It does seem that Daniel will be encouraged to be on his feet by the Tuesday, and seeing Daniel up and about might really put Matthew’s mind at rest. But for a boy who will often say “I dont’ care about you” to Daniel (in the heat of the moment) he has a funny way of showing it.

Yes, Monday can’t come soon enough for both our boys.

In The Clear – But Warning Taken

A few weeks ago I had a bit of excitement by way of a dash to A&E for a heavy nosebleed that just didn’t want to stop. I was told that my blood pressure was quite high, and that a trip to the GP was in order to have that checked out. That was last Friday.

Well, the good news was that for starters my blood pressure was down a bit from the previous week’s reading, so it was heading in the right direction. Even better was that all the blood tests came back negative. Cholesterol reading was a bit above average (6.2 compared to national average of 5.6) but there was no other issues to deal with. The ECG had been a bit of a worry – but it too came back A-Ok. It was all a bit of a relief, but I agreed with the doctor that getting just a little more exercise, losing a little more weight and watching what I eat was very much part of the plan.

I was wary about a lot of physical exertion immediately after the nosebleed, but in the last few days, I’ve gone back to walking from the centre of town after getting off the bus. Its a 2 mile walk to work from there, and taking 30-35 minutes (its uphill!) gives me a decent amount of exercise. Then there’s the 30 minute walk back, so all in all, its 4 hours exercise a week before I even think of any formal exercise. I might just get back to doing zumba on the Wii. I did that before when we were really watching our diet and exercise, and it worked a treat, so back to that this weekend.

Even though all the tests came back negative, and my blood pressure although high isn’t dangerously so, I’ve taken the whole episode as a warning to do the right thing and make sure I’m here for the boys while they grow up. We were so good last summer and I lost 22 pounds at one point. I know I can do it, and I’m keen to get back to it. Not just to look and feel better, but to make sure my blood pressure remains under control. I’ve still to get a 24-hour blood pressure monitor, but the doctor thinks it will only confirm what he said last week.

At least now I can move forward with the worry taken away a bit. I’ve been downloading some relaxation apps this week, and they work a treat (as Jane will tell you when I fall asleep halfway through!) The diet & exercise is one thing, remaining as calm as possible is something else. It all adds up to a hopefully healthier me for 2014.

Stress Telling

I’ve posted a lot lately about the start of the year we’ve had. Downstairs lights going, washing machine leaking (or pipes as it now seems), Jane going into hospital for her tonsillectomy, my dash to A&E for a heavy nosebleed, then Jane following suit the following weekend with bleeding from her wound that resulted in a litre of blood being lost. Its all been a huge strain on everyone.

The boys have coped fairly well on the surface, but I know how worried they’ve been. They’ve been so controlled, particularly Daniel who is so volatile at home. He’s kept it all in at home as well as at school where his behaviour is excellent. But keeping it all in when he gets home has been difficult, but he’s done it out of concern for Jane. This week the strain finally began to show when Jane got home on Monday. Every night this week at bedtime, he’s been incredibly difficult to handle. Initially I thought he was just playing up for me, but last night it dawned on me that it wasn’t me, but Jane he was getting at. He wasn’t doing it purposefully, but he had his mummy taken away from him for a few days, and it scared him. He didn’t know how to deal with missing her, nor did he know how to vocalise how he was feeling. But now that Mummy is home and safe, the worry over her is gone and he now is able to release the pent up feelings that the stresses of the last two weeks have caused.

Matthew has been feeling it too, and to be fair on him, he has been fantastic. He’s taken it upon himself to make the coffees each day (we’ve got a Nescafe Dolce Gusto machine that only needs pods inserting and a button to be pressed) and has helped me with the washing (at least taking it down to the kitchen.) But as the last two weeks have progressed, he’s been getting increasingly waspish with Daniel. He is stressed, and the only target he has to take it all out on is Daniel. He’s been more and more unpleasant towards Daniel (its not constant I should add) although most of the time they are reasonably happy together. They’ve been collaborating on Angry Birds Go on Daniel’s iPad and that has brought them closer together, and has also helped them through the last two weeks, particularly when Jane was in hospital.

For me, I now see what Jane does at home. Its non-stop. I tend to panic under pressure – even the slightest thing – and stress isn’t good for me. I’m wondering if that’s what my nosebleed was all about. A warning that I was getting too stressed, as my blood pressure was very high when I presented to hospital. Suddenly with Jane away, the easiest things, like preparing the tea, become majorly stressful activities. Then there was the washing to contend with while I was concerned with the leaking washing machine. All while I was to-ing and fro-ing from work. Thankfully I was allowed time off or allowed to work from home which made life easier. But the stress told. I was even more short with the boys which is unfair on them as they were already stressed with Jane being away. Its just that the pressure continued to grow and in the immediate term there seemed no way out for me. I think the shock of high BP has told me its time to find ways to control the stress. We’re already looking at diet, and putting in place strategies for me in dealing with the boys. Getting angry with them only helps fuel any meltdown they descend into, prolonging the stress for all of us.

We’ve all been affected in our own way, and ultimately haven’t dealt with it too well although we’re starting to come out the other side. Its an eye-opener when your own mental health fragility is brought out into the open. Maybe all too often we try to control those feelings and do our best not to let them out for fear of what others might say. Its stupid though really. We are all human, and at least 1 in 4 suffer from mental health issues. Its up to us all to be more understanding of others, but to also recognise when we aren’t coping too well. For us, its been a warning, and its down to us to try and help ourselves. If we aren’t willing to do that, then why should anyone else be willing to?

Back Where She Belongs

Jane’s tonsillectomy odyssey continued today and took a welcome twist. The overnight news had been good. No more coughing, no more clots, no more blood. It sounded favourable, and all we were waiting for was the Doctor’s OK for Jane to come home. I got a message around 10am though to say Jane had to give a fasting blood test, so it didn’t look too good at this stage. Then unexpectedly, another message from Jane to say she was being set free! All that was needed was the prescription paperwork for the GP, and her medication itself, then we were good to go. I left it until 1115am to head off to give them a time to complete their paperwork and dispense the drugs.

The discharge process itself – as usual – was a long drawn out affair, and we were kept waiting. And waiting. Fortunately my mum was coming over to pick up the boys from school, so it took one pressure away. Finally a junior doctor came in with the paperwork, and shortly afterwards a nurse came in to say the medication was on its way up. 90 minutes later it was in a trolley waiting to come up! I headed off to get the car (I’d parked at my office, just half a mile away) and by the time I got down, Jane was coming down the road. We were off home.

The boys were thrilled of course to see Jane. I’d said to them after yesterday that there was no guarantee Jane would get home today, and I think Matthew had prepared himself for that eventuality. When Jane went into the kitchen (he was making coffee for the grannies!) his face lit up. It brought closure to a scary incident for the boys. It was bad enough Jane had to go in for the op in the first place, but to be taken away from them a second time was tough to take. But they coped brilliantly. They were so helpful, making life a lot easier for me. Its a blessing that they are so desperate to help and they were brilliant. They have their moments, but when its needed, they pull together. They deserve a treat, and when Jane is fully recovered, it’ll be one of their favourites – takeaway Chinese. But for now, we are all thrilled to have Jane back.

Troubled Aspie

Jane is in hospital at the moment following complications reslting from a tonsillectomy. She coughed up a lot of blood on Friday which ended in a trip to A&E. They kept her in for observations, and despite her seeming fine yesterday, they decided to keep her it. Just as well as she woke early yesterday and coughed up a lot more blood clots. After an urgent procedure to “vacuum” up the blood clots around her wound, she was sick and brought up a LOT of blood that had been in her stomach, having drained from her wound. Steroids were applied to help the wound heal and she would be kept in until doctors were satisfied bleeding was stopped for good. Jane had joked before her op that she’d be the 3 in 100 that had post-op bleeding. Many a true thing has been said in jest!

But when I expected Matthew to be hit for six, its been Daniel that has unexpectedly been hit the hardest. He seems a resiliant, independent little soul at home, but its clear he’s been hit hard by it. The last 2 nights  he’s not settled until near 11pm. I’ve let it go as it was the weekend, and he  needed to be with me. Tonight we had a relatively calm evening. Both boys were bathed and ready  for bed by 8pm. We played a game at guessing caracters from the Lego Star Wars character encyclopedia and it was lights  out  by  830pm. Not bad. But since then, Daniel has been up practically every 20 minutes. He’s missing his mummy and he’s worrried. I told them Jane didn’t have a good night and it might be a couple of days before she is home. I reassured him that when she is poorly, she is in the best place.

Daniel gives an air of being confident and unfazed a lot of the time, but he’s a complex, sensitive little man who can surprise you regularly. He takes every thing to heart and finds it hard to vocalise how he is feeling and what is bothering him. Jane not being here is really troubling hi. If he’s showing he’s this worried, then you can be sure he’s a lot more worried than that. He is a worried little guy at the moment, and mummy can’t come home one moment too soon as far as he is concerned.