It’s been a while and there’s just so much to say, but I’m going to start with a story about, well, my strawberry starfish. This is a little tough for me, as I’ve met lots of very nice people who read my blog, and many of them I will have to face again. The thing is, it’s really funny, and anyone who knows me well, knows that I have absolutely NO problem talking about my strawberry starfish, or my vagina, and that I especially love talking birth. Most people think that’s odd and this means I have exactly one friend that I can really open up to on matters of the downstairs (what up, Carrie!). Not today though! Today everyone gets to hear about it! I missed you, internets….
At the end of November, my Granny passed away and I decided to leave my children at home while I flew to the funeral. I couldn’t imagine doing the coming days while having to take care of my 9 month old and her wild older brother. This put me in a position I haven’t been in for a very long time. It meant travelling alone. This is definitely not all bad. Hello, Getting A Full Night’s Sleep. Oh, how I’ve missed your soothing touch. Meet me in the Vice-Regal Suite at 8:00 and bring your sexy friend, Nytol. But it does mean travelling alone. In the winter. Highway driving in a blizzard. Alone. Wheel-gripping terror. The funeral, as you can imagine, was stressful, heartbreaking. Watching my Mom grieve, not pleasant. When I got home, I hugged the kids, had a bite to eat and then started throwing up. For two days. I totally heart the stomach flu.
My husband (worried that I might decide that the Universe hated me and that I should just hide in the basement until the universe forgot I existed, and thus it would have stopped picking on me) decided to surprise me with a trip to one of my favorite places–the Jasper Park Lodge. Yay me! As I packed I was on the phone to my friend Cheri, telling her how much I deserved this trip and how even though Little R was now in the vomitous throes of the stomach flu, that it would take an act of God to keep me from my suite at the JPL. She said she thought everything would be fine because, really, what else could happen?
Well, this could happen. I went down to the basement and threw a load of laundry into the washing machine and as I stood up and swung the washer door shut, searing-no- SCORCHING pain ripped through my back from my left butt cheek to my ribcage. I couldn’t finish standing up, I couldn’t bend down, I couldn’t move a muscle without total agony. And then I panicked. I realised my children were alone upstairs. That my poor little boy was, at that very moment, on the couch throwing up Cheeto-coloured vomit onto the carpet with no one to rub his back. So, instead of waiting for him to finish and then calling for him to throw the phone down the stairs, I forced myself upstairs. This involved a lot of breathing techniques, exclamations of pain, sweat and positive self-talk. On the last stair, as I braced my hand against my knee and pushed up to the main floor, I swear I heard my back come unfastened. I was sure all my ligaments had just torn loose from my spine. I collapsed at the top of the stairs and then quickly realised that I should have stayed in the basement. Turns out the stress of the week, plus traveling in economy, plus the stomach flu equals one tense back ready to blow at the least provocation. I guess you can’t hide from the universe, or acts of God.
The next part will go down as the 12 most humiliatng hours of my life. I’m sure of it. Screaming at the 12 year-old nurse who had the bad fortune to be on shift when I delivered Baby A that “THESE ARE MODERN TIMES!!! THERE MUST BE AN ANESTHESIOLOGIST IN THIS BUILDING!!! PEOPLE HAVE SURGERY HERE!!! LOOK AT MY FACE, BITCH!!! E-PI-DU-RAL!!!” really is a distant second. Long after my 3-hour visit with the cold, hard floor at the top of the stairs; long after the arduous and painful journey on hands and knees to the couch with my cheek pressed to the carpet; long after the ugly, ugly contortions required to get myself onto said couch, came the undeniable need to pee.
I was able to ignore it for 9 full hours, but it was time. Time for my husband either to shove some towels under my butt so I wouldn’t pee on the couch, or time for him to help me use the toilet. We chose the toilet. I crawled on my forearms and knees all the way to the bathroom door. And this is where I met my own personal Waterloo. I have, let’s say, a moderate problem with the idea of germs, viruses, dirty things etc. I think it’s because I get sick so much. I feel like the germs are just waiting for me to let my guard down. Now, I know my bathroom floor is clean, but the idea of touching a bathroom floor, near the toilet, with my bare skin, it’s just too much. However, the very real threat of my husband having to clean me up because I peed myself kept me moving forward. He kept calling, “are you OK? Do you need help?” and I kept calling out “don’t look at me! Leave me my dignity!”. There was to be no dignity for me, though. Because once I was there, I realised that I couldn’t get my pants off. No way, no how.
“T! I need you to come take my pants off!”
“It’s not going to be what you hope it’s going to be!”
With my hands on the floor I reached my butt up into the air so T could get my pants off. In the harsh bathroom light I begged him not to look at me, to just pretend like it wasn’t happening, to please not look at my strawberry starfish. As my last shred of dignity slipped away I asked him to please help me find the toilet seat with my butt. And with my hands still on the floor, and my head hung low in defeat I finally peed. And it was done, he’d seen my strawberry starfish in fluorescent lighting.
I went to JPL anyway.
I’ll be in physio twice a week till the end of March.