I'm warning you now. This is not a funny, fun post. I'm having a hard time feeling fun. Or funny.
Okay. You're still reading? These mushrooms represent my family. My tightly knit clump of a family. We've been hiding out in plain view, occupied by school and work and trying to get the wheels moving in one uniform direction. But mostly, we've been bound by illness this fall.
Recently, we've all suffered sinus and ear infections, increased asthma, strep and colds. For over a month, at least one person in this family has been sick at any time. Nothing brings a family together -- for better or worse -- like multiple people staying home sick.
Some of you know that Paul has been suffering from an especially bad bout of debilitating headaches since just before Halloween. He's missed a lot of school this November (thanks, by the way, to his class for making all the great cards -- much appreciated.) The headaches are severe and persistent, even though sometimes he seems to have crazy bursts of energy that leave you wondering what's really going on. I've asked why he can read or watch tv at home, but can't make it through a school day (and yes, I felt terrible for asking), and he explained that he can lay down at home while doing those things, but at school he has to sit up, and the noise and light and all the movement make his head feel like it's exploding. And no child should ever wake up every night of the week yelling because of the pain in his head -- it's terrible to watch as a parent and makes you feel quite powerless. We're trying all sorts of things -- medications, etc. to get Paul up and back to school, but there hasn't been a lot of success so far (zero success. Zero.) We're waiting for an appointment with a pediatric neurologist (earliest availability? End of January. Really.) In the meantime, we've started acupuncture, which seems to make Paul dizzy, in addition to the headaches. I hear that improves. I hope that improves soon. Something has to help, right?
Yesterday, I felt like I hit a wall. Like there's no end in sight and I don't have any plan how to proceed. Like things are falling apart and and I don't understand how or why and I'm powerless to do anything about it. And then I think about those parents who have children with terminal illnesses and I'm filled with jealousy -- they handle this stuff (and far worse) every day. I can just barely handle it for a month. And I feel like I'm failing at this whole parenting thing.
UPDATE: I want to thank everyone for all the kind words -- it means a lot to all of us to know that so many people care. We're trying lots of different options -- the acupuncture works for a bit, until it doesn't; we're trying to get into the pediatric neurologist earlier (they'll call, they say, they'll call); and we're trying different types of pain management. I think the real lesson here is that not everything gets fixed fast.