Saturday, February 25, 2012

Mothers and Daughters

Two years ago, after not enough discussion, we moved cross country to live with my mother and father.  The intent was that we would have our own house, but it hasn't worked out that way.  For nearly two years, we have been living in my parents' condo.  To make matters worse, it has been difficult to find work; in fact, so difficult, my husband has moved to find work in another part of the country.

And so there is my mom.  She recently turned seventy, not that that really matters, because she hasn't changed from when she was sixty-nine.  She hates everything we do.  Sometimes I can feel hostility when I breathe, I swear.  Today she has been ill, and I talked her into staying in bed.  Apparently that meant I was supposed to prepare her meals, despite supervising my father and two children, and having tremendous back pain myself.  Because I didn't make her toast, she is bawling around the house carrying on about how she has to do everything herself.  My father had lost part of the grocery list and forgot to get the stuff my mother needed.  Again, she must do everything for herself.  Keep in mind the old man is brain damaged.  I took her to a convenience store and bought her noodles, which is what she wanted.  She wouldn't let me cook it for her, because she has to "do it all myself".  Well, okay.  Then she burned herself with them.  That was the last straw.

For the first time in my entire life, my mother is sleeping at a friend's house.  I feel like a kid watching her walk out, and the pain is real and palpable.  My kids have asked, "is Mimi really leaving?  Why?"  I wish I knew, other than she's overwhelmed with life.  With us.

Like any kid, I blame myself.  If only I had made toast.  If only I had checked the groceries before we left.  If only I had done the shopping instead of my dad (he offered and wanted to).  Right now I'm furious and sad and feel helpless.  I'm furiously angry and full of regret.  Do you ever get over your mom walking out?

I don't know.  Ask me tomorrow.  As for tonight, I'm done with the blame.  Everyone in the house gets blamed except for Mom.  It's no longer a place I want to be.  It's a place I want to flee.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Day I have no idea.

The other night as I was browsing Facebook, I noticed that one of my friends had stated that it had been three years since her disorder had first caused her tremendous pain.  I wanted to reach out and hug her, knowing how much pain she is in and how brave she is to face it every day.  She is a face of bravery, but every once in awhile the facade shows a crack.  There have been many nights she and I, awake at ungodly hours with pain, have comforted one another with fond memories of when I lived near her and of our careers, before there was pain.  Rarely do we speak about what may happen in the future.  We don't know.

Her statement of a three year anniversary though, made me think about how long it has been since I was officially diagnosed with fibromyalgia.  A year this month, February 2011.

I remember going in to see the rheumatologist.  A young woman, she listened to me for three or four minutes before cutting me off.  "I don't give narcotics," she said firmly, almost snappish.  I had described how my former doctor had been treating me with muscle relaxants and a mild narcotic.  My mother sat in a chair watching us, and I wonder if she knew that I would make a stand.

I did that day.  I had to.  "I'm not here for narcotics," I snapped back.  "I'm here for a diagnosis.  I'm here to get better.  I'm here because I have fibromyalgia and I need a diagnosis if I'm wrong or if I'm right."

She had me stand up, then pressed a few trigger points, all of which I winced or cried out audibly.  Three minutes later I had my diagnosis.

That was a year ago.  In the past year I've suffered pain and I've survived it.  I've fought to work jobs and lost them.  I've fought to attend things when my body was screaming in pain.  Sometimes I've been successful, and sometimes I've given up.  I've felt sorry for myself, I've felt desperate.  But I've also known the loving care of my friends, my family, and my God.  And I've had a lot of time to think about solutions.

Today marks my first day of physical therapy.  Soon I will start therapy again with my second therapist.  I am working on quality sleep at night, and have a good psychiatrist who is helping with the depression and anxiety that often accompany fibro.  So baby steps make it get better.  Nobody learned to be a masterpiece in a day.

So originally I had vowed to write every day and have fallen woefully short.  But this update is positive and good.  And I'm sure there will be more.

Happy one year anniversary to my diagnosis, and to the strength in me that survives.