Don’t call us, we’ll call you

January 17, 2012

Sleep(less)

Suddenly last Tuesday I got really depressed.  I came home from what was supposed to be an easy get-together with new people, and I just kind of burst into tears.  I felt isolated both because I haven’t made too many friends here (a combination of mostly-logistical factors like traveling and ill health and the holidays) and because I can tell I’m having trouble communicating core things about myself to the people I am meeting.  For a few hours, I wanted to be magically transported back a few months, to grad school and the 109th/12th Wards, when I had great friends, including many that I felt really “got” me with seemingly little effort on my part.  I can tell it is a different ballgame down here — and I am going to have to work harder at making friends.  (Again, this is probably more about vastly-different logistics than it is about the people I’m surrounded by.)

The depressed feelings quickly morphed into a wickedly short fuse when our darling girl would not nap, despite being seriously tired and whiny.  (The day before she also did not nap, and instead learned to climb out of her pack ‘n play and came waltzing into our room beaming as proudly as I’ve ever seen her, which is saying something since this girl can beam!)  I rarely, rarely lose my cool with Addison, even when she was going through her vicious tantruming/kicking/hitting/hating-mommy phase, but that day I had a couple of somebody-better-get-this-kid-away-from-me-before-I-scream moments.  I never screamed but we did have a very tearful timeout, which was definitely more depressing for me than for her.

And on top of that, I was having this fresh wave of fatigue, which I should have seen coming since whenever I’ve been feeling well long enough that I note it on my blog, it means that I’m due for a decline.  (Note to self: these health problems are chronic; plan accordingly.)  So Addison deciding that she would no longer be napping — because every day since then she’s fought it like crazy, and she’s only had about two naps — felt like the worst possible timing.  I lay here thinking, how could she be that tired (because she also doesn’t sleep through the night lately) and that active and not fall asleep after three hours in her pack ‘n play (because we’re really persistent about the sleep thing)?  And then of course, it dawns on me what a ridiculous question that is when I’ve been in bed for five and half hours and I still haven’t slept a wink.  God help us if she has my sleep(less) genes; Neal will be in an asylum before he hits 30.

Which brings me to my next topic: why I can’t sleep.  I have avoided this topic with pretty much everyone for a long time.  I think I’ve been in denial, hoping that it’s some little fluke that would resolve itself over a few weeks.  But now I must own that I am itchy again.  Not pregnancy-itch-from-hell/wake-up-daily-in-a-bloody-mess itchy, but still pretty itchy.  And it’s been going on since July (though it’s intensified over the last month), so yeah, I’ve really been in denial.  I just can’t wrap my mind around the concept that I am going to have a new chronic health problem of itchiness.  There’s just nothing dignified about that.  Chronic pain, spinal arthritis, fibromyalgia, hypoglycemia.  Now those sound dignified and serious.  But the thing is, the itching feels like the worst one.  When I’m really in a bad place pain-wise, I can’t sleep and I actually cry involuntarily sometimes (as in, not from emotion but from some physical necessity).  When I’m itchy, I also can’t sleep but I feel like I am going INSANE.  Literally.  I actually think that my mind is spiraling into insanity.  It’s all I can do to not rip my own skin off, except that when I haven’t clipped my nails in a few weeks, I actually just end up ripping my own skin off.  When I wake up in the morning after just a couple hours of sleep, I realize that I’m still fairly lucid, if ill-tempered, and that I’ll have to do the whole thing over again in 12 hours.  One of my worst nights recently I just tossed and turned for hours and hours and hours, trying desperately not to scratch myself up too much, only to see that the clock read 12:14 am.  Have I mentioned I hate clocks?  And time.  I don’t know how I’m going to do a life like this if this is the new normal because there’s no this-will-be-over-in-9-months-and-I’ll-have-a-little-bundle-at-the-end guarantee and I have a toddler to raise now.  In case you’re wondering, I feel like crying right now.

Neal is ready to work on solutions.  The special soaps and soaks and detergents and steroid creams that did so very, very little for me the last time around.  He’s ready to talk to doctors about whether this is another auto-immune disorder or liver disease or allergies or, God forbid, something even worse.  Call me crazy, or still in deep denial, but I’m just not there yet.  I can’t stand the thought of trying all those recommended remedies again to no avail.  And I especially can’t stand the thought of sitting down with yet another doctor who has about two and half minutes to discuss and diagnose my problem.  It’s times like these I wish I lived near On Call Mom so that I could talk to someone I already trust who also has mad doctoring skills.

I guess that’s all for now.  I’ve been considering blogging about this for the last week or two, but I’ve felt too insular and withdrawn, so I actually take this middle-of-the-night, non-ranting (did it sound more ranting than I realize?)   post as a good sign.  Maybe soon I’ll be ready for “solutions” (I said that sarcastically — yeah, I’m not there yet).

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10 Comments »

  1. Oh girl. What do you say to someone who suffers from chronic illnesses? I don’t know. I just hope that you can find a time in your day to enjoy uninterrupted sleep and come out of it feeling refreshed. I hope that little one of yours naps today too.

    I’ll be praying for you.

    Comment by Kjell — January 17, 2012 @ 3:47 pm

  2. So sorry to hear this. I have no idea how this would affect me psychologically, much less physically, but I can’t imagine I would hold up well. You have my deepest sympathies and a suggestion for checking out an online community you might find helpful. Do you reddit? There is a subreddit http://www.reddit.com/r/ChronicPain that I found yesterday. A woman begged the overall community for help because she felt so suicidal due to the constant pain. They gave her a lot of encouragement and also sent her to r/chronicpain. Anyways, sending much love your way

    Comment by kei02003 — January 17, 2012 @ 4:47 pm

  3. I think you’re amazing. I’ll really be praying that you can get some rest and relief. Wish I could be there with you right now and give you a hand with Addison. I love you!

    Comment by Jen — January 17, 2012 @ 5:21 pm

  4. I know what you mean about doctors! My 16 month old Levi is allergic to milk, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts. The majority of this I figured out from observation and my own reading. I’ve gotten just about zero helpful advice from doctors, though I have been given meds that I requested on his behalf, and they were willing to do the lab work I requested. Sometimes, especially dealing with doctors, it just feels like no one else knows the full story, no one else cares to learn about it.

    The book I found most helpful for diagnosing Levi’s food allergies was Food Allergies for Dummies. When you’re ready you could check it out for some in-depth info and to see if you can eliminate that cause.

    My awesome mother who deals with the chronic ichiness of my 8 yr old sis would say: water! Drink drink drink it (at least a gallon a day), and be in it – a 20 min bath every day (seems impossible with a little one I know, but she could join you).

    So there is my unsolicited advice. Take it or leave it I won’t be offended. I’m happy to talk more about ichiness if you want.

    Comment by Alysa — January 17, 2012 @ 5:33 pm

  5. Stink. I’m pretty bummed for you. My mom had hives when she was pregnant with my twin bros and it was so bad she sad she would catch herself counting down the seconds that passed. But you’ve got a good point about not even getting a baby out of it this time. Double stink. Can’t wait to talk with you on Friday. I hope you can find a good doctor, but I understand the issues there. There’s a line between taking reasonable action on things and having the emotional reserve to deal with medical professionals who think they can help but really can’t.

    Comment by v. blanchard — January 17, 2012 @ 11:43 pm

  6. You might be surprised to know that youre not the only one who has those dont know how I’m going to make it through the day and hate that at night I’m going to wake up feeling worse than when I went to bed…I take melatonin every night to help go to sleep, but the real help has been talking with a psychologist. Maybe you already have but I love it and tell everyone it never hurts to meet with a mental health specialist who is in no way related or emotional ly invested in you.

    Comment by Carissa — January 18, 2012 @ 5:08 am

  7. This is what I’ve heard and this is what I believe, you know, after all of my chronic crud….. Medicine isn’t about diagnosing what’s wrong with you, it’s about eliminating all of the things that aren’t!

    UGH! I hate going through it with doctors. It just never feels as though you are accomplishing anything. They look at you with this fake sympathy….and you just feel stupid and helpless (and I don’t use the word stupid lightly). You get test after test and appointment after appointment (not to mention, dollar after measly dollar) and NOTHING comes from it. And still, you go through it for the hope that soon you will discover something.

    I have typically taken to diagnosing myself, but I just don’t think we have, nor will we ever have, all the answers. And that’s what stinks. I understand you. Not entirely, because really, how could anyone REALLY fully understand a separate human being? But you just described my life (emotionally and physically–though with some differences obviously in what the chronic is) and I just feel for you. I just wish I could take that little Addison from you for a few days while you rest. I think Camden would love to be reunited. Anyway, good luck and I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

    Comment by Meghan — January 19, 2012 @ 5:20 am

  8. And, we did have a great ward, didn’t we?! Man alive, I haven’t felt the same since.

    Comment by Meghan — January 19, 2012 @ 5:21 am

  9. I read this a few days ago, and I’ve been thinking about what I could say to make you feel better. I can’t think of anything eloquent, but know that you are loved. If the new people don’t get you then it’s their loss — you are great just the way you are. You are a good, smart person and I’ve always enjoyed visiting with you! I wish so badly I could pick up Addison for a few hours and give you a little break. I hope the remedies work this time and you can finally get a good night’s rest! And I’m quite impressed with all that you’ve been able to get done, on top of struggling with all of this!

    Comment by Kristin — January 20, 2012 @ 2:23 am

  10. Oh Lindsay, I’m trying to imagine what that would be like, and it’s frustrating even just thinking about it! WHY do things like that have to happen??

    Comment by Nikki — January 21, 2012 @ 2:43 am


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