Thursday, October 23, 2008

Neurotic Mothers Can't Blog

At least that's the best excuse reason I have for being absent from my own blog - and from pulling my weight, er I mean, dropping my weight, over at this blog.

I've talked before about the guilt that seems to come hand in hand with motherhood. I've also written about what can happen in the blink of an eye, when I should have been a more careful mother. What I haven't written about until now is the neurosis that this guilt feeds which has a tendency to take over my mind and life at times.

Slackermommy* has a great phrase 'Freebies from God' in relation to the little reminders we get as mothers to be more vigilant. I used up yet another 'Freebie' in August with Jay - I'm not going to get into details because I can't - I can't deal with the tears, the images that haven't left my mind and the GUILT! Suffice to say that a blind cord was involved and we had a very, very close shave.

I read today that I'm not the only mom this has happened to recently - and I have had chats online recently with another blogger who had her own version of the blind cord story - but I will leave that story for her to tell.

These little incidences, because they literally can mean life or death - sharpen those nervous anxieties that every mother has. They have us chastising ourselves for not having every eventuality covered. For not acknowledging that our smart kids will out manoeuvre us on our childproofing efforts, (or that those efforts were not as thorough as they should have been).

My days now consist of running around the house keeping the little man out of trouble. If 30 seconds goes by where I cannot see him, or hear him - I nervously go looking for him, and retrieve him from whatever mischief he's getting into - and as any toddler mother knows - there's mischief aplenty going on!

Add to this that Jay has fluid in his right ear that meant his latest routine hearing check couldn't be completed. I shrugged this off as either the potential start of an ear infection, or the residue of his first ear infection that he dealt with while we were in Ireland in June which was treated with anti-biotics. My preferred approach to this would have been 'wait and see' - if it develops into something - we'll have it checked, and since he was due for his two year check up soon anyway - I saw no need to take him to the Pediatrician's before this. The Audiologist disagreed, and proceeded to make me completely paranoid that this was the sign of something that could bring further deterioration in his heretofore very minor hearing issue. So off to the Pediatrician we went - and were told - 'both ears look great - very slight amount of fluid in the right ear - but nothing near an infection, and certainly nothing that requires meds'.

A couple of days later we get a phone call from the ENT doc Jay saw last year. He received the report from the Audiologist on his latest test that there was a little fluid, and suddenly the ENT doc wants to see Jay? Even the Audiologist wanted to wait and see if the fluid issue resolved itself over six weeks - but this mother's nerves are already jangling about the ears, and a phone call from a specialist is almost enough to send her over the edge. More phone calls with the Pediatrician who as always is the voice of reason, and reassures me that we have the luxury of six more weeks - and if the fluid hasn't resolved itself, then yes maybe and ENT consult is prudent.

Throw into this mix that I had my first mammogram a couple of weeks ago. My baseline mammogram. Expecting to have it done, and sent on my way not to return until I turn 40, I was shocked to have to have extra pictures done of one side, and later be told that I have to come back in six months to have another mammo because they want to keep an eye on calcification spots.

The rational part of my mind is fully capable of recognizing that this is proactive health care and it's a positive thing. That being careful is the right way to approach this. That what I have is 'probably benign'.


The emotional part of my mind goes NUTS at news like this. The 'what if it's not benign?' thoughts run rampant and squash out all the rational thoughts, and the result is a blubbering mess.

My great blogging friend The Laundress, has been through all this, and has been wonderful in helping me gain some perspective.

It was, and remains though, another thread of anxiety that's going on with me right now.

In a welcome distraction from medical thoughts, appointments or worries, we prepared and enjoyed a great joint birthday party for Miss E and Jay, last Saturday. (My Miss E turned FOUR yesterday!). We had a fantastic day complete with a bounce house, lots of delicious food and a great semi-homemade cake (ahem!).

I had two cousins here with me, with their families. One lives in South Florida and came up for the weekend, the other lives in Ireland - but is currently on vacation with her family in Orlando and since they were relatively close by, they came over for a while on Saturday evening. It really was like having a mini family reunion, Stateside. The kids all had a blast getting to know each other, and we enjoyed meeting (and cuddling) my cousin's newborn.

All in all, a busy but fun and relaxing weekend.

As you can imagine, many photographs were taken. And once I loaded them up on my computer and viewed them, the neurosis settled back in full force. In one photograph, one of Miss E's eyes is showing a very strange white reflection.

(I can't post it because several of my cousins' kids are in the picture and I know not everyone is comfortable with their kids'photos being put on the internet so I'm not risking their wrath).

Every morning I sit and eat my breakfast, and catch a little of the Today Show. When I saw that picture of Miss E, a segment I'd seen on a kid with a white reflection in their eye showing up in photographs being diagnosed with retinoblastoma came to the forefront of my mind and, I panicked.

See what I mean? NEUROTIC!

I wanted to brush the reflection off as a weird trick of the light, something to do with the camera. The odds of it being nothing were high since retinoblastoma is very rare. I can tell you that meant nothing to me - it goes back to that emotional part of my brain that completely overwhelms the rational part and so I was a blubbering mess once more.

Another trip to the Pediatrician's office, this time we were seen by a Nurse Practitioner who thought Miss E's eyes looked just fine but referred us to an ophthalmologist just to be sure.

We had that appointment yesterday and Miss E has 20/20 vision, and 100% healthy eyes. In this regard, I have peace of mind once more, even if it did mean enduring a bit of a condescending lecture from the eye doctor on what reflections are normal from a camera with a flash - whatever.

This is what's been going on with us lately - which combined with my borderline obsession with all things political, means I haven't had time to either process thoughts into coherent blog posts, and to my shame, means I'm not reading or commenting as much on the many blogs in my reader.

Once my nerves stop jangling a little, and (maybe) after Nov 4th, I'll be back in the swing of things, and embracing the blog world once more.

In the meantime - all you calm mothers, who take things in your stride - all and any recommendations for me on maintaining a more even keel, are most definitely welcome.

(*Sadly I can't link to Slackermommy's post on this because she's had some difficulties with her blog and has taken it down.)


Domestic Extraordinaire said...

Well I would like to say that I have always been calm and not so neurotic, but I would be lying. When your kiddos are nearly 14 and 10 you have the luxury of not being so paranoid in some areas and freaking out in others. Lots of hugs!

Jessica @ A Bushel and a Peck said...

That is enough to make anyone crazy and neurotic. Take a deep the best you can...and know that we're all in the same boat. I am a crazy woman sometimes too...just ask my husband! And Happy birthday to Miss E and Jay!

The Laundress said...

From one neurotic here...I understand every worry you have. I have them too...

And I have posted something for you on my blog...a good place to start getting positive...

hugs always...

Iota said...

I don't mean to harp on about this, but I honestly think a large part of it is the culture we live in. It is a lot more anxiety-driven than Britain (and Ireland, I suspect).

I think about the kind of people I want my kids to be. Do I want them to be carefree, fun-loving, adventurous? Or do I want them to be anxious, cautious, troubled? As parents, we are their strongest role models. It's worth remembering that (but not as a reason to add extra parental guilt).

In the midst of life, we are on the brink of danger and tragedy at any moment. You never know what the next minute holds, literally. The fact that any of us can get on with normal life is amazing, really. I guess we just have to be brave, be bold, take each moment for what it brings, and enjoy each good one to the full.

Deborah said...

Wow Annie, sounds like you've had a MANIC few weeks.

If it helps put things into perspective just think of the health situation here, you would still be on the waiting list for a specialist and you wouldn't have a pediatrician! I can't even get a dentist or optician to see my two, as they're "too young!" And the Yanks think public healthcare is a good thing! ;-)

But seriously... thinking of you. Glad the party went well. Hang in there!