Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The magic arrived yesterday in the mail

Three times this morning I have been presented with a minor injury (bumped arm, grazed knee, bumped head). After a rapid assesment (history- "did you bump your~" examination- "oh, a hurty" diagnosis- tis but a flesh wound) a swift kiss was applied to the injured area resulting in an immediate return to premorbid status (ran back to play again). The third presentation was accompanied by the patient's request for a repeat in treatment that had brought relief in the previous two presentations ("mummy kiss?").


Monday, February 23, 2009

what a f&*ked up week. And it's only tuesday

Here's what's been going on

1. My dad's cousin's son was caught in the bushfires in Marysville. He was one of the 'missing' but body has now been identified. Because of the scale of the tragedy, his body may not be released for burial for some months. I didn't know him, but my dad's cousin came to our wedding and is a lovely woman, so i'm feeling very sad for her.

2. I actually passed the 2 hour 75gram glucose test, so I don't have GDM. But my friend M, who is an endocrinologist tells me that i now have a higher risk of type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance, just because I had a borderline result in the 1 hour test. This will mean that after this pregnancy, I have to lose weight and get fit again.

3. It was Patrick's birthday on Sunday. Despite having thought that I organised a roster swap, I spent from 7am to 830pm at work, whilst my mother-in-law and sisters-in-law showered Patrick with love and affection. They took him out to see a model train railway, and reported back he was so excited he was trembling. MrT was also rostered on to work, so neither of us were there. Parenting FAIL. The day was particularly full-on, with sick patients and I only got 30 minutes break the whole day. THE WHOLE DAY. I am so tired.

4. It's official. I have antenatal depression. My meds have been increased and I'm seeing a perinatal psych...iatrist. Bloody hell that's hard to say.

5. I feel almost as bad as the pit of despair episode. I have been trying to hide it. But...

6. Yesterday I totally lost it at a colleague at work. I tried to apologise but he wouldn't listen. I don't think it will end my career, but it's not exactly a shining moment. Today I'm having a sick day- a mental health day, you might joke, but unfortunately it IS actually a mental health day. Like, a real, alive one. When I came home I sat on the back verandah and blew bubbles for Patrick but the tears just kept falling out. Patrick looked at me quietly and said "Mummy sad". I could have died.

7. I just ate 20 mylanta tablets because I like the pepperminty chalkiness of them (?pica?). I then looked at the box and noted the sorbitol content. I am going to spend all tomorrow on the bog. F@#k.

Is that enough yet?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Planning = FAIL

I burst into tears yesterday when I realised I had missed a waxing appointment I made about (it seems) a year ago. I haven't depilated since just before Christmas, and every time I get in a swimming pool I feel like there is seaweed growing on my legs. The underarms don't bug me that much, but I know that every time I lift my arms up at work everyone else gets an eyeful, and they probably think it's feral (they'd be right). My brows are as free range as it gets, like two hairy caterpillars angrily marching towards one another.

I'd DIY except that it is getting increasingly hard to bend down to my legs. And I just abhor shaving, especially since the hormones give me about a five- no, make that 11-o'clock shadow and heinous stubble.

But seriously, it seems that everything lately has been getting too hard, too arduous, and can never seem to achieve anything that requires me taking some time out to do something for me alone. MrT is doing a term in ICU which means he is doing long hours- 8am to about 9pm for four days then 8pm to 9am for three to four days. He then takes about three days to recover, and that normally gives us maybe three days of normalcy per fortnight before it all starts again. Also, because he's quite experienced there, they often give him extra shifts if they need someone to fill in, but conversely it's hard for them to find someone to replace him when he's unable to do a shift. And because he's a kind and soft-hearted fellow, he doesn't ever say no to these extra days. It sucks.

Consequently, it has taken me since early December to get together a twenty minute powerpoint on chronic post stroke pain, and the renovations in the laundry- well, I have given up on getting in new flooring, I'll just have to put up with bare concrete. Having an office in the laundry with the other domestic items seems very appropriate. I've been relegated to the same place as the cat's bowl and the nappy soaking buckets. Great. I'm meant to be studying for the fellowship exam this year, but I bet you can guess how THAT is going.

Oh and I failed the glucose tolerance test. I've got this weekend of eating as much toast, pasta, potatoes and watermelon as I can before I officially get the news from my obstetrician on Monday. Is that irresponsible of me? Probably, but how exactly do you get enough protein to be pregnant when you're a vegetarian on a low GI diet? Without becoming sufficiently flatulent to run your own biofuels plant? I guess I'll find out.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

grief and mother magic

Two terrible tragic events have come out of Victoria in recent times. The first, an unspeakably cruel death of a child, the second (although, more correctly, at last count, 2nd to 181st) the deaths of ordinary people trapped in the worst bushfires this country has ever seen, at least some of which have been deliberately lit.

I have been trying hard not to think of the terrible last moments of those affected, but the images just keep popping up in my mind of the burnt out wrecks of four cars that had collided in the frantic effort to escape the terror of a firestorm. And the thought of desperate families trying to flee, but overwhelmed.

I am not personally involved in either of these events. Although I have relatives who live in rural Victoria, mercifully, none of those live in the affected areas. But these horrors strike me in a way I haven't ever really fully realised before.

Before I became a mother, that is.

I used to think that the whole 'kids with cancer' pathos was a little overdone. A little cliched. Why the general public got so stirred up about 'kwc' but didn't appear to give a hoot about, say, little old ladies with fractured femurs who often die in the months following these fractures seemed a little, well, inequitable to me. But now I *get it*. I didn't ever truly appreciate why the children we had admitted to intensive care tugged at the heartstrings of the nurses involved in their care any more than a dearly loved grandfather with overwhelming sepsis. But now I do.

I am now so totally besotted with Patrick than I ever have been before. Maybe it is a sign of my inner insecurity and selfishness that until he was old enough to be demonstrative in his affections, wants and conversation I didn't really get what women said about being "so in love" with their babies was all about. I also have to say I feel more than a bit cheated by the fact that some women feel this infatuated glow right from the moment of birth and that I have been robbed of this golden emotion. In any case, sometimes I just want to spend hours brushing his hair, or gazing at his eyes, or cuddling and tickling on the couch. Or to read book after book after book just to see the wonder and absorption on his face. Sometimes I just catch a glimpse of round little leg in a slightly scuffed brown sandal and feel that I am not worthy of such a blessed little creature.

But the flipside of this is the feeling of absolute responsibility and protectiveness. When I was still breastfeeding Patrick, especially when he was little, he would sometimes look into my eyes so earnestly, I would panic. It was a look of complete trust but also mixed with a searching -for what I still don't know. But it was like he was asking me if I knew the meaning of life, and could he trust me, and I wanted to run away from the responsibility.

In my medical training and career I have come up against many, many viva voce exams. And I still have at least two to go. For those of you who have never sat a Viva, it would be best described as a cross between going to see the principal and confession, mixed with the dread of having to have that conversation with a soon-to-be ex that you need to dump. But the true horror is exposed when the examiner asks you a question and you have a complete, and utter mental blank. Nothing. There is steel re-inforced concrete between you and any memory of the subject in question. This is not like an ordinary written exam where you can pass over that question and come back to it when you have done the other parts of the paper. This is someone wanting to know right now what you know (or, more correctly at that moment, what you don't know). It is stupefying.

Well, that's how I felt when Patrick would look into my eyes. Like- "please, I really don't know, can we move along". Of course now he's far too busy busy busy to stop and gaze at me for more than a millisecond before he's off again, so, mercifully, I don't have to face that maybe daily torture. But it's been replaced. Do you remember being a child and having a mother that seemed truly omniscient and omnipotent? A mum who not only knew everything about, well, everything, but had 'eyes in the back of her head' and also had the power to scare away monsters, the bogeyman, germs, nuclear war and everything else bad in the world? Whose kiss and a band-aid could ease the sharpest pain? That's how I saw my mum. But I don't feel like I have that power. I haven't been invested of it yet. My super, special qualification certificate hasn't yet been delivered by registered post and activated by a secret codeword to be emailed to me. When Patrick falls down and scrapes his knee, or bumps his head on a low-flying swing, or loses his favourite toy, I don't feel like I have the special power to make it all better. Far from being omnipotent, I feel impotent. And it scares the hell out of me.

now how does this relate to the tragedies in Victoria? Well, when I think- unwittingly, but there it is- of the awful last moments of those who have perished, I can't but help thinking of the children looking to their parents to tell them everything will be OK, to activate the magic of grown-ups and get things to go right again. To turn on mother magic. And the helplessness of those parents (or in the first case, one parent but not the other) to do anything makes me think of my own inadequacy, my own failure of superpower to make it all better. Those poor parents had no control over their surroundings, but I feel just as useless. I really feel not up to the job.

I'm not special. I'm not worthy of motherly miracle making status. I'm not qualified. I feel like I haven't read the compulsory textbooks to get through this course. I feel like I've been skipping the lectures and going to do something else (probably that diversion known as having a profession) when I should have been stying up late getting to grips with basic mothers' defence against the dark arts 101. I'd love to take a summer course and catch up, but i don't know where to apply.

How do I earn it? How do I unlock the secrets of cures for all childhood ills? Will I ever know? Will Patrick grow up bereft of magic kisses for banged fingers and sore tummies? Is it a sudden difference or will it grow slowly, like grey hairs and middle aged spread?

Does anybody know?

Sunday, February 08, 2009

My heart was singing in time too

Every 12 months or so I get the urge to drive down to sydney with the express purpose of just going to ik.ea. So it was today: I had additional justification: a friend who is 37 weeks heard that i was thinking of going down and she asked if I could get a few things for her. (I wouldn't relish the idea of 2 hours on the F3 in late pregnancy. I mean, what if you went into labour... at Wyong?). And Ike.a + Nesting = Carload of shit.

When Patrick was very little, car travel was oh so easy. A few mobiles, some singing and a boob at either end. Perfect. As he's grown he's taken to staying awake and demanding more and more. I guess this can only turn into "Are we there yet" in the future. So I loaded up with snacks, books for him to read (thank you Maisy mouse for perfecting the art of 'lifting the flaps') and some approppriate music.

Ahh, music.

I'm one of those fools you see singing loudly and proudly at the lights: ("Taaake onnn Meeeeee, Taaaake meee Onnnnn, I'll Beeee Goone, In a day or ... TWOOOOOOOOO", "Out on the wild, windy moors we roll and fall in greeeen", "Flicker flicker flicker flicker (etc) here you are, cata cata cata cata (etc) caterpillar girl") so it shouldn't come as any suprise that Pat has grown up listening to music of all kinds in the car. Only as he has grown older, he has become more demanding of what he likes. Over and over and over again. We had a good selection of Put.umayo kids stuff, but I got bored with it and got some more traditional kids music, but, seriously, the wheels on the bus tend to turn freakin round and round ALL day long. But a day or so ago, in the car, he demanded "Music" but didn't want either of those. Nor did he want triplej. In desperation I turned to ABC Classics. Bingo! Silence in the back seat.

So today I took my pod, thinking that he could have two and a bit hours either way of whatever he damn well wanted, and seeing the success of the ABC classics, I immediately put on Carnival of the Animals. Well, doesn't my heart swell with pride that not only can he hear a lion roaring in the chromatic scales of a piano, but he can hear elephants swaying in double basses, the slow dignity of the turtle, kangaroos jumping, fish swimming and birds chirping, but he was joining in with Eee-awww s of the donkey and requesting "More fish! More birds! More Lions!". The cuckoo got him confused because he thought I was saying "Kooka" (as in kookaburra) and he did his very cute cooka call (e-e-e-e-ooh-ooh-ooh-a-a-a) instead of quiet "Cuckoo"s with me. He didn't quite get the fossils, or the jackasses, and I personally hate the swan because of bad childhood experiences with flute lessons. Nor did he get why I chuckled at the introductions "Elephants are useful friends, equipped with handles at both ends; they have a wrinkly, mothproof hide; their teeth are upside-down, outside. If you think the elephant preposterous, you've probably never seen a rhinosterous" but he had a great time.

But just as we were coming home, for a bit of variety I put Put.umayo back on. There is a lovely version of "You are my sunshine" that I love to sing along to, dedicating it to the small guy in the back seat. And today, he was singing with me. Not every word, but every third or fourth "Suhshine, suhshine, happeee,grey, dear, you, take, awaaaay". And I just about nearly died from a bursting heart.

Speaking of which I borderlined the 50g glucose load and have to go back friday for the full 2 hour job. Erk.