Monday, 27 July 2020

Milestone birthdays and shifting expectations



This past weekend my eldest son, the 2.5kg preemie that once fit into the crook of my arm turned 13… I’ll say that again THIRTEEEN as in a teenager as in 5 years until he is done with school and on his way into adulthood, how did we get here it seems like only yesterday I held aloft the 5th pee stick and shook to my core with both sheer excitement and terror, I was 18…. I think that every mother enters motherhood with a certain vision and expectations, as you go through your pregnancy you can picture your child’s first words and first steps, their first day of pre-school and then primary school, maybe even high school, their first girlfriend or boyfriend, their matric ball, results may vary but personally I had each and every one of these pictures go through my head at some stage or another, and as we have travelled our path, as my son has grown and as we have experienced both immense joy and struggles I have learned that many of this visions; much of what I envisioned will not and has panned out as I thought it would.

I never expected my son to speak full sentences albeit basic ones but still at the age of one, I never thought that he would be diagnosed with ADHD, and then ASD and then OCD and so forth, I never expected to make the choice to put my son on medication and to be forced into removing him from mainstream schooling, I never expected to see him struggle so much and to navigate through so much pain….

When I envisioned his 13th birthday I pictured the 13th birthdays that I attended as well as my own, a few friends a disco in the garage… ok maybe not a disco I knew times would change but hosting a birthday during a Pandemic is not what I expected, nor did I expect that we would be home-schooling and that my sons level of social interaction would be so small, when he started dancing again he expressed to me excitedly how he wanted to invite a few of his dance mates to his birthday… that was months ago and we went into lockdown before I even had the chance to exchange numbers with parents or for him to forge any meaningful relationships, they were there and for the first time in a long time he fit in with at least a few of the people around him but Covid hit and it wasn’t to be.

It makes me sad, but truth be told at the end of the day I think the pain and loss I felt was just as much for the visions that I had and lost as the pain I THOUGHT he would experience.

In short my son had a wonderful day, a day he shared with those who love him and have traveled this journey with us, he wasn’t lacking in the department of spoils and experience and that is what is important, many times as parents I think we need to shift our train of thought to understand that what we envision doesn’t always come to fruition and that’s ok.

We had pancakes with enough chocolate to make you sick for breakfast, I took him to choose his gifts and we then had tea and cake with a very small family group i.e. my parents, my brother and my future sil, we ended off the day with pizza and a movie picked by the birthday boy, we played board games; we laughed… we cried, in my sons words “it was perfect”… and it was!

I don’t know what the future holds, I don’t know where we will go, what my son will do and how he will grow; mentally, emotionally and everything in between.  I do know that as a mother he has made me so incredibly proud in so many ways and that the joy that we have experienced is worth every struggle and every bend in the road that we have and probably will still face.

Saturday, 18 July 2020

My Covid- 19 experience

I am going to preface this post by saying that the thought of contracting Covid was not something that I was overly concerned over; after contracting Swine Flu during my second sons pregnancy in 2009 I know that I felt awful and it definitely wasn't a pleasant experience by a long shot but I just feel that at some point most of us are going to contract Covid 19 and that the majority of those who do will be ok, having said this it doesn't mean that I believe anyone should just carry on and be stupid about it, wash your hands, wear a mask and stay indoors if you are at risk, keep away from older family members or those at risk as well and if you cant ensure that you follow every precaution you possibly can to keep them safe! 

I am also not adverse to the idea of them closing down the schools again and my kids are still currently schooling from home and will most likely continue to do so for as long as possible, I am extremely lucky that my hubby continues to work from home and can work from home and we therefore can afford the opportunity of keeping our children home, I am acutely aware not everyone is in the same position however and I do not envy any parent who has had the decision of their child/ren returning to school forced on them at the same time I do not blame anyone who has allowed their child to return to school because every parent needs to make the decision for themselves and their family and I know that every parent that I know who has done this has done everything they can to ensure that every precaution is taken during this time.

Ok so I returned to work at level 3 of the lockdown and I was more than happy to do so, I may have a small circle and I may not be the type of person who likes to be in crowds, I am not a people person  but I like a certain amount of human interaction and being forced indoors at home was driving me up the wall to say the least, I loved being at home with my family but at the same time I was eager to return to some sort of normalcy.

Our workplace was incredibly prepared and took every precaution possible, I used so much hand sanitizer that my hands literally began to peel from the alcohol content, however I was the only person at home who was leaving the house to work, purchase groceries etc  so I was aware that out of our family I was the most at risk I also know that my father who works at a hospital has had numerous members of staff diagnosed and yet my father who is over 60 with high blood pressure and who is also a smoker has not contracted it and that someone else I know contracted it over the age of 60 and although they were incredibly ill they did recover. So although I thought that I may get it I didn't think I would if that makes sense at least not yet... or that it would hit as fast as it did which is stupid considering when I had swine flu the same thing happened I was feeling a bit ill the one day, got up the next and could barely function from one moment to the next.

I went into work last week feeling completely fine apart from a bit of sinus irritation and a headache which I believed was the start of a sinus infection, I left my office for a lunch appointment, I was screened at the appointment and didn't feel sick at all, until I returned to the office feeling really flushed, this was literally an hour span of time away from the office, I went from feeling perfectly fine to feeling like my face was on fire like a hot flush, I checked my temp and saw that it was climbing but I didn't trust the gun thermometers, if you change the position of the gun your temp can go from 35.8 to 38 from one temple to the other, we were approaching the end of the day so I decided to check again at home, it was hot outside and I honestly thought that I was probably just flushed from my drive in the car back to the office.

By the time I got home my face was still burning and my head was aching, I checked my temp and it was fast approaching 38 degrees not a terrible fever but a fever none the less, I planned to take some meds and go to bed early.  I spent the whole night tossing and turning up and down throughout the night, I couldn't sleep; every time I settled down in a position for more than 10 minutes or so my body ached and my head felt like it was in a vice.

I decided in the early hours of the next morning to book an appointment at our local Intercare and so I did.  My fever was still on the higher side of 37 and I was finding it difficult to breathe, as a smoker when you cant bring yourself to even attempt one you know there is a problem, but at this time I was still convinced that it was nothing more than a really bad sinus infection, I do get them annually and  last year had to go for a Voltaren and Cortisone injection to help ease the pain and symptoms so I wasn't too stressed out.

I went to the doctor and noted my temp and symptoms I was led to a separate waiting room and didn't have to wait long to be seen, after looking me over and disclosing my symptoms the doctor told me that it was not a sinus infection, in her opinion it was covid, I was still not convinced and argued with her, she told me that due to changes in regulations they were not allowed to test anyone without a pre-existing condition if they are under the age of 55, she said that because I was so insistent and she couldn't test me she would give me a high dose antibiotics but that if i was not feeling better within a few days I was to call her back until then I was to isolate at home, she gave me a government pamphlet on how to quarantine at home with family and I left, I did check with her whether my Celiacs counted as a pre-existing condition however I am not on immune support mediation only symptom medication so it doesn't.

Again I was still not convinced I went home and started on my meds believing that in 2 or 3 days I would start o feel significantly better.... I was wrong, the pain and headaches and lack of breath continued and a day later I lost my sense of taste and smell, I was now convinced,when I called the doctor on the 3rd day she confirmed that I definitely had Covid and I was to isolate at home for the remainder of a 2 week period.

It is now almost 2 weeks later and I feel ok, almost a hundred percent but I do get tired out very quickly and I am still experiencing daily headaches, I tried to clean house yesterday and I couldn't do half of what I normally do before I had to stop which is incredibly frustrating but I am happy that I am feeling a lot better than I was.

None of my family members have developed any symptoms, it hasn't been a pleasant experience- worse than swine flu... uhm yes and no; Swine flu was terrible I couldn't breath, my face was raw and I really felt the worst that I have ever felt; but I was also pregnant and isolated in a hospital room so I was miserable and alone, the body pain and headaches have been the worst of my Covid-19 experience and something I didn't have with Swine flu but as far as I can tell the experience is different for everyone with some people experiencing one or two of the symptoms, some all and some none, some being ill for weeks and some days.

My advice- take this seriously it isn't a joke or a myth; don't go stark crazy but be aware and be safe, do your part not for yourself but for those around you who cannot protect themselves or their loved ones. If you feel ill or just don't feel right don't leave it.