December 5th, Friday
I’ve lost count on days sober. I think I am on Day 45 or 47. I have it written on my calendar at home.
Well we are on Day 3 post Spinal Fusion Surgery for my 13 yr old V who in addition to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, also had scoliosis of the spine. The surgery itself which was to take 8 hours took 5 hours!!! The surgery was a phenomenal success with no complications. Now we are in the business of recovery and pain management. Hopefully today we will be moved from PICU to a regular private room.
I have learned so much in this journey about myself. I want to share with you the circumstances I was in and what I learned in order. Here it goes:
1. While waiting during the surgery. Both V and I had lots of support. My husband, mom-in-law, my mom, brother, my 18yr old T, and a good friend. My home church pastor came up and an old dear friend from that same church also came up to visit. Because of all of them, their conversation, jokes and love…time flew. The peace that surpasses all understanding was with me due to all that support. I learned that the love of God is great and he shows me that love through the people around me. I thank God for my sobriety as I was fully mentally awake to be fully with V on the morning of his surgery. I am thankful I didn’t have a hangover clouding my experience and being able to fully be 100% present and available to him. I am also thankful that I wasn’t carrying any quilt on my shoulder which keeps me from asking any of God in prayer.
2. In conversation with my pastor, I shared with him about my sobriety. As I was attempting to describe my experience I said the following: “Pastor you know that story of the man lost at sea praying to God to save him from the water and then a boat comes and he says no to the boat because he had prayed and was waiting for God to deliver him and the story keeps going with more things God sends this man but the man keeps not acknowledging that which God has given him? Well, coming to sobriety has been that same way for me. All these years, as you know pastor, I have cried out to God in devastation, in desperation, in sorrow with many pleads to supernaturally intervene and take the desire, urge and cravings away from me regarding alcohol. (I smile realizing I was having an epiphany) God had answered my prayers long ago. It was always in me to just stop, he gave me the strength and the desire to stop and I am in awe how easy it is most of the time. I recognize that when I think I want to drink, it’s not that I want to drink, it’s just that I don’t want to grow. In realizing that, I am now searching for tools to cope through the pain of change, growth and strength.”
3. After surgery when V was waking up (which was extremely difficult to see my baby so swollen from the surgery and meds), I really felt beloved hubby would be compassionate, loving and caring. I quickly learned he was uncomfortable as he couldn’t even look at V. He wanted out of the recovery room fast which disappointed me.
4. So out of all the people I thought would be there the most, it was my mother who stepped up to the plate and stayed the 1st night by mine and V’s side in the ICU room. We talked, laughed and shared so openly and honestly with one another. We experienced many blessings that night.
5. After ICU, we were transferred to the PICU room (Surgery on Tuesday, ICU Tuesday night, and PICU Wednesday, Thursday and most of the day today Friday). Here again I was surprised by who showed up to visit us. My sister. In her visit, V fell asleep and was passed out from morphine so I invited my sister to do a quick workout with me using the hospital stairs. We climbed up 17 floors and went for a 600 meter sprint in the garage parking lot which goes mostly uphill. It was awesome! I felt great and really bonded with my sister. I learned the true meaning of “no excuse” when it comes to working out. There I was, the day after surgery and I prioritized taking care of myself by having a quick workout along with continuing to eat healthy. I learned how much I truly love my sister and how much she loves me too. And I made a mental note to show her my love by loving her in her language which is valuable time (she prefers I once in awhile travel the 1.5 hours to see her).
6. Before my sister’s visit and our workout on this Wednesday; I was feeling down and sad. Seeing V in so much pain is excruciating for me and for him. The naughty thought of getting out once my sister got there and buying a 4 pack of wine bottles and bringing them back to the hospital (yes ladies and gents, it IS something I have done on 2 occasions during sleep studies for my boys). I quickly removed that thought by mentally sliding it to the left like you would a smart phone. The next thought that replaced that was, just go across the street and buy a pack of cigarettes, this way you can have a reason to go outside and get away for a while from all the peeping noises and babies crying (we were in a room with 3 crying babies). Nope, that won’t work. I DO want healthy lungs for my workouts and I don’t want to stink while caring for V. Slide to the left. So the next tab was an image of the vending machine. I could always just go for the chocolate, lots of it. And then I turned of the “phone” of my mind. Got up, got into a workout outfit and said “fuck it” do whatever it takes, hit the stairs. I learned here that working out is a mighty fine replacement to my self sabotage tendencies and drug addiction.
7. We are now to Thursday. My best friend who is also my neighbor who also is taking care of my youngest L during this time I am in the hospital with V, came by after work to accompany me on a 3 mile jog. My mom came up to be with V while I took this opportunity. I learned so much on this night during my run with her. I learned just how much I love our friendship and how much I pushed her away during my period of alcohol dependency. Towards the end, I was in the business of isolation and I absolutely HATED when she would come over and just walk in often catching me drinking. I got to the point where I was hiding my drinks even when I was home alone just in case she walked in. But she later confessed, she always knew. As we talked in our run, I heard myself saying to her, “you know what? I am going through this and I realize that I am strong! Oh shit! I don’t think I have ever said anything that positive about myself!” 🙂 Yup folks, I, Veronica, am strong! I learned I can do this life of mine and still sine bright in the midst of a dark path.
8. I woke up feeling something called JOY. Yup…even though V woke up with muscle spasms, irritation, tummy ache and headache, I felt joy, honored to be called a caregiver and looking forward to the day and seeing what kind of growth it brought me. I saw it all as an adventure. I also learned today, Friday, that my husband fucking SUCKS at this. Here we are, since Tuesday and the man hasn’t attempted to come see me nor has asked if I needed anything. I shared my hurt feelings with him and his response was…”um, well I told you to keep me updated.” SHAKE MY DAMN HEAD! I am actually really upset at this and haven’t processed it all and don’t know how it will be when I get home as all he has done today is defend himself instead of listening to my hurt feelings. Whatever. I just know that this too won’t cause me to drink (fights with hubby where always the biggest drinking days).
9. Today I also learned that I may have a calling to this nursing thing. I have felt connected to all our nurses because of the care giving aspect, I assume. One nurse said that most nurses become such because they were first caregivers to a loved one. Another nurse said that when DMD takes my boy’s lives, my identity might suffer greatly after being a caregiver for so long. She suggested I take it slow but start now taking classes so that when that time comes, I can start working in helping others. She promised it will fulfill me.
10. I learned that when I set my mind to it, I DO complete/achieve my goals. I haven’t strayed from sobriety, healthy eating, working out nor doing the work to grow spiritually and mentally. I can start to believe in myself and trust myself to do the right thing. It’s been fun practicing these days.
Thank you so much for reading. It is totally unedited as I need to hurry and shower before V wakes up and I get busy meeting his needs.
Good Night and God Bless,