Monday, August 13, 2012

Slow Decline, Post Trauma


I was holding Lis last night for her last feeding (HA that was a joke, she woke up a gazillion times last night) of the night.  She was so tired that she was falling asleep eating, and it got to the point where she was “sucking” but just moving her lips, but not actually doing anything else.  So, I took the bottle away and snuggled her.

Lis was out.  Her little rosebud mouth was hanging open, her checks were all puffed up, she had one hand flung up over eyes, as if we had named her Scarlett instead.  Her other hand was wrapped around my index finger.  When she falls asleep, she’s like her dad—she twitches.  So, there was the occasional leg twitch, but mostly, the twitches resulted her in gently, repeatedly, at fast but random intervals, squeezing my finger. 

I completely lost it.  The tears were just rolling down my face.  This sweet baby has a huge incision that is starting to scar from ear to ear across the top of her head.  I did that to her.  Yes, it needed to be done, but still.  I made that happen.  I don’t seem to be able to get past it. 

I’m having nightmares about this whole thing, even though we’re post-surgery.  They’ve been slowly increasing in frequency and intensity.  Sometimes, it’s just reliving it; sometimes, it’s like seeing all ways it could have gone horribly wrong, and living out those nightmares in my sleep.

We don’t have cable—we stream TV from our Apple TV and from Netflix.  So, our “screen saver” on our TV is all of our collective photos.  Yes, we were all sitting around, I was holding Lis, when pictures from the surgery popped up.  Vor, Vor’s mom, Vor’s sister were all looking at the pictures as they flashed by, talking about how scary it was, and how much better she is now.  Thankfully, they were absorbed in that, because if they had looked at me, they would have seen me making a fool of myself, crying silently, holding Lis, remembering, watching, reliving, blaming, what-if-ing. 

Everyone else seems to be getting past it., including Lis.  It’s just me.  Her incision is becoming a scar, and the parts that have already scarred are fading.  Mine… isn’t.

8 comments:

AAL said...

Have you talked to a counselor/therapist about this? I remember Dinei talking about PTSD treatment because of Baz's time in the NICU and his many codes.

Less...I don't know, severely? I recently had the experience where starting to edit a novel about pregnancies brought up crazy memories from my 1st disastrous and 2nd almost disastrous pregnancies. I've actually asked the editor if I could swap projects. I had panic attacks trying to work on that book.

RG said...

Also . . . it just happened. So the fact that you aren't "getting past this" is premature (if it will ever be appropriate)- it's appropriate for you to still be working through this. Feeling the fullness of your panic and distress over this major operation on your wee lady will probably take a long time to process. I think AAL is right - professional help may be a good idea, just so you have someone to help you navigate it.

Grace said...

Yeah. It's only been 3.5 weeks, and we got home 2 weeks ago. I keep forgetting that. Now we're in the stage of endless parades of company, messed up sleep schedules (OMG) and refusals to eat. I think once we move back towards normal (aka, I get to sleep for more than 60-90 minutes at a time) things will be better. But you know, know thyself and all that jazz.

alissa said...

Our hardest days were after the surgery. You are not absorbed in the hustle and bustle of an impending surgery. Instead you have only time to think. The 2 week mark was incredibly fast and your right, endless people who want to talk about it. It doesnt end 2 months later either. But it gets better. Enjoy those little cuddle moments. You did what was right, not what was easy. Hang in there!

Proto Attorney said...

You never really get over it, it's just part of being a parent of a child that was sick. But it does get a lot better, and you'll stop thinking about it, and sometimes you'll even forget it ever happened. But there will always be things that will trigger that throat-closing-off feeling, just like EH mentioned, reading about pregnancies. Strangely, being in the NICU/PICU/ER here at the hospital never bothers me, but for some reason, going to the pediatrics floor, I have to drink lots of water and take deep breaths. I don't know why that is, the most trauma happened in the ER and the PICU, but maybe it has to do with just being in a state of shock until she was recovering and they moved her to the floor. Regardless, I avoid seeing patients on the floor whenever possible.

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