I am a big believer in signs, particularly signs that come in the form of unpredictable stressful life events. I truly believe that these events are meant to help us grow through our fears and doubts. I had two of these signs this week that made me realized my own vulnerability. It was hard. I started off the week with a bad cold, but managed to get it under control by mid-week, just in time for Halloween. I was doing a lot of back patting and congratulating myself for handling it all well- the house, work. Halloween went really well, then overnight I woke up in extreme pain. My left shoulder was throbbing. I was so tired though, that getting out of bed was out of the question. After awhile I just fell back asleep. The next morning my shoulder was throbbing duly, but I did not think anything of it. Uh oh. I must have pulled a muscle I got myself ready for work, Michael for school, and took some Advil for the pain that day.
By end of day Thursday though, I realized something was very wrong. My shoulder was throbbing intensely and it was like someone was hammering away at my entire arm. I decided to try some more powerful over the counter anti-inflammatories all to no effect. I have not ever experienced pain like I did Thursday night. I could not move my arm at all. Even when sitting and not moving it, I felt unbearable pain. I was sure I had sprained or dislocated it. Thursday night was also extremely difficult for me as I watched Michael panic seeing both of his parents pretty much out of commission. Dad has been having physical health issues which are under control, but are still challenging. I forced myself to make dinner and do dishes, as Dad was not home yet. Of course, the pain got worse. Dad took over with Michael’s routine, but seeing us stressed and not well frightened him so there were tons of behaviors. It was a rough night for us all, to say the least. Friday I went to a walk in clinic, barely able to drive my car as I had to use only one hand. I was so scared. I remember thinking, what will happen at home if Dad can’t manage taking over with home for a few days? Will I need to take lots of time off work? I did not have a backup plan. Moms are not supposed to get injured. If they do, the whole house will fall apart.
As it turned out, I did not sprain or dislocate anything. I have calcific tendonitis. Apparently calcium has been building up for quite some time, months now, and reached the point where it is so large that my bones are practically rubbing against each other. The universe was telling me to take care of me and slow down. That’s all I have been doing the past two days. As the anti-inflammatories are slowly starting to work to bring the pain under control, in the coming weeks I was told I would need to go to a physiotherapy clinic where exercises will be shown to help me strengthen my shoulder joint. In September I’d had two pulled muscles in my legs and kept saying to myself I needed to get back to my yoga. I did not do it. Now the universe was sending me a stronger signal to take care of my body and what I put in it. I also learned (and am continuing to learn) how important it is to stay calm emotionally around Michael. He was quite upset that Mom was not well, and scared. I have always been the physically strong one chasing after him in the park, going places with him. I had to be extra patient not only with my fear, but with his this week. It is a learning curve for both of us.
So what am I learning about how to pull it together when I get sick? Here are some takeaways:
- Ask for help if you can’t manage anymore. Don’t wait for pain or stress to get any worse.
- Admit that you are scared and learn to be a calmer sick patient. This is a challenge for a lot of Moms, but look at it as a chance to grow up and heal the frightened parts inside of you.
- Have your strategies to beat stress nearby and remind your child and partner of them. It’s important the whole family has their stress handling strategies nearby and admits when they are scared and angry.
- Don’t be afraid to indulge in some self-pity, (set a time) but then move on. This is the hardest thing for a lot of Moms. We worry about feeling self-pity and are scared once we give in, we’ll stay there. Not necessarily. Be true to your emotions, good and bad. Give yourself a set time for self-pity, then when it’s reached, remind yourself this too shall pass and use the experience to get stronger.
- Remember pain helps us grow stronger. Welcome the chance to grow through fear. This is hard, especially if you are particularly pain sensitive. And even if you have a high threshold for pain (I have a pretty high or at least moderate threshold to pain), it’s ok to be upset. Just remember, this experience and how you handle it will help you get stronger. It will also help your child grow stronger as they see how you handle stress.
Exceptional Parents, how does your Exceptional Child handle it when you get sick? Are they angry or scared? How do you handle it? Remember, as long as you are being truthful with yourself about all of your feelings, positive and negative, you will get through it, and even teach your child a lesson on endurance and self-care. Until next time.
I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with Autism, ADHD, OCD and Type 1 Diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com