March 18, 2009
When you've had a run of bad days in a row, you can easily fall into a pity party. That's why it's great to have friends with perspective. I wish I could give proper credit to the websites where I recently had learning experiences, but I can't track down either entry in the blogs I read that started my thought process on the topic of "how to react to bad days."
Anyway, one was from the mother of a child who died from neuroblastoma, venting about something she had read on a different blog. Apparently a mom was complaining about getting stuck in-patient with her child who had a phantom fever, low counts, but no other apparent problem. This "stuck" mom was bemoaning the fact that they were wasting time in the hospital when they could be out doing more interesting things (I think I have been guilty of those feelings from time to time, whether I expressed them on Erin's Home Page or not). The wise NB mom venting basically made the point that the "stuck" parent should slow down and appreciate the time she could spend with her child and use the time together when everyone felt relatively well to play and share and enjoy each other.
Another website I read didn't have an elaborate story, but just made the point that once a day was gone you could never have it back. Some of us feel glad to bid bad days good riddance and think we would never want them back. On the other hand, a bad day seems infinitely better than the promise that you will never have any part of that day back and may never have another to replace it with.
These two thoughts have really kept me on track the last few weeks. Instead of alternating between boredom, depression, and insanity stuck in the house with Erin, I've tried to reframe the experience (my more humble self must admit that I'm not always successful). Anyway, the last two days have been a sweeter elixir for my efforts. Erin is making headway. Believe me, it's slow headway and I have to practice patience (repeatedly). She's frail, weak, and still full of sputum. Her ribs show, her arms are sticks. She still can't leave the house and go very far under her own locomotion. But she's better. We went to Jackson's house yesterday and hung our feet in the hot tub for a while. We sat outside in the best part of the evening contemplating the extraordinary number of birds collecting around our yard to tell us about the arrival of spring. We chuckled our way through The Rachel Maddow Show. She called me over at one point and told me, "I need help. My nose is running again." I brought her a box of tissues, thinking I had solved the problem, but she pointed and said, "Look I think I see it over there, heading down the hall."
The state would arrest me if I had deliberately doled out the tiny amount of food she has eaten over the last two weeks rather than her rejecting the many and various things I have offered. Yesterday, however, her intake volume doubled or tripled (still not enough calories to sustain even the smallest kitten, but definitely an improvement). Bites of honey glazed walnut shrimp, avacado, tater tot, egg drop soup, chocolate cake, and crispie noodles. Today we're going to try a day trip over to Washington-on-the-Brazos and the Barrington Living Farm, a poor substitute for the mountains of New Mexico and spring break skiing, but better than bed.
These tiny steps in the right direction almost take me out of the rhythm I had developed facing up to the chain of bad days. If I know myself, I will want improvements to come faster and faster. I will make grander plans and push to move past the bad back into the good. My friends need to remind me that patience is a virtue and to take things how they come. Thank goodness for friends.