Monday, August 18, 2014

Pregnant and Bedridden: When It Rains, It Pours

           When it rains, it pours.
            I usually like rain. Actually, that’s not true.
            I LOVE rain! Sheets and sheets of it. The clap of thunder; the scorch of lightning splitting the sky, electrifying the atmosphere and sending a monstrous light zipper through the darkness. The sound of power and the reverberating echo that bouncing from cloud to earth then back to cloud.
            But I don’t like rain when it’s symbolic for acid-like, relentless, heartbreaking, character-testing events. Hailstones battering you, stinging water streaks burning your skin. Nowhere to run for shelter; no escape. Completely exposed to the elements.
            When that happens, I want to peel back the sky, climb the highway to heaven and perch myself on top of the clouds instead of being trapped beneath them, where I’m pummeled by their unrelenting fury and abuse.
            When it rains, it pours. 

            My heart and body were being chucked a deluge.
            Dr. Landry’s cervical stitch pulling set off a retaliatory chain reaction in my body.
            Later that afternoon, following my appointment with him, my digestive system reacted violently, and the baby plummeted farther into my pelvis. Physical torment emanated from all directions. The pain’s severity left me shaky, barely able to make the three-feet walk to the bathroom and the return trip to the sofa sleeper. I couldn’t disengage myself from the stooped-over posture my body now seemed permanently locked into. I wasn’t even able to dress myself. When Chris arrived home that evening, he had to dress me.
            How would I survive forty-nine more days of this? My plummeting heart shed the stopped up tears I wouldn’t allow my eyes to unleash. I couldn’t afford to go that far.
            Seven more weeks? Impossible.
            And the following day didn’t bring relief. In fact, it arrived bearing another yeast infection. Dr. Landry had prescribed one, heavy-duty pill for the last one, and I needed to put in a call to him for another tablet. Red-hot pokers burned me internally. Thankfully, a round of cold washcloths took the edge off some of the inflammation.
            My mouth felt as though it had become a cotton ball storage facility and nausea threatened again. From head to toe I felt twisted, wrung out, pummeled and spent. Bored, sick, emotionally and physically tattered.      
            And I wasn’t the only one suffering. Another illness now consumed our family’s energies.
            My precious Shetland sheepdog, Beau, had been hospitalized on intravenous therapy due to kidney and liver inflammation and dehydration. Since his recent teeth-cleaning and neutering—a surgery I let our vet talk me into in spite of my deep reservations about having it performed on an eleven-year old dog with a weakened liver—he seemed to be in a persistent state of discomfort. My once vital, active dog was rapidly deteriorating before my eyes. I knew he wouldn’t survive much longer, but I begged God to sustain him until I was back on my feet. Losing him while I was bedridden was a thought I couldn’t confront. Not then. I needed to hold and caress him once more.
            His death would devastate the entire family.
            I desperately needed his continual presence in my room, or in the bathroom next to me where he seemed to gain some modicum of comfort lying on the cool tile floor. I hung onto his unbroken loyalty and the consistency he’d given me unconditionally, faithfully for eleven-and-a-half-years. My heart already ached with the grief of his passing. I knew it was inevitable and would be soon in coming.
            So, even while mentally battling intermittent contractions and pain, I spent most of the remainder of that day arranging for Parker to be taken to the doctor (he had also gotten sick) and for Beau’s special food to be delivered. I orchestrated it all from my worn out bed.
            And then Chris arrived home, exhausted, sick and spewing complaints. His attitude flicked me past my breaking point, and the early evening dissolved into a heated argument.
            And I finally allowed myself a brief release of tears. Actually, there was no allowing about it. I don’t think I could have contained them even if I’d wanted to and screwed up a heroic effort to keep them damned up.
            But they only lasted a minute before I mentally slapped myself back into focus. No cracks are going to erode my veneer! I wouldn’t let his attitude affect me. I couldn’t let it affect me.
            Defiantly, I stood, walked five steps to the bedroom door and closed it, To shut something out, whatever that “something” was. I needed to be alone. (As if I wasn’t alone enough.) Chris clomped off to the drugstore for more medicine and liquid food for me.
            After he returned, and before dragging himself upstairs to go to bed, he softly knocked on my door, entered at my invitation, and walked toward my bedside. With a gentle voice, he apologized, and, once again, we were restored.
            Just like that.
            We couldn’t afford not to be.
            If there was one thing this journey was doing, it was maturing us. With all of the swirling turmoil, we had to keep our lifelines to one another in good condition, our focus firmly centered on our purpose. Nothing, especially our pride, could be a permitted obstacle.
            The stakes were too high—for all four of us.


NEXT WEEK: Pleasant diversions and faith growing…

Until next week,

Thanks for joining me!