When Brain Surgery Suddenly Seems Like a Good Idea… Part 3

Our knucklehead he was a little more mobile every day, and walking into ICU and seeing him sitting up on his own almost had me crying with joy. His PT and doc encouraged him to start walking and go a little further and further each time. He lucked out when he got a private room after his ICU stay – he could sleep to his hearts’ content with no noisy roommates or machines!
By day four it didn’t hurt so much to chew anymore, so he could have something other than soup and he was thrilled! He also asked for his laptop once he moved out of ICU ‘coz he said the hospital TV was boring. 
Dry shampoo spray was awesome as he wasn’t allowed to wet his surgery cut! He felt better and stronger every day, but he couldn’t go without pain killers for more than a few hours.
After 7 days in hospital, including 2.5 days in ICU, he was really glad to be home. He could at least “shower” on his own after needing help in the hospital, and we gave him a haircut to match the shaved square around his cut.

He was sore! So very sore! I cried myself to sleep a few times in the weeks following his surgery ‘coz my baby boy was in so much pain, and waking up in agony in the wee hours of the morning. And he got VERY bored, and his back hurt from walking funny because he was trying not to move his neck, and all I wished was to make it all better.  He wasn’t allowed to bend over, or lift anything heavier than 3kg, and a car ride was absolute torture for a good day afterwards – the involuntary movement of his neck in the car made him so sore!

The cut on the back of his head was 10cm long, and he had 17 stitches – they came out ten days after his op. How incredible was his progress over two weeks!

For those who have asked – his diving career did not cause or aggravate the condition. He was born with Chiari Malformation (we didn’t know it), and the syrinx in his spine has been growing for the last 20 years or so. And even with the Decompression surgery, he is not cured – there is no cure for Chiari Malformation and Syringmyelia – and he has a looong six months to a year ahead of him of taking it easy and recovering. And waiting and watching to see if the Syrinx in his spine shrinks enough – its this that caused the loss of sensation and pain in his arm and head.

He is so much better now, 111 days since his surgery.
He is still battling with a little pain behind his eye from Occipital Neuralgia, but it is much better than when he started regaining the feeling in his face and the back of his head. And whilst he has regained most of the feeling in his arm, neck, and face, the tips of his fingers are still numb. He has another MRI scheduled for the end of June, five months after his operation, so we can see just how much the syrinx has shrunk.
I am praying for a miracle…

Being a Mom Reaching Milestones

Not seeing my son on his birthday! 🙁

Today my gorgeous son turns 26.

At 2:43 this morning his 26th year on this earth ended.
And this year is the first year I won’t see him on his birthday!

I couldn’t wake him up with coffee and presents.
I haven’t baked him a birthday cake.

I miss him SO much!
And I am SO proud of him!

He works too far away for us or for him to pop in for cake and tea. I would have loved to surprise him!

Being a Valentine

Its Valentines Day today.

My sweet Glugster always surprises me with something sweet on Valentines Day, today there were chocolates and sweeties and a card waiting for me in the kitchen. If its on a weekend, he makes me breakfast in bed, and gets me baked beans – which he hates. 🙂 I packed him a special lunchbox with goodies he likes, and sent him to work with cupcakes. 🙂
We are very lucky in that tonight we’re having dinner and a night out in a fabulous hotel – a prize I won on a radio contest – and I had all of six hours to try and find a puppy-sitter so we can use the prize!

For many years, when I was single, I boycotted V-day. My knucklehead would make cards and things and bring home chocolates from school. And my mommy & daddy darling would help my knucklehead get something special for me. But that was the only celebration I indulged.

And then I met my husband. <3

All through this morning though, I’ve been heartsore… Since we were little, my mommy and daddy darling included us in their Valentines Day plans. My dad loved to celebrate these special calendar days, as commercialised as they may be, and he would get a beautiful card, and a little gift, and take us to the shops to get little gifts from us kids for my mom. And my mom would get a beautiful card and something small for my daddy darling. And as we got older we would make tea, and breakfast in bed, and sometimes we’d make our own cards and gifts – it was never just about them.

And today, its my mommy darling’s first Valentines Day without my dad. Without her Valentine. Her only Valentine. Her only love.

Mommy darling – I wish I could come and make you breakfast in bed. I wish I could bring you a Sweetie Pie and a card. I wish I could be with you all day. I know I could never fill the space, but I love you so very much.

And I love my husband, so very much.

And I know how to love because of you mommy darling, and my daddy darling, and the love you had for each other.

My Son, the Professional.

Wow.

I am still pinching myself.

Our knucklehead is now a fully qualified, PADI certified, Dive Instructor, passing his exams with distinctions and sporting a CV chock-full of related qualifications like Rescue Diving and Emergency First Response training.
He’s now adding Free Diving Instructor to that list, and he is on cloud nine.

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Last Sunday, the day after his exams, we went to celebrate with him and the other newly qualified candidates, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen the knucklehead happier. He didn’t stop grinning, and if you asked him how he was, he threw his arms in the air and literally whooped!

If you had told me, even two years ago when he had just started his internship, that we would reach this point, I would probably have smiled, hesitant to take it as a given, even though I had all my fingers and toes crossed that he would make this work!
And it has been ALL him. He has had to work and study and look after himself – cooking, cleaning, doing his washing… We paid for his internship and supplied him with groceries, but he had to do all the work!
He has matured and grown up so much.
He is so proud of himself.
And we are so proud of him.

Don’t Wait!

Four years ago, I got a phone call in the afternoon, after a completely normal, even pleasant day.
I was told that my six year old nephew, with whom I had a deep bond, had been killed in a car accident.
I didn’t stop crying for days. It still seems surreal. It still seems too incredible that I will never again hear his voice or talk to him.
I know that a part of the reason I still feel his loss and his absence so keenly, is because I allowed the anger and bitterness I feel towards his guardians to prevent me from at least talking to him on a regular basis. I regret it. I wish I could change it. I wish I could honour his memory and his nature with love and forgiveness.

In the preparation for his memorial service, we were looking for pictures of him through the many we had. Pictures of him with his father, him with his cousins, him with us, and I found lots of wonderful pictures of him with my knucklehead, and even a few with him and I together. I wished there were more. Those pictures are my treasures.

I realised with a start, during that exercise, that I had maybe a handful of pictures of my knucklehead and I together, and he was already a grown up! I had mostly been behind the camera while he was growing up, taking the pictures, but as is typical of many women – I had avoided the camera because I was too fat, had no make up on, was taking the picture… Whatever. And now it was too late to take those pictures.
I wish I had taken those pictures, or had someone take pictures of me with my boy. Pictures with bot of our faces in them.
Now I take a selfie with my son, or I hand my phone-slash-camera to someone else, every time I see him. I love these pictures.

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I also take selfies with my family when I see them – my mom and dad, my sisters, my gran… To me the pictures are very special. I know not everyone sees photos as all that important, preferring to make memories rather than take pictures, but my pictures are a part of my memories and I look at them often.

I never part company with my son, or my husband, or my parents and siblings, without telling them I love them. I never want to feel the heartache I feel now because I didn’t talk to them enough.

Don’t wait to take pictures of you and your children together. Selfies are fun. Play silly buggers in a photobooth. Celebrate special occasions. Don’t wait till you’ve done your hair or you’re better dressed.

You can’t go back.