"When a family member is faced with a life threatening illness, the whole family is threatened. The whole family feels the repercussions, and for optimal healing and support, the whole family needs to be cared for."
After weeks of acute suffering (even though there is nothing cute about it), I still haven't regained my footing.
I still feel like I'm treading water.
I'm putting out fires.
This is where prioritizing needs becomes a necessity, and thankfully, the years of coping with our illnesses has made me well area of where my priorities lie.
We're running on death-con one.
We've closed ranks to focus.
Anything above and beyond survival is just stress.
As in the past with my hospitalizations, X has become ill this week with an intestinal bug that's kept him home with me.
Of course, X's overall health is a huge priority. X, after our survival, is at the top of our priority list.
This post-emergency illness has become part of our process, part of the sickness routine.
When I'm seriously ill, he is the stoic little man he is expected to be, but once I'm home, he needs some serious TLC.
That's what I used to call the days he got sick after the stress of my illness "X's extra TLC days."
He needs reassurance that he is still a boy, that he will still be cared for and loved.
If I was able (and I somehow find it in me. The maternal instinct is as strong, if not stronger, than the survival instinct, and you never know what you're capable of until you're pushed), I would play supermom to him, reassuring him that, not only was I well, but capable of mothering him and caring for myself.
This worked when he was younger and egocentric. He'd be sick for a day and then back to playing, almost forgetting the trauma of the weeks before.
With age, he now understands the seriousness of my condition and expresses all the overwhelming adult emotions that comes with monopolizing the energy of the sick: feeling guilt, sadness, lonliness, and hopelessness.
It's obvious now his illnesses are often psychsomatic (caused by his emotions), a result of IBS, or caused by his own weakened immune system from dealing with such stress and being exposed to bugs.
This doesn't negate the legitimacy of his illness. He is ill, but usually within two days he recovers with reassurance but no anti-biotics.
This has become a known part of our coping process.
When a family member is faced with a life threatening illness, the whole family is threatened. The whole family feels the repercussions, and for optimal healing and support, the whole family needs to be cared for.