Post-Traumatic Stress

I’m not normal.

Kiran rarely sleeps in.  He is, in general, the best alarm clock I have ever owned.  If anyone wants to wake up to a cute little man making noise or banging his foot brace on the side of his bed promptly at 6 am, I have a kid you can borrow.

That’s not the abnormal part.  The abnormal part comes into play on mornings, like this one, when he does sleep in.  That’s when I recognize how my brain works differently than most people’s.

I am making an assumption, but I would assume most people, upon waking up later than their child’s normal wake-up time, realizing they are sleeping in, don’t immediately worry about walking in to a dead child.

This is not a fear based on a current reality.  Kiran is stable and doing so well medically; there are no immediate, abrupt concerns that would cause such a worry to pop into my brain.  There was a time this concern would have been more valid – any morning the first ten and a half months of his life, for instance, though we had the pulse ox monitoring any changes at that time – but not now.

More than two years post-op, and I still can’t shake that thought when he sleeps in.  If that is not post-traumatic stress, I don’t know what is.

But I realized this morning, it’s not just related to him.  The day my brother was in a car accident, I spent the entire ride to the hospital (an hour away) convincing myself and everyone in the car that he was going to be okay.  Only, we got there, and he wasn’t.  He wasn’t okay at all; he “didn’t make it”.

Despite attempts to the contrary, we take moments like that, and we build protections around ourselves.  If my brain can at least be somewhat prepared to walk into a room and find my son in a “didn’t make it” scenario …

I am not normal.  I am a pessimist, by most people’s labeling techniques.  I am a realist, by my life experience.  I am just someone who wants to be aware of the worst case scenario, because it takes some of the power away when it actually happens.  At least I assume it does.

I don’t want to be caught off guard again.

Post-traumatic stress.  People don’t always think about it as affecting people like me.  But the sudden, unexpected loss of a loved one and living with a medically complex/special needs child – believe me, it’s a part of my world.


Sick Day

Sick days are rest days for me.  Well, rest days for my body, anyway.  Snuggle time, cartoons, longer and more frequent nap times (for him), cancelled appointments, staying in pajamas all day (along with him – solidarity!)

My brain certainly doesn’t get a rest day, though.  Decisions are tough for me anyway, because my brain constantly over-analyzes everything.  I don’t just second-guess myself … heck, I get up to tenth-guessing myself sometimes.

So in the midst of the snuggles and the temperature taking and the slow tube meals and the phone calls to cancel today’s appts and the emails wondering about whether or not to cancel tomorrow’s appts … my brain is most definitely not taking the day off.

Kiran’s managing this illness just fine – no serious concerns – and I am thankful for that.  I can handle low-grade fevers and lack of energy and coughs/stuffy noses and lots and lots of snuggles.  I will never take it for granted, because I will always remember that week in the hospital when he was just under three months old, and there due to a COLD.

So even though my brain doesn’t get the day off, I am thankful that we are home.


You know how moms just…know things!?  I don’t even mean me – not at all – I mean…MY mom knows things.  I have never understood how she knows things, but if I don’t know something (unless it’s about cars or tools or mechanical-type stuff – my dad knows those things), I go to my mom.

I have always felt SO insecure about being a mom because I. Don’t. Know. Things.  I don’t know how to get to the point where you DO know things.  I don’t have the confidence.

Well, today, I realized I do know things.  I know Kiran.  I know him well.  He woke up not feeling well.  He didn’t have a fever, but he was just a bit stuffy, was coughing a little (at a non-feeding time), was struggling more with his oral eating, and was just TIRED.  I assumed he got my cold.  We opted to cancel our preschool meeting with his teacher and associates, because it’s not a good first impression to get everyone sick.

I questioned it a few times today.  But then he continued being not quite right.  We had to alter some things – he was struggling a lot more with his water, so I went back to half nectar thick, and he did a lot better with it – I assume mucus is the culprit.  And we did a two nap day instead of a one nap day – and slowed down on dinner and went to bed early.

Basically, we had a sick day, even though I was questioning if I had made the right call, not really certain that he was sick.

And then I checked on him before my bedtime.  And he was awake, so I got in to snuggle him.  And I thought – He feels warm; I think he has a fever.

Guys.  I know things.

Sure enough, fever of 100.8.  Tylenol and snuggles given, alarms set to check on him a couple times before morning….

There is so much stuff I know that my mom doesn’t – or doesn’t know in as much depth as I do – Kiran has made sure of that.  He has a lot of extra stuff to know.  But I still have to say – it makes me feel good that I know some of this “regular” mom stuff too.

I just have to learn to trust it.


3 Weeks

Three weeks from today, Kiran has his first day of preschool.

Told you I’d be coming right back to this.

I’m not ready.

I did a preliminary fill-in of his GIANT registration packet today.  As soon as I put the pile off to the side, I am telling you, I was on the verge of a panic attack.  I have had only one in my life, but this felt like it came close to a second one.

How the heck am I going to get through day one?

I keep holding back tears and trying to distract myself.  I KNOW it’s the absolute right, best, most amazing decision we could make for Kiran.  I know he will thrive in the social environment, and he will grow in ways he wouldn’t if he didn’t start now.

I should have had more babysitters.  I should have trained everyone I met on the street how to feed Kiran and care for him.  I should have practiced this more.

Are there room mothers in preschool?  Daily volunteers, perhaps?

I’m not ready.  I don’t foresee being ready in three weeks, either.

Brief Breath

I feel like this weekend provided a brief breath – a very brief break from what has been consuming our lives and will be the rest of this month – the preschool transition.

It was a bit of a wonky weekend, which ended up working out really well for my current situation.  Kiran went to his dad’s Saturday morning through Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, my brain got a break because my body was working a catering event, preparations all day and working all evening.

Sunday, the break continued with a relaxing morning, and a work-related lunch, preparing for another catering event this month.

Sunday afternoon, Kiran got to come with me to a birthday party, and he got to ride a unicorn!  Yep.  A nice miniature pony ride, complete with fairy-tale features.  The second ride, he was like a pro.  This was a really great experience for him to have for many reasons, but especially since I have been considering therapeutic horseback riding for him in the near future.  I think it would be a really neat thing for him to experience, and this gives me the confidence to check into it for real.

Sunday night, I got to be with family.  We ate delicious leftovers (a perk of catering with a talented chef) and just spent time together.  It was the perfect ending to a busy but important weekend – other than I could tell I was starting to lose the battle I was waging against this cold.

Which brings me to today.  Kiran and I had a couple errands we HAD to run this morning, and then, due to how crappy I am feeling, we laid on the floor and read books until lunchtime.  He’s been napping since noon, and I am about to wake him up to go spend the rest of the afternoon/evening with his dad.

Things don’t often work out this way, but our Sunday-Monday trade this week means this sick, achy mama gets to spend the rest of the day in bed.

Good thing – cause tomorrow, brief breath is over.  October is BUSY!