Holidays in the hospital

During my final year of illness with Ulcerative Colitis before I had my surgery to get a permanent colectomy, I was puffed up from steroids and doubled over miserable, living in my robe and forcing a smile as I prepared for the holidays. It’s strange to remember how fatigued I was and how much energy it took me to do the littlest things.  I woke early every morning all amped up on synthetic energy from the steroids.

After several days of extreme pain with cramping and hours either in the bathroom or collapsing into bed,  it became clear that I needed to be hospitalized. My girls were 4 and 5 at the time. It makes me cry now remembering them walking beside my wheelchair as I wore my new Christmas robe. I had stayed home long enough for them to open their presents and could still smell the fresh Barbie smell on the hands of my daughters as held my face and said, “it’s O.K. Mummy”.

Looking back it wasn’t OK. It’s never OK to have small children be fearful of their mother’s well-being and have to sacrifice anything for their parents. It just shouldn’t be that way and as a mother, it causes extreme depression having to miss any moment of your children’s milestones.

This photo was taken when I was hospitalized for a bowel obstruction a few years ago. I cringe when I think of how many times my lovely daughters have walked through my hospital room doors, smiling and loving and wishing we all weren’t there.

My daughters are resilient and they are champions of my wellness but I still wish none of it had to happen. They are 18 and 19 now and we’re approaching Thanksgiving where they’ll come home from college and feast and sleep. I plan to be the healthy host but am careful in the days leading up to any event that causes extra stress. I usually need more rest and have to be very careful what I eat. I get all “chicken and rice” minded and start fearing vegetable trays.

I’m awake right now because I’ve been sick tonight and can’t sleep. I’ll need to rest today and hydrate since I’ve lost more fluid than normal and need to be ready for family happy cozy-ness. I have a my sites on a big family dinner and plan to eat ONE brussel sprout to eliminate the possibility of a blockages. I’ll take small bites and savor the moment of being together.