Monday, January 8, 2018

The Battle with a Tough Germ & Soda Addiction

Man, a lot of stuff can happen in a week.

On Monday Jaycee had a few coughs, so I started her extra medications and airway clearance. I also posted a piece talking about how I wanted to value my time with Jaycee even if I am in the hospital or at a doctor’s appointment all day. I didn’t know I would be setting myself up for a challenge so quickly. You can read that post here!

On Tuesday, Jaycee and my son started back to school after winter break. My husband left for Oklahoma where his job currently has him. I went back to work after time off for the holidays.

Jaycee’s numbers were all good, but I was a little nervous sending her to school on a cold day. I spoke to her teachers, and they made plans to keep her in the room all day long while continuing her medications.

She seemed fine at school. Initially at home she was fine too. She didn’t eat all her dinner, which was odd. Her hands felt cold. Fever- first red flag!

Ok so picture this: I have been home long enough to get the mail, make dinner, and eat. I was trying to clean the kitchen and help my son with his homework while Jaycee did her normal nightly treatments. Then suddenly all of life stops. The pile of dirty laundry sat in the basket, the dishes stayed in the sink, and the things that needed to be done for work that night were all just going to wait, because more red flags were coming.

Jaycee fell asleep on the couch, which was a bad sign. Recheck of the fever showed it was worse. Then her hands started to turn blue and the rest is a made dash of giving meds, packing for the hospital, alarms beeping, phone calls, and saying bye to my son. An emergency room and ambulance ride later, Jaycee ended up in the ICU.

January 3rd was the beginning of my mental challenge to see these days differently. You see when she gets in the hospital; I want her out. I want her to be healthy. I want to be at home with both of my kids. I also want to work. Good grief I got one day of work in after holiday break before I was calling in sick. I just want the stress of the illness over and for life to get back to normal. These are my normal thoughts. But, I am trying to view things in a new light. That is hard!

I am so impatient in the hospital as I am at the mercy of this illness creating havoc on my daughter’s body. Be calm- I told myself. It’s ok. She will make it through. Life will be normal again soon. I worked very hard to push some old thoughts down but some of them succeeded in making me anxious or angry at a situation that just cannot be changed. It just must be lived through again. I had to watch my daughter struggle for breath for days again.

On top of the illness and my husband being 6 hours away, I was doing it without caffeine. Our church does a 21 day fast the first part of the year. I gave up sodas because I know they are my addiction. I love soda! It is so fizzy and delicious! I could drink them all day long if I allowed myself to do it, so this was a great thing for me to give up. Carrots would have been much easier or broccoli. I depend heavily on sodas in the hospital. The first night of emergency rooms and chaos meant I was up for about 28 hours straight except for a few minutes of dozing off in a chair while alarms were beeping.

Oh soda, how I wanted you! I never intended to give up soda during a hospital admission, and I was ready to bail on this fast on day 2 at 11 pm in the emergency room.

It became too much! God, first another time in ICU where I promised not to let my usual thoughts bother me and all without the delicious goodness of soda. But God spoke to my heart that I could do it. I needed to ignore that voice inside my head that said I NEEDED soda to get through the time in the hospital or I NEEDED caffeine to get me through the long days. It is true I have confessed these very things with my mouth.

There were a few moments when I wanted to run to the vending machine and binge on Mt Dew but I stopped myself. This was less about completing a fast and more about God showing me that I can cope in these situations without some of the coping mechanisms I have been using for years.

I have realized some things about myself during this hospital stay. Not all of my thoughts are true. (I can survive without a soda.) Changing thought patterns, especially those established under stress are difficult, but I can do it. I have my own work to do when Jaycee is sick in the hospital. This past week was the first time in a long time that I come to really believe that I can change my thoughts. I can’t change anything about Jaycee’s heath problems, but I can control my response to them. Hopefully, I will keep handling things better.

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