Saturday, January 5, 2013

REVERTING BACK TO CHILDHOOD



A couple nights ago our family had dinner at my sister Meridith’s house. I was helping to get the food ready by cutting bread when I cut right into my left index finger with her extra sharp Cutco knife. Luckily I stopped the knife before it made it all the way through the tip of my finger. The blood quickly soaked through a paper towel. I felt faint, so I lay down on the floor. After about 45 minutes of holding my wound, my dad (my pediatrician...because I still need one at age 34 =) arrived from work and came to my rescue. I had finally gotten the blood flow to slow and the skin started to close and I did NOT want the wound reopened. But, I had no choice. I knelt down at the sink as my Dad went to work. It did not go well. I reverted into a child and screamed and cried like a baby, “Don’t! Don’t! Stop! No no no, please, don’t do that!” My dad was taken aback and got my sister (a nurse) to come help him. They opened the wound, cleaned it out…oh the pressure hurt…and closed it up. Stitches were an option, but I opted for Teri strips and a Band-Aid which were then applied. I had to sit for about 10 minutes before being able to get up and walk without fainting.

I quickly asked myself, “What just happened…and WHY?” From my teens and into my adulthood I have punctured my leg with rebar, gotten into a few bad mountain-biking wrecks, dropped a knife straight down on my toe, had surgery, had my bladder almost rupture and gave birth to two children. Never once did I react this way. Okay, well I was groaning quite loudly as my husband wheeled me into the ER when my bladder almost ruptured, I’ve fainted a few times and had one seizure, but scream like a child who is scared when the doctor comes to fix them up? Not me…surely not since I reached my teens. I racked my brain trying to figure out what just happened to me that caused such a reaction. Sure, the cut hurt, but it was more than that. I quickly remembered a time in my childhood, right after getting a beautiful hot pink bike with a banana seat that had big hippie-looking flowers on it for my 6th birthday. (Oh how I wish I’d kept that bike!) Shortly after, I was riding my brand new bike down the newly graveled road in front of our house when I biffed it. And I biffed it BIG. The loose gravel implanted itself in my skin. I was rushed to my dad’s pediatric office where he sat me down, unwrapped a scrubber and scrubbed my knee raw. I remember my leg being held down while he scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed to get every last pebble out. He told me, “Annaka, it won’t heal properly if I don’t get all the gravel out.” I kicked and screamed and cried for him to stop. The other night when my dad was opening up my wound to clean it he said, “Annaka, you have a bump of blood under the skin, so we have to open it to clean it better or it will not heal properly.” That did it, and into my fit I flew. I pleaded with my dad to not reopen the wound because I was finally able to get it closed so it didn’t hurt. My poor kids were so concerned about their momma as my cries disrupted the whole house. I feel that in that moment I reverted back to that six year old child. 

What a weird experience, to return to my childhood self. This wasn’t the first time it happened. I know that certain things can trigger my childhood feelings and behaviors. Sometimes this is negative, such as my loss of control the other night. Other times I have found that remembering things from my childhood have actually helped me to better help my kids. I feel like when certain experiences I had as a child transfer into me as an adult, I can see Nami through different eyes. I have actually found many of these experiences to be vital in helping me help him. One such experience has come to my mind multiple times since Nami’s diagnosis.

When I was in seventh grade, I was very sick with thyrotoxicosis (among other issues) which is an overactive thyroid. My thyroid was four times the size of a regular functioning thyroid and my heart was beating 120 beats per minute while I was asleep. In short, I had no energy and slept most of the time. I had a huge appetite and could never get full. I could not concentrate at school and called my mom almost daily (during 4th period) to come and pick me up. 7th grade is mostly a blur to me. I was not happy. I was socially awkward and had no friends. I remember going days without a single word spoken to me by a peer or a teacher. I sat alone at lunch. 

We did not know about my condition when the school year began and my parents were understandably concerned about my behaviors. After we figured out what was wrong, I was treated with medication over the next two years. It wasn’t until I completed much of 9th grade before I finally really started feeling better.

Reflecting on this time in my childhood is making me be a better parent. I need to remember my actual feelings within the circumstance in order to better understand what Nami might be feeling. I hope that Nami will not have to feel the isolation I have felt, but I feel like I will be more understanding if and when he does. I already see my family rallying around him the way they have around me during difficult times in my life. At this point Nami is still so young, but my experiences with illness have helped me be more patient with him through his. I know what it feels like to have an illness limit my abilities and therefore better understand the degree that his illness is limiting his. It's one thing to know that this is happening and another to FEEL it. I know how it feels to really struggle in school. I know that I will never know how Nami feels exactly, but I often feel like God “blessed” me with certain struggles so that I would be better able to care for my sweet boy. I guess I should say something I never thought I’d say, “Thank goodness for struggles in childhood!”

3 comments:

  1. Well said. It's great to try to remember we were all once kids.

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  2. I remember the fainting episode. What a beautiful little girl you were. Bella visited her dad the dentist today and threw a huge fit. I had to hold her down so that he could finish. Childhood memories in the making.... Hopefully she won't always scream in the dental chair!

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