Snap & Patience

It’s a bit of a tradition to play some cards or board games during the summer holidays and especially on Christmas day. I did, but that is not what this post is about.

While I was at the beach last week, I was casually sweeping the floor – the sand these kids trail through the place is phenomenal! As I went about my task I heard a very loud, distinct and unusual pop sound  from my back. I froze. My friend who was in the same room, was looking for where the noise had come from. She thought it sounded electrical, but I knew it was mechanical.

Almost 3 years ago I had major spinal surgery where I had two titanium rods screwed into either side of my spine from my shoulder blades (T8) to my sacral spine (S1) and into my hips. I wrote about this experience in more detail here.

I knew something had happened to my ‘hardware’. I was afraid to move, but as I attempted some small movements, I found that I could. Apart from the initial sudden pain, I could move without much pain at all. My mind was racing, trying to figure out what might be going on inside my body.

My initial thought was that I had popped a screw. This can happen when there is too much pressure on the area, where the fusion has failed or when there may be deterioration of the bone the screw is in.

That night I could feel things moving around. Every time I moved, my back would creak & groan like an old barn door. That is a weird feeling, let me tell you.

The next day, as planned I packed the kids up and headed home. I knew I would need to get an xray, so had to book in with my doctor. I managed to get a cancellation on the very last appointment of the day, on the last day she was in before taking her holidays. I’m lucky to have a really great GP.  Still not much pain, but I’m walking stiffly and the groaning and grinding coming from my back continued.

The following day I spent all morning trying to find someone to look after the kids so I could get in for the xray. With many friends away on holidays, my support network was a bit thin on the ground. I finally gave in and asked my poor aged parents come come over to watch the boys – something I’m trying not to do. The boys love them to death and they love them right back, but they are elderly now and having a whirling dervish (L who is about to turn 6 and has autism & an intellectual impairment) a 2 year old (N – say no more!) and a future heavy weight champion (J – 18m) – well, let’s just say it can be quite a draining experience.

I head off for my xray and I can see by the look on the sonographer’s face, that apart from having a lot of hardware, there is something going on. She suggested I come and have a look – and there’s the snap part of the story. Both my rods have snapped.

If Frieda can do it, so can I!

If Frieda can do it, so can I!

Here comes the patience. I ring my surgeon’s clinic, but…it’s the summer holidays and he is on holidays in another part of the world. He will be back on the 15th. I’ve been talking to his clinical nurse who is one of those super efficient, dynamic, right hand woman kind of people. I feel a bit better every time I talk to her. She is also on holidays and has been ringing me daily to check that I am OK. Instructions are to wait, do NOTHING. Do not lift, do NO housework, take it easy. Did I mention I have three little children in my care? If anything changes pain-wise, I need to get me to emergency asap.

I'm doing my bit!

I’m doing my bit!

So apart from shedding some tears, losing my cool regularly, feeling a bit depressed about my lot in life and feeling overwhelmed by what it might all mean – more surgery, massive amounts of support and help needed on a 24 hour basis, having to tell everyone (hate that and yet…here I am dear reader), dealing with the bureaucracy that is child protection etc, I am trying to stay positive, make a plan and recruit some help.

In general, I’m good until I’m not good – like today when L made a diabolical smeary mess all over his room, bed, carpet and himself. That’s not something you can ring and friend and say, drop everything, get over here and clean this shit up – literally! That’s when the going gets tough. Sorry for sharing that – there’s somethings you really shouldn’t share and that’s probably one of them, but it’s late and it’s my reality.

So, patience, people. I’m working on it. I’m also working on my optimism. That is all.



Back Pain Funk & A New Series

I am finally emerging from my back pain funk. Doing more than just getting through the day has been quite difficult, especially when it just seemed to be getting worse and not better after weeks of trying to sort this thing out.

It’s still a little irritated, as am I, but I’m doing more, I’m more flexible, I’m in less pain, I can enjoy life more. Oh yes!!!

metaphorically if not literally

I won’t go on about it as there is nothing more boring than other people’s pain. So that’s it on the back.

News: I wanted to let you know that I am planning to start a series of blogs about foster care. I won’t be talking about the kids in my care but more about the experience and the issues we deal with as foster carers. Of course, I’m hoping it will be interesting enough to keep you reading. It certainly won’t be all doom and gloom. I hope you will come with me on this odyssey.

Hip Hip Hooray

A quick update. It is 15 degrees (59f) has been raining for 2 days solid and tonight we are driving off to spend a few days at the beach as a part of our mid-year school holidays. I actually love doing off season activities, so we’ll wear our rain jackets and enjoy the empty beach. Being an optimist, I’m sure we’ll also get some beautiful clear crisp days as well. Fingers crossed.

It’s been busy on the home front. Baby J is now one year old! Not only that, but last night he took his first wobbly, unaided steps and today he is walking across the room. Go baby go!

N has been talking non-stop – and I mean non-stop for a while now and, typically for a 2yo is giving some royal command performances with his impressive tantrums. Favourite topic of conversation? Trevor’s motorbike. Trevor is my neighbour and his ears must burn with the number of times his name is mentioned in a day.

L is as challenging as ever and I am hoping that the disruption to his routine that the school holidays bring will not make things even worse. I start each day hoping that I have the patience and reserves I need to get through it. I’m constantly seeking out new, engaging activities for him and that certainly helps.

What is not helping is my godforsaken back – oh no! Oh yes! Actually, it’s not my back. It’s more my hip. And now I officially sound like a really old lady, uh oh, I feel like one too! My sacro iliac joint (where the back and the hip connect) is very unhappy with me. Having my spine fused has meant that this joint has had to take some punishment. I need to rest it as much as possible, but with three little boys? It’s not happening folks. So, I’m strapped up, I’m medicated, I’m desperately trying to avoid the next earth shatteringly, excruciating jab. Sadly, this will take some time to heal and I’m already a month into this new world of pain. Enough whinging.

You will hear from a happier me after I return from our mini-break.