Observations from a week spent mostly in bed

All time passes. Sometimes this is a sad realization — I think of the scene in To the Lighthouse when Mrs. Ramsay presides over the end of her triumphant dinner party, and is trying to hold on to the scene even as she sees it disappearing into the past.

And sometimes it is a happy realization — even in the worst moments of pain over the past week I knew on some level that this could not last forever. But sheesh. Not my favorite 168 hours.

(For anyone just catching up — most likely a pinched nerve, inflamed disks in my slightly too-curved spine, etc., which sends pain radiating down my right leg. I’m now on steroids and painkillers and it is slowly improving, but there have been chunks of the past week where moving has been impossible, and parts where even lying in bed I haven’t been able to get comfortable.)

A few observations. First, I apparently have enough clothes to make it through two weeks or more between laundry cycles. It helps that I haven’t been changing clothes all that often. In my family, all the adults do their own laundry, and as I haven’t been able to bend over (seriously, whatever clothes I manage to take off I just leave on the floor of the bathroom) I haven’t done my laundry. I hadn’t really wanted to ask anyone else to do it… Finally, today, I asked my daughter to help load my dirty clothes into the washing machine, and H (the 4-year-old) helped me move them from the washer to the dryer. I’m not quite sure how I’m going to get them out of the basket and into my drawers but maybe I’ll just leave them there for a while. I do think in 24-48 hours bending over will be a little easier…

The Economist is a good magazine! I’ve gotten caught up on several issues I hadn’t read. The Holiday Double Issue is always good for longer pieces on random topics, like a feature on women DIY-ers based on a statistic from the American Time Use Survey that the time women spend on home improvement projects has risen significantly. The Bartleby column is usually good for a laugh.

Also, the Sixers are a really good basketball team! I don’t watch a lot of TV usually but when it’s hard to do much else, that is what you do. I watched three games this week and they won all of them. Joel Embiid has now scored 30-plus points in 20 games in a row. And Tyrese Maxey is just so, so fun to watch. Talk about exuberant basketball.

Some stuff does not happen. I don’t think anyone went to bed on time this week. I guess (fortunately) the kids really didn’t have to as there have been so many snow days. The sweat pants I bought one child were still sitting on the kitchen counter days after they had been opened. My roots are looking terrible. There is trash on my bedside table from days ago.

On the other hand, the basic stuff of life does happen. My husband has been keeping the kids fed and making sure they get to activities and that they get bathed and do eventually go to bed. He has changed his schedule to be available to take me to my medical appointments this week and to help me hobble around those offices. I’m sure it is incredibly frustrating to have your co-parent be out of commission. He has been good about keeping this frustration to himself, which I appreciate.

I have concentrated my energy on being able to do a few things. One was going to my 9-year-old’s birthday party on Monday. Given how much pain I was in again on Wednesday I’m lucky that the party time corresponded with a reprieve from it (even though it was false hope at that point). On Saturday I took my 16-year-old to high tea at a place we’d booked three weeks prior – well, really, he drove me. (Yay, new license!) It was not terribly comfortable sitting in a restaurant seat — I had my leg stretched out straight as that was the least painful position. But we made it and my son loved the tea! (He wants to try living in the UK for a few months at some point…).

People help out. A friend drove H to a birthday party. B worked extra hours. H’s Saturday sitter took him overnight Friday, partly so she wouldn’t have to drive back and forth in the snow but also because it meant we didn’t have the most-demanding kid around here (he has been a bit alarmed by all this as you can imagine — he has spent a lot of time playing next to me in my bed.) SHU ran the Patreon meet-up Thursday while I just sat there with my camera off.

The snow is a mixed thing. I can tell our yard is beautiful in the snow from my window but I haven’t been able to get out and experience it. The kids went sledding in the yard and it was sad not to be able to join them or at least go see them. The snow led to a lot of things getting canceled, which did make our logistics easier.

Today I’ve been getting up and walking around a bit more. I’m hoping that means this week will be a lot better. I like my bed but it is getting a bit boring! I am ready to get back to normal life!

18 thoughts on “Observations from a week spent mostly in bed

  1. Laura… I feel your pain quite literally, or at least did a few years ago. In my case the pain flared up as a result of ramping up my power skating (ice) workouts. I was diagnosed with piriformus syndrom. Here’s a link on the Cleveland Clinic website… https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/23495-piriformis-syndrome. It took months to resolve (sorry to be the bearer of potentially bad news.) I was eventually referred to a physiatrist, a doctor with both physiothery and psychiatric training. She confirmed the underlying source in my lower spine, but also identified the complicating factor of a major nerve impaction (piriformus) and a chronic brain response that prevented simple treatment. She put me on a megadose of Lyrica (Pregabalin) and increased physio re: range of motion plus muscle relaxation. At times I had been taking morphine tablets (Statex) which she cut off immediately. It still took weeks to resolve, but the Lyrica dampened the nerve pain long enough to reduce the chronic brain pain response. I’d be happy to talk with you about this. Peter (BTW… I’m in your ‘Off the Clock’ book… you interview me about my ‘Best Grandkid Day Ever’ habit with my grandkids.) Let me know…

    1. @Peter – good to hear from you! And I am so sorry that you had to deal with similar pain. I am on a nerve pain medication and am hopefully starting PT this week so probably following a very similar path! I have been moving around a lot more today so I am hopeful that things are moving in the right direction. Not nearly as fast as I want, but moving…

  2. I am so sorry you are still in pain. Hoping you get some relief this week. I’m glad your family has been taken care of.

    My husband is also injured and I admit I probably am not as patient with him as I should be. I don’t mind doing the extra work around the house/with the kids, but he isn’t the best patient :)…he doesn’t sit in one place very well. He is now able to use crutches to get around, and that has helped a lot. This week was quite long, but I think next week will be easier. Hoping next week is easier for you too!

    1. @Jessica- ugh, sorry for what you guys are going through. I am probably not the world’s best patient either! Also, I start feeling like people should read my mind (they should know I want a cup of coffee right now!) but no one can do that, and when you’re chasing five kids around it’s not top priority…Being an invalid is just no fun in so many ways.

  3. Laura, so sorry to hear this. It sounds awful and in all the time I’ve followed along your content I don’t think you’ve been out of action like this! The line about H being quite alarmed and spending quite a lot of time by your bed – so sweet and heartbreaking. I hope there is a steady path to recovery,

    1. @Maya – thanks! Yep, he keeps telling me his leg hurts too. Kind of switches leg to leg as he thinks of it, but it’s so funny (and yes, a little sad) to see how a 4-year-old copes with Mommy being out of commission…

  4. I’m so sorry you are hurting! I’m currently limited with an ACL rupture and awaiting surgery. I’ve been able to progress each day but there’s a limit on what I can do and it’s extremely frustrating. Trying to reframe things and work on my patience. Meanwhile Christmas is still up…

    1. @Tiffany – I am so sorry you are in that state too! It is extremely frustrating to see stuff not happen that you could easily make happen with more mobility/energy. And you still need to go through surgery and recovery from that. Here’s hoping it all happens pretty swiftly for you.

  5. I’m so sorry you’re in pain and missing out – hopefully you’ll continue to get the help you need to recover fully. You seem to have so much energy when you are not in pain (more than I do, certainly!) and maybe a small silver lining of this ordeal will be a renewed appreciation for physical health/strength when it returns.

    1. @Erica – thank you! I am always grateful for energy – needed for the job description around here! It has been hard missing out. Here’s hoping that this next week is better.

  6. I also had piriformis syndrome and was in pain for about 12-18 months before I had a combination of steroids and anesthetics injected into my back. The pain went in 2 weeks and I was then able to do the PT required to stop the pain from returning once they wore off. I continue to be pain-free 2 years later – and do a lot of Pilates and core work. I hope you can find similar relief from this debilitating pain.
    Loving your son’s enjoyment of an English high tea. I used to work for an English department store’s head office and we always stopped for tea and cake at 3pm. I ate far too many scones!

    1. @Louise – so sorry you had to deal with so much pain! I am sure my core could use some work..
      Scones are incredible. The place where we went had great ones. I decided it was worth the downsides I get from dairy to have a fresh scone with a little clotted cream. Yum.

  7. I’m so sorry to hear you are in pain, and out of commission!
    I had an accident before Christmas in which I fainted, hit my head and ended up in hospital for 4 days! I’m mostly recovered now but have been pleased that my coparent hasn’t shown his frustration as much as he’s probably feeling! Unfortunately Im not allowed to drive for 6 months too so that is making logistics tricky with 3 children and a husband who works away…
    I have followed you for years and it’s tricky times like this where planning comes in:) I have found creating lots of future focused plans like trips away and days/evenings out has kept me sane while I watch a lot of TV recovering.. xx

    1. @Lauren – that sounds terrible! Wow – and I can’t imagine not being able to drive for 6 months – that would definitely make life more complicated around here (though thank goodness my son got his license right before this happened…). Yep, the tricky times are when planning comes in. I hope you have lots of great plans for when you are recovered!

  8. I hope you get better soon. I flipped backwards on a slip and slide in July and have two compressed discs in my spine as a result. 6 months of PT and OMM and all the stretches which I know you were already doing!
    Good thoughts for healing!

    1. @Angela – oh dear – that sounds terrible! Yep, I was already doing all the stretches and they didn’t prevent this but I don’t think that means they’re a bad idea…I just don’t like the idea of my body being willing and capable of doing this to me again randomly. But it totally could.

  9. Should your husband do your laundry in this case without you asking or hire someone to do that ?
    Would you do his if the roles were reversed ? Do men get better caregiving than women when sick in marriage?
    I have seen with a few of my friends how if they get sick or have an injury they seem to still need to ask someone else to say get them dinner not their spouse or kids… and isn’t this part of marriage in sickness and in health… and also from man to woman not just woman to man?
    Do we maybe give men more caregiving and expect mother never to have to need sick time…

    1. Also should your kids or teenagers are teenagers really totally children shouldn’t they maybe given all you do be doing your laundry your kids without you having to ask them? Wanting you to get better immediately !! Do we as a society maybe not ask enough of children or teenagers and how do we do this maybe just say mommy is ill her laundry is now your problem children it must be done.
      Wishing you speedy and easy recovery! That said it is worth maybe asking some of these questions because you are not the only woman in America who say has an injury or illness or pain and finds herself despite being married, with children and working and having staff, parents help still having to state hey …. please I need help here in sickness…

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