September 22, 2011
It’s All in Your Head
I slide serenely into the MRI “tomb”, white walls embracing me with their sterile closeness and clicking sounds, and I lie still so I won’t have to repeat this test again. It’s my second one in two days, prescribed by the neurologist I’d been to see who assured me the incidences of dizziness and blurred vision I’ve been prone to recently were not all in my little blond head. The good doctor thinks the images resulting from these exams will reveal pinched nerves in either my cervical or lumbar spine, most likely a result of picking up my eight-year-old too frequently, an activity which now needs to cease. I had never realized pinched nerves could have such an effect upon a person. I suspect he’s right, and that Justin will have to become even more independent when disembarking from rides and horses. I am also open to the possibility the good doctor may be totally off-base, and that these dizzy spells I’m experiencing may be a result of years of unyielding, unimaginable stress catching up to me.
The irony, of course, is that things have never been better.
I refer often to my theory that all things are cumulative, that while I attempt to fully deal with and process trying situations as they come, I may not be as good at it as I think. Truly, I make an effort to take care of myself. At meals, there is at least the occasional consumption of a fruit or vegetable. Attempts are made to get seven to eight hours of sleep, when my children and my own body permit me to do so. I’ve incorporated a fairly regular exercise schedule into my daily life, in part because it helps me reach those sleep goals, and in part because much of my writing fodder is gleaned from that pounding of pavement. I schedule outings with my husband and girlfriends because those events make me happy, which renders me a better mother. I also do this because although the boys do take up just a bit of my time, I recognize the importance of carving out some for myself as well.
Unless Shirley Maclaine is right, this is the only life I’ll get. Momma needs some fun occasionally too.
In short, I’ve really tried to live as full and balanced an existence as possible, despite the sporadic tempestuousness of this household. I’ve attempted to model as often as I can what I thought my life would encompass- the rigors and joys of motherhood, work, marriage, and friendships. After years and years of sleepless nights, refusals to eat, pinching of flesh, loss of language, and religious adherence to ritual, my family has finally tempered a truce with my sons’ autisms. The thought that I may not be able to fully enjoy this peace because the last few years are catching up to me, frankly finds me enraged. My fingers are crossed that my eminent neurologist is correct, and that the nerves in my spine have rebelled against their overuse, because there are methods to alleviate those aggravated nerves. And truly, I need to figure this all out, because the prospect of blacking out while with my non-verbal moderately autistic child in public, is not very pretty.
The alternative, that these episodes are simply stress-related, is just not acceptable, although it may be reality. Truly, short of entering an ashram and engaging in meditation all day, I don’t envision much of a serious respite from my life for the next ten, to perhaps thirty, years. I am honestly doing the best that I can, and I’m not really sure my clinician’s suggestion of a warm nightly bath will do the trick, although with just a bit of lavender included, it does sound lovely.
Here’s to hoping the hovering hum of this MRI machine proves it’s not all in my head.
Author’s Note: Thankfully, pinched nerves it was. That pretty x-ray my neurologist displayed for me was a reminder of both how “physical” this life can be with our kids, and how important it is to take care of ourselves regardless of what is transpiring in our lives. I hope this post reminds everyone to do just that!