Tuesday, September 17, 2013

19.5 Weeks

It's been 19.5 weeks. More precisely, it's been 136 days 16 hours 18 minutes since Peyton passed away at the moment I type these words.

I open my calendar and I stare in disbelief as the weeks that have passed have not only moved out of the "single digits", but are nearly out of the "teens".  It's been 4.5 months.  The time that has passed weighs heavily on my mind.  As of a few moments ago I calculated nearly exactly how much time has passed using an online tool:

136 days, 16 hours, 22 minutes
or 4 months, 13 days
or approximately 3,280 hours, 22 minutes
or 196,822 minutes
or 11,809,320 seconds

That is how much time has elapsed since Peyton breathed her last breath.  The weight of those months, days, hours, minutes, and seconds is heavy.  To some, it was "a few months back" or maybe it was "recently" or "near the beginning of summer" or "at the end of the school year".  To me, it was 11,809,320 seconds ago {more now since time has passed since I found that figure}.

Ron and I started attending a support group at church called GriefShare.  It is a 13 week cycle that covers several topics on grief and loss from a Christian perspective.  I attended one complete cycle a couple years after my mom passed away.  I began a second cycle, but only made it about half way through {if that} before Peyton's health was declining and was beginning to have multiple fractures.  A new cycle began the week of/before/or after Peyton passed away.  I forget which.  But it was right around that time, and was way too soon {besides the fact that we'd have missed one or two weeks at the time she passed}.  We decided that we would both attend when the next one came around.  It began last Tuesday night.  We attended our second meeting of the 13 week cycle this evening.

We are only a couple weeks in, but between the group discussion, the dvd presentations in the meeting, and the workbook we use during the week, it has me thinking so much more about Peyton - her life and her passing.  Not that there was ever a moment where I wasn't thinking about her.  She's in the front of my mind now.  It is ever present.  It is painful.

I think I probably wear a mask some of the time.  I'm not always on the verge of tears, but I'm not always "ok".  I'm sad.  It hurts.  Certain situations hurt or bring back memories or feelings.  But I can't go around in tears all the time or talking about how painful it is all the time because no one wants to hear that, right??  Truthfully, I don't cry all the time or feel the pain that intensely all the time, but there isn't a day that passes where I don't feel sad at some point during the day.  If asked how I am doing, you probably aren't going to hear exactly how I am feeling.  What a conversation killer that would be.  But I'm not back to "normal" - nor will I ever be.  Peyton is gone and there is a gaping hole in my life right now that can't be filled with "things" to make it "all better".  I don't even know if we've found a "new normal" yet.

New normal.  What is that supposed to look like?  A family of 4 became 3.  I know that we both feel like there has to be something beyond this.  Something more.  That Peyton's purpose is not entirely fulfilled.  Her physical life with us, yes.  But there has to be more.  There has to be something more to her life than the 6 years, 11 months and 18 days she was with us here.

I am injured.  No, really, I am.  I was sitting on the couch.  I stood up and took a step or two before rolling on my ankle.  I heard a very loud pop followed by a buzzing in my ears, breaking out in a cold sweat and passing out for a few moments.  I "came to" to the sight and sound of Ron on the phone.  All I could think of was that this was a pretty poor time for a personal call {until I realized he was giving his "friend" a list of my current meds and realized it was 911}.  Went to the ER in an ambulance.  The doctor said it was not fractured - was a Grade 1 or 1.5 ankle sprain {3 being the worst}, and I was to stay off it for a week.  I was given a shot of Dilaudid, put in an air splint, handed crutches and sent out the door.  I got in to see an Orthopedic Surgeon on Monday of this week, earlier than I might have thanks to a friend who is a current patient of his.  He took "weight bearing" x-rays {involving intense pain and positioning my foot in positions it hadn't been in in 8 days} and confirmed no major fractures or cartilage damage.  He didn't suggest there were any minor ones either, so I guess that was good.  Just torn ligaments and a Grade 2 to 3 sprain.  2 to 3 is a long way off the Grade 1 that the ER doc said I had!  Still, "they" say that with torn ligaments, you're probably better off with a fracture.  Maybe I can invite Kathy Bates over to finish the job?!?!  Oh, and when my leg is not properly elevated or I am standing, my leg turns purple from the knee down.  The Ortho doc noticed this himself and checked my other leg.  Apparently there is some sort of autonomic disorder associated with trauma/injury in extremities that can cause weird things to happen with temperature regulation and, though not common, it's more often seen in fair skinned/fair haired or red headed people.  Lucky me.  Should "hopefully" return to normal in several months.  Good to know.

Right Ankle - 9 Days After Injury
I would love to share with you that I did this in some "exciting" way - like roller blading, cycling, training for a marathon, sky diving or base jumping.  But the reality is that I got off a couch and took a step.  That's as exciting as it gets.  But we'll go with "base jumping injury" if it sounds better.  Seriously.  If this is the damage I can inflict just getting off a couch, I need to be banned from all extreme sports!  Or any sports for that matter.  I do get some new footwear out of the deal though - a boot.  I've got to wear this God-awfully heavy thing for the next several weeks, except during the night when I go back to that air splint.

Why do I share this?  Aside from the fact that it's what's going on with me right now, it is having an impact on how I am grieving.  How can an ankle injury impact your grief??  Here's how:

* I am in a lot of pain.  A lot.  I'm out of hydrocodone.  I'm hurting.  It's just a sprain.  I think to myself how much pain I saw Peyton in.  It brings back memories of those ER trips with fractures beginning last February.  It brings back memories of her laying in bed at home with a huge cast from toe to thigh as well as a cast on her arm, in addition to having compression fractures in her spine.  It brings back memories of the pain she was in with the initial fractures and then the newer fractures and then the fracture she developed simply laying in her hospital bed with her leg in a splint!!  I envision her pain and suffering and think to myself that I have no right whatsoever to complain an ounce about the pain I am in after all she endured.  I think to myself, so what if I am out of hydrocodone.  I have other things and I can just suck it up if it's not working.  Peyton's pain was out of control towards the end.  I am not "suffering".  As painful as this injury is, it pains me more to think about what Peyton endured.

* I have been virtually bed-ridden since I got home from the ER on September 8th.  I went to our grief support group last week and this week.  I also went to my Ortho appointment.  That's it.  The rest of the time, I've pretty much been in bed, with some time spent on the couch for a change of scenery.  I can't weight bear on that foot, so I'm in bed.  Laying in bed hurts after a while.  I shift and turn and it just isn't comfortable because I've got this boot on my leg.  I think to myself how Peyton's last few months she was pretty much bed ridden.  Once those fractures started in February, she barely spent time in her wheelchair.  Some, but not much.  Her whole life, if she wasn't in her wheelchair, she was either laying in bed or on a mat no the floor.  I have no right to complain that I'm "stuck" for what I am hoping is a short term injury.

* I have become dependent on others.  I am on crutches.  I can't bear weight and simply moving from one room to another has caused me a lot of pain and nausea, so I don't get up more than necessary.  I can't just run to the kitchen and grab breakfast or lunch or anything during the day.  Ron's had to be my waiter and butler and nurse for the past 9 days.  I think about how Peyton was dependent on me or her nurses for everything.  I have the ability to ask for things or make my level of pain known.  She did not have that.  She was so dependent on us for every single little thing for her whole life.  I feel guilty having to ask for anything because I should be able to do it myself.  But I can't.

* This time simply reminds me so much of when we'd go through a medical crisis with Peyton.  Normal life would stop for a time.  I'd be at the hospital.  Ron would have to rearrange his work schedule.  He'd have to handle getting Moira up and ready for school as well as making her lunch.  He'd get her to the bus.  He'd get home for her getting off the bus.  He'd get her to her after school art class.  He'd run errands needing run.  We are having deja vu.  I can get up {barely} in the morning, but I can't go upstairs to wake Moira up.  I can't make her lunch or iron her clothes, or even easily do laundry for that matter.  I can't walk her to the bus stop or go down again in the afternoon to get her.  I can't drive, so I cannot run any errands at all.  I will be starting physical therapy.  I will not be able to take myself.  Ron is having to rearrange his work schedule around me.  I love him for all he is doing but it brings back the memories of times we did this because of Peyton's needs.  It is painful.  We are trying to get back to some semblance of "normal" then this happens.

So, you can see that there are several things associated with this ankle injury which are bringing forth a lot of pain associated with the loss of Peyton.

Moira has been doing a little better the last week or two.  She had been having several tough days in a row where she'd suddenly start talking about Peyton, cry a bit, and then move on.  It was happening with great frequency.  It seems to have calmed down a bit but I know she still has moments.  She is cheering me on with my use of crutches and the new boot, but I wouldn't be surprised if this whole thing has stirred up some memories for her as well.  I know she was teary-eyed and very worried looking as I was taken out of the house on a stretcher and put into an ambulance.

I don't know what I "need" right now in terms of dealing with grief.  I am sure the next several weeks of our support group will bring many things forward that I haven't dealt with or maybe even thought about yet.  I'm frustrated.  I felt like I was taking some positive steps forward until one of those steps literally proved to be too much for me, causing me physical injury!

All I can do is lean on God during all of this because I don't really know where else to draw strength from.  I don't have it myself.  I don't feel like I do.  And I will literally be leaning on Ron for support during these weeks ahead as we process through this cycle of GriefShare together.

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