Chronic Illness and Stress

February 1, 2012 by Rieshy
Part One

Sometimes my days are more scattered than others.  Sometimes the scattering helps me collect my thoughts and gain perspective.

Last week my dryer broke and a part had to be ordered.  I'm blessed with the kind of friend that has two dryers in her laundry room and the generosity to invite me to pop over and dry my clothes at her house, coffee and cookies and lunch included.  I was almost glad my dryer broke.

As her dryers tumbled we chatted.  She had had an interesting conversation with a mutual friend about raising a child with a chronic, life-threatening illness.  This friend had been told by a psychologist that many moms start showing signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after years of care-taking.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?  The cynical, negative part of me immediately thought several things like-  gaaaa, they want a name for everything- don't they.  And even more negatively, POST?  There is no post with caring for a chronically ill family member.  Post is called death.

As we chatted some more I started to see the parallels.  The many parallels.

The strange thing is that seeing the parallels was not depressing for me.  Looking at the symptoms listed in the link revealed that both my husband and I showed many of the symptoms for a short time after our older affected son's first crisis and near death.

Looking at the list gave me a weird sort of peace; life is hard.  But, thanks to broken dryers and a good friend perspective is encouraging.

I found this song at Not Your Average Widow.  It makes me think of Matthew 11: 28-30.



Melanie said...

Excellent post! Part of caring for a chronically ill child is taking care of yourself.

Dana @ ReallyWWWThinking? said...

I've never thought about it like this. We've been lucky with Klaw. No hospitalizations in 2011. It also helps that we have a name for Klaw's disorder.

My moments of disconnect were when he was a newborn. I was afraid to get too attached because he might die. Chris was at sea & I had no way to tell him about our son's disorder.

I can totally understand how PTSD could come into the picture had those feelings I had those first few weeks were with me constantly. If the uncertainty of every day was even more prominent. It is something that worries me about possibly having another child. Can I, can WE, handle another year like that first year with Klaw.

Ostriches Look Funny said...

i cannot imagine the stress. I'm glad you have friends with spare dryers.

Susan Tipton said...

Dana- we only had 1 hospitalization in 2011!!! The first year was definitely the hardest for us too.

Having more or not is so personal. We had already had another child before we realized that J. had a problem, so we were never faced with the deliberate choice. I think we would have chosen to have more because siblings are such a powerful support- and obviously we love having lots of kids. Our affected sons have helped build a happier and stronger family.

I cannot imagine your strength in dealing with the first year totally alone.

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