It's been 16 months since DH put his back out. 16 months of him lying on the couch. 16 months of driving him around in case he gets a pain attack and can't make it home from wherever. 16 months of him shrieking and coiling over/reverting to foetal position when it hits.
And 16 months of living with a bitch.
As a coping mechanism the rest of us latched onto the concept that DH said that it feels like he has a chihuahua up his backside. That chihuahua got a name, Bruta, after Caesar's best friend and betrayer; only female. We all hate Bruta with a vengance.
I am sure that some psychologist is really concerned that we have (de-)personalised the pain that DH feels representing it as an acutely yappy, invasive dog; but if that is all you have to help you cope, what do you do?
Even the wee baby now says 'hua hua' when he sees the first glimpse of his father grimacing in pain. It is SO SAD.
This pain is affecting everyone. It is affecting me.
I have been in survival mode for more than 16 months; which included recovering from pregnancy, breastfeeding all that time as well as the day-to-day running of the household. To be honest the later has often taken second place.
It is wearying enough to not have any immediate reliable adult support in relating to the children let alone maintaining 'stuff'.
Ruby and I have had to consistently take up the slack. She winces at being called into the kitchen before lunch or dinner, as she knows it will be her father whining for her to take over. That's not to say that meal preparation isn't a vital life skill, but to be called upon day after day, at the drop of a hat, is monotonous. It is thankless. It is disturbing.
Only three weeks ago did DH seek out another doctor. Prior to that he had not saught any further medical advice since making the pilgrimage in January 500km and return to see a GPSI - a general practitioner with special interest in the musculo-skeletal area. He hadn't done a thing to help himself get better. This rubbed salt into our very open weepy festering wounds. He didn't even try to protect us from the pain, when it was totally within his grasp.
This doctor gave him Valium which initially worked but has been wearing off for the last week, and ended with me taking him to the Emergency Department, with pain at an 8-9 out of 10. They didn't deem it necessary to do an emergency (same day) MRI, gave him a drug cocktail and sent him home with pain at a 7/10. I was not impressed.
At least, probably seeing me in tears, they decided to put through an urgent (perhaps within the month) MRI.
I am not given to outbursts of emotion. I hold myself together. So I know that I am exhausted - mentally, physically, emotionally, relationally, spiritually, just exhausted. I am empty. Drained. Spent. Dying.
Ruby has been volunteering her head of hair (and the rest of her body) to a local salon as a model several times over the last year. It all started with seeing an advertisement on the local supermarket notice board, looking for people who'd be willing to have a 3rd year graduate gain practical experience by cutting their hair.
Since then she has had several cuts, taking her from below shoulder length hair, to shoulder length and then partially shaven and coloured. The first cut I loved, so fresh, peppy and still feminine. The later harshly shaven cut took a lot of coming to terms with.
Today she spent the entire day with 4 others as models for a colour artist. The first part in the local salon while the hairdressers there had personal training; and the later at a 3-hour workshop open to other hairdressers.
She volunteers as she is interested in fashion and more-so styling, and would like to get into this industry. I didn't realise until now that hairdressing is part of that genre - probably because I have only been inside the doors of a salon equal to the number of fingers on one hand!
When she was handed a goody bag full of products as a gift, I was tempted to say 'aren't you fortunate' and that is where I caught myself in thought.
That was simply not true. She had put herself out there, not seeking a reward, with no input into the colour or the cut she was subject to. She had again taken a huge step of faith to serve another person.
She deserved something in return.
Just that simple change in mindset got me thinking about the messages we give our children.
What do we want them to hear? What is beneath the words?
They need to hear that they are worth it. That they count as an individual. That their choices matter.
Lord, help me to catch my tongue and build my children up to reach their potential.
I ended the last post writing about Kiva, a non-profit global micro-finance organisation through whom we have been able to support several people/projects (one sponsored, a couple individually and a couple as gifts), and thought others may be interested in the opportunity as well.
It was less than 12 months ago that we were introduced to the lending system, where you can advance increments of US$25 to a person or project of your choice, which is administered by a third party relief agency in the field on one of the 5 continents. Over time this is paid back until you once again have US$25 to lend to someone else.
100% of your US$25 goes to the person asking for the loan. (You can make a donation on top of that for operating costs if you wish).
There are various criteria for selecting who you'd like to support. Our aim is to eventually lend to each of the 70-odd countries that Kiva is in and maintain some sort of balance between male and female recipients.
The children get to help choose who to sponsor next; find out more about the country the person comes from; and they realise that mummy is doing so from 10% of the income from Cafepress, so they also get to see 'tithing' in action (if you like to call it that). After tithing having been an obligation on us for so long whilst we were in the institutional church, it is liberating to have a choice about who, where, what, how, when and how much!
Having also been in the shoes of some of these folks, not knowing where our next meal was coming from, and having to start ourselves up in business otherwise we would have lost our home, it is satisfying that in some small way we can help someone else out of that cycle.
Each time a borrower pays back a portion of their loan you get an email letting you know, so that you still feel actively involved long after pressing the 'donate' button.
To me this is far more rewarding than putting money into a plate or offering bag and blindly allowing the church leaders to spend it or send it some place or another. The money applied to Kiva goes to help people earn their own income to support themselves and their families. It meets their very basic physical needs and quality of life.
If I were still in their shoes, I would certainly be so grateful for a hand up.
Check out Kiva's video about how it works here
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