Friday, August 16, 2013

Why I wore lingerie to my lumbar puncture...

Do you know your name?
Do you know why you're here?
Do you feel safe at home?
Do you have any questions?
I was asked these questions at least three times yesterday by three separate people at the hospital.  We arrived in Harrisburg at 7:30AM, after a quick breakfast stop at McDonalds.  I held Andy's hand the whole way there and the whole way in.
When I wake up and walk to the bathroom first thing in the morning, it's the first test of how the steroids worked the day before.  I woke up with about 85%-90% feeling in my right leg and I felt good enough to wear a shoe with a little heel. Not much. Just enough to make me feel feminine.  But it didn't stop me from clinging to him the whole time.
Before we left I put on a long black maxi dress over top of a teal under shirt, took off my wedding rings and my earrings and put on my makeup.  Underneath it all, I put on a pair of brand new undies and a nude/black push up bra.  Why not?  Who's going to see it?  Eyeliner and mascara, base and blush.  Out the door.

The phlebotomist was in training.  Poor, poor guy.  I open my sleeves and he sees all the scars from the last six days of steroid injections and IV drops and blood draws, and his hands start shaking.  I internally told myself to just calm down- that he wouldn't be there is he wasn't ready for an actual patient.  Just in case, I asked the older, wiser woman who was overseeing him to hold my hand.  She obliged and her hands were warm.  Tiny win.  And he did a great job!  I praised him highly as I was leaving.

After admission, I changed into the hospital gown and Andy folded my clothing on the bedside table.  Since he's a man, he didn't know to hide the bra.  That's what you do at the hospital and the doctors- you take off ALL your clothing, and then you hide your unmentionables.  But I left it go.  Because the push up bra signified that I was still me, I was still young, I was still sexy enough to wear lingerie to the hospital at 7:30 in the morning.  I cared about me.  Many would give up, but I would no be giving up.

The lumbar puncture was awful, but not that bad, all at the same time.  I'm actually in more pain now, just typing about it the day after.  The lady who did it- Lori- was pretty.  The aids were kind and funny.  I chatted about my son and my husband through the whole thing, trying not to think about the needle going in and the fluid going out.  Yes, I did cry a little, but it was more from the emotion of it all.  The MS.  The thought of the actual procedure.  The thought of what was to come and what used to be.

There's this common misconception that if you can give birth, you can do anything.  Not true.  There are different types of pain- physical, emotional, spiritual- they have their own qualities and their own trials.  Don't let anyone tell you that birth pains are the worst. 

When I came out, Andy was waiting for me.  Bless his heart.  I fell asleep and they woke me up to tell me I was okay to go.  Andy helped me put my clothing on, push up bra first ("That's upside down, sweetheart...okay, THERE you go.") And then the undershirt, and then the maxi dress, and then the itty bitty heals.  He has no idea that what I was wearing gave me such empowerment, even though he was the one dressing me.  We walked out hand in hand and went to get our son and go home to be a family.

Liam clung to me like a little koala while he was settling in last night.  We just let him sleep in bed with us.  Sometimes a little boy knows just what his mommy needs.