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  • Sati Rampersad

Guilt

Back To Normal??

Before I resume my story (which to be honest seems so small right now by comparison to what's happening with this Covid19), I feel it'd be very selfish and remiss of me not to spend a few minutes on this pandemic that’s currently consuming our lives 24/7, and having such a tremendous impact on everyone. I’d just like to share some of my thoughts about how I think our lives are going to look when we get paroled. I'm certain many of you are going through similar introspection. My opinions are no doubt coloured by my years of living with a life- changing disease like Crohn's, which in many ways mimic Covid19 except for the contagious aspect. Thank you, Lord!!


This is without question some of the scariest and most challenging times we’re facing. Sacrifices are being made by all across the board in one form or another, to varying degrees. And most of us are just anxiously waiting and wishing for things to go back to normal. But can we? And do we really want to, knowing that our behaviour and actions could result in a resurgence of this nightmare? That’s like me having a major flare up of my Crohn’s that lands me "quarantined" in a hospital room for weeks, undergoing treatment untiI I feel better, then get released back into the free world, where I think I can go back to stuffing my face with anything and everything I want, you know, pre-flare up, and expect no consequences. Nope...it doesn’t work that way, not for Crohn's and not for this supervirus. I believe we’ll have to make significant adjustments to create a “new normal”, not just in our actions but in our mindset, something I've had to do over and over and over after each flareup, each surgery, each setback, not at all easy but very necessary for survival. Being the inherently social creatures we are, can you even imagine a world where there is no handshaking, no high-fiving (do people even do that still?), but anyway you get my drift...no physical contact with anyone in pubic? We'll probably even be required to wear masks and gloves in certain places, and be extra vigilant with personal hygiene (that might probably a good thing with certain people), no potlucks or sharing your food and drinks with your besties, at least for a while, until there’s a vaccine or some type of treatment. The threat of a second wave of this virus in the fall (September) is hovering like a dark cloud so we MUST each do our part to prevent that from happening. No one likes to live this way but it’s going to be our new reality. Life post-Covid19 is going to be very different, just like my life post-Crohn’s diagnosis, and that, my friends is a perfect segue back to my journey.


Back To Work

In my post regaling you with the details of the birth of my second son, I ended with the miracle of having given birth to a seemingly healthy, normal baby despite the many curve-balls I’d dodged. Life was looking so good at that point, I kind of shoved all the previous bad stuff way, way to the back of my mind. I had a healthy new baby, the sweetest five year son you could ever imagine, a very supportive husband, and my Super Woman mom living with me, who was insistent on taking control of the running of my house like a drill sergeant! I’m not even joking, there were times I actually forgot it was my house and would find myself ASKING her about doing things a certain way! Truthfully, I really didn’t mind (most times); she did a bangup job while I concentrated on caring for my newborn and spending quality time with my older son. But back then, in the dark ages, there was no one year parental leave or whatever it is nowadays! It was three months paid leave and a few months (I forgot now how many) unpaid leave after that. Fortunately, throughout this time I was enjoying good health and as the three month deadline was fast approaching, I started preparing for my return to work because, you know, we kind of needed money to raise two kids, run a home, care for a mother, and, well... live. I couldn’t in good conscience choose to go on unpaid leave as that would have made things financially challenging. Aside from the separation anxiety of leaving this three month old baby, I didn’t have too much to worry about because Super Grandma was there to take charge of things. So leaving things in her very capable hands, I went back to work, in good health but burdened by profound guilt.


Physical and Emotional Torment

Every woman who has had a baby, by birth, adoption, whatever, knows the tremendous physical and emotional toll it takes on you when you have to leave that child and transition into working mom, the separation anxiety and guilt are crippling and long lasting. There was no working from home back then like there is today, besides I worked in the banking industry so that wouldn’t have been possible anyway. So like most working moms, I tried to do the best I could, juggling the job with the kids and the home. I couldn’t in good conscience leave it all to my mom, though very healthy at that time, she obviously needed time for herself. My husband and I would take over all duties after work which was very tiring and challenging as most parents know. Also, as I worked further away, I would leave home earlier and return later, not ideal but reality.


Four months of this routine started really wearing on me but I just chalked it up to regular fatigue. I eventually started feeling those oh-so-familiar abdominal twinges that escalated to throbbing while my bathroom visits started increasing rapidly. Of course I knew I was having a flare up; this was one year and ten months after my surgery. Actually at the time of my surgery, I was told that it was highly unlikely that I would have any problems within one year after the surgery but after the year chances of recurrence increased as more time passed. Well, I guess they didn’t lie.


With my older son finally used to having his mom fully involved in his life again, and with my baby son at seven months old, I was having a full on Flare Up. The physical pain, though intense, could not begin to compete with the debilitating guilt. I knew exactly how this story was going to go because I’d been there, done that and had the needle marks and scars to prove it. And I was right from beginning to end… with the visit to my gastroenterologist, to being put on a regime of drugs that didn’t work, to things going from bad to worse, to me ending up in the hospital hooked up to IV’s being pumped full of ramped up drugs. It was beyond unbearable having to be in this condition once again, and so soon, and having my boys to see me like this. I knew it must have been traumatizing for the five year old (I would find out later how much) but he was such a pleasant, peaceful soul you couldn’t tell by looking at him. My seven month old obviously didn’t know what was going on, his grandma had already become his favourite person, and that kinda stung, but in all fairness he was with her all day everyday. On the hospital visits, he was more interested in trying to pull on my IV lines and pressing the nurses call button than interacting with me. Saying goodbye at the end of these visits was torturous, and left me burdened by indescribable depression and guilt. Fortunately, I only did a ten day stint this time, for which I was so thankful. I had an incredible medical team, and I told them so but hastened to add that I hoped I didn’t see them for a long, long time. That, however, was a wasted hope.


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