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Monday, July 23, 2007

Anything more is a waste of spirit

Lately I have been a bit narcissistic, really. And this post is a symptom of that. My birthday is tomorrow and it’s a big one. It’s not a fun one to be spending on crutches and unable to fly around and make my world as good as I usually do. It’s not a good one to be unable to drive and unable to carry Ellie from here to there and everywhere.

I have always been very connected to my body. I have always been able to make it do what I wanted. For me my legs are my wings. I fly on them. I am superwoman with legs. I can jump tall buildings in a single bound while balancing baby and marriage and work. But now I only have one that is working well and because of that my hands are not free either. I feel hobbled. I am temporarily grounded. It’s been six weeks now – that's a long time.

I feel old.

Sometimes it seems like life is all about suffering broken up now and then by bits of joy solely designed to recharge you for more suffering. I have always been on the joy side looking for silver linings while at times dipping deep into the suffering. Looking for silver linings is a matter of survival like breathing. I learned that skill from an early age. It got me this far. But somehow seems harder to achieve lately. I feel bad about feeling this way. I feel like I am at a point in life where I need to focus only on others. It seems like any time for grief is a waste of spirit. It’s like my life, as I knew it has died. Its time has passed and now my focus is on getting Ellie’s brain healed. A task in the face of which, I am so intensely overwhelmed.

I gave up coffee too, in fact all caffeine in order to ensure maximal healing of my knee. My knee has to heal perfectly. It has to be able to lift the extremely fast growing girl now 30 pounds, someday 40 someday 50 and so on. I have to be strong! But I am no more a coffee achiever. I have to feel my fatigue and deal with it in the moment instead of borrowing energy from those wonderful little beans at the expense of my body. It’s hard living in real time but I am glad I am.

I haven’t felt like posting much for these reasons. I am feeling shallow, hollow, frustrated at my incapacity and infinitely ashamed at being so narcissistic and disconnected from all I hold dear.

I am missing Ellie. Missing being her everything. Missing being able to be alone with her and do our thing. We are lucky to have had nursing help because I can’t pick her up. So when Dave is at work I need help with her. For that I am truly grateful. But I miss her just the same. I miss our life and it’s hard having people in our house all the time even though we are truly blessed to have wonderful nurses to care for Ellie when I am out of commission. But in terms of this chapter in my life, it all feels very feeble.

Tomorrow I turn 40. If you know anything about my birthday superstition you might think I would be seriously worried. The good is that Dave is taking the day off to hang with me. We will also see my doctor and find out if he will let me drive and give me a light at the end of the crutches tunnel. Wish me luck and good thoughts for a better year. Because if you haven't noticed yet, 2007 has pretty much been one big kick in the ass, so far...


Anonymous said...

You are so lucky to become a Mom this late in life and to have such a beautiful vibrant daughter.. I am 21 and due to my disability (Asperger Syndrome) I will likely be later living on my own/becomming financially independent. I love children and I hope someday I have the chance to be a Mom. Happy birthday.

Kathryn said...

Thanks Laura! I hope you get to be a Mom too. I really love being Ellie's mom. It's the most amazing thing.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Kathryn! I've been a bit down but for other reasons. I don't have the big 4-0- hanging over my head. And I can get around (save when the car decided to break down at the most inconvenient possible time). Just overwhelmed at the enormity of our situation at the moment. That and everything being problems;)

Hope you get to do more than just go to the docs for your birthday. And fingers crossed for you to get back to driving and away with the crutches.


Kathryn said...

Jacqui - I am sorry to hear that you are feeling down too. It's tough isn't it? Dave took Ellie to school so I could have a lie in and then we are going to have breakfast, go see a movie, get Ellie, go to the docs, then get Ellie to her nurse then go out on the town in Boston. He woke me today with flowerd, cards, gifts, and Ellie. So it's a good day.



Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday dear sis-on-law,
Happy Birthday to you!

and when ur feeling down and blue, just think of all you've achieved in ur 40 yrs and all you've yet to achieve in the next :)

hugs & kisses from dublin on ur big day ~ Sue xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Jacolyn said...

Happy Birthday Kathryn! I turned 40 in June and felt instantly old and febble. I can't be this old...yesterday I was just 29 :) I hope you have had a wonderful day!

Connie said...


It's amazing how chronologically speaking, our age is just a number. But when it boils down to morale, my goodness, we can feel way too old before our time.

Steve and I went through a very tough time with our teenager. Suffice it to say he's doing much better now but all along my motto was "this too shall pass..." It's what got me through an ugly chapter in my life.

I only know you through my visits to your blog but it sounds to me like you've got a lot of spirit. Take it one day at a time and you'll get your life with Ellie back. Then you won't feel so old; you won't feel like such a narcissist and you'll be able to forgive yourself for ever feeling that way. You may be "superwoman with legs" but you are still human.

Then you'll realize how great being 40 really is. Take it from me, this 48 year old knows what she's talking about!

Happy Birthday to you.

Danielle said...

I love your current twitter status and thank you thank you for changing back. This template is much easier to read, IMHO.

My least favorite part of this post is that you gave up coffee LOL, but my most favorite part is your comment about 'living in real time.' Wowza, I may have to steal that one. Nice phrase!

In all seriousness, Happy, Happy Birthday and the best is yet to come!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday! These birthdays are a time for reflection and a motivation to live intentionally. Wishing you insight, wisdom, and a strong, healthy body in the coming year.

Jacqui said...

Hope you had a great day!

catherine (fairchild) calhoun said...

I can't believe you don't drink coffee. I am so weak. :)

I hope you have the bestest birthday ever and that your body gets back to strong so you can get back to your Ellie.

Take care!

Kathryn said...

Thanks Sue and Jacolyn!

Connie - you are so right. Now that I have turned 40 - I just feel very relieved. The this too shall pass is a very important mantra at times isn't it!?

Danielle - thanks. And thanks for the feedback on the template. Yes - I still miss coffee like any good addict. But warning - do not try this while in any sort of graduate school setting. I don't know if I could have got through it with out coffee. So you just keep drinking it until you are done with med school! I have to admit reading your blog and visiting all those Starbucks takes me back! I did one of my best papers in graduate school on the whole starbucks phenomenon. ;-)

Janet - thanks! Living with intention is certainly the aim and what I have been feeling. Thanks for expressing it so well.

Thanks Catherine! Doc did give me permission to drive and only two more weeks on crutches. All of that as GREAT news. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.