I've seen so many posts about works in progress. There's knitting, sewing, planting, painting. There's everything. Well, this is a post about a family. We're a family of five. We became a family 13 1/2 years ago. We're still a work in progress.
Six months ago, I started to notice problems with my memory, speech and fine motor skills. The problems were subtle and I ignored them for a while. When the memory problems began to get worse, and the fine motor skill problems more frequent, I mentioned them to Gary. He immediately decided that I should go to the doctor. In early June, the doctor ordered an MRI to rule out brain tumors and MS. The MRI was ruled normal. The doctor drew blood over and over, ordering test upon test. All the tests came back normal.
After all the tests came back normal, my doctor decided that I must be depressed and the problems were a result of depression. Now, I really didn't think I was depressed. I've been depressed before. I know what depression feels like. Sometimes, it takes a couple days for me to recognize that I'm depressed, but Gary and I always recognize it. However, I decided it was worth looking into. My doctor prescribed me an antidepressant. The first day, I was fine. The second day, I was throwing up. The third day, I was shaking the chair I was sitting in with tremors. My doctor took me off that medication and ran more tests. They came back normal. So, he put me on another antidepressant. This antidepressant made me nauseated and sleepy. In fact, it made me so tired that, even though I was taking the minimum dosage every other day, I was sleeping 15 to 18 hours each day. In addition to that, I had occasional tremors. I lost 4 pounds in 5 days. I was not happy. It is hard for me to maintain my weight. I didn't want to lose weight, and I certainly didn't want to sleep all the time. My doctor took me off that medication and put me on another one that had a lower dosage. I was only mildly nauseated, and a little more tired than usual, but the tremors were getting more noticeable. During a trip to the emergency room, the ER doctor recommended that I stop taking the medication. My doctor ran more tests. In fact, my doctor ran so many blood tests that when I made a second trip to the ER, I was told that I was developing scar tissue on my veins and I needed to lay off that arm for a while.
After a month off medication, the tremors had worsened, and the fine motor skill and memory issues had not improved. On the 26th of August, we were returning home from tae kwon do when I started having what the doctor called acute tremors. Gary thought I was having a seizure and drove me to the hospital. At the hospital, they gave me an IV and gave me two doses of anti-seizure medication. After the second dose, I don't remember anything. I was in the ER for four hours, and then Gary drove me home and put me to bed. The next day, I was tired, prone to tremors, and stuttering. I stuttered all day.
In the week that has followed, the tremors have almost returned to their pre-birthday (the 26th was Gary's birthday- I was just trying to make it memorable!) state. They are more frequent than before, but they are no more violent or prolonged. My speech has noticeably improved. I only stutter or slur words when I am trying to think at the same time I am talking. If I just talk (which I'm quite good at, thank you very much), I sound fine.
So, what does all this have to do with my family? Well, it is always amazing to me how much our families can rally and support us. My particular family is prone to dealing with things with humor. As a result, all of my family has acquired an occasional stutter, and for some odd reason, Gary keeps having these weird spasms. It makes us all happy. My mother always said, "It's better to laugh than to cry." My family exemplifies this.
Gary has changed his work schedule so that he goes into work earlier and returns home earlier. This means that the boys don't have to miss tae kwon do. All four of them have taken on more of the housecleaning duties. Gary has made menus and gone grocery shopping. Our crockpot has never been used so much. I am watching my family grow through this. We are all having to grow. I am having to give up the control that I have always had. My family is having to take over some of that responsibility.
We are still laughing. We are still enjoying life. In fact, I think we may be enjoying it just a bit more, because we understand how precious it is. We've had a lot of deaths in our extended family over the last seven years. We're not willing to give into the fear and gloom that could come from being ill and having an ill person in the house. Instead, we will fight, love, laugh and enjoy life. We're a work in progress, and I like how we're progressing.