Monday, December 8, 2008

Whatever Normal Is

Daddy and Charlie

While Kenny was in the hospital and early on in his recovery, in my weak moments, I kept saying that I wanted everything to go back to normal. Whatever normal is. I don't think we had created a normal since Charlie had been born yet and gotten into a family groove. I soon realized our life as we knew it would never be the normal that I was thinking of. There would be a "new" normal. And now, I can proudly say that we are getting there.

Kenny has been back at work for about a month now and his light duty restrictions have been lifted. He is still taking it slow and is really sore from using muscles again that he hasn't used in months. Being back at work has been good for him, I think. Good to get in a routine. Socializing with friends. Being active. Doing something "normal."

Kenny began picking Charlie up on Thanksgiving Day. He hadn't lifted his son in 3 months and 3 days. Sure, he had held him when someone placed Charlie in his lap, but Kenny actually got to lift him up and carry him somewhere. Just writing that, brings tears to my eyes. I had briefly left the house for a quick trip to the store while Charlie was napping. Kenny was to call me if anything happened and I could be home in 5 minutes. We had done this a few times during the course of Kenny's recovery, as I ran errands in the evenings after Charlie was fast asleep. So, when I walked back in the house quietly, so as not to wake the sleeping baby, I heard that sleeping baby. Talking happily from the living room. I yelled up the stairs, "is everything alright?" Kenny replied that everything was fine. Charlie woke up soon after I left and he decided to go in there and get him. I ran up the stairs and found my two favorite boys sitting together in the recliner. What a sweet sight! Kenny looked at me and said "You know, he's really gotten heavy in these last few months!"

Trust me, I thought, I know he's gotten heavy. I've been the one carrying him around everywhere. I didn't say anything though. How hard must that have been for Kenny, to have not picked up his sweet son for 3 months and 3 days?? Definately harder on him than it was for me to carry Charlie for all of that time.

This week marks the start of Kenny beginning to pick up Charlie from daycare after work. Again, something new for all of us. The boys will get 1 1/2 hours together 3 afternoons a week until I get home. Until now, I've been working through lunch to leave work early to pick up Charlie on those days. Charlie and Kenny will bond and maybe get to make up for a little time they missed together.

Since Kenny has come home from the hospital, I find Charlie just staring at his daddy, like he's a rock star (see picture at the top of this post). Kenny could be talking to Charlie or not even looking at him and Charlie just stops and stares at him. It's absolutely the sweetest thing! It's almost like Charlie knows that he should be amazed at this man he calls Daddy for all that he has been through and how well he's come out of it. But really, Charlie should know that he was driving force behind Kenny's will power to get through this. Everytime I left him in preop as they wheeled him into surgery, I made sure that the last thing he saw was me and a picture of our Charlie. Every night I left the hospital, I made sure Kenny got to look at his photos of Charlie. So he could always remember what he gets to go home to. What he was fighting for.

Our "new" normal involves a lot of medicine for Kenny, for the rest of his life, it seems. There was a chance with the surgery and because of the tumor growth that some or all of his pituitary function would be lost. We are still "kind of" in a waiting period, but it's looking like he will need the medications for life. It's not fun...Kenny's not a medicine-taking kind of guy. And they need to be adjusted at times based on symptoms he has and blood work results. But he's learning to live with it and at some point, it will just be "normal." So, we say a special thank you to modern medicine for the advances that have been made to afford him with the medication to replace what his tumor has taken away. Kenny's endocrinologist has assured us from day one that even with the loss of his pituitary function, Kenny will live a long and normal life, just with the help of some medication.

My "new" normal includes a constant little worry in the back of my head, watching Kenny carefully to be sure that he seems fine. No signs like before...the signs that we missed for awhile...not realizing that his tumor was growing. No signs that his medication is failing, or that he needs an adjustment to his dose. Eventually, my worry will subside as I adjust to a "new" normal.

Our life may not be heading in the direction we pictured, but it's really not in our control. We are just here, along for the ride and making the best of the situation. Learning to love each other more. Reminding ourselves of how LUCKY we are. Our prayers include a simple "thank you for another day." Never taking advantage of the time we are given here. Taking a few minutes each day just to hug each other and that sweet Charlie boy. Something that's been hard for me...remembering to slow down and enjoy the moments we have. Taking advantage of opportunities to help others, as we were helped during our low points. These things are all part of our "new" normal.

As one of the residents in the neurosurgery speciality said to us, while he hung out in Kenny's hospital room for awhile during one of his stays, "This will all seem like a bad dream a year from now. You will be just fine." We aren't quite there yet, it's still a little fresh, but we are getting there...defining and creating our "new" normal. Whatever normal is.

1 comment:

Ashley said...

Oh....this was such a sweet and beautiful post. I'm so sorry for all that you guys have gone through. Good luck with everything in your future and please let us know if we can do anything! You guys are amazing! Thanks for sharing sweet!!!