Tuesday, November 27, 2012

household help!

So. Ahem. Let's chat about headaches, shall we?

Frances had one a few months ago, did I tell you that? It was at bedtime. She said her forehead hurt, then she writhed on her bed for some time, and she sometimes liked the cold cloths I put on her head and sometimes pushed them away in pain and frustration. Suddenly she said, "I've gotta throw up" and we made it to the bathroom just in time. A full heaving episode, all her pasta dinner in case you wanted details, and then she felt much better, just exhausted, and fell into her bed and immediately passed out. She was fine in the morning.

But actually, since I go in for the navel gazing full on, I wanted to talk about my headaches.

If you're recently joining us, I have a chronic migraine disorder and have pretty much all my life. I was SO hoping my kids wouldn't get it, but it does run in families - my dad has it too, and my grandmother - but Frances's recent brush with the fabulousness that is migraine is seriously dampening my hope. When untreated I can have 3-4 massive migraines a week, but in the last few years by seriously limiting my diet, taking daily preventative, exercising like a crazy person, and (now!) having botox injections every 3 months, I average one every couple of weeks, and still have low grade headaches pretty frequently. The botox (for those of you who previously overlooked my sincere endorsement) is the only thing I've gotten real relief from but the effect wears off over time. The last few weeks of my treatment cycle the frequency is back up, sometimes daily low grade ones.

Anyhoo, Karen the au pair arrived here 4 weeks after the last round of injections. She was here 2 months, the last of which I should have been having full on headaches since my next treatment was on the very day she left. But in that 2 months she was here - are you ready?? - I only had three (3) headaches. In two months. It's unheard of.

When I told my neurologist, just as she was getting ready to stick my forehead with a needle, she said, "when does the next au pair come?" I told her it was just me again, just me. She paused, looked at me blankly, and she said, "It seems to me that if there's there's a problem that can be solved by throwing money at it, and you have the means, you should throw money at it." Hm.

I don't think it was just the extra pair of hands, though I'm not sure that help can be calculated. I think it was also the adult interaction, the waning of that lonesome feeling.

But now the headaches are back. Hello old companions.

Then! In my brainstorming about a solution to stay-at-home-mom fatigue, I decided what I needed was help with the house rather than the kids. So I gave up one sitter night and instead asked a sitter if she would be interested  in coming two or three evenings for just an hour, and for household help rather than kid entertainment. (When the kids were babies and I so needed a break, I wanted to sitters to entertain them so I could be not be touched for longer than 60 seconds. With Karen here I realized having house help freed me to roll on the floor with the kids or do puzzles or participate in tea parties without stressing that I should be emptying the dishwasher. It made me a better parent.)

Let me tell you, this solution is genius. I am SO pleased with myself for making this happen. Two extra hands for an hour seem like way more than two extra hands. She does the dishes, folds and puts away the laundry, drags the cooler or cat litter (or whatever) down to the basement, generally straightens, and - my favorite - turns down the beds. (hotel turn down service is one of my favorite things ever. It gives me large amounts of pleasure to walk into a room already appropriately lit and ready.)

WE NEED MORE SUPPORT AS PARENTS THAN WE GENERALLY GET!! There it is again, my refrain. Did you know in Europe nurses come visit the home several times after a baby is born, to see how the mom is doing, to check on the baby, to offer any advice or know-how or general encouragement? Here in America, once you leave the hospital, you are on your own. (I'm not going to be on my soap box long here...) The result of this for the US is a much higher maternal mortality rate, did you know?? Not to mention the ridiculous 6 weeks a mom gets for maternity leave here, compared with 12 months there. Really.

Okay, I'm done.

Will see how the household help (plus adult company!) affects the headaches. Right now I'm not seeing magical improvement, but we've just begun.

1 comment:

M. Bloom said...

Oh, ugh. I'm so sorry to hear that your daughter has started to get migraines. My husband started getting them when he was around 9, and our son started getting them at around age 4. Sometimes our son will fall asleep when he's having a migraine and that knocks it out. We've also recently discovered that a dose of ibuprofen can take the edge off if we give it to him early enough in the headache cycle. As for my husband; a few years ago he started having headaches weekly and then started taking magnesium, riboflavin and feverfew suppliments. This seems to have reduced the frequency of his headaches... which is a blessing. I hope things are getting better for you regarding headaches...