Things that have been ruined

associative
memories can be too much
lurking in shadows

I'm learning that there are things that have been completely ruined by my hospital stay and the NICU visits. When I see them, taste them, hear them, smell them, read them, play them, I am transported back to a place I don't want to be. It's kind of a shame, especially with the music and the snacks and the books.

I keep thinking if I take time away from this stuff then maybe I can come back to it anew, but really, I think that's a backwards approach. Taking time away from it is only going to make the associative memories stronger. They become kind of latent – like a smell that suddenly reminds you of your grandmother 10 years after she's been gone, or the chorus of a song reminding you of the day you watched your boyfriend make-out with someone else when he thought you weren't looking. You forget about those memories and then WHAP they smack you in the face one day when you're driving down the street, or walking through a farmer's market, or shopping at Target.

If I fight the latency, then maybe I can reclaim the stuff I want to – used to – like. But that's a lot of work. Trying to desensitize yourself to painful memories just to enjoy a record seems a little bit crazy. On the other hand, being smacked across the face with a sudden time travel back to hospital bedrest is no fun either.

For now, I guess, I have to take a break from these things. Maybe one day I will be ready to wallow in the memories they bring back (and by wallow, I mean let them get to me until they don't anymore – like whatsherface in The Abyss having to drown so that she can survive).

  • Pregnant women (it is excruciating for me to see them, hear about them, talk to them, read about them or otherwise acknowledge they exist. They make me scared and sad and nervous and protective – a strange and uncomfortable variety of emotions)
  • Vampire Weekend (listened to in the car on the way to and from the NICU to keep my spirits up)
  • Clif Bars (eaten in the car on the way to and from the NICU to keep my blood sugar up)
  • Cetaphil face soap (the liquid kind – used to quickly wash my face when I finally got showering "privileges" in the hospital)
  • The Closer (watched on the nights I had AFIs [amniotic fluid measurements] and the night I went into labor for real)
  • I am Legend (the book – a great book that was the perfect metaphor for being trapped in the hospital)
  • Aurora Feint (a game on my iphone that I played during the 20 minutes breaks between terbutaline shots on the bad nights in the hospital)
  • Pretty much all of my t-shirts (worn on bedrest at home and in the hospital)

Those are just the main ones. The REALLY scary ones are those that I can't think of, that sneak up out of nowhere. That's when you find yourself crying at Target and not knowing why.

Though I have to say, even with all of this, so much good has come out of The Saga. Obviously, there's Ike-a-saurus. But then there's also this deep, deep appreciation of my home and being able to see and hug and yell at anyone whenever I want. There is the satisfaction of being able to pick up my baby without having to ask someone if it's OK first. There's the wonderful freedom to go anywhere, at anytime, and buy milkshakes for myself and the kids. There are the closer relationships and the Things That Hadn't Been Said that were said between me and others – both good and bad. There's a lot of stuff I'm thankful for. Even when I fuss about silly things, I am still deeply grateful. So I guess sacrificing a few songs and books and snacks for the sake of sanity is OK.

At least for now.

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5 thoughts on “Things that have been ruined

  1. Our twins were born at 30 wks and stayed in the NICU too (Sasha for 2 months, Nikki for 106 freaking days). There are certain songs that were always on the radio on that damn commute that I used to sing/cry to all the time and when I hear them today a year later, they still get me choked up. Same thing when I run in to one of our NICU nurses, or of course look at photos of the girls in hospital. But don’t worry – Ike is going to be big and healthy in no time, and then the dread and pain feelings you have now will evolve into ones of relief and pride!

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  2. Don’t underestimate how traumatic the past few months have been. You have had so much fear for months, its very difficult to come down from that. Even before the long hospital stay, there were rushes of blood and fluid and fear. Your body, mind, psyche, and baby have been through such a fight. This may be a poor metaphor, but your like a solider who made it through the battle and is still recovering. We are still out here, and we still support you!!!

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  3. You went through such an intense, traumatic event that it is no surprise that reliving parts of it or conjuring memories of it would be upsetting.
    I have to tell you though, from my experience, it may get easier, but those things will always have memories tied up with them. I can’t listen to Feist any more because that was the only CD I had in the car for the three months surrounding Nico’s surgery and recovery. And then she is in every freaking commercial! I couldn’t win. Hearing it now still makes my eyes sting . . . a year later.
    I know that you’ll have lots of good associations in your future, though 🙂

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