Bend Until We Break

Happy Mom Monday, Ladies! I know it has been forever, but as you can see, we have moved and upgraded. Yay! I've frequently spoken about how women cannot win in society. Moms especially are so judgmental of other moms. What is worse, we are extremely judgmental of each other, and we do not even hold dads to the same standard. While I was sick with pneumonia this past two weeks, I watched a video of Bow Wow dancing with his daughter. Women were all over those comments saying things like "aww he is such a good dad," and "#dadgoals" and more of the same. I just kept thinking, 'That's all it takes to achieve ultimate dad status?'" I'm sorry, but before I dust off this "Dad of the Year" trophy and hand it to Bow Wow, I'm going to need to see the moments that the video does not show. Let me see a video of Bow Wow dealing with that child when he's "ruining her life!" and when doors are slamming, and the "I hate you!" is resonating through the room. I did some investigation and found more videos of dads doing simple things, like fixing their daughters' hair, painting toenails, and feeding the babies. They were lauded as examples of what dads should be. I went and found videos of moms doing the same things, and the comments were much different. Moms were met with criticism about everything from is the food organic to whether or not she should be feeding the baby that brand of formula. There were even comments about breastfeeding! I cannot help but wonder why are we so hard on each other? What I found on the internet, only proves what I have been saying all along. We have got to be kinder to each other. We are our ultimate support system. (We at least need to hold dads to a higher standard. C'mon he fed his baby; he is the best dad ever! Are we serious?) Instead of taking it all on, we have to learn to lean on one another. We have to remember that we are in this together. As my dad and fiancé showed me these last two weeks, sometimes we should not wait to be asked if we see a need, we should fill that need because it is the right thing to do.

Ride Until the Wheels Fall Off

This week, we are going to talk about self- care and relinquishing the reins. Why do we, as moms, feel the need to drive this magnificent vehicle that is our body until it is out of gas? Can we talk about how to be considered a good mom it feels like we are expected to run ourselves down until we have nothing left, but what if it did not have to be that way? These past two weeks, my mom and I have been really sick. My mom got ill first, then I followed suit. Since moving to California in 2018, I have had pneumonia a total of four times. Apparently, California has its own unique brand of pollution that my east coast lungs are not used to. This time it was particularly scary because I did not know if it was my yearly bout with pneumonia or if I had contracted COVID-19. I was afraid to hug my daughter and be around my sons. I had to repeatedly explain to my poor baby that I could not give her her daily cuddles because I was sick. My heart ached every time she asked. I just wanted to hold my little cuddle bug. It broke my heart to deny her that affection and to not have the energy my boys wanted from me. Like the trooper I am, I kept trying to wear a mask to do all my daily mom things. I tried to make sure dinner was on time, homework was getting done, and baths were happening. It went on like this Monday through Wednesday. Until early Thursday morning, I was lying in bed, gasping for air. All I could manage was a painful unyielding cough and gurgling coming from deep within my lungs. I thought, “this is it, I survived deployment just to die a horrible, COVID-19 death 13 years later.” My fiancé woke up and rubbed my back, and coached me to breathe. I stood up to go to the bathroom, and suddenly I was dizzy. I felt like I was drunk. I could not get my footing no matter how hard I tried. That lightheaded feeling prevented me from walking to the bathroom unassisted. We got dressed, texted my parents that we were leaving, and left for the hospital.

Mi Tienda es Su Tienda

We arrived at Queen of the Valley Hospital’s Emergency Room in West Covina. I put my mask on and walked inside. I was met by a security guard, asking me why I was there. Once he determined that I was coughing, he told me to wait outside in tents set up just outside the emergency room door. I had the pleasure of sharing a tent with a homeless man. After approaching me and attempting to panhandle, he was told by my fiancé to move along. He then took the liberty of lighting a cigarette in our shared tent. I moved one tent over because my temper just could not handle being sick, sitting in the heat, and being subjected to cigarette smoke. The smoke was thick; every breath I took was painful. Even one tent away, breathing with that cigarette smoke so close was a chore. My fiancé and I were one tent over, and three feet from a garbage can. As terrible as that garbage smelled, it was nothing compared to the odor of my previous tentmate’s feet. He pulled his feet out of his slippers and started pulling the peeling skin off of them. Part of me was grateful for the smell of the garbage partially masking the odor of his feet and the cigarettes. The California heat did the tent no favors. It reeked of urine, garbage, cigarette smoke, and foot fungus. Two hours after I checked in with the security guard, I was ready to leave and take my chances with pneumonia. Right, when I turned in my wheelchair to wheel myself back to my car, the triage nurse finally comes out with her machine to check my vitals. Not a hundred feet from my ex tentmate, she took my vitals and questioned me about my symptoms. (Note to self: in post pandemic America HIPAA is not a thing.)

Do You Have Trouble Walking…?

The nurse asked me the usual questions. What brings me to the ER, how long has it been going on? I explained all my symptoms, but when I got to the part when I said I was dizzy the nurse asked me what I thought was the goofiest question, she asked me if the room was spinning or if I was spinning. Obviously, I was confused because neither the room nor I were spinning. I explained that I felt lightheaded and under the influence. My coordination was comparable to that of a toddler. Even with my spinal injury, I have always been able to get my footing, with the help of nearby furniture. However, this morning this was not the case. I sincerely thought the dizzy question was going to be the most intelligent question that I would encounter that morning. The nurse accepted the challenge and asked me an even more intelligent question (yes, this is sarcasm.) After hearing me describe my coordination issues, the nurse looks at me directly in the face. While I am sitting in my wheelchair, she asked me if I had trouble walking. While I would never curse at a medical professional, I feel like, at this moment, I may have asked, "Is she serious right now? (okay, so there may have been one other word between "she" and "serious" don't act like you wouldn't have been thinking it.) She left again, and the doctor came out. After a thorough examination, outside in the tents, she suspected pneumonia and ordered a chest Xray to confirm. While I waited for the Xray techs to wheel their machine out, another nurse came with what looked like a pipe cleaner. She shoved it in my nose. It reminded me of how the ancient Egyptian mummies' brains were yanked out with a hook and put into a jar. My eyes teared up, and the nurse explained that I would be tested for COVID-19, and they would call me with the results in two to five days. After the medical staff was done poking and prodding, I was given a prescription for antibiotics and an inhaler and sent on my way. Believe it or not, the hospital visit was the easiest part of the entire process.

See a Need Fill a Need…The Men Step up

I got home with my meds and try as I might, I just could not move. I was not sleeping because the coughing kept me up all night. My body ached from the coughing. I could not tell if the back pain was from my spinal injury or from pneumonia. I was too tired to function in the morning. I was a mess. I sat in my desk chair and tried not to move. Sudden, swift movements left me winded, struggling for air. Trips to the bathroom were slow and deliberate. My fiancé often needed to help me get my footing. My children were not going to stop being hungry because I was sick, so I masked up, gloved up, and attempted to cook. The light smoke from the stove left me breathless. It felt like I was drowning, but there was not a single drop of water. My fiancé sat me down and told me not to move; he would take care of everything. He and my dad took over. They were running back and forth from the store for my mom and me. The first two days after the hospital were a blur. It was hardest on my children. My daughter wanted so bad to play and cuddle, Jonathan was having episodes, and David started coughing too. I remembered seeing my dad and my fiancé working together to rein in the children’s mischief. My dad stayed on the couch, and my fiancé sat by my side. They stayed close through the day, just in case my mother and I needed anything. I remember feeling grateful. I also felt relieved. While my boys did not really have their biological father around, they had these two amazing men with whom they can grow up. I know neither my mother nor I asked for help; we would never ask. How could we? Doesn’t society expect us to bend until we break? We are dynamic, resilient women, and nothing, not poverty, not grief, not even COVID-19, was going to stop us from momming and we mom so hard too.

I was on day 5 of my Z pack I was feeling more like myself. I was no longer taking the over the counter meds to be comfortable, but I was exhausted. I felt like I had been running nonstop on a treadmill…for days. My body had been through a war, and I was feeling it. The COVID-19 test results never came in, so I called the emergency room and waited. The nurse was taking his sweet time looking up my name.

“yes, that is M-O-R-E-N-O.”

I might have keeled over and died right then and there from the suspense. My test came back negative, but this year’s bout with pneumonia was the most difficult to date. I had never felt so sick in my life. I like to think I am a bad mama jama, but I do not know if I would have made it through this round without my dad and future husband. I guess the take away is don’t wait to be asked for help. My dad and fiancé did not ask if my mom and I needed help. We did not ask for help, but they helped anyway. I feel like if we all just helped each other without being asked, we would all be in a better place. Thank you so much for joining us for Mom Monday here at our new home on Wix. I have genuinely missed each and every one of my readers.

Join us next Monday and every Monday for Mom Mondays, and as always, ladies, you are doing fine!

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