On a good day, parenting will test the integrity of your character. On a bad day, parenting will test your will to live. Parenting children with trauma histories will cause you to test the integrity of everything and everyone you thought you knew, for the rest of your life.
~J. Skrobisz

Monday, April 26, 2010

the physical toll

Yesterday I was speaking with another mom and she asked me about the physical toll on my body being a parent to kids with needs. Then waldenbunch mentioned the same thing in a comment to my rethink, regroup rehash = reset post. And another commenter discussed the need to help our kids understand their own physical pain.

So I'm opening the floor for discussion.
First question:
How do you help your challenged kids identify their physical pain?

I try to talk to my kids using social stories type language, making it real simple. We also use a 10 point pain scale. But this pictorial is really nice (my thanks to Ashley, commenter)
Here is a useful pictorial for assistance.

email direct for the linkeroo or scroll through the comments of the above-linked post

Second Question
How has raising challenged kids affected your physical health?

I've mentioned in the past the fact that we gain on average, 15 pounds a year raising RADishes. That's a Katherine Leslie fact, fyi.

Here's some of the things I've experienced:
those with asteriscs are issues some of the rest of my family have problems with too
I feel like I've aged 10 years in one year*
I've gained weight
I've gotten a lot of gray hair, just in the past six months*
I've lost a lot of hair*
My heart flutters
I have chronic back, neck and shoulder pain*
I have numbness and tingling in my hands and fingers because of the stress in my back and neck
I have irritable bowels*
I have had panic attacks
I have restless sleep often riddled with odd dreams and/or nightmares*
I have ringing ears*
I have lost fillings in my teeth from grinding in my sleep*


Cyndi said...

The physical toll...
1. We NEVER do anything as a family any more.
2. In order to keep the behavior problem under control the kid has to be glued to a responsible, knowledgeable adult at all times.
3. We NEVER leave our vulnerable kids alone with her.
4. We eat to much junk food since there is not enough time or energy for cooking.
5. Mom is up most of the time most nights with the kid so am tired all the time.
6. Mom and dad do not trust the kid at all nor do we trust the "system" who have control over who gets what, when, how, and why, as we have been burned many times.
7. We have few friends since the general public certainly has not a clue what attachment disorders and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome do to families who are trying to raise kids with them.

FosterAbba said...

We are in the middle of our own mess at home, that's why I haven't commented in a few days.

My thoughts go out to you all... I wish I had something valuable to say, but boy, I can sure relate to all your physical symptoms. I think the only one I haven't had yet is losing a filling. I am grinding my teeth, just not to the point of anything falling out yet.

Hang in there.

Tudu said...

1. Some of mine are always about to die from pain and others have such a high threshold that we have missed serious illnesses and injuries. Some of my children can't tell me which end is up when they see the pain chart at the hospital so I hold my hand close to the floor and ask if it is "this much?" and keep raising it up to the top of their head until we get an answer. To the top means it is so bad their whole body is thinking about it. Silly but works for them.

2. I have gained a ton of weight. I live on the roller coaster called insomnia. My bottom lip is nearly completely chewed off depending on the stress level in our home that day. My favorite is the almost daily headaches. The restraints of course cause all kinds of lovely injuries only on me.

beemommy said...

Ditto to the irritable bowel but that's taken care of with 100 mg. of Effexor a day

Broken floating bone in my toe from the midst of a restraint

Soft tissue damage on my cheek since the assault of Dec.09

Cry at the drop of a hat if asked to share any of his history with a professional making me feel anything but

Sleep apnea...don't know whether it has anything to do with the PTSD my entire family has or not.

Gained a lot of weight but that may have more to do with stuffing my face with whatever I want because "life just sucks and I'll eat whatever I damned well want" don't know how Ali has lost 50 lbs. with dealing with a Radical

Gray hair/white hair...I am 51 but I know along with the quotation marks around my mouth from frowning, he's given me some of those too

J. said...

thanks for the visual pain chart.

Adding to the list
- deep tissue/muscle bruises that hurt for weeks.
- weight gain/loss
- pulling away from friendships because it is just to hard to not always talk about my broken kids.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I know I have yet to comment here, but I thought I would today. As far as rating pain, we use the "faces scale" a lot at work. Some kids pick it up really fast, but others do not so we have some other scales that we can use based on our observations. I will get a hold of some and get them to you.
Sending you lots-o-love!

waldenbunch said...

My kids don't have issues with pain but have had to be taught to come to for hugs when they're hurt or bandaids or whatever. As for me, the insomnia is the worst. I haven't slept through the night in 20 years. Haven't slept more than 2 hours at a time in months. I just awake frequently but usually go back to sleep after a bathroom break. However, I can't sleep more than 7 hours at a time so I can never catch up on lost sleep. Seen all the doctors. I'm stuck with it. But this didn't happen until our adoption and subsequent heartaches and feras. May have fibromyalgia, symptoms appear when sleep is a factor. I do try to nap in the afterrnon but if I do it's usually a 20 minute catnap, though I'll take it.

marythemom said...

My kids are pretty completely dissociated from their bodies so when they complain it is more often than not, purely psychosomatic. The school uses the pain scale you mention, but my daughter has learned to avoid the teachers who use the scale and get to the nurse almost daily. My son's pains are almost literal ("my heart hurts" means emotionally his heart hurts). It's tough because they cry wolf all the time, but we still feel extremely guilty if it actually happens to be true! They are 15 and 16, but have to be supervised constantly (no longer line of sight, but pretty close)

As for me,
I don't go to sleep until 2-3am or later most nights (up at 7),
my gray hair is genetic, but still I'm only 40 and I'm about 75% gray now,
I've gained over 70lbs since they moved in 3 years ago
I have very little motivation and spend almost all day sitting on the couch instead of working, luckily Hubby and I own the company, but it's certainly not helping that I'm not there - I rely on Hubby to do almost everything
I went on meds for bipolar disorder (which I've always had, but not to the extent I needed meds)
I'm in therapy because I most likely have PTSD
Seems like I'm always stressed out, exhausted, run down and sick
I'm definitely no longer fun to be around. I have almost no friends - even on the internet.
I'm addicted to blogs and list serves - reading hundreds of posts a day.
I haven't cleaned house in weeks, and rarely do laundry or chores. I cook if I can't get Hubby to do it.

Mary in TX