The Red-Eyed Monster

the red-eyed monsterIf jealousy has green eyes, guilt most definitely has red, judging by the amount of tears I cried on Tuesday night.

The day started innocuously enough. I schlepped to work, planned dinner for later, joked around with the boss. Then blam, thwack.  Whole-body weakness, a brain stuffed with cotton wool and a need to get home pronto.

The boss let me go early and back home blind panic set in. I couldn’t cook dinner. I could barely stand and when I did, I was pin-balling off the walls, so I called my mum for help. She rushed down, but The Teenager was adamant that he didn’t want to sleep overnight at her house (no Sky Sports News).

She stayed for a while instead, giving the cat some chewy treats, cheering us up, admiring The Teenager’s new Nirvana poster and giving me a bit of space to panic some more.

All I wanted to do was go to bed, and not just for a nap. During the day, I sleep when I have to and The Teenager is either out or at school, but the evenings are different. And therein lies the problem and source of my overwhelming guilt. I’m a single parent (violins at the ready) and The Teenager is an only child. It just wouldn’t be fair to abandon him at 6 or 7pm. I know he’s 14, but I grew up with ill parents (my dad and my stepfather) and am keenly aware of the fears this gave me as a child.

So what did I do? MS left me no choice. I crawled into bed at 7pm, crying my eyes out, leaving The Teenager downstairs with his homework and remote control.

Ten hours later I woke up, guilt flooding back. Until I looked at all the tweets I’d been sent while I’d been sleeping. Lovely, supportive tweets from all around the world. I wasn’t going through this alone. So, I stumbled out of bed, woke The Teenager for his paper round and we had a little chat as he struggled to get his waterproof trousers on.

After patting me on the head and telling me he was fine, he launched into a goal-by-goal account of a football match he’d watched with the cat. Then he bashfully admitted he’d read my Twitter feed last night and felt comforted by all the messages of support, and he too felt less alone.

Just before he left for school, he said I was more than welcome to go to sleep early again, he’d just chat to my Twitter friends. Um….

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20 thoughts on “The Red-Eyed Monster

  1. Shandy says:

    I’ll chat to him any time. He sounds lovely! I’ve got 3 grown up ones of my own. When they were teenagers I didn’t have MS, or if I did it was pretty benign. Well, I felt guilty about all sorts of things, probably about stuff far less deserving. As parents, we never really feel that we give enough to our children, it goes with the territory but most of us do an ok job. You sound like you’re doing a brilliant job!
    If you’d broken your leg or cut your head open you wouldn’t have thought twice about going to bed would you? You more than anyone know the invisible symptoms can be just as debilitating as the obvious ones so give yourself a break. Sounds to me like you’redoing a grand old job. xx

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Hi Shandy,
      Thank you so much for your lovely comment!
      It was a truly dreadful evening. I’ve never really had to go to bed that early before. You’re right – if I had the flu or something visible, I wouldn’t have thought twice. Puts things into perspective!
      I guess I already feel guilty that there’s so much I can’t do with him. I’m only glad he seems secure in himself and has a great circle of friends.
      He asked me this morning if he could take over my Twitter feed for a day. Bless him!

  2. Sally says:

    Your son sounds like a legend. See, in the calm light of day it’s never quite as bad as you thought the night before. Go and have a cream bun , you’ll feel better

    • stumbling in flats says:

      He surely is. The problem, I think, was me projecting on to him how I felt as a child. Which was probably wrong!
      The good thing is that we had a good discussion over the following day and worked things out together. When I explained it wasn’t me wanting to go to bed but the MS compelling me to, he understood.
      Panic over, lol. Don’t want to go through that again.
      p.s. cream buns solve everything. As does chocolate.

  3. David says:

    What can I say that hasn’t been said already except more hugs n wishes xx

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Thank you! We’re on the up, thank goodness. I think it’s a situation most of us single parents with MS face at some point, so hopefully other people can see that it all works out ok in the end.

  4. sorry to read you are having a bit of a wobbly time :/ but from everything you have posted about teenager on this blog, he seems to be smart, and i’m sure he understands you will not be super mom all the time 🙂

  5. Anja says:

    You did it 🙂 well done

  6. The Teenager is…oh, ugh, I can’t even remember the word for “awesome” that you told me kids in the UK are using. Blech. Kind of takes away my street cred if I bungle the whole sentence. Feeling doddering and ancient!

    Not sure if this will help *at all*, but I’m thinking that as a 14 year old, I’d have been mighty pleased if once in a while my parents had decided to go to bed early and leave me with the remote! (Okay, not sure we had remotes when I was a kid, but you know what I mean!)

    • p.s. AS if I ever HAD “street cred” LOL

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Last time I heard, it was ‘mint’ but I’m sure that’s positively prehistoric now!
      Know what you mean, and although he was upset on the night, he did say in the morning that a)he felt he had bonded with the cat and b) he felt like the ‘man of the house’. Which made me feel a bit strange, but then, I guess I’m bringing up a kid to be a decent adult/boyfriend/husband? This whole teenage parenting lark is full of surprises!

      • And of course, your situation is FAR different from just a casual, “Oh, Teenager, I’m going to bed now; enjoy the TV!” Obviously, the MS makes it a whole different ballgame. In reading my comment, I am cringing a bit. Didn’t mean to be insensitive! Of COURSE he’d be upset and worried about his mom, and of course you’d feel terrible about it. Ugh. Sorry. I was trying to help, really!

        I am so NOT mint…

        • stumbling in flats says:

          You’re absolutely right, and you totally weren’t insensitive!!! It was just a bad combination of events, meh. Plus I didn’t have a clear head to think things through properly – I just panicked. My brain was telling me to sleep, my heart was telling me to stay awake for The Teenager.

  7. Archie says:

    hi luv. hope you returning to some kind of normality today. as i read your blog just now i felt a wave of sympathy for you – until you said the lad would tweet with your contacts and hoped you get well doubly quickly – ha!

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Haha!! He’s still threatening to do it, so watch out!
      I really thought I was doing well – was back to work yesterday, but today I woke up feeling lousy again. So I went back to bed for three hours. Meh. Pesky MS. Just as well I had no plans!

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