Grandparents living with pain

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    • #4697

      I am a grandparent who lives with pain. I adore my grandchildren. I refuse to let the pain stop me from spending time with my grandchildren but some days it is downright hard. I feel guilty for this, I feel guilt because these little people who I adore deserve my undivided attention and sometimes the pain tries to get in the way.

      This is suppose to be the good years, right? We raised our children and are now blessed with these wonderful, adorable little ones to spoil and if the pain has it’s way, it can stop us right in our tracks.

      I would love to hear from other grandparents. I refuse to let the pain stop me from being with my grandchildren, so I put on a smile and bring on the fun. I go fishing with them, I run in the yard and fly kites and planes. We play in the water and we sit on the floor and play hot wheels.

      Some days it is all I can do to put that smile on my face but then you feel that little hand in yours or the little one gives you a hug and it makes everything worth it.

    • #4730

      I am also a grandparent living with pain. I was on this journey when my children were small and I don’t remember it being so difficult. I suppose I was younger and had more patience for the constant noise and such. I love my grandchildren more than life itself but there are days that the constant chatter and running around gets to me so badly. I have spoke with my daughter about this and explained it has nothing to do with not wanting to spend time with the grandchildren but rather the inability to give them the needed attention that they deserve from grandma.

      We have worked it out that if I am having a bad day and the grandchildren want to be at my house, then she comes too. That way she can deal with their needs and I can just enjoy spending time with them. On the days I am in a better place I love for them to come and stay all day and night with us. It does wear me out and sometimes right in the middle of our sleepover I feel myself becoming a little over-whelmed. When that happens I take a few moments to regroup, I let them know that Grandma needs just a little bit of quiet time and have them to go play in the playroom which allows me to shake it off and continue our visit.

      At one time I found myself feeling so guilty over this and I realized that hanging on to guilt was not healthy for any of us and it sure wasn’t going to help anything. Once I was able to let the guilt go, I found it so much easier to handle the little meltdowns that I sometimes felt I was going to have due to the constant noise and chatter.

    • #4753

      I did want to respond to this. I am also a Grandma with a persistent pain problem. I am in a little different situation as after having our nest actually empty for a short while, because of divorce, the economy, and other issues we now have grandchildren with us much of the time. While my son in theory is watching them, there are days or a time when he works at a part time job or is just with his friends but even when he is here, the situation can be chaotic. We never thought at this stage of our lives we would be doing diapers, making sure there are snacks for school, and mediating fights over the I-Pads. Their other grandparents are older than us so even though they have them sometimes, they tend to be the “fun” grandparents.
      Since I don’t want my grandbabies to think of me as the one whose head hurts all the time, I find myself quicker to take breakthrough medication than before (and trying not to mention it). I need quiet time in the afternoons but that doesn’t always work out especially since naps are starting to go by the wayside. Grandpa is some help but he can’t always and he doesn’t have a clue as to how much more is involved doing dinner for six instead of two (although it is a compliment they would rather eat here than at their other grandparents).
      So do I have any real tips for grandparenting when you have pain? Don’t feel guilty when you take medication for breakthrough rather than trying the non-pharmacological route first. Your babies don’t need you hurting and emotional (which I get when I have escalating pain). Try to talk about your pain appropriately for their age (Grammie has an owie in her head right now so let’s be quiet and you take care of your babies [or watch the I-Pad] for a while). Know your limitations; as much as would like to take them to the animal preserve afternoons are not great for me and I don’t want to be driving the car in pain). Enjoy them and let other things go if need be. And try not to get the “Hot Dog song” stuck in your mind (from the Disney channel). Both Grandpa and I get stuck on it and “aurgh!”

    • #4814

      I would like to get other grandparent’s thoughts on this; as I mentioned before we have grandchildren here fairly regularly since our son is living with us: all day M-F and a grand child or two spending the night on M, T, W, TH, and sometimes S. Dinners on those days and sometimes other days at well. Yesterday I had asked my son how many for dinner (it being Fri.) and he said only himself. I had a stressful day; doctor’s appointment, Walmart, and by the time I got home my head was hurting (I have persistent post craniotomy pain usually controlled by scheduled medication). I tried eating lunch first and unwinding (which can sometimes work) but the pain just worse. I took my breakthrough meds but that didn’t help by this point It took a second dose to get things down to bearable. I have to say I don’t think it has ever hurt so bad (or at least not in a long time. The pain is in the middle suture of the skull and is sharp-like a screwdriver or icepick wiggling around and sometimes also the whole area of the skull that was removed aches- yesterday it was both. It was so bad at one point I wanted to die. When the girls got home from school it was over except for the “after-pain”. The first thing Sora (8) said was could she stay for dinner? I told her “no” my head had been hurting too much. Then Elsa (5) said “I guess that means I can’t spend the night.” I agreed but both girls were upset as Grandma doesn’t say no to those things and of course my son was angry because they are his kids and he should be able to have them whenever he wants. Unfortunately when someone spends the night they always get to watch a kids movie with us and I get up with them in the morning. My husband and I had really looked forward to an “adult” night and I wasn’t cooking since I had felt so bad. My husband did speak with our son, but of course I am feeling terribly guilty. My thoughts are to sit my son and each of the older girls down (not at the same time) and 1) talk to them about my pain, explain how it feels, let them touch the indentation in my skull (it is about 4″x#” and about 1/4″ deep), and how it usually doesn’t hurt as bad as it did yesterday. When I say my head hurts most people think “headache” and while headaches are bad (I had migraines for 40 years) they are totally different from this; 2) Explain while we love being with them so much we do need some grown-up time as well, just one day a week; and 3) when possible we need to plan ahead, Grandma does much better when she knows what is going to happen. Any thoughts or suggestions on this?

    • #4834

      I’d hoped for some replies, would still like some. The girls haven’t been bothered by Grandma’s “Bad Pain Day” although I still haven’t had “the talk with them (the time just hasn’t been right). My son has been a little bit better about some grown-up time but hasn’t really improved on the planning ahead. Of course right now, the big issue (believe it or not) is him eating a whole avocado for lunch or dinner (when he fixes his own). We all love avocadoes but they are pricey ($1.59 each currently). Many times they take a couple of days to ripen and if they are in the drawer too long can get bad-anyway he takes them all and the rest of us don’t. I have said he could have a half of one a day but he still doesn’t get it. Frustrating. So what do other grandparents have to say about talking with there grandchildren about their persistent pain?

    • #4852

      Being a grandma who also lives with pain I totally feel your frustration. I tend to get frustrated with my daughter because I am the only person she will leave my grandson with. I understand that she is overly protective as she lost her first child at birth and almost lost my grandson at birth also.

      I try very hard to understand this and I do but there are times that I just do not feel up to having him here all day and all night. He is a very early riser and I usually do not really get to sleep till around 4 am. It is getting a little easier as he gets older ( he is 6 ). I have not sit him down and tried to explain my health issues yet but he is starting to understand that sometimes Mam-ma’s back and neck hurts really bad and I just cannot get down in the floor with him or play with him for hours.

      Over the summer we made our extra room into a bedroom for him and moved all his toys in there. My hope was that he would spend some time in his room playing and that would make it easier on me. However all of our bedrooms are upstairs and while he does go up and play, he doesn’t play long, he brings his toys downstairs to play which is totally fine other than once he gets down here he wants me to play too.

      It is hard being a grandparent in pain. We want to spend all the time in the world with our special little ones but it just cannot be done. When your grandchildren wants to stay overnight then your son should be the one taking the lead on their care, feeding and getting up with them in the mornings. Is there a reason he doesn’t?

      I feel you should talk to the kids, the 8 year old will be able to understand things easier and better then the 5 year old but hopefully this will make your time with them easier and less frustrating on everyone.

      Best of luck

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