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Six Months of Turmoil

My life from March to September was harsh.

Starting with this where my identity as adult TCK- in which I had been contented  with the global nomad life- was conflicting with my status as a trailing wife.

Then in this posting  I was thinking about going back to work. Between the lines, I tortured myself by wondering if the choice I had made 7 years ago - where I traded my secured job in Holland with a travelling life- was actually right.

When still struggling and feeling bad about myself, I had a planned sinus-procedure in June. Unfortunately, the supposed to be simple day-surgery turned bad. I was oozing non-stop during and after the procedure. At the end of the day, having failed to stop the bleeding with local anaesthesia (seriously, it felt like giving birth. Through your nostril), the surgeon ordered an ambulance to transfer me to the hospital. I went through a major surgery the next day, which, thank goodness, went well. I spent two nights at the hospital.

The high dose of drugs from two procedures plus the large amount of blood I lost, left me weak and depressed for two months after.

On top of that, my right arm got calcific tendonitis (the pain reminded me of birthing contraction. Ouch).

I wept a lot weeks post-surgery. The anemia, depression and tendonitis that followed didn’t help. I felt weak physically and mentally and was basically living in a cocoon of despair, unable to connect with other human beings. As my body was craving for nutrition, I ate five to six square meals per day, however, without feeling any better afterwards. I trembled from cold no matter how many layers I wore. Even worse, I had macabre dreams whenever I closed my eyes.

On the other hand, the bodily pain and depression made my imagination go wild. I finished a 200-page draft of  a novel manuscript.

Seeing my condition, both my ENT surgeon and GP suggested acupuncture. The treatment worked out. Symptoms of those maladies were getting less after three sessions each.

In the meantime, I talked a lot with my husband. We renegotiated our role as partners in marriage by arguing, fighting and screaming at each other. At that time, I came to realize that no matter how connected my husband and I were, he was still a man and I was a woman. Our expectations and point of views were different. It was a bitter revelation, but thank goodness, at one point we stopped our attempt to kill each other, talked like rational adults and managed to find a solution good enough for both.

Thus, the horrible six months is almost over.  

Although I have to be careful when moving my arm and still unable to play the piano, I can use it almost normally.

I also resume my 10-km/week walks without feeling anemic.

I continue my research and writing since the beginning of this month.

And had  lost 2 out of the 3 kg I gained during bed rest.

Oh, you know, a week after the surgery my husband travelled to the US, leaving me alone with the children. Surprisingly enough, Joseph and Louise behaved very well. They understood that mama was very sick and kept the noise and mess to the minimum. Before that, I didn’t realize both were growing and were capable of doing house chores. Joseph has been having responsibilities since then, such as emptying the dishwasher and keeping track of toilette papers supply. Louise’s chore is to keep the lounge cabinet tidy. Every night before bedtime, they also clean up their toys from around the house and put them back (more or less) neatly in their bedroom.

Moreover, the post-surgery days had taught me a lot. I came to understand that the cycle of self discovery repeated itself. My relationship with husband was renewed and our affection towards each other became stronger. The negotiation with him made me more aware of my rights as a human being. Besides, I made peace with my identities as a (trailing) wife and mother.

I feel (almost) content.

The most crucial point, my parenting style changes a bit. I’ve always been the strict mama who believed in scheduling, discipline and tough love. I still am. But during those weeks in bed, my kids often accompanied me. Their laugh, silly act and hug had softened me.

Now I cuddle and kiss my kids more than ever.

I am writing with the background of Gounod/Bach’s Ave Maria, played by violin maestro Jascha Heifetz.

Life is good.

1. A Broad Aboard: The Expat's Wife Successful Guide of Living Abroad. By Robin Pascoe
2. A Moveable Marriage: Relocate Your Relationship Without Breaking It. By Robin Pascoe.
3. The Meaning of Wife: A Provocative Look at Women and Marriage in the 21st Century. By Anne Kingston
4. Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among World. By David Pollock and Ruth v. Reken
5. Transnational Lives: Expatriates in Indonesia. By Anne-Meike Fechter
6. Trilingual postings, tagged Gender


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 10th, 2011 04:32 pm (UTC)
Oh wow, you've had a rough time. I'm glad things are going much better for you. Your body has completely healed?
Oct. 10th, 2011 08:42 pm (UTC)
Not yet, but almost. It was tough indeed, I'm happy that it's nearly behind.
Dominique Goh
Oct. 11th, 2011 02:09 am (UTC)
Glad to know that you are getting better both physically and mentally and have most of your things sorted out.. I guess it takes some time to know what is best for yourself and your family.. great to hear that your more balanced now.
Oct. 11th, 2011 03:17 am (UTC)
Growing kids shifts mom's priority and point of view, which may create temporary imbalance for her and family. Thank you, Dominique
Oct. 11th, 2011 06:03 am (UTC)
What can I say but I sympathise with you ( a lot!). Such an ordeal you went through!

Yet `Life is good´ indeed. Because I think you´re absolutely blessed with wonderful family bonds.

(Btw: Warm, tolerant and cuddling mothers - and fathers - are the saviours of mankind :))


Oct. 12th, 2011 02:38 am (UTC)
Life is good and unstable. Maybe I was experiencing the 11th year itch of a marriage? Thank you, dear Colson.
Oct. 11th, 2011 02:59 pm (UTC)
Oh wow, gua gak tau the last 6 months had been really rough on you. Thank God sekarang udah getting a lot better semua ya San...take care !
Oct. 12th, 2011 02:39 am (UTC)
Gw emang ngga pernah cerita secara menyeluruh sih In .. sepotong2 doang di FB gitu. Abisan untuk bikin kesimpulan, gw harus melewati semuanya dulu dan harus kelar mikir2 heheh. Thanks ya.
Oct. 12th, 2011 07:40 am (UTC)
So proud of JLo ... especially her mom *big hugs*

Tante A :)
Oct. 12th, 2011 10:52 pm (UTC)
Thanks, tante A. My kids are not the most behaved ones but they can feel if there is something unusual. At that time, I was obviously very sick (pale, stay in bed, etc) so ya mereka jadinya ngerti juga.
Oct. 12th, 2011 01:30 pm (UTC)
Oh, San. I feel for you. Mudah2an cepet lewat ya. You're a tough cookie alright. It does take a while to recover from surgery. Hopefully it's only going uphill from now on :)
Oct. 12th, 2011 10:53 pm (UTC)
Iya Cin ... I'm tired of being sick (pasti elo ngerti maksud gw) . Iya semoga udah bener2 lewat ini sakit2. Thanks ya.
Oct. 20th, 2011 12:44 pm (UTC)
Aww! Really sorry to hear what you've been through over the last 6 months. You poor thing!! Glad to hear that you're getting better and am hoping they continue that way!!!
Oct. 20th, 2011 07:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :D
Oct. 21st, 2011 11:43 pm (UTC)
should i say more?
just more hugs.... and love.
take care yourself, dear...
Oct. 22nd, 2011 04:30 am (UTC)
Re: ...hmmm.......
Thank you, teh M. Our 2 meetings were really meaningful :D!
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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