Compassion, Cabbage & Cramps

Cramps suck! This morning as Zsolt and I were on a mission to buy organic free-range eggs from the local Loblaws, I began to feel a pressure inside my abdomen. At this point I distinctly remember passing a diner filled with Sunday-morning patrons, all of whom were enjoying the Sunday 3.95 breakfast. Zsolt was astonished that the restaurant was so crazy full, with more and more people coming down the sidewalk to go in, but I told him that in Canada breakfast is a big deal, and we honour this meal with a special Sunday observance and marked down menu prices. So we were off to get some eggs, and maybe a bag of rice because I bought a cabbage in the market yesterday for one dollar, so my mind is all, “you gotta make cabbage layer!” while my body is all: “you’re not going to do anything productive today!” and it let me know this just as we were passing a diner.

Anyhow, that’s when it started. I don’ t know about you, but I’ve got different sorts of periods aches . . . some are about a sore back, some are about the ovaries being tender, this one . . . I don’t know what it’s about, but I do know it’s damn painful.

Starting slowly, this pressure built up and up till by the time we’d crossed the intersection toward Loblaws, it was sharp and radiating from my front to back. Lord.

So I say to Zsolt: “we need to turn around.” And he offeres no protests – instead we turned around, and he rubs my back as we walk back toward the flat.

Finally we reach the flat and I’m relieved. Sometimes this stuff becomes so intense I think I might pass out, but then I never actually do pass out  – because I generally hit the bed in time. Actually, this threatening lack of consciousness is mostly about the anxiety, because when this radiating of pain starts to happen, I just think “What the frack is my body doing?!” And the worst starts to creep across my thoughts . . . so no matter how many deep breaths I’m trying to take, they all end up short and tense, thus the sensation of passing out. Basically, I have mini panic attacks because I don’t want to get sick again, and it’s hard to trust the body after the shit it put me through already.

On the other hand, if this is what it takes to have a baby and know the process is working – then okay, great. But who knows? I only hope.

Anyhow, we get back to the flat and here is the entire point to my post: We get back, and Zsolt is incredible. He puts on the kettle and gets out the hot water bottle as I crawl into bed. He makes me a cup of tea. He comes into the bedroom and rubs my back a little, then sits next to me as I clutch the water bottle and strokes my bare leg. Then after maybe an hour passes, he tops up my tea and defrosts the chicken soup – bringing it to me in bed on a tray.

Ah. Today my man took good care of me. I guess over the past several years, he’s learnt ‘how best to comfort my wife’ and when the pain was throwing me into panic, he was remaining calm and attentive. It was reassuring.

I really think that before medicine comes love. Love knows you’re scared, it sits with you, and it wraps you in its warmth. Today Zsolt was so very good at taking care of me, and I’m so very thankful for that.

As for the cramps, I’m not in pain like before but am totally knackered and rather uncomfortable. However, while at the grocery store today ( A different grocery store, not Loblaws and no organic eggs. This was much later in the day after several hours in bed I went to a friend’s place to watch people bake. Part of this experience involved going to the shop to get the missing ingredients),  my period cramps were thrown into perspective as the lady at the till was pregnant and suffering pregnancy pains. She was bending over and trying to breath, saying she felt like passing out. When I asked if the store couldn’t at least get her a stool, she said that she’d asked and they said they didn’t have one – so this women is checking out items and obviously suffering. Where was the love from her store? I don’t know and I’m sorry it was lacking. It just seemed totally wrong.

After that I decided that I’m lucky regardless of cramps or whatever; I’m just lucky to have been given what I needed when I needed it most. A little compassion goes a long, long way.