There was an article in The Guardian last weekend about SPD/PGP. I didn’t quite know how to marshal my thoughts about it straight away. On the one hand, the piece is about an extreme case. A woman who is now a wheelchair user for a large part of her life as a result of the condition. She is admirable in her approach which is one of showing joy for what she has rather than focussing on what she has lost (a great deal).
I developed this complication in my second pregnancy, but I didn’t know if I should post about it as there is so much scaremongering one of the comments below the article wonders wearily if The Guardian and other papers have editors dedicated to putting the shits up pregnant women. This would be poor. However, as someone who had heard of the condition but, like pnd, and other (maybe all?) illnesses mental and otherwise, NEVER THOUGHT IT WOULD HAPPEN TO ME, I think it might be better to write it down.
You never think it’ll happen to you – a smart defense usually against curling up in the foetal position and refusing to engage with life. But me. I mean ME? Unable to walk. Don’t be silly… As a bear of little brain and no imagination, it rather took me by surprise. And though I may still have wound up housebound and becrutched for the final months of my pregnancy, I could have certainly, perhaps, avoided drama had I heeded signs.
It started with twinges and soreness. TMI but right across thefront of my pelvis, and in my hips. There was referred pain in my back and knees too. It got worse. And worse. Things like stairs, climbing on to buses/tubes, they started to hurt, and make me feel wobbly, somehow. It was distracting. I wish I’d seen someone then.
Instead I ploughed on until I went to the London Transport Museum with Spiderboy and felt a sort of cracky sensation as I climbed onto a tram. It hurt, in a briefly blinding sort of way. I limped home with my boy. I took paracetamol. I carried on over the weekend but found I was stopping to rest. I booked a physio appointment the next week and looked online. They will tie me back together with elastic I joked and kissed my husband goodbye for a business trip and set of for work.
This approach, ignoring a condition I’d heard of, was, in hindsight INSANE. It concluded with a sort of nightmarish sequence of events. I say nightmarish, I honestly only remember them in the style of an over stylised student film. Flash images of me on an escalator, pulling myself along a railing on Dean Street, lurching down a corridor at work, sitting at my desk, and a strange moment, once sat there, where I realised I couldn’t walk. The humiliation was hideous, as I had to be partly carried out (massively pregnant) by a very gracious colleague and then chaperoned, by another colleague (and friend), to hospital.
I’ll never forget the moment when I realised people were all looking at me and the physios brilliant no nonsense, no melodrama, decisiveness as I said ‘I don’t know if I can walk to the room’ and she said ‘No, you can’t’ and just got me a wheelchair. Nor the horrified look in my colleagues face as I tried to get into it. Luckily I have forgotten how I did get into that chair and what noises I must have been making.
If the physio was an antipodean angel (she was), then my colleague? He’s a saint. For several reasons. One for coming along and being there (my husband was away in Northern Ireland for work). Two for forgoing any food for the 5 or so hours he stayed. Three for staying, even though I couldn’t talk. And four because he’s male and 20 or so years older than me. He is a good friend, but obviously not my partner. No-one else knew that, and I imagine we looked like the most insane pair. Me doing that focussed breathing and moaning and nervous incoherent chit chat that only people in dreadful pain do. Him sitting nervously not touching me. The looks from other patients and members of staff said it all. They thought he was the biggest bastard out, the father of my baby unwilling to even hold my hand!
My pelvis had separated/become unstable. The condition is caused by hormones so even now I’m not lugging my nearly 8lber around with all his commensurate goo wherever I go, it hurts and feels strange. But I don’t need the crutches any more. This is good as Spiderboy was sick and tired of my sticks and had taken to saying ‘I don’t think you need them any more Mummy’ whilst walking off with them to another part of the house.
Last weekend we were clearing up, doing chores, trying to stop our house looking too Iris and he saw my sticks in the spare room. ‘Why have you STILL got those Mummy?’ he demanded with three-year-old scalpel precision.
Damn he’s wiser than a wise old thing. And certainly wiser than me. He may hold on to his broken toys like the last lifeboats on the Titanic but even he can see when clinging to fear and the past and the broke stuff is a bad idea. I don’t know quite what the answer is. Well I do, I’m still afraid. Scared that I’ll wake up another morning and not be able to walk. We’ve made a deal. He thinks about chucking out his now wheel-less door-less bendybus and I’ll think about returning the sticks. It’s a start.