>Boring is for losers.

19 Oct

>
I flat-out jinxed myself. I had to go and post right on Facebook (for the world to see) that I hoped for a full week of boring. I had even started to think about footwear — which is always a good sign of normalcy returning. The last chemo and IV combo had gone swimmingly. He did quite well in spite of neuropathy and some fatigue. So even though the still-not-100-percent-but-close hubby was taking leave of Boulder for a business trip to Northern Cali, I was calm. I would have time to SHOP and go out to eat and do whatever I damned well felt like doing for a few days. None of the old crazy business of being stressed out by only having one set of hands. Why, I’m pretty sure that practice has made perfect in that realm by now. (And we had meals coming for three of the nights. You people ROCK.)

So off he went after a day of miss-miss home with the croup (and yet another doctor visit) and our very first cancer support group/class. Ever.

By the end of that day, I had cried so hard in front of a room full of strangers that I couldn’t speak and had to pass my turn. (VERY odd for me, as anyone who knows me can attest. I am NEVER at a loss for WORDS.) I’d driven to the same hospital TWICE and was sure my car could do it without me in it. I’d felt my heart crack open hearing the hubby’s eloquent speech about what had lead him to come to such a group. I’d felt that crack widen when I heard the plight of a very young woman who couldn’t decide if she wanted a double mastectomy. (We cried together during the break.)

I thought I was ready for anything that week had to deal out at me. Shoulda put on the kevlar.

Tuesday I had one of those wondrous days. And by wondrous I mean I was able to work ALL DAY LONG WITHOUT INTERRUPTION. I got shit done. Kicked some ass and took a few names.

By Wednesday I felt caught up enough to join Purse Girl for breakfast at Southside Walnut. I’d gone to the mall. Found some cool boots. Gotten caught up a little with work. Gotten the girls off to school with no stress. I was ready. Bring it. We wrapped up the day by having dinner with the PG fam and heading home and to bed at a decent hour.

At some point, the hubby called to say he had a weird rash. Pinpricks that sounded like bed bugs. Shitdamn. He’d called the doc on call and he said to stop taking the pills he was taking for thrush (that had developed because of the chemo) and grab some benadryl before he hopped on the plane home. He came in at midnight, gave me a quick kiss and we went to sleep.

Next morning, I got up to let him sleep in. Start lunches and girls-gone-crazy morning. I was soooo hoping he’d wake up in time to run them to school so I could get to work on my deadlines.

He walks in the kitchen. Wobbly. What tha—? Plops on the couch. Full of irritation, I say, “What are you DOING?” Can’t remember the answer. Proceed to finish breakfast, ask him if he wants to eat. Keep making lunches, clean the kitchen, make lattes. “What the hell is wrong with him?” (Fully thinking that it was the late night flight and that he should effin SUCK IT UP.)

So when I glance over and see him about to roll straight out of the kitchen chair, my antennae finally goes UP. “Kenny? Are you okay?!?”

“I think I almost passed out.”

“Are you kidding?” Not kidding. So I drop what I’m doing and follow him to the couch. Finally getting a good hard look at his face. He looked like elephant man. Upper lip out to HERE. Eye swollen shut. Hands about 3 times their normal size and BRIGHT CHERRY RED. Whelps covering every inch of him. Holy shit on a shingle.

Then he started to shake and I started to FREAK. I said, “You’ve gotta go in. But I need to take a shower first.” Uh. Yea. Who they hell knows what the eff I was thinking. I ran downstairs, took off all my clothes and called Purse Girl. “I need help. I think something’s wrong with Kenny and I need you to come take the girls to school. Oh. And I’m totally naked and don’t know what I’m doing. Should I take him to the ER? Am I over-reacting? Am I losing my mind?”

She said, “Glad you told me you’re naked. Just don’t tell me if you’re touching yourself. Get in the shower. Yes, he needs to go in. I’m on my way.”

I took the fastest shower of my life (only truly necessary because my hair was greasy enough to fry french fries and I have a strict policy of never showing up at the hospital or doctor’s office looking less than ravishing. You just never know.)

I got dressed and called the RMCC. The triage nurse said, “This is too urgent for us. You need to take him to the ER.” Well. Guess the shower could’ve waited. Just this once.

Purse Girl ran in and said, “Let me see your tongue.” It was still kind of normal-sized. Good there. Took the girls and said, “Call me.” Then I got a text from Lady Lou and I called her back, “I’m taking Kenny to the ER. Something isn’t right.” She said, “I’ll meet you there.”

We race over like bats out of hell. The hubby says, “Don’t kill us.” I think I was just over-compensating for the fact that I took the time to shower. Ugh.

We get there, Lady Lou has already scoped out the scene and shows us where to go. They check vitals, etc. He’s shivering like a chihuahua. And the morning goes forward. Him hooked to an IV. Being poked, prodded and studied like a strange specimen of “what tha—ness.” They gave him steroids, benadryl (though suggested we just give him more of our stash to avoid the $100 a pill charge) and two bags of IV fluids. Then when we were about to leave, he spiked a fever of 100.4. So they took blood cultures which had to come from his hands because his veins had withered. Then his hands turned a gorgeous shade of BLUE. And I look at the nurse (who had just tripped over the cart and dropped the needle) and said, “What in the HELL is wrong with him?!?”

I was very sure they were going to admit him. The ER doc looked at me and said, “Are you okay with him going home?” And I said, “How the hell should I know?!” And then, “NO!” But took some breaths, consulted with Lady Lou and said, “Okay, sure. Tell me what to do.”

The gist was: if he turns blue, stops breathing or bleeds from his ears (Purse Girl’s wise addition)…call 9-1-1. And I’m thinking I shouldn’t take a shower before next time.

Home we went. Completely shredded. Already trying to puzzle out the next day’s required oncologist follow up appointment that was to take place right about girl pick up time. Sat on the front porch and stared up at the sky. For like — ever. Lady Lou had bean. Miss-miss was at soccer and had a ride home. Steph was picking up our new Rx and CSA. And dinner was being delivered by a mom friend from school. So we just sat. And I watched the hubby’s face start it’s slow return to normal.

Next day we hit the oncologist and she walks in and says, “I’m sorry. But WHAT THE H-E-DOUBLE-L?!?”

Our sentiments exactly. Turns out that he is one of less than 1% of the population who is allergic to azoles. I shouted, “Me too!” (And I’m pretty sure most people are if they stop and think about it.) Is there any drug that doesn’t align perfectly with a cuss word? Seriously.

And, the thing is, he could’ve died. Dr. J said, “I was really surprised that they let you go. This could be fatal.” Uh. Yea.

She decided to keep the prednisone going and the antibiotics and the histamine blocker (pepcid) and tylenol. With a half-life of 5 to 6 days, he wasn’t out of the woods. But we decided to go whoop it up with our friends and keep the babysitter anyway.

This is another one of those times that I should’ve known better. But we went. And I drank wine by the gallon-full and then proceeded to cry and sob and make a general ass-mess of myself for most of the night. Ruining everyone’s fun (and my make up).

Woke up the next morning with a good old fashioned hangover (emphasized by extra crying and swollen eyes) and wondered, “Why is it that I can’t ever just cry alone and in private???”

But no time to lick the wounds of over-imbibe-and-diarrhea-of-the-mouth-and-get-sloshy-and-overly-emotional-ville. It was time to take the dog to the vet.

I barely made it. We waited while I swooned and ate chocolate candy from their Halloween dish. By the time they called us back, I was just hoping not to vomit on a varmint. He put dye in her eye and I closed my eyes in the dark room. Was abruptly brought back to life with the bright light’s return and to, “Well, she’s allergic to the sutures from last week’s surgery. We have to put her under and remove them immediately.”

OMFG. They did the deed and called me back because she wouldn’t wake up. I bent down to pet her and almost passed out. Then decided to plant it right there on the nasty vet floor and hang with my girl. She’s almost 12 and anesthesia just isn’t what it used to be. She stood up, fell over on me. I looked at the clock. Almost soccer time for miss-miss. Shit.

We consulted and they decided that they should just keep her for the day so she wouldn’t be alone while we traipsed down to Broomfield for soccer-palooza. Okay.

Game happened, we lunched at Chick-Fil-A with some of the team members and I dropped off the fam to go get my hair cut. (And colored though bean calls it “painted.”) As I sat in the chair with the foil on, I saw a picture of Michelle Williams in a pixie. And, newly inspired by G (therepublican), decided to go for it under the capable artistry of my highly skilled Edward-Scissor-Hands (aka Holly). Newly hair-free, I headed to the mall.

About an hour later, I happened to pull out my phone and saw four missed calls from the hubby. I thought, “Crap. He knows I’m at the mall and he’s PISSED.” Luckily I’d already completed my Forever XXI stop, had all of bean’s choices made and only had one more pair of pants to try on at Old Navy.

So although I called him back and heard the words, “Bean fell. I’m taking her to urgent care. I think she broke her arm.” I stood there. Went effing numb. Turned to the dressing room and proceeded to try on the pants for which I had come. (I did hurry.) I then headed to the line, found the shortest one and stood there. Waiting to pay for my purchase. It wasn’t until the woman ahead of me started to pay that panic started to set in. I shifted weight from foot to foot. Thought, “I should throw these clothes and RUN.” But waited. Got the cashier into a tither. Paid and then RAN to my car. (Delayed response anyone?)

It wasn’t until I was in the car and on the highway that I realized, “I have no fucking idea where he took her.” I made some calls. Lined up miss-miss extend-o-care (thanks Theos and Rock-es — you kept us UPRIGHT AGAIN. Time to MOVE). Asked the Rock-es to pick up the Tues at the appointed hour. And tried (again and again) to reach the hubby. As I closed in on Boulder, I took note of the Buff flags and the increasing traffic. It was 5pm. Game day. And I was headed straight into the yawning maw.

I thought, “I will NEVER make it to my baby. NEVER. I will pay FOREVER for those stupid wasted minutes in fucking OLD NAVY. And I will NEVER EVER win mother of the year.”

Exit to Foothills. Navigate traffic. Find the number for the hospital. Wrong place. Find the number for Urgent Care. Score! Navigate more traffic. Call mom. Call Purse Girl (sheer habit). Exit on Pearl. Hit 20th. Left on Alpine. More L-Rocks talking. (Mostly me, off of the cliff.) Jump over to Balsam. See the Volvo in the lot. Run in. (Ah, yes. Panic. You’ve officially arrived.)

Then. There was bean. Little face. Full of brave. (Daddy, not so much.) Another day. Another ER. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on them both.

We had x-rays (excruciating and hubby had to be excused due to his treatment). She said she had to pee, but did NOT want to be moved. We waited some more. The nurse asked if I needed a box of wine. (Head reeled just a little, but…) The hubby overheard and saw the x-ray. Came back into the room. “It’s really bad.” And he started to cry. Very. Hard.

Then, the kind, kind doc explained it all. (Including the fact that he was a prostate cancer survivor who had a Gleason grade 9 diagnosis five years prior. Fist bumps and LIVESTRONG bracelets exchanged.)

Seems she hadn’t gone half-assed. In her effort to exit the death-trap-trampoline-that-we-shall-soon-torch to report that the big kids weren’t being safe, she over-stepped. Fell. Broke her arm just above her elbow. A serious, level three displaced fracture. Requiring surgery. Now.

Thing is, the local ortho surgeon felt more comfortable sending us to Children’s Hospital. They would be waiting. I asked if we had time to run home. He gave us 10 minutes. Then bean wet her pants.

So off we raced. Got dry clothes, tooth brushes, etc. House, injured dog, hysterical miss-miss in the capable hands of the Rock-es. Theos for back up (but we decided on a reprieve since they were in the midst of a dinner party.) The 45-minute drive took hours. We made calls, double-checked bean in the back and focused on getting there. Nearly silent. I repeated to the hubby, “This is SO NOT YOUR FAULT. It was an accident. Kids break arms. It happens.” He was starting to return a bit.

They got us back fairly quickly and then we sat. Waiting for ortho to get there. They wouldn’t let her eat or drink. Just. In. Case. They had movies. She wanted me on the gurney with her. And we waited more. Around 9:30 or so she said, “Mom? I think they forgot about my bedtime.” I agreed. They must’ve.

Then I looked at the hubby and noticed his lip was starting to swell. Swell. “I hope you brought your prednisone.” He had.

At around 10pm, the surgeon came in. Agreed with the prior diagnosis and said he’d book an OR and Dr. Chang for 7:30 am. We were free to eat and would be moved to a room.

That hospital is frickin’ awesome (in spite of the excruciatingly long wait). They’ve thought of and anticipated each and every need of families in crisis. 24-hour cafeteria, a long queue of movies on demand, Xbox in the room, futon for 1.5 in the room, linens, towels, razor, laundry room, full kitchen. It was heart-breaking to realize just how much time some families really end up spending there.

Just after midnight, we finally won the no IV for the night battle, made up our futon o’cardboard and snuggled in. Maybe two seconds later, it was morning and it was time to get her to the OR. She’d whimpered a lot during the night. Was clearly pissed at the temporary cast and the pulse-ox and, well, EVERY SINGLE OTHER THING.

We dressed like lightning and even managed to brush our teeth. Then we were holding her hand as they wheeled us down.

At this point in the game, I ceased to exist. Sure, I was cracking jokes and being my smart-assed-self. But I FELT ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Nothing. Vacant. Nada. Rien. Nichts. I nodded to questions. Yes, yes, I understood that my baby was going under the knife. Yes, yes, risks associated. Laughed when the surgeon asked if she’d rather have medicine or be knocked over the head. And then kissed her bye and followed the hubby into the waiting area.

I made a few calls. Texted. Watched Hope Floats on the flatscreen across the room. Sipped bad coffee. Noted how similar the waiting room was to the one at Lutheran. And almost felt surprised to see the hubby next to me. Instead of behind those doors.

About an hour later, Dr. Chang and his cohort came out and sat down with us. (Which freaked me out for a second. Surgeons. Don’t. Sit.) But all went perfectly. She was in recovery. We could go back soon.

Two pins in her elbow now hold her humerus back together. Her arm is all swollen and the cast had to be cut to keep her circulation from being cut off. We go back to the hospital on Thursday to have it re-sealed. Six full weeks of cast life ahead.

When we got back there, she was already making demands. “Mom, you said I could have a popsicle.” One appeared. “Mom, I want a smoothie.” The nurses made do with a chopped up popsicle.

And that was nearly it. A few more hours back in the room with one grouchy bean while she came back to us. Yelling, “No cast!” And fighting with the nurse to “Take OFF!” the pulse-ox.” “I don’t want this ON ME!” Pulling at her IV. My happy girl was NASTY on anesthesia. Nasty, I say. “I want to sit UP!” “Don’t SIT me up!” “I want you to HOLD ME!” “NO! Don’t hold me!” I started to think I was becoming schizo. (Maybe I am.)

Around noon, we loaded her into a hospital-provided red wagon and headed home. Purse Girl brought lunch, prezzies and some cast bling. True Blue brought dinner. Rock-es and Theos gave us more love. De-LISH stopped by with cards and gifts. And she has officially been crowned QUEEN BEAN.

So now I can’t really say anything. I just keep thinking of all of that bad ju-ju that must be lurking around us. Saying, “I’ll GIVE YOU BORING, sister.” Tired doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel.

Spent? Empty? Hollowed out? Drained? Why yes. Yes indeedy.

Tomorrow we head in for the re-scheduled radiation simulation. Then we’re supposed to review the oral chemo regimen with the oncologist. (Though it hasn’t yet arrived in our mailbox as promised.) We also have another eye dye doggy appointment to see if the ulcer is going away in between that.

I think that Nanner’s Mom summed it up well, “We all agreed you needed a break, but…” Uh. Yea. The gods have a sick sense of humor.

And I am pretty sure that no one in our amazing group of supportive friends will be able to stick around for much more. And neither will we.

Drama is the new black. Matthews style.

TODAY’S THEME SONG: No Complaints. Beck. We are aimless. And the target is an empty wall. We’re out of patience. With smiles that cut across her face. No complaints. But I wish I had my top of my brain.

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2 Responses to “>Boring is for losers.”

  1. Keely October 19, 2010 at 4:18 am #

    >Seriously, is it fucking 2011 yet?? 2010 is just bad news…But there's a winning lottery ticket in your future, I know it!

    Like

  2. Lara October 19, 2010 at 2:57 pm #

    >Oh Cassy, it's been a crap-tastic week for you. Add me to your list of people to call, and I'll be right there. I swear to God, you will get through this and your sanity will be there because you look GREAT with your pixie hair cut!!Hugs and smooches,Lara

    Like

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