It’s hard to know where to begin when my mind is reeling with so much that has happened in the last couple of days, so I guess I’ll just start with the obvious.
A week and a half ago, my husband was given a green light by his surgeon on getting back into a normal routine. He was the “poster child” for recovery. (I kid you not. The surgeon not only said this to us verbatim, but also wrote it in a letter to each of my husband’s other physicians. “Poster child for recovery.”)
Fast forward to this past Wednesday. Beautiful weather and our kiddos were at camp. Knowing that he had just a few more days on short term disability before returning to work on Monday (er…that’d be today), I agreed to his semi-ambitious trip to the Susquehanna River to go fishing. (Or something like that. He fishes. I read and take photos of dragonflies on my toes.) It’s an hour drive one-way and just getting the boat prepped can be a lot of work. He assured me that he would take his time, move slowly, and keep alert for any signs that he wasn’t doing so hot.
In short, the day was lovely. He didn’t overdo it. He caught fish. Happy man.
We had a picnic lunch and enjoyed watching herons. We even left the river a little early so we could get home and nap before picking up the kids. Upon waking from the nap, however, he couldn’t stop saying how chilled he was… And that’s when we discovered he had a 101 degree fever.
A fever that, just one day later, led to 20.5 hours in two separate ERs, plus a 1.5 hour transport via ambulance in the middle of the night. Ultimately, he was admitted on Friday night for an abscess that doctors ended up draining through Interventional Radiology (IVR). (I had no idea this was a thing for draining an abscess. Have you ever heard of Interventional Radiology? He didn’t even need to be put under again!) Then we were sent home on Saturday with a drain for 2 weeks.
This. This was our “poster child for recovery.”
There is so much that has gone through my head in the last five days that I can hardly keep it all straight. Lack of sleep doesn’t help, of course. My mind has been foggy, my thoughts muddled, and my mood short.
He actually asked me yesterday morning if I was mad at him. As if I could be mad at him. No, I’m not mad at him. I’m mad at the situation. I’m mad at the continued issues. That we couldn’t get the prescriptions he needed filled because when you get home from the hospital at 8 p.m. on a Saturday, every pharmacy within a 20-mile radius is closed. That when I finally did get to our pharmacy at 9 a.m. on Sunday morning, they forgot I was there for a script and I waited over half an hour even though I was the only customer. That every time I think we can finally breathe a sigh of relief and begin to move forward, life has a nasty little prank to pull. “You can go back to normal now…j/k!” Life seems to want to yell to us.
So today is filled with phone calls. Calls for extra medical supplies. Calls to schedule a follow up with IVR. Calls to schedule with our regular physician this week and more calls to schedule with the specialist again next week.
But in the midst of the disarray, there’s one thing that moves me to tears above the frustration of the unknown. It’s the amazing level of support we’ve gotten from everyone around us, the people who are willing to pitch in at a moment’s notice (literally—a moment’s notice). When I suspected that we might need to head to the ER, I texted my next door neighbor to ask if she would be around that night, she replied that she would be around all night and all weekend if we needed anything at all. This sounds like a good neighbor, right?
Wrong. This is one of best neighbors anyone could ask for. She’s basically already single-mom-ing it with two kids of her own since her husband is away for work at the moment, but two more kids? Sure! Come on over! When we realized that our ER visit was going to turn into an overnight stay, she came over to our house, packed up jammies and clothes for the kids, fed and let out our dogs, and welcomed everyone back to her house for a sleepover. What? You’re going to have an extended hospital stay? No problem. Kids and pets are fine and taken care of. Everything is good here. Oh, also, niece and nephew are visiting on Saturday…now bringing her total kid count to six. She even texted me to let me know that I have “really good kids.” ***
In addition to our neighbor, another set of good friends also immediately texted when they found out what was going on. Do you need the girls to come stay with us? We can take them overnight. I can’t explain the wave of gratitude that washes over you when you realize that you have people willing to immediately jump in and pick up the pieces that you, in your disheveled mental state, have dropped along the way. Though I was still panicked about the ever-changing plans that seemed to be charging us like an angry bull, we had back up. And we had back up for our back up.
My parents, who live just over an hour away, came to take care of kids and house and pets the following day. They even picked me up from the train station to take me to the first hospital to pick up my car where I had left it in the ER parking lot while taking an ambulance ride to the second hospital. They, too, cannot be taken for granted. The value of family should never be discounted (even if there are often expectations that family should be first on the list to jump in when life’s plans go awry). My parents would run themselves ragged if it meant helping us out. Of that, I have no doubt. I came home to cleaned litter pans, washed dishes, and trash taken out—none of which was taken care of before I’d left for the hospital.
So I’ll wrap up this rambling post by saying that I am so grateful, so very thankful, for all of the support we have received (and continue to receive) throughout the last few days. They say you can consider yourself lucky if you can count on one hand the number of people you can depend on in a pinch. And yet, we’ve got enough to cover two hands, and maybe even a few toes to boot. I don’t think a leprechaun clutching a four-leaf clover in one hand and a rabbit’s foot in the other and riding a unicorn with a saddlebag full of horseshoes could match the level of fortune we’ve managed in these last days.
Apparently, it’s also hard to know where to end this post, so I guess I’ll just end with the obvious.
*** I’m still not sure whether this text came before or after my youngest spilled an entire slushie all over their carpet… Really good kids? Maybe. Really great neighbors? Definitely.