Sunday, April 22, 2012

"The" Post Part III - Are you serious???

So, I don't think I'm ruining the surprise by saying I made it through the night.

The next couple of days are made up of moments for me.  People visiting in canary yellow robes, hats and face masks.  I did find it incredibly funny to see everyone dressed up like that.  Suddenly, my Mom was there so there was no more worrying about who was taking care of Hubby and the Boy, not that there was a ton of capacity for that anyway.

I remember the moment that I guess I was finally getting enough oxygen to my brain to realize that this was serious.  I wasn't supposed to go to the bathroom without assistance.  I may have a bit of a reputation of being independent and stubborn.  The oxygen hose was long enough for me to make it, so I went for it. I made it maybe three steps before I heard loud beeping, people running in and the world going black.  I woke up to a scolding from an older nurse that would make my Mother proud.  Needless to say, I let my pride go out the window and buzzed from that point forward for help.

We lived in a smaller town so we had the rare combination of our family doctor having privileges at our local hospital.  He arranged for what he called the most competent internist in the hospital to take over my case.  It was decided that they needed to run a scope to my lungs and see what else may be lurking in there.  In order to do that, I needed to be transferred to the big hospital in our region.  So, I got to go on a lovely ambulance ride.

When I was checked into the ICU at that hospital, it was like the Ritz.  Beautiful flat screen TV, nice curtains and the nurses were so incredibly nice ... and young.  There were quite a few conversations about my cancer.  Again, most of them had never heard of it.  I felt the need to constantly reassure the currently pregnant nurse that this was very, very, very rare.  I had my scope and they were pleased to say that nothing else was found.  The blood thinners I was on had drastically shrunk the blood clot and I was on the mend.  They only needed to get my blood at the proper thickness and I would be able to go home!  Woohooo!  Home sounded great.

Until my blood was properly thinned, I need to be transferred to a regular room.  This is when I first realized room mates and general care suck!  There weren't any beds available at the hospital in our town, so I was transferred downstairs.  It seems the ICU had recently been redone and the rest of the hospital had not.  There were holes in the walls, electrical wires hanging out of the wall.  It was dark and dingy.  I also had the parting words from the ICU nurses stuck in my head, "Be careful.  There is a terrible stomach virus circulating downstairs."  So that was nice.  My roommate didn't speak a word of English and constantly moaned.  Very relaxing.  It was that first night in that room that I ran my hand through my hair and my hair stayed in my hand.  It was finally happening.  I was losing my hair.

Luckily, I only stayed in that room for one and half days.  I was then transferred back to my home hospital.  Easy for Mike and my Mom to visit, bright and cheery.  I was soooo happy.

We had decided that it was better for the Boy to not know what was going on.  He was two and we certainly didn't want to scare him.  I would talk to him on the phone for as much as he was able.  Then, I would cry for a half hour or so.  I missed him so very much.  His never ending hugs and kisses are what had gotten me through so many tough days before.

I had a new roommate.  During the first day, I started hearing about how the doctors thought she had dementia and the beginning stages of Alzheimer's.  They thought the doctors were completely wrong.  I kind of agreed.  Then the sun sat.  I spent the remainder of the night assuring her that Martha (I would find out later Martha was her long dead sister) was probably just running late for their tea date.  And yes, that was very unlike Martha, but I'm sure she is fine.  The next morning I had a tear filled conversation with her daughter that my Grandmother had Alzheimer's and that I was pretty sure the doctors were right.  I told her all about Martha and their tea date.  But, at least I had a reprieve from thinking of my own problems for awhile.

Later that day, there started a rumbly in my tumbly that continued to progress.  Soon I found myself on the ground of a hospital bathroom, wearing a lovely hospital gown, with four IVs and two IV poles keeping my company, pulling out chunks of hair as I was trying to hold it back while I was puking.  Lovely.  I looked up and issued a very heart felt plea to God.  It was quite simply, "ARE YOU SERIOUS?!"  It seems God has much faith in what I can handle.  On top of everything else, I now had the dreaded stomach virus.

The good thing about the stomach virus is that I was immediately moved into my very own private room!  The next day was Valentine's Day and my Mom and Mike brought me cards and tried to make it somewhat special.  The following morning, I was finally released!  Eight days later and half bald, I finally got to go home.

Hubby made sure my homecoming was extra special.  We had been looking at new bedroom furniture for quite some time.  Somehow, between taking Travis back and forth to daycare, working, and visiting me in the hospital, he managed to get the bedroom set I wanted from Ikea and put it all together for my homecoming.  He had also gotten a TV for the bedroom.  He wanted to make sure I had a nice place to recuperate.  There are many days I wonder how I was so lucky to have found him.  This was certainly one of those days.

The first order of getting home was to finally do the big shave.  I couldn't handle these clumps of hair any more.  I was so glad my Mom was there to do the honors.  She oohed and awed about how I had the prettiest head as a baby and it was still just as pretty.  She cracks me up!

What did the Boy say now?

So, I was little nervous what the Boy would think about his newly bald Mommy.  So very tentatively, I asked him what he thought.  His response was: "You look pretty!"  I was very relieved.  Then he looked quite contemplative and added "You look like Daddy!"  It was just the comic relief I needed.  My Mom and I laughed for hours about it.  Hubby didn't find it quite as entertaining though.

It turned out to be such a godsend to have my Mother there.  Not only did she take over all the cooking and cleaning and making sure the Boy got his daily cuddles and kisses while I wasn't there, but she was there for the one thing no woman wants to do without a Mother or a Sister.  She went wig shopping with me.  We had a blast!  I tried on many different wigs and finally decided on a rather normal looking one.  Thank goodness for insurance!  Those things are mighty expensive.

My Mom and I did some other shopping and picked up the Boy from daycare.  I got home to a message from the Oncologist.  They wanted to talk about how to proceed.  I guess it was back to the reality of my life.  I was still a cancer patient.  A cancer patient who had had a toxic reaction to chemo.

(to be continued on Part IV - We all knew it was coming, but it didn't make it any easier to hear.)

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Why did my Mother raise me to be so nice?

I am taking this break from my heavier posts to share with you the dangers of being nice.

For the past few years, I have become a bit paralyzed about what to do when you see strangers in need.  I may have watched The Hitcher too young, or too many times (thanks Sis!).  

I used to be very kind to strangers.  I once even picked up a nice old lady I saw pushing her groceries in her wheelchair.  You know, the one she was supposed to be sitting in!  I drove her to her house and helped her carry in her groceries refusing any payment she wanted to give me.  I have stopped and served as a witness for every accident I have ever seen.  I've even helped with first aid when needed.  But somewhere along the way, these strangers started scaring me.  What if I helped and it was all a ruse to take advantage of a naive stranger?

Well, today I told myself I was going to stop being afraid.  I am going to start setting the example for the Boy that we are all responsible for each other.  Statistically (and we all know how statistics love me)  the majority of people in the world are nice, honest people.  I saw this lady in the grocery three times before I told myself to buck up and be kind.  Kindness is what makes the world go 'round.  Right?

So, I walk up to this sweet looking lady who is obviously wearing a horribly old and matted wig.  I say, "I mean this in the nicest possible way, but are you wearing a wig?"  She closed her eyes and took a deep breath and said, "Yes".  So I told her that I had a wig that I wore for only a little while and that if she wanted it, it was all hers.  As I said this, I made the biggest mistake in this encounter.  I handed her my card with my home phone number, my email address and my physical address.  Yes, that is right.  My physical address!  I hear you all judging now.  At the moment, it seemed like a good idea alright!

She then proceeds to tell me how she lost her hair because people aren't nice to her.  Her cat died and the lady at the vet wasn't nice.  The lady said her cat died because she didn't know how to budget.  Her neighbor turned her doctor against her (wait, what?).  At this point, I'm thinking what kind of doctor?  Is this your mental doctor?  She told me about how she grew up in a physically and emotionally abusive home.  At this point, the boy is getting a little freaked out and says "Mommy we have to go!"  NOW he decides to speak up!

So then she says she doesn't have a number, but she will give me her email address and hands me back my card.  Phew!  I may get out of this yet!  I dig through my purse to find a pen.  My kingdom for a pen!  There was no pen to be found.  But, I cleverly hold my card against my phone and type her email address into my phone.  Ha ha!  I tell her I will give her a shout and we can set up a time for me to meet her and give her my wig.  See there.  I was going to meet her in a public place where she can't break my legs and keep me hostage as her "friend".

So, I say "Have a great weekend!" and start to walk away.  I am going to get away.  I'm so excited!  At the last moment she says "But, I will keep this!" and pulls the card out of my hand.  I watch as my sanity and any sense of security go from my hand into her pocket.  I manage a weak smile and say "Bye".

So tonight, when I should be sleeping, I'm sure I will be looking up houses on MLS and looking at how to change my number and email address.  I'm sure glad I set that example for the Boy.