Wednesday, July 30, 2014

There's No Place Like… the Hospital

I'm pretty sure I should have just stayed in bed yesterday.  It didn't begin particularly well, and it ended… well, it hasn't ended yet.  Technically, I suppose it has, but it certainly hasn't seemed like it.

I could get into all the ugly details of everything that happened before Tuesday evening, but I won't.  Suffice it to say that while some parts of the day were good - visiting a friend in the hospital with ongoing issues and hanging with another friend at the pool while the kids played in the water - other bits were not so great, like losing the car in the massive hospital parking garage and causing the pool to be shut down because Doodlebug accidentally kicked Boo square in the nose and caused blood to gush everywhere.

Anyway, the real fun started after the kids went to bed.  A few days ago - I remember it being Saturday - Oz mentioned that he was having fairly strong stomach cramps.  Since his digestive system is temperamental at the best of times, he chalked it up to either something he'd eaten or some supplements that weren't agreeing with him.  So he stopped taking the supplements and assumed it would go away.

It didn't.

By Sunday evening, he was taking painkillers for the issue, and then… then on Monday evening, the pain began to change.  He didn't say anything to me, but the pain began to move and localize… in - where else? - the right lower quadrant of his abdomen.

On Tuesday evening, he admitted the movement and localization of the pain to me, and he didn't seem particularly well.  His appetite had been affected for several days, and he'd lost 10 pounds, though since it had been a couple of weeks since he'd weighed himself and he had been going to the gym, we're not sure how quickly that had come off.  Anyway, I insisted that he take his temperature, and while it was only 98.8, I know that to him that's at least a full degree of fever.  I had him take it again throughout the evening, and it rose to just under 100 degrees and stayed there.  The pain level rose with it, and by the time it was 11:30 and he went to brush his teeth and take a shower, nausea had appeared as well.

Shortly thereafter, he told me he wanted to go to the ER to get checked out.  So at 11:48 p.m. I began calling people looking for childcare.  Oz drove himself to the hospital, and once I was able to find someone whose phone rings after certain hours in the evening - mine doesn't, so I certainly understand -  I woke the kids and piled them in the car and sped across town to drop them off with an incredibly wonderful family.  (And yes, they went back to sleep once they got there and slept till sometime around 8, which is excellent!)  Then I took off to the ER after Oz.

By the time I got to the hospital he'd been triaged and had blood work drawn, and shortly after my arrival he had a CT scan of his abdomen.  And then we waited.  And waited.  And waited.  And about the time that I was about to lose my mind because it was 4 a.m. and there were two televisions playing two different channels and small children crying and people talking and I just needed peace and quiet and Oz was about to send me home to sleep until something happened, he got a room.  And 15 minutes after that, the PA on call came in, listened to him, and said (and I paraphrase), "Yup.  It's your appendix.  The doctor will be in shortly."  And he was, and he'd seen the CT scan results and said (and I paraphrase), "Yup.  It's your appendix.  And it's ugly, so I'm getting the trauma surgeon on call to come and tell you what the plan will be, but likely surgery and likely first thing in the morning."  And by the time the trauma surgeon came in and confirmed everything and gave us a tentative surgery time of 7:15, it was 5:15, and there was no point in going home, was there?

Things moved reasonably quickly after that.  Oz had a chest x-ray and an EKG, and as the EKG was being done someone came to schlep us to an actual private room, and so about 5:50 a.m., approximately 22 hours after I had awakened, we finally arrived in a room.  It was glorious.  I'm not sure how we scored the giant room that we did, and I'm sure that will show up reflected on the hospital bill later, but I was not an am not arguing.  I settled into the first comfortable chair of the night and answered questions about Oz's health (because all the gods love the man, he didn't even contemplate sleep apnea and his CPAP as being a health issue and couldn't remember his blood type and couldn't remember how high his temperature had risen throughout the evening) while half asleep.  And the nurse tech brought in pillows and blankets, and when they came to get Oz for surgery at 6:40 a.m., I was tucked in.

Of course, that meant that at 6:45 a.m., just as I was drifting off to sleep, the texts began.  I had been updating Facebook throughout the course of the night to let people know what had been happening, and some of my friends are early risers.  They were all well meaning and wanting to help, but I couldn't help wanting to chunk the phone into the wall when it buzzed.  I didn't, though, and responded to them all, grateful for such a wonderful group of friends who were willing to help.  Most of them offered to take the kids or run errands or visit or just do absolutely anything that I needed.  I could never say thank you to them all properly - I have so many favors to return as it is!  I did doze, though, and shortly before 9 a.m., the doctor who performed the surgery came in to let me know what had happened with Oz.

Oz is fine.  I'll say that first.  But the surgery was, in the surgeon's words, "a tough case."  Oz's appendix had indeed perforated and was releasing infection into his abdomen, and that all had to be suctioned out before anything else could be done.  After that, the appendix itself had to be removed, and it was "stuck" inside some inflammation and the end of it was abscessed to begin with, so that took time.  And then the whole abdominal area had to be flushed.  At this point the plan is IV antibiotics today, another round tomorrow, and we'll see how his white blood cell count and fever stands after that.  I suspect he'll be fine and ready to go home on Friday morning, but we shall see.  I'm hopeful.

I spent the day organizing places for the kids to go; actually, that's not quite true. I have two amazing friends who conspired together and commandeered my children, so all I had to do was pack bags for them and they organized all the transportation themselves.  I did talk to the kids and let them know that Daddy is okay, but I haven't seen them since midnight and it's starting to wear on me a little, mostly due to my own fatigue, I'm sure.  Anyway, I got them sorted and packed a bag for Oz to have at the hospital and spent most of the afternoon there before coming back home.

It's now 8:24 p.m., and I'm just a tad tired, as you can imagine.  I've run to the store, the animals are fed, I am fed, Oz is in good hands (and has had two bouquets delivered as well as several visitors throughout the evening), and the children are in good places.  It won't be long now before I let the dog out for the night and tuck myself into an actual bed for a good, long night's sleep.

I'll pick the kids up and let them see Daddy tomorrow, and then… well, I suppose it'll depend on what the doctor says.

I'm glad I can be there for Oz.  And I'm still so glad that I have such an amazing village of people willing to drop their own concerns and worries and rearrange schedules to help us out.  I'm so lucky.  And given the fact that Oz's issues could have been so much worse, I think he feels the same.

But I do believe I'm rather tired of hospitals for a while now…

Sunday, July 27, 2014

On Sleepwalking Sons

My son has gone sleepwalking since he was small.  He experienced night terrors when he was younger, too, but those are far less amusing and far more alarming, especially because he's a strong child and can - and WILL - fight you tooth and nail when he's having a night terror.  Thankfully those seem to have gone away with age; the last one he had that I can remember was when he was 9 and woke up screaming bloody murder at about 11:30 p.m.  Oz and I both thought that someone must have broken into his bedroom and went racing down the hall to find a shrieking, sleeping child.


Sleepwalking is far funnier.  He's done everything from peed in the trash can to holding entire discombobulated conversations.  But it had been a while since I'd seen anything particularly remarkable.

Until today.

He went over to his best friends' house yesterday.  They're twins.  The three of them sit up and play video games until their brains ooze out of their skulls, talking and laughing (and eating) ad nauseum.  They're a good group of boys, but I fail to understand the fascination of a screen.  And apparently Doodlebug felt the need to help provide snacks this time and helped himself to what was left of the loaf of cinnamon raisin bread I had in the pantry.  I had no idea he'd swiped it until I showed up to retrieve him today and noticed a bread bag in his backpack… and then five minutes later saw one of the twins hauling an uneaten piece out from another bedroom and putting it in the trash.  The twins' mom was like, "Was that moldy bread?!?"  And I had to explain that no… no, those were raisins.

I digress again.

So Doodlebug came home from his friends' house in his usual fatigued state.  They sleep during these 'sleepovers,' but only just enough to recharge their inner batteries long enough to play more games.  I suspect Doodlebug probably got about 4-5 hours of sleep, which is actually more than par but way less than the child needs.  He had some cleaning to do when he got home, but he knocked that out before he fell asleep.  I didn't know this, however, and after about an hour I called him downstairs to ask about the status of his chores.  I called once.  No answer.  I called again.  No answer.  I called a third time and got a, "Coming, Mom," after which he thumped slowly down the stairs.

This is where it got good.  Instead of coming into the living room and talking to me, he walked behind me and into the laundry room.  He opened the dryer.  He paused.  He felt around the top of the dryer - for what, I do not know.  He paused again.  He pulled out the lint trap and stared at it, then blinked and cleaned it.  He tossed the lint into the trash can and returned the lint trap.  At this point, I started giggling and Oz, who was still waiting on the boy to come talk to me, gave me an odd look.

"He's sleepwalking," I told him.

"He is?  Is he going to feed the animals?"

Something registered in Doodlebug's mind when Oz said that, and he did in fact turn to open the closet where we keep the animals' food.

"No, Doodlebug," I called out gently.  "It's not time to feed the animals yet."

The boy turned back to the dryer.

"Can you close the dryer, please?"

He obligingly closed it… and reached for the controls to turn it on.

"No, don't turn it on, please.  There's nothing in it."

He lowered his hand.  Then he walked to the light switch and flicked it off.  And stood there.  At this point, my goal was just to get him safely back upstairs and into his bed again.  I wasn't even concerned about the status of the cleaning.

"Doodlebug, can you come here, please?"

He wandered out of the laundry room and back into the living room.  Oz still wasn't convinced he was sleeping.  "Hey, Doodlebug, what color is a pink elephant?"

Doodlebug stared at him for a minute, wrinkled his brow, and said, "I don't know."

I sighed and figured I'd prove things definitively.  "Can you hold up eight fingers?"

And that request broke the child.  He almost burst into tears.  Don't worry - I felt bad and gave him a good cuddle before I sent him back upstairs.  It's kind of fun fitting a 5'6" 110-pound child in your lap, but a mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do.

He's awake now, for real, and has no memory of any of this.  And while it's kind of cute that he does chores while sleepwalking, it also concerns me how lucid he seems during these times.  Because a normal person would never have realized that it was sleepwalking.  I only know because I know.

Heaven help us all if he sleepwalks during school one day.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Summer of Blog Neglect

Apparently I can't keep up with this blog during summer.  I'd say I'll do better, but… yeah, I probably won't.  I feel like I should say something like, "It's been 20 days since my last confession…"

But I won't do that, either.

I started seeing a therapist a week and a half ago.  I've only seen her once, for the initial intake, but I liked her.  I go back later this week to start actual therapy, and if the first visit is any indication, I'm going to need a big box o' Kleenex.  At least this time I'm going in with a week or so of decent moods under my belt and not weeks of emotional lability.  It's the little things.  I also have a plan for the future, more or less, and have started working toward it, doing things like putting together a resume and filling in the odd online job application.  Of course, I'm sure I'll wind up doing something through a temp agency because nobody wants to hire a cold-call nobody with an empty resume, but it's a start.  I'll keep working.

I got back from a brief trip today.  A few weeks ago one of my friends announced that her husband was moving his start-up company to some rented office space, which meant that she was going to have a finished garage space to use as a school/game room for her kids, and she needed furnishings for it.  Which meant that she wanted to make a run down to Ikea in Dallas.  Oz and I had been talking about running down there and getting some bookshelves from Ikea at some point (and really, if Doodlebug will ever manage to learn how to take care of property properly, we'd get him new bedroom furniture, too), but he didn't really care if he went, so he agreed to watch the kids, and suddenly I was headed to Dallas.  We also took along some rented muscle - a friend of mine's boyfriend, because my friend wanted another dresser to go with some other Ikea furniture she'd gotten on her recent trip down to the Big D.

Both of them had been to Ikea before.  I hadn't.  We got there when it opened at 10, and Oz texted around 12:30 to ask if we'd left yet.  Nope… we sure hadn't.  We had actually eaten lunch AND made it to the area where we were pulling boxes, which was an impressive feat that no doubt would never have been accomplished if my girlfriend hadn't made a wish list, including aisle and bin numbers, before we even headed out.  That store is an adventure and a half, for certain.

I didn't even wind up getting proper bookshelves… well, not the ones I'd planned to get, anyway.  I got this instead:

It seemed more appropriate to the space, my taste, and the varying sizes of the books and whatever else the kids might want to stash on the shelves.  I like breaking up the monotony a little.  I got home around 6 and put this together before the kids went to bed.  Oz helped a bit when I got frustrated… mostly I hate Allen wrenches and didn't know he had a bit for that in his screwdriver.  That would have been nice to know before I started, but c'est la vie.

Back to reality now and appointments the rest of the week.  I actually booked myself a spa visit for one day this week (using a gift certificate Oz got me for my birthday in April), so that should be an interesting experience in itself!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Busy Weeks with Friends

Summer is officially here, and if I ever had any concerns that summer was going too slowly, they're now definitely dispelled.  This week alone has had activities and visits with friends coming out of every available calendar date.

Sunday night I hosted our monthly book club.  It's an informal gathering (reading the book is suggested but more or less optional) where we mostly sit around and eat, drink, and be merry.  Ordinarily the book club foundress (is that a word?) hosts, but she had been out of town for a couple of weeks and had only gotten home a couple days before.  Nobody should come home and host an event, right?  So I held it here.

On Monday, the kids and I piled in the car and drove across town to visit a friend who has a daughter a little bit younger than Boo.  She and I chatted while the girls ran around; Doodlebug was bored, but that was his fault since I had asked him to bring something to do to entertain himself.  Anyway, we set up a sleepover for Boo and the other girl in another week or two, and they're already counting the days.

Today we went over to another friend's house.  She and I are incredibly close, so when I showed up and her hair was wet and her son was wearing the same shirt he'd been wearing constantly since Sunday, it was no big deal.  She did dishes and cleaned, and I drank coffee and wandered around with her, and then we ordered pizza for lunch because fixing food was out of the question.  Who wants to do that when Mazzio's delivers?  The kids had been playing with water guns by that point and were sopping wet.  Anyway, we had a good time.  

The rest of this week is filled with plans for equally good times.  We have a tour at a museum, another visit with a friend (this one's coming to our house), lunch plans with another friend, the 4th of July, and a get-together with another family.  

Every time I think I'm an introvert, my calendar fills up with weeks like these and I realize exactly how much I love getting together with people and look forward to them.  I love hanging out with my friends, and I'm grateful for all of them!  Knowing a wide variety of wonderful people really does make life better.