Saturday, November 5, 2011

Life Throwing Sucker Punches

After Keith's birthday, things got chaotic.

Of course, we celebrated in grand style.  Made his day as special as we could.  I may have enjoyed it just as much as he did.

Tuesday of that week my grandfather had a stroke.  He kept falling down, and after my father and his brothers gave Grandpa a blessing, he was taken to the hospital the next day.

There he was admitted to the... I am not sure what it is called.  It wasn't the ICU, but it was a high risk area.  They took him off his coumadin so his blood could clot where there was bleeding in the brain.

Thursday was my birthday.

It was probably the worst birthday I can remember.  It was just a regular day, but filled with worry over my grandfather.  That day my mother called me and informed me Grandpa had been up all night vomiting blood.  They were worried he was hemorrhaging in his stomach.  I was very worried at that point.  When Jeffrey got home from work, we tried to find a way we could go visit Grandpa.  After much talking and rearranging of plans, my inlaws were able to watch the kids and Jeffrey and I went up to visit him.  However we were told he was being taken in for a CT scan, so to take our time arriving.

We went to my favorite Indian restaurant while we waited.  As always, it was delicious.

Happily, it was right by the hospital so we were able to eat quickly and then hurry over to see how things were going with Grandpa.  As we arrived, nurses were wheeling him away for the scan.  It just took them longer than they had anticipated to get him in for the scan.

I visited with my parents, brother, grandmother and aunts and uncles.  Everyone was tense and on pins and needles.  We made small talk while we waited for Grandpa to come back, and hoped to be able to hear the news that he was fine along with his return.

But that is not how it works with doctors.

Someone takes a scan or x-ray, and then someone has to read it, and then they pass it along to the doctor who then makes you stand on your head or juggle before telling you the results.  At least that is what it feels like when you are in the throes of anxiousness.

Grandpa looked around at all our concerned faces, and said "Okay, you can all go home now."  Inwardly I laughed.  That is my grandpa!  Taking charge of a situation even when everything at the moment seems helpless.  Slowly people began to talk of leaving.  My stud-muffin of a brother decided to stay the night in the hospital room with him so my grandmother could go home and get some rest in her own bed.

We were told to not expect news until the next day, and that no news, in this situation is definitely good news.

As people began to say goodbye to Grandpa, he focused his attention on Jeffrey and began talking to him about his job.  I watched as my aunt tried to say goodbye and give him a kiss.  He didn't respond to her, just waved as he was talking to Jeffrey.  Grandma gave him a hug and a kiss, and that broke his intent gaze on Jeffrey for just a moment as he gave a hurried half interested goodbye to Grandma.  And then went back to talking to my hubby.  Eventually, we too gave our hugs and left.

On the ride home Jeffrey admitted he was very touched that Grandpa, even in his circumstance then, would show such interest in him.  He got a little emotional at the show of love and attention Grandpa had demonstrated.  I felt a little bad that my aunt and Grandma didn't get more of a farewell, but was also touched.  That Grandpa of mine is a good man!

All day the next day I called my parents continually, waiting for news.

Finally, near the end of the day my dad had news.

Basically, Grandpa had had a stroke in his stomach.  Evidently there is a major artery that runs through (or near, I forget) the stomach.  A blood clot had passed through that, which had caused him to be so sick and vomiting blood all night long.

We had so many questions and it was hard, every day hearing the same news.  "We don't know.  The doctor didn't say."

The next day the kids wanted to go to the mountains so I packed them into the car after their naps and we headed out.  Half way there, we decided to turn around and go visit Grandpa in the hospital.

Faye had been afraid of the whole situation the first time (Wednesday) we stopped by to visit.  She wouldn't go near Grandma or Grandpa.  Friday she was much more friendly.  Keith was loving it.  He told everyone he wanted to be a doctor, and while we were waiting to go in to see Grandpa (they were doing something, or checking something, and his room was very crowded) he asked the nurses how all their machines worked.  It was darling.

After waiting 45 minutes we were finally able to go in.  Grandpa looked better than he had the night before, but still wasn't doing well.  A phlebotomist came in to take blood and that scared Keith.  As we walked out of the hospital, he turned to me with solemn eyes and said with gravity "Mommy, I want to be a doctor, but not in a hospital.  I only want to be a doctor in an office.  And I wont give anyone shots."

The next day, Faye developed some white canker looking blisters in her mouth.  She acted fine, but we kept her home from church on Sunday, just in case.  While talking to Keith's preschool teacher about it the next day, another teacher overheard, looked in Faye's mouth, and pronounced she had Hand Foot and Mouth.  She had seen 15 cases of it in her class the previous month.  I guess it is going around like mad right now!  Luckily it didn't seem to bother her, it was just highly contagious, and had to run its course.  Medication wouldn't really do anything for it.

And this is why I had stopped blogging for a while.  Too much going on.

The Saturday before Halloween I called Grandma to see if there was any news on Grandpa.  There was.  He is home now!  And doing much better.  Faye is better as well.

But, just as one crisis cleared up, another hurriedly took its place.  Jeffrey's mother got a phone call last week that his uncle was in the hospital.  He had been feeling sick, so went to the doctor.  A tumor the size of a baseball was found in his brain behind his eye.  Two days later we (and by 'we' I mean 'I' because I am not always in the loop with these things) learned that he has stage 4 cancer.

It has been a very difficult thing for Jeffrey's family.  Especially his father.  My FIL worries a lot.  If there is something to worry about, he has a talent for worrying it much worse than it actually is.  These past few days  I have been inadvertently causing him a lot of stress because I have a big mouth.  Several times I have upset him without knowing it by talking to Jeffrey about completely unrelated topics.  The rise of autism in the US and specifically UT.  Possible causes for that.  We talked about nutrition.  We talked about crumbling families in this day and age.  And because the poor man is under so much stress, hearing about negative things really affects him.  I have had to be very careful with my topics of conversation.  Which I am happy to do, I just forget sometimes, and then feel bad.

Again, this is why I this little blog of mine has been vacant.  Not that I am apologizing.  It is my blog and I can do anything I like with it.  But for my sake, and my posterity's sake, I need to document these things.  Especially these things, no matter how un-eloquently it may be.

Happily, I got a gym membership for my birthday, so have been getting up at 5:00 every morning and working out from 5:30 until 7:30.  I feel great, it has helped give me direction amidst all the stress that has been going on.  I have a way to get out some of the build up that naturally accompanies situations like these sucker punches Life occasionally likes to throw out.  The gym and mad cleaning have honestly helped me stay sane and surprisingly upbeat.  


Francisca and Chris said...

I'm glad you let us in on what is going on! I've been so worried. Y'all have been and will continue to be in my prayers!!!!

PS: Congrats on the membership. THis is awesome!

Em said...

oh man, that is a lot to take in all at once. when i was doing my student teaching we had an outbreak of foot in mouth. there was a mother of a student in the class that was pregnant who was severely at risk b/c foot in mouth can cause miscarriages in pregnant women. i remember give her the flier and she had panic on her face. i am jealous of your gym time. while i hate gyms, i wish i could get back into my swimming weekly routine. i just haven't had it in me to go at the end of the day and fell out of my habbit when i was sick during the first 4 months. hopefully i will get back into it soon!

Terra said...

that is one full plate of crumby stuff, let me tell you, your attitude though, is great! I am so sorry you are dealing with all this...drop me a line anytime!

Confessions of a PTO Mom said...

Amy, we know you're still here! And we're here for you, too.


Anonymous said...

I know exactly what it is like to have so many things thrown at you at once. I will pray for you and your family.