Saturday, October 27, 2007
“What? The hospital? Why? What happened?”
My heart is racing. My mind is frantic. Here I am at a stupid football game, and something’s happened to daddy. Angela isn’t even here with me! She’s at a dance clinic. I can’t concentrate. I tell myself not to get too upset in front of David as I grab him from the after-game huddle and tell him we have to leave… NOW!
I race to the high school to pick up Angela. Oh, hurry up! Just go get her! Time seems to tick by slowly as we wait for her to come out of the gym. She wants to know what’s up. If I only knew!
On to the hospital. I’m sure everything is going to be okay. At least, I think so. How many messages did mom leave before she finally reached me? Was it four? And how many from Lisa (my sister)? And didn’t Mom say she sent the neighbor to the field to find me? I thought I saw her here. I wondered why she was at a little league football game since her kids are grown, but I guess she didn’t see me. Who would’ve thought she was there to get me? I wonder if Lisa is on her way to the hospital, too.
I’m struggling not to cry as I speed to the hospital. The more upset I am, the more scared the kids will be. Mom didn’t say what was actually wrong with daddy, after all. (And yes, I still call him daddy most of the time, not dad, and I probably always will, no matter how old I am.)
I finally arrive and park, and I notice how hot and sunny it is as we walk to the emergency entrance. My heart is still pounding. I have no idea what to expect. The hospital is a stark contrast to afternoon outside: cold and sterile.
My first question is, “Did Daddy wake up?” The answer is no. “Why not?” We really don’t know yet, they tell me. He collapsed after he came home from a CPR class he was taking with some friends. How ironic. He had actually had them show them how to do the Heimlich maneuver on him. Maybe it interfered with his breathing or his heart. His stomach is also bleeding. I sit trembling, waiting for the doctors to come out and tell me he is going to be okay. Daddy’s friends try to comfort me, but I’m inconsolable.
“We can’t do anything for him here,” the Asian doctor states in a heavy accent dripping with insincerity. I hate him! Of course, if he knew what he was doing, he could help my dad. Life-Flight is going to take him down to the Medical Center, and they will make him well. They’ll figure it out. If the doctors in Houston’s Medical Center downtown (world-renowned for heart, cancer, and other life-saving treatments) can’t fix him, then no one can.
We watch the bright red helicopter take off into the lonely, blue sky. They’ll be at the other hospital before we are.
The kids go stay with their dad while Lisa, Mom, and I hurry downtown. The entrance of this hospital looks like that of a classy, chic hotel rather than a place where people are ill. Fancy marble floors, elegant sitting areas, even entertainment in the lobby, not to mention actual restaurants, rather than just a typical cafeteria. Not that I care about food right now.
Up fourteen flights on the elevator we go. Daddy is in a room by himself, connected to bleeping machines, one that breathes for him, one to measure his heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, oxygen levels, and who knows what else. There is a bag draining his stomach of fluids I am sure shouldn’t be there. If it were anyone but him, I wouldn’t be able to tolerate the sight. The vision of him lying there helpless is so unlike what I know to be true of my father. I kiss his cheek, hold his hand, and wait. They have already performed numerous tests, but it’s going to be a long night.
Day two of this nightmare. “Why won’t Daddy wake up?” The question remains the same. The doctor takes us (family) to a small conference room. A white laminated table dominates the room. There are six metal chairs. We sit. The doctor puts some x-rays on the wall and flicks on a light. This is daddy’s brain. A subdural hematoma has occurred, probably happening so fast he felt nothing. That’s no comfort. The blood has compressed the brain tissue. He’s not breathing on his own and his heart is not beating on his own. There is no brain activity. Blah, blah, quality of life, blah, blah, nothing we can do, blah, blah, decision to make.
I hold daddy’s cold hand that has held mine so often in times of need. I love him so much. It’s time. Slower, the beeping gets slower until there is more time in between each one. “No, daddy! “Don’t go!” For a moment, there is the slightest increase in the beeping. Then, it stops. “NO!”
It wasn’t time, Daddy. At least, not according to me. We weren’t ready for this. I don’t know how to live without you as part of my life. The twins are only 8. How will they ever understand this? How will they grow up without their Papaw? Who will I turn to for solace, advice, an ear to listen? Something is wrong in the world. Has it completely stopped turning?
The hospital chapel is warm. It should be soothing. It should be a place for quiet reflection. It’s not. It’s empty, like me. I say a prayer for you, daddy, but mostly, I pray for us.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
1. Murder mystery – each person is assigned a character and follows a “script” until a guest figures out whodunit.
2. Costumer parade – let the little ones parade around the neighborhood. Make sure all the neighbors know when to be outside to see the little ghosts and ghouls.
3. White elephant party – each guest brings an item from their home that they don’t want – pink go-go boots, a stuffed Flinstones doll, an orange and green argyle sweater – the yuckier the better! Gifts are numbered, and each guest “gets” to take home something new.
4. Graffiti party – Guests arrive in white tee-shirts and get to write on each other’s shirts with markers. Better yet, use highlighters. Then, turn on the black light (remember the 70’s?) and wow!
5. Pumpkin carving contest – A traditional favorite. Guests can work in teams to carve the most creative pumpkin.
6. Hayride – Another traditional favorite. Load the kids onto a cart or wagon full of hay and take a tractor ride in the cool, autumn evening.
7. Face painting – Ask a teenager to come over and paint jack-o-lanterns, ghosts, or black cats on the little one’s cheeks.
8. Haunted house – Get creative and turn your front yard, garage, or living room into a haunted house for the neighborhood kids complete with spider webs, gooey eyeballs (peeled grapes), guts (spaghetti noodles), ghosts (on a pulley), a graveyard with tombstones, and things that go bump in the night!
9. Mask-making- Little ones can use paint, paper plates, and string to make masks.
10. Pumpkin Patch – Visit a pumpkin patch and take photos for the scrapbook.
11. Bobbing for Apples – Get an old washtub, fill it with water and apples, and let guests take turns dunking their faces until they come out with an apple in their teeth.
12. Recipe contest – Have guests bring their most original pumpkin recipe.
13. Trick-or Treating! Duh!
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Friday, October 19, 2007
What would it be like to feel as though we were really in charge of our own destinies? To feel like the whole world was at our feet? Awesome! See the picture of my new home?
If I were being altruistic, my first act as queen would be delivering the world from hunger, prejudice, ignorance, violence, drugs, abuse, and other evils. Do I have to select one? I can’t! How can I decide if education is more or less valuable than income? How can I decide if addiction is more or less horrifying than neglect? How can I decide if food is more or less necessary than the love of a parent or friend? Well, obviously food is more necessary for existence, but is it enough to provide a quality of life worth living? Thank goodness I am NOT queen of the world!
As a selfish queen, my first act would be to quit my regular job. I’m free!!! After that, I think that I would like to sleep uninterrupted for at least eight hours. I would like to be surrounded by the people that I love doing the things we all love to do, except when I feel like being alone. Tee-hee! Maybe I would make a World Day of Scrapbooking. Oh! Something like that probably already exists. Perhaps I would make it a month. Heck! Let’s make it the national hobby. I would most definitely move into a castle with mysterious, daunting towers and an alligator-filled moat. While I’m queen, I would like to induct someone into knighthood. “I dub thee Sir Knight,” I would say as I touched each of his (or her?) shoulders with a sharp, shiny sword. I’d have to be careful not to cut an ear off! Perhaps, being selfish, I would have some plastic surgery and liposuction (ewww – I don’t know about that). Better yet, I could hire a nutritionist to plan my meals, a chef to prepare them, and a personal trainer who would help me discipline myself to look my best, without sweating too much, of course. Best of all, as queen, everyone would have to follow my rules or OFF WITH THEIR HEADS! Oh, to be queen. A girl can dream!
Saturday, October 13, 2007
I got to see Collin and Connor on Wednesday in the NICU. They are perfectly formed, have all the necessary "parts," and seem to be thriving. Obviously, they are in for a very long stay at L'Hotel Hos-pitelle.
Today they had heart surgery. Yes, heart surgery. A fetus close to a full-term birth produces a substance causing the Ductus Arteriosus (a blood vessel in the heart) to close so the baby will be able to breathe air that has been oxygenated via the heart. In preemies, the blood vessel doesn't close, so the doctors surgically close it for them. IT WAS A SUCCESS for both of them!
We are not completely out of the woods yet, so to speak, but at this point, things look optimistic. My step-daughter-in-law was not doing so well after the birth, but she has improved greatly. Her blood pressure wasn't going down, she was on anti-seizure medication, and she had pulmonary edema. She has improved so much she may come home tomorrow. Isn't God great?
UPDATE - My D-I-L is much better. She's home now.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
D-I-L had to be admitted to the hospital for pre-eclampsia last weekend. She was pregnant with twins, just like I was 11 years ago! I also developed pre-eclampsia and had to be hospitalized. However, hers became worse more rapidly than did mine. I was able to hold off delivery for almost two weeks. She had to deliver today. The risk factors are kidney failure, seizures, and death (for the mom), and the only way to cure the mom and save her life is to deliver the babies.
She was only 25 weeks pregnant. I had made it to 33 weeks, and my babies were little, only 3 and 4 pounds. The new babies, Connor and Collin, are only 1 pound and 1 pound 5 ounces. They're hanging in there, though, with the assistance of the NICU at the best OB/GYN hospital in the state of Texas (in my humble opinion). Their mom is on medications to continue the prevention of seizures, but she may be released from the hospital in a few days. C and C may be looking at a 3 month stay, depending on how things go. They are perfectly formed babies... just tiny. They have to learn to eat, drink, and gain some weight, as well as be able to maintain their body temperature outside of an incubator in order to be released, so it will be a while.
Please pray that nothing goes wrong, that they continue to develop normally, and that they will be a joy to all who know them. Thanks!
Saturday, October 06, 2007
I never realized I actually LIKE the game of football... until my son started playing. It doesn't hurt that they're actually a pretty good team. He played in 3rd grade, and his team won one game all season. He took a year off in 4th grade because we moved. Last year, 5th grade, they were our north division champions and lost a close game in the "Superbowl." This year, 6th grade, their record is 6 and 1. They'll definitely be in the playoffs, but there is one other team threatening to take the title of north division champs away.
I look forward to the Saturday games all week! I love sitting in the stands watching my son play. Last year, I was the cheer coach, so I missed a lot of the game, but this year, I get to see every play, and I can actually talk to my son about what happened in the game. I love when he asks me, "Mom, did you see (...)?" I can actually say, "Yes! I saw that!" I've learned so much about the game, too. You'd think I'd know all about it since I had to sit through every high school and college game when I was on dance team, but back then, who cared what happened on the field? I didn't, to say the least. I even like watching the pros play sometimes, although their games don't move with the same speed and intensity. Some of our games are real nail-biters. The boys are so equal in ability. It makes for a pretty awesome game!
So, this is how I spent my Saturday. How about you?
UPDATE - They are now 7 and 1 with the same team threatening their record. My boy recovered a fumble during the last game. He was so proud and excited! Me, too!