Men are Such Whiners

10.1.12

Mr. G had his surgery Thursday. He came home in a drug induced haze and my mother handed him a bell to ring so he could summon me. The ringing of the bell was unpleasant but very likely felt about 8,000 times better than my husband’s head did after being cut open.

As much as that bell irritated me, my husband never did.

Maybe I live in an alternate universe but I’m really surprised when the first things folks expect to hear from me is that my husband is a whiny baby when he’s sick. First of all he isn’t so the assertion that men are babies when they are sick is patently untrue. My son isn’t particularly needy when he’s feeling ill.

The only high maintenance sick person in this house is me.

I’ve spent the last two years moaning about my own health, staying downstairs for most of the day (and asking my family to run up and down for me), and avoiding anyone who so much as sniffles (no matter how much I love them). Maybe because of my neediness I’m sensitive to this. I try to not whine. I try to be a good mother but the reality is that good mothers can get up and down stairs a little better than I. Good mothers don’t need to pull their cars to the side of the road for a nap.

I did the best I could.

So maybe it’s my own insecurity that makes me cringe when folks want to know how whiny my husband is. My typical reaction is to tell them that he’s Superman. I’m sure Mr. G would die if he could hear me talk because one of his superpowers is humility, another other is his physical strength. His surgery was Thursday, the doctor shaved down his septum and then fucked around with his sinus cavity either tamping things down or scraping things out… I don’t recall exactly because I was busy trying to not pass out when the doctor described it. Friday morning my husband didn’t require pain killers.

Maybe he’s so out of touch with his feelings that he can’t even feel the physical ones. If so he’s the perfect man because I’m incredibly inconsiderate and clumsy. I can hurt both body and soul, but never on purpose. Not with him anyhow.

I’m prickly about this one today. I hope suspect that my son is going to get married one day and I’d hate to think that his bride was weaned on a steady diet of men are weak. My daughter deserves the opportunity to love a man without making fun of him for being one. My children worship their father, he has earned that lofty position and I guard it for all of our sakes. I love my girlfriends, all of you, and we’ve promised to not tear each other down. I’d love for us to promise the same for each other’s spouses.

 

Small Surgeries With Big Outcomes

09.28.12

My husband had always sniffled a little more than most. It wasn’t until he took a baseball to the nose that the sniffling and breathlessness was completely out of control. Little League broke my husband and only a talented surgeon could unbreak him.

In keeping with his general Type-A personality it took a lot of work to schedule his surgery. In addition to all the pre-op requirements we then had to make a last minute maneuver to go from an 8am start to a 1pm start. Why? Well, my beloved had a morning meeting that he felt like he couldn’t miss. I brought him to work and then at 11 sharp we flew him outta that office got to Cedars and started surgery day.

I found that I was completely exhausted and there was nothing physically draining about the morning (except that I hadn’t eaten). Emotionally I was battered… although that didn’t make a whole lot of sense either. As soon as they took Mr. G in to start IVs and whatnot I ran across the street to the Capital Grille for a soup and salad. Partway through the salad my phone rang, it was Mr. G and as soon as I answered it the call dropped. I inhaled my salad, threw an AMEX at the waiter and ran back to the surgery center.

On the way back to the surgery center I noticed a family who I’d seen in the waiting room. They were all wearing tee shirts that read, “H’ears to Lucy”. When you see four people wearing the same cheery shirts it’s okay to start a conversation, right? I said, “Excuse me. My husband is having surgery too and I couldn’t help but notice your shirts. Is someone having a cochlear implant?” And I was shocked by the answer. Lucy is apparently getting ears. Really. She was born without them and there may or may not be an ear canal but there’s a growth of some sort that needs to come out… It’s a long story but of course they have a blog and a spectacular attitude.

Surgery centers are cold places and I don’t mean that figuratively. If you think about where new diseases and life forms come from it’s the equator where it’s warm and damp. Hospitals are places where you don’t want things to grow and thrive so they are cold and dry. I figured I could just as easily wait in the warm car as I could in the cold waiting room so I hopped in and as I went to put the seat down to a napping position (okay I love a good nap) I noticed there was no gas in it.

After filling up with gas I drove down 3rd Street and decided I’d earned a treat so I popped into the Magnolia Bakery. I had perfect parking and wandered in and looked in the display cases when something truly incredible happened. I wasn’t interested. When I looked at the cupcakes I could see the flour and sugar in them and I realized that they’d give me headaches and my joints would be disasters. I think I’ve officially lost interest in foods that make me feel bad. This is a miracle, perhaps more than a miracle. I don’t mean to eclipse the fact that at that same moment a surgeon had his hand inside my husband’s head. Or maybe I do, because not wanting a cupcake in the midst of an emotional day is a quite possibly more miraculous than anything I’ve ever heard of.

I sat down to read my text messages and found out that Cassie is both gay and bulimic. One of these things worries me. One of them does not. Note: to all my friends (and Cassie is a good one) please come out to me not in a blog post… or if you do come out in a blog post make it your own site so I don’t have to link to strangers. That’s really all I’m asking. The bulimia is upsetting. Hopefully Cassie will love every part of herself one day very soon, she certainly is deserving of that.

By 4pm Mr. G’s septum was undeviated and some bone had been shaved down. They called me in and the surgeon was all excited to tell me about it even when he went into excruciating detail and the color drained from my face. By 4pm I was the last person left in the waiting room and they called me in.

My husband was wasted. Not like a litte bit but like fucking with the nurses wasted. He kept asking them for aftercare instructions and they were like, “Your wife has everything.” To which he’d reply with some nonsense about his mind being a steel trap. Totally believable if you aren’t slurring your words. He, of course, was anxious to get back to work even wondering if he could get back to the office. I can see where Percocet and email would be great for a career.

And then the vomiting started. It wasn’t Mr. G but it was someone in that recovery room. There was gagging, retching and splashing. Actual splashing sounds. So I did what every wife would do. I smiled at the nurse, thanked him for helping my husband and ran into the hallway.

They loaded him into the car and I brought my very wasted husband home while he babbled ridiculousness and I wondered aloud if he’d be a fun drunk. I think he probably would.

Upon our arrival at home the kids greeted us quietly, the dog didn’t give a shit how anyone felt and bounced around like a lunatic. I ran up and downstairs about 93 times brining Mr. G. sorbet, water and juices. Then my mother (who clearly hates me) asked if we had a bell.

“A bell?” I say.

“Yes a bell, so he can ring it when he needs something.” She’s been watching Downton Abbey I suppose.

And then I realized that we do have a bell. It’s a little Liberty Bell that my friend bought my kids when she went to Pennsylvania many years ago. It was one of those gifts that just keeps on giving. First she provided a bell for my four year old son and now the bell is in the hands of a stoned on Percocet maniac who thinks he should work right after surgery.

The bell. It’s ringing.

 

 

Jane is About to be Grounded for the Rest of Her LIFE

03.7.12

Earlier this week I got an email. Here is the exact text:

Hi!
Just letting you know that Jane volunteered for the 6:45-7:30 shift at the pancake breakfast.  If this is a problem, please let know!
I’ll leave the front gate popped open so people can get into the school.
See you then!

What am I supposed to say? Perhaps, “Listen if you want Jane on your doorstep before 7am may I suggest a sleepover at school?” Or maybe, “Sorry, that’s when we milk the cows.”?

After setting three alarm clocks last night I woke up late this morning. Clocks in my room and each of the kids’ rooms had failed. More likely I’d failed at setting them properly. At 6.05 Mr G tapped me awake whispering, “Don’t you have to get Jane to school early today?” I flew out of bed and woke the kids, threw my hair in a ponytail and got them to school on time. Cow milking time that is.

We had a nice breakfast with kids and parents from the school and I ran home to make myself presentable. I was home for 30 minutes and then ran to the school we’ve applied Alexander to for 6th grade.

There were a lot of parents there and only a few spots for admissions. The head of school gave a spiel and then there were questions. Lots and lots of questions from the parents. Most of the questions were about admissions and financial aid, which seemed weird and like a total waste of time because the applications were due months ago and acceptance letters will be mailed in a few weeks. Either you’ll get in or you won’t, either you’ll get financial aid or you won’t. I wanted to know more about the academics and I swear I almost dropped on one knee and proposed to the headmaster when he went on a tangent about self esteem being a crock of shit (my expletive not his) and went on to explain that kids need to be challenged but then you have to back off a little too. It’s like a dream come true and if Alexander doesn’t get in I think I’ll be crushed.

Conversely if Alexander does get in I think I’ll be petrified.

After the admissions event I had exactly 25 spare minutes to walk the dog and run to the LAPD. There’s a non profit that supports the LAPD traffic division and I was invited to one of their meetings. I thought it was weird that Alex invited me to attend and suggested I text him when I get there. I go to meetings all the time. I don’t need hand holding… I was wrong.

Luckily I parked my car and arrived at the same time as Alex because we walked in to a giant room of uniformed officers and a few detectives. To say I was intimidated is a gross understatement. I was having a pretty good hair day (my friend Jeannie asserts that our power lies in our hair) and I realized in that setting it didn’t make me look better but rather more hopelessly suburban. At least I’m out of the station wagon.

The meeting was interesting but brief. It’s scheduled to be two hours but I could only stay for one because I had to bring Alexander to the eye doctor for his two month post operative exam. The results were as I suspected, wait and watch, but probably another surgery. If I hadn’t have been so fucking tired I might have cried. So I guess I won’t punish Jane for volunteering at that ungodly hour.

We left the surgeon’s office, ran to get Jane from school, returned home for smoothies and homework (just 20 minutes of it mercifully) and then I ran kids to soccer and tennis. I’m home, hitting publish and then running to get my kids. They should be smelly and tired.

I know I am.

Someday I’ll Tell You About Kenmore

01.26.12

Traveling to Chicago in the winter is a bear. It’s cold and the traffic is miserable. If there’s only one thing you ever learn from me in your entire life let it be this:

There is a train station in O’Hare Airport. Use it.

I was really happy to meet so many women who I’ve followed online for years. One in particular is Bobbie who had a very serious accident on her way home. Of course I was happy to be with new and old friends but after coming home and hearing about Bobbie, her husband and her kids (just bumps for them, yay!) I sort of didn’t have energy to write about the day.

I will soon.

Baseball season is starting and it’s off to a rocky start. I watch Dance Moms with the kids (just so I can feel smug and superior) and then I realize that the Dance Moms are a little less sociopathic and a little more realistic than the Baseball Dads. The Dance Moms think that their daughters are going to dance their way to Harvard. The Baseball Dads seem to think that their sons are all going to be the next Albert Pujols. It’s possible that one of them will be great, but statistically they’ve got a better chance of being a CEO of a Fortune 500 company than a Major League Baseball pitcher.

I played tennis today and it was awful. I was winning 4 games to one and then we sat down to take a break in the shade (86 degrees today) when my partner asked me how Alexander’s eyes were. I lost set 6-4. In fact I lost some of those games without ever scoring a point.

I keep wondering if we made a terrible mistake by not forcing Alexander to have the “fine tuning” stitches like the doctor suggested. I’m not sure that his eyes are straight (they could be) but I worry that we cost him another surgery by not insisting that they leave some stitches hanging out so they could tweak the eye the second day.

I’m at a standstill today thinking about that. I might try going for a run later. I’m not sure how to get thoughts like these out of my head, but I’m absolutely unable to focus or concentrate.  

Surgery Day: Stuffed Bears, Smiling Nurses and Nausea

12.15.11

First off, there’s a little business to take care of. I was thrilled to be able to send out this screenshot to Josh over at Dad Street.

kinect_winner

I seldom do giveaways because I’m lazy and it makes me very happy that a parenting blogger has won.

That was sort of the end of the joy today. Alexander had surgery at 10am, which is quite late in the world of general anesthesia. I’m happy that the time got pushed up so late because Mr. G wisely canceled his 2pm meeting in Las Vegas. Had he not been there it would have been disastrous.

When we checked in at 10 there were a handful of other patients there. One was a teenage girl who they quickly moved to a private room. She was sobbing and saying, “I don’t want to do this. I don’t want them to cut my eyes.” A handful of nurses tended to her, an anesthesiologist joined them, her surgery was canceled, and then her surgery was uncanceled. She was the surgery before Alexander. It set us back an hour.

If you ask me who the person is that I could relate to the most today, that teenage girl is the one. I would have had the same fears and meltdown. My heart ached for her as it did for my son.

The nurses in the pre op room were amazing. If you aren’t in a hospital setting it’s easy to forget that nurses go into their profession because they really want to help people. They had a teddy bear for every kid as well as a coloring book and if they weren’t smiling when they were 10 feet away they got a smile on their faces before approaching any patient. Watching these women was inspiring. They make people’s lives better with every smile and they know it.

Alexander wasn’t nervous. I don’t know why, that child has nerves of steel. He’s been involved with every decision along the way and at ten is far more mature than I at 41.

It wasn’t until noon (or perhaps later) that the youngest anesthesiologist known to man came to prep Alexander. Getting yes’ed with Sharpie was a highlight of the day. Does this look like a child who is worried about an operation? 

prep for strabismus surgery

Mr. G looked confused about the Sharpie and then he and the anesthesiologist were horrified when I said, “Uh yeah, how do you think we went to private school? … doctors sometimes remove the wrong kidney.” Mr. G kicked me and the child anesthesiologist took Alexander’s vitals. We were introduced to the anesthesiologist who supervised and Mr. G and I sighed in relief. He was a full on grown up.

Once they wheeled Alexander to the back I dashed to pick up some food for myself. I hadn’t eaten since the night before as I didn’t want to eat or drink in front of my son who wasn’t allowed to. I grabbed some chili, ate a few bites and fell asleep in the family room.

I woke up to Dr. Velez and big smile. We’ve known Dr. Velez for ten years, he trained under Dr. Rosenbaum and has watched my son grow up in those eye exam chairs. I wanted to cry when I saw a friendly face, but instead I threw up. Repeatedly.

Mercifully I was quick enough to vomit in private. If there is one thing you learn from me it is this:

Never eat chili in the hospital cafeteria.

Mr. G did an amazing job of caring for both Alexander and for me. The wakeup was difficult. Even though this is the third time for us it’s very difficult to wipe bloody tears from your child’s face. I was woozy. I’m not sure if it was nerves or of it was the chili but my head throbbed, my stomach churned and I had periodic chills.

It took about an hour for the anesthesia to wear off and for my boy to fully wake up. There was no moaning, no whining, no complaining. It was the opposite of how I would have behaved. He was anxious to get the IV out and opening his eyes was a challenge. He murmured a few things and repeatedly asked when he would get to see his sister.

eyes_after_strabismus_surgery

The post op room was initially understaffed and had me worried. Though everyone was nice I saw an attendant push waste into a trashcan and then grab a wheelchair with no hand washing in between. I saw the same lady come toward my son as he was waking up and I shooed her away. She wasn’t a nurse and I grew up in a home where medical malpractice was dinner table conversation. I know enough about how infections are transmitted and some of the most dire consequences. I’m certain that I’m overreacting, but better safe than sorry. At every turn I was asking, “is that a pediatric dose? Do you see his drug allergies?” It was exhausting, and I’m sure I exhausted them.

Somehow we made it home and it felt appropriate that the sun had set. Alexander and I watched TV and napped for a few hours and he ate clear liquids while I fought off waves of nausea.

We’re still waiting for Jane to come home. We both miss her and we won’t be a family until she walks through the door and sees her brother.