October 23, 2008

Life in the Fast Lane

My heart is heavy this morning. I am reeling in the wake of a tumultuous few weeks..okay, let’s be honest, a tumultuous few years. Really, how much is one person expected to endure in one 3 year time span? I know, I know, I am whining, People endure much worse. People lose their legs, children are starving, and my mother always told me to be thankful that I was never drugged in a bar and sold into white slavery. That woman had some really bizarre fears and associated stories.

The latest saga started innocently enough. Saturday before last, Mike had a stomach ache. Nothing new in our house. That man can eat. I had made jambalaya and although I had followed the directions, the rice was slightly undercooked. I ate one small bowl because, aside from the crunchy texture, it still tasted pretty good. I think Max may have eaten a little, too, but something wasn’t quite right and the crunchy rice was a little unnerving, so we erred on the side of caution.

Mike, on the other hand, decided to eat 5 bowls of undercooked jambalaya. Earlier that day he ate popcorn and then with dinner, some canned corn. Needless to say, that evening, his stomach started hurting. Again, no one was particularly alarmed because that is what happens when you eat all that crap.

That night, Mike went to the movies and I stayed home with Max. We hung out and watched Snow White and then went to bed. When I woke up the next morning, Mike was pale and couldn’t stand up straight. He insisted it was just bad gas, but I, being the holder on an English Degree and having made a “C” in Biology for Liberal Arts majors decided it was something far worse, like maybe appendicitis.

I logged onto WebMD and asked Mike to detail his symptoms to me. Based on the pain and the localization and description of said pain, WebMD told me Mike likely had appendicitis, diverticulitis or a tubal pregnancy. We packed everyone into the car and headed to the emergency room. I fully expected them to check him out and send him home the very same day, but, somehow, the gods didn’t agree with my plan.

The doctor said they needed to do a CT scan to see what was going on and that Mike had to drink 2 huge glasses of some crap before they could do it. By this point, Max, who is a normal three year old, was literally climbing the walls. While we tried to have a rational conversation with the doctor, Max was jumping from the stirrup table in the room onto the stool on the floor. I envisioned the funk of every disgusting examination that had taken place in that room over the past 30 years slowly invading my healthy little boy and it made me want to puke, which I am sure that room has seen its fair share of.

Mike really wanted to just sleep, so Max and I left and went to my sister’s house where he could play with his cousin and I could whine to my sister about how I wish our mother was still alive. She would know what to do. She would help with Max and call Mike and tell me what to ask the doctor. It’s true, mother is always right, which makes it all the worse when she is gone.

In the end, Mike was admitted into the hospital with diverticulitis and a torn colon. The pain in his abdomen was being caused by air and other gunk that was escaping through the perforation into the abdominal cavity. They had him on I.V. Cipro for the 7 days he stayed in the hospital. The goal was to allow the colon to heal on its own without surgery because operating on a torn and infected colon means you need a colostomy bag until it can heal and well, no one really wants that. The people I know who have it don’t want it.

In the middle of this chaos, I was acting as single mother doing everything – bringing home the bacon and frying it up in a pan and never letting Max forget he’s a sweet little boy. It was absolutely exhausting and by Thursday, I crawled into the hospital bed with Mike and cried and cried. I just wanted him to come home and be at home if, for nothing else, adult conversation.

And now he is home, and life is back to normal. Whatever that means.

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