Wednesday, July 11, 2012

To Dust

There are days that go rancid scarcely before they begin.  Days that slowly curdle before breakfast is even digested.  Days where you aren't quite sure if you are going to break out in either hysterical laughter or tears as both sensations sprout tentacles under your skin, prickling the back of your throat, pressing on the backs of your eyes, gripping the circumference of your heart like strangling vines.

It all happened when we fell back to earth from the stratosphere of vacation bliss which was much like emerging from a darkened theatre after a double feature matinee and scorching our retinas in the 3:00 sun.   After arriving home late Saturday night and spending hours unpacking before falling into bed, I left the house at 8:30 am Sunday morning to pick up CB from Maryland.  Pink accompanied me as she needed to go directly to a 11:00 am birthday party after the 2 hour drive and Dr. Fabulous was going to take the remaining two girls to church.  Since Pink was invited while we were away,  I was unprepared and darted into a store en route to grab a quick gift making us late and even more haggard and harried.

Despite the fact that I would have loved to stay and gab with several of my mom friends who were hanging out there, with CB by my side the best idea for everyone's sanity (including hers) was to forgo the hyper-stimulation of the party room and make myself scarce which involved running to the grocery store for a small list of items.  The next hour in the store with CB was the usual freak show; peeling her off the floor every 3 minutes and shushing her loud moans and vocal stims that cause everyone in each aisle to shoot curious glances and part around us like the red sea.

I arrive to grab Pink from party central, but they are still finishing up cake so I hope to get a chance to catch up with some friends, but CB wanted no part of sitting in the room jam packed with squealing 8 year olds and lots of commotion so we sat on the hallway floor, away from the fun and the people, listening to the din of normal life drift down the corridor reminding me that it was all just a fingertip's length out of reach.

As Dr Fabulous arrived home with hot pizza for an early dinner,  I walk into the kitchen to see CB sitting in a massive pool of diarrhea dripping down her leg, covering both feet, and all over the hard wood floor and two separate area rugs on either side of her.

She had been home for less than 24 hours but... let the games begin!

My tummy grumbled from hunger but I had a daughter and a floor to clean so while the rest of the family ate together, CB spent time in the soapy tub and I spent an hour cleaning the floors, carpet, the bathroom, her fragile body, and then the tub where she was hosed off and bathed.  I ate cold pizza alone, after the other dishes were cleared and cleaned, standing over the kitchen sink.

The week kicked off with early risings for both CB and Rella's summer programs.  There were the usual first day bussing debacles resulting in me unexpectantly driving CB in and and picking her up and we ended Monday with another theatrical blood draw to recheck the state of her low platelets.

Tuesday afternoon we had a rough morning full of debocles and debacheries that on their own meant nothing but when strung together formed a beautiful pearl necklace in the shape of a noose slowly tightening around my neck.  After a morning of ridiculous mishaps and Murphy's Laws, we all traveled to the neurologist's office which had relocated to a new satellite hospital that was too new to show up on my GPS.  To locate the place required 5 separate phone calls with no one able to assist me as I drove for over an hour.  While on these 5 separate phone calls I was distracted in a dangerous cycle of driving and pulling over on a highway again and again with CB banging on the window, screaming,  scratching the skin off my arm, kicking the console, yanking out poor Pink's hair, and changing the radio stations non-stop while the three little ones squabbled mercilessly in the back seat.  Rella, who only picked on her breakfast this morning, was likely suffering the effects of an early rising and low blood sugar and was uncharacteristically tearful, breaking into deafening wails and rants of unfairness though hot blobs of tears every 30 seconds.

Just when I thought my head was going to explode I was able to find a woman who actually cared about my situation in the main Philadelphia office and she googled the directions from her computer and carefully read them to me line by line as I sat on the side of I-295 penning street names onto a scrap of dirty napkin.

During the neurology visit Dr. T and I had to virtually yell at each other over the cacophony of hums and noises, crying, fighting, CB's repetitive thumping on the walls like a techno drum beat without an off switch.  There were also multiple bathroom trips to derail the conversation.

Platelet count is back up, seizure activity remains the same despite jacking up her Depakote by 750 mg so now we're jacking up the Topamax and doing another panel of genetic testing.  A five hour saga for a 15 minute appointment.

Starving, the five of us flung ourselves back into the hot car at almost 2:00 pm and got lost coming home but drove through the Chick Fil-A which was a big deal because I find fast food in general repulsive on many levels, including taste.  As Rella broke down in tears again because we were  driving through not eating in the restaurant and the others started whining over the same, I flipped out screaming like a mad woman:

"Does anyone care what MOM wants to do?  Does anyone give a rat's behind about ME and MY day?  That I am hungry and tired and overwhelmed worried about CB and frustrated and I just want to get home as quickly as possible and not hang out in the bloody CHICK FIL A for an extra 30 minutes when we have an hour drive home!?!  I just want to GO HOME!"  

It was astonishing that I refrained from cursing.

My freak-out made Rella cry harder and Tink shut down and Pink get into her super-polite "Yes, Mom" mode but I felt really guilty so they ended up with 3 kids meals in their laps (another thing I loathe because it's not as economical) and they were happy.

For 6 minutes.

Once home, I sequestered them to the basement in front of 2 hours of television without feeling one ounce of guilt.  I lay on my back staring at the ceiling and tried to regroup, letting the silence caress my eardrums and tilting my head to let every thought slip out and roll away into a dusty, forgotten corner.

On the way up from the depths of emotional exhaustion I find that focusing on someone else helps me release myself from the death roll, break the surface, breathe the air, and get quite over it.  So, I called my grandfather who lost his wife of 69 years on this very day last year.  Her final day on earth, he was persuaded to leave her side by a hospice worker for a quick bite in the cafeteria after sitting vigil by her death bed for over a week.  She died during his brief absence before he even touched his soup.

We agreed he was blessed and fortunate to have had so much time with the one he loved and after hanging up the phone I resumed the motions of fixing dinner, piling the messes into tidy towers, and feeling the buzz of the family I created as it both drained and and healed me; bringing me peace wrapped in chaos.

It's like, all the crazy crap that happens on days like these just ends up blurring together into an ambiguous, amorphous cloud over the years, only to blow away like an innocuous puff of dust and all that is remembered in the end is the truth and the shine of all the ways we are blessed.


Elizabeth said...

Oh gosh, I know all of this perfectly except substitute two boys for your three girls. All of it. I don't know what to tell you, girlfriend, other than I hope there's comfort in knowing that others not only witness your terrible, horrible, no-good, insane day, here, but also see their reflections in your words.

Here's to better ones for all of us -- and continued blessings that lift us out of despair and exhaustion.

Anelisa Del Gaone said...

As moms we take on many tasks...and we hope we can manage through those more difficult days. Just know you are not alone.....all things happen for a reason...just another test in life. Shall we prevail, the end result will be everlasting.
Stay strong and keep pursuing..

Richelle said...

I laughed and cried through this whole post. I have so many times eaten seperately due to cleaning up poo. At that point, I pretty much lose all appetite anyway. Polly used to have such bouts of poo that I would find myself being thankful that it happened at home instead of in the car, in the store, etc. As if it was better in some way - LOL! I can totally empathize with the store experience as well. Until I got pregnant, I used to stick Polly in the cart and stack all the food around her (poor thing), but now I have to resort to using the wheelchair cart (not the motorized one - that would be nuts). She either loves being at the store or has a complete meltdown. We live in such a small town that at least the store employees don't look at us weird anymore, but the other shoppers...that's another story. Sometimes I want to say such horrible things to folks that I have to literally bite my tongue. The tears well up in my eyes and I just have to walk away quickly and try to distract myself. Adults can be so cruel, it's hard to believe.
But I completely laughed out loud at your "rant" about Chick-Fil A! I have those rants and usually end up cursing and feeling totally guilty as well, but somehow a sense of relief from the pressure that was building in my chest. Sometimes I find myself telling Polly, "Sometimes Mommy has to pee too, so you're gonna have to wait a minute!" or, "You have eaten two bowls full of food! Can Mommy please have some dinner now???" I really don't know if she understands a word of it, but I somehow feel better. Weird, I know.
Hugs to you and your family! Hoping CB starts feeling better!!

kario said...

I don't even know what to say. The fact that you were able to keep from swearing simply slays me. I know that I wouldn't have had the presence of mind to filter my words, much less keep from pulling over to the shoulder and bursting into tears.

I hope that these days represent the cartload of shit you are due this month, hell, this summer, and that the days ahead will be calm and full of love and light. I'm sending some your way.

Alicia (Dr. Mom) said...

you guys are the best. i value your support immensely and know everyone in their own way can relate :).

Kim said...

Holy smokes woman. I love that you gave yourself that time to lay on your bed in the quiet and how you called your Grandfather to switch your mindset. Powerful stuff there.

I hope the week has eased up a bit. What a reentry you've had.


Mama Deb said...

Oh, Alicia, I get this post on so many levels. Thank you for making me feel less alone...truly.

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