So Sunday July 3, The wife and I are headed out to the in-law's place to BBQ and watch some fireworks. The ferry line is insane. It's backed up for 3 miles (about an hour and a half wait to get on the ferry). So we commit, we bring some toys and raisins and stuff for the kiddo, and when he fusses we give him a book, or a toy, or the wife takes him out of the car seat and walks up the road with him, when I catch up she puts him back in the car.. rinse and repeat.. a lot. It's a long wait, but we make the best of it and get down to the dock.
I got into a minor altercation on the ferry, the short version is if your response to an accidental door ding is to accost a young woman and threaten her dashing husband when he steps in your way, you probably need more fiber in your diet.
We get to her in-laws house, and the wife's leg (which had been bothering her some for the past few weeks) is starting to hurt. We chalk it up to too much time getting in and out of the car and hope it'll get better.
Monday she takes it easy, and it's about the same, but she decides to make an appointment for the spine doc and see if she can get into PT and chiro. Tuesday they all see her, she gets a cortisone shot which provides a little relief.
Wednesday morning though it's bad again, but she decides to ride it out. She has an MRI scheduled and should be able to get an epidural injection early next week. She asks the doc for some pain meds and he calls in some Vicodin. Wednesday night she takes it so that she can sleep. Thursday she wakes up vomiting. She and Vicodin do not mix. She tries some other pain meds, but it's very bad. She goes to see her PT who puts her on bed rest. She spends Friday in bed. There are two positions that are not painful, she spends all day Friday switching between the two.
Saturday I get up at 5:30 with the kid, and take care of him. the wife arranged for a friend of hers to come "babysit" the two of them while I go to jiu-jitsu for a couple of hours. I get home to the wife lying on the floor in sobbing in pain, and Emily calling me on her cell phone with one hand and running around trying to get the wife's shoes on (the grizzly is in his crib napping). She fell coming back from the bathroom. Emily and I carry her to the car, and I watch the kid while the wife goes to the ER. I call her dad, he heads to the hospital. I call my cousin Sarah. It's 2:30 p.m. I put the grizzly to bed around 6:30 and my cousin comes over and sits while I bust ass to the ER.
I get there. I give the lady my name and she says "a social worker will come back to escort you to the patient." Ok. I wait.. and wait. I understand that the social workers are busy dealing with fatalities. I try to be sympathetic, but I just needed someone to tell me where to go. I looked at the clock noting It's been a long goddamn time, and waited another hour after that to get walked back. I get to the wife and her dad. My father-in-law is reading a book and dosing. the wife is on good pain meds and fairly comfortable. It starts to get on to 9-10 o'clock and all hell starts breaking loose. We lose our room (triaged out) so we're in the hall way. I can hear the trauma nurse calling the incoming patients, then watch them come through: self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, car accident (with multiple broken bones), car accident, car accident. After each one the spine doc comes in and looks at the wife's chart and orders something done, then disappears for 2-3 hours.
Aside: Very funny story about a drunk guy in the ER: he is a very fat man in no shirt with a very broken nose strapped down to a hospital gurney. Every time the nurse comes in to check his vitals, or whatever he says "You will not touch me!" and "You will not touch me without my attorney present." He can't do anything to prevent them from attending to him, so he gets the bright idea to completely freak out every time they try to take his vitals. So every time the nurse hooks up the monitors, he thrashes (as much as one can when tied down) and screams "ahhhhhhhh." All of which does nothing to validity of the data. The cops that are minding him are laughing their proverbial asses off at him, the nurse just looks bored.
We do our best to enjoy the show until the wife is finally admitted at 2:30 a.m. My father-in-law waits with her while she is transported to her room. I go home. By the time I drive home, and fill in Sarah on the goings on; it's 3 a.m. I crash. the grizzly wakes up at 5. I talk him into snoozing for 15 minutes.. but that's it. We have breakfast, and I gather his stuff up. I take him to see his mother, and arrive when the surgeons are there explaining our options. the grizzly is having none of it. He wants to play with everything, pull on tubes that may or may not be attached to an IV, and go 'visit' the other patients. He just won't sit still. I try to wrestle with him and listen to the docs, I pick up maybe every third word. the wife gets to spend some time with him.. such as it is and I drive him up to the ferry. I meet my mother-in-law at the ferry (she walks on and comes over so that she doesn't have to wait in line) I hand over the kid, and drive back to the hospital.
On the way I buy a Venti drip with 2 shots of espresso in it. As I drink it I can feel myself becoming more coherent. I visit with the wife and we talk about her options.. It's gotta be surgery. There really is no other choice. The surgeons tell us the OR is scheduled for 7:30 am Monday. I spend some time, then go to work to do all of the stuff that needs to be done for me to take Monday off. I'm there for about 4 hours. I go home to do some dishes, make dinner for the wife and I, take out the trash, and pick up some bobs and bits for her.. etc. I bring her dinner (some tasty meatballs in tomato sauce) and we eat together. I hang out for a while then head to work for about another hour and finally get to bed around 11.
I wake at 6 to my alarm and see a text from the wife: the OR is reserved for 7:30, but they're taking her down at 6:30. Shit! I run out of the house, drive 687 mph to the hospital and sprint from the garage to her room. I get there about 30 seconds before they wheel her down, but I can be with her till they take her to the OR. After she wheels out, I go down to the waiting area get the lay of the land and head to the cafeteria. I spend $6 on an ice cream scoop of horrible runny scrambled eggs, two sausage links that make me want to apologize to the pigs that sacrificed themselves for its creation, and a fair cup of coffee. The food sucks, but at least they're stingy with the portions. I wait. I go on facebook and post the goings on, and I wait.. The surgeon comes by and says: she had a "gargantuan" bulge "hammering the nerve root" and described the operation as "Ideal for surgical intervention" and "very satisfying."
I am relieved. Should be about another 90 minutes in recovery or so, then should be back up to the room. I go online and update everyone on facebook. I wait. I email my folks, text her folks, and my cousin Sarah.. and wait.. It's been a while and I’m getting antsy, so I go to the gift shop. I marvel at the weird crap that people will buy sick people. I ponder buying some pumpkin seeds because I'm starving, and there's no way I'm buying any more "food" at that cafeteria. I check the time.. It's goddamn noon.. no way she's still in recovery. I head up to the room. She's there.. been there for 30 minutes or more. Apparently they called my cell phone, but in the basement (where the waiting room is) there is little to no cell reception.. what the hell kind of sense does that make?
I say hello, she is very sleepy. I tell her what the doctor says and sit with her for a bit. I'm hungry.. she's going to be hungry. I talk to the nurse, and she's cleared to eat when she wakes up. I walk out of the hospital and start looking for food. I end up walking a long damn way (apparently I went the wrong direction). But come back with food to a (mostly) awake wife. We eat. She's feeling better and in a couple of hours gets discharged.
Things are getting better. The radial pain in her leg is gone, but the nerve root is still irritated which is causing her to have dulled sensation in her leg. The major issue is she can't lift anything heavier than 10 lbs. for the next 8 weeks. the grizzly weighs more than 30. She can move around and I can put him in her lap but she cannot change his diaper, or get him in the car.
Our friends and family have been amazing. the grizzly is going back to daycare. We have people signed up to come over and help out during the times outside of daycare, and my mom is coming out for a few days next month to help cover daycare ladies' vacation. I have never felt so cared for and indebted as I have the past few days. It's been astounding the outpouring of love and assistance. I don't know what more to say. Couple of people have brought over dinners, people are offering to babysit. My cousin Sarah is making her daughter do 'chores' at our house instead of theirs, flabbergasting. This could have been impossible, but I think it's going to be alright, all thanks to our family and friends.