Wednesday, August 24, 2011

When I get off this toilet

Sean and I have butted heads recently. Specifically around the potty. Yesterday he pushed me to the brink of my sanity having slapped my leg twice. Once was in response to multiple pleas for him to clean up his blocks. The next was in response to getting ready to go pick up Tom from work. The second hit, much later in the day, my patient-reserves were low, was while I was sitting on the toilet. It's true. I was sitting on the toilet, he was discussing something with me and getting disgruntled about it. He did not like the responses I was giving him, so he slapped my leg.

me: When I get off this toilet, you are going to sit in time out.

Sean ran out of the room with a smirk on his face.

Any sentence that begins with "When I get off this toilet..." is not really an intimidating sentence. How can his 2 year old mind know that when I am sitting on the toilet, I am not a force to be reckoned with. In fact, I am at my most vulnerable!

Today, we were discussing his ability to sit on his own potty in the bathroom. his training potty has been set up since we arrived, and strangely (miraculously) he has sat on the potty a couple times in the past two weeks and he has successfully peed! Incredible! I told him that he would receive a small piece of chocolate if he successfully peed or pooped on the potty, so today he decided he wanted to get a piece of chocolate. However, he had just completed filling a full diaper and I was cleaning it when he decided he wanted to do this. So... he sat on the potty, and sat, and sat. I suggested a couple times that he might want to put his diaper on and come back out and join us in the living room, but no, he wanted the chocolate. Finally, I left him to his own devices. He was singing a song, sitting on the potty, pants-less, when the repair man stopped in. I held a crying Audrey on my shoulder (she was hungry) and welcomed my man Mitch into the house. He brought in our piece of furniture newly repaired, and I turned to show him where to put it only to see Sean standing at the top of the stairs with only a shirt on.

When I get off this toilet...

Monday, August 15, 2011

An ovary, a thumb, and a toddler (in no particular order)

Our move to Minnesota began a couple weeks ago when I finished my last day of work. We frantically packed the house for three days, moved on a Friday, came to Golden Valley on Saturday, and have been Minnesotans ever since. But the details of the actual move can be followed by some major/minor medical incidents.

Wednesday, August 3 - 2:58 AM
I wake up with searing pain on my left side. I am convinced this is an ulcer that has burst due to the amount of coffee I have been drinking. Between sleeplessness with a newborn, keeping up with Seancito, and going back to work for July, I was enjoying coffee every morning. Then, my office mate, Beth, was kind enough to surprise me with lattes a couple times at work. As delicious as all of this was, I knew that I had given myself an ulcer. A coffee-induced ulcer. Brilliant. I am terribly nauseous along with this pain, and I can't even lay back down in bed, so I prop myself up in the recliner and try to go back to sleep. I waver between thinking I have food poisoning, a burst ulcer, or maybe appendicitis, but eventually, I fall back asleep.

Thursday, August 4 - 8:30 PM
After getting ready for bed, I notice that this dull pain on my left side has not gone away but seems to be getting worse. I push on it, and it hurts. My stomach feels bloated, it hurts to bend over, hurts to move from side to side. I call my mom, a nurse, who gives medical advice freely. I go in search of this medical advice for just about every ache and pain I have. Sometimes mom is spot on, other times, she is totally off base, but regardless, her opinion always makes me feel better. My mom wants me to be seen by a doctor tomorrow. Tomorrow. Moving day. Brilliant.

Friday, August 5 - 8:45 AM
Moving truck arrives - Two Men and a Truck. Seancito believes this is the best day of his life because a huge truck is in front of our house. Seancito also believes this is the worst day of his life because two men are carrying all of our worldly belongings into the truck. Thank goodness I could distract him with a trip to the doctor.

10:00 AM
After assessing multiple organs around my abdomen (no appendicitis, seemingly no ulcer), the doctor determines this is "gynecological in nature." Seriously? I'm seeing a GP I've never seen before because my regular doctor is out on Fridays. We are supposed to be moving across the country today. I tell him this. He says, "basically I'm trying to assess whether or not you need surgery." Great. I hold back tears.

me: what would that mean? Why would I need surgery?

doc: well, it could be a burst ovarian cyst...

me: which would need surgery?

doc: no. But it could also be an ectopic pregnancy. In which case we would need to get you to surgery quickly. Please undress from the waist down and I'll be right back. I know this isn't the best time.

Correct. This isn't the best time. But he's not referring to the move. He glances over at Sean while saying this inferring, "I know you don't want your two year old to see you in this awkward position" and I silently agree because honestly who wants to see anyone in this awkward position? After quickly undressing, the doctor returns with a nurse, who kindly pays attention to Sean during my exam. Thankfully the doctor is quick. Before any of us know it, the stirrups are in place, and the exam begins.

doc: (pushing on right side) Does this hurt?

me: no.

doc: (left side) Does this hurt?

me: yes. (!)

doc: okay, that's it for now, I'll send you down to the medical foundation for blood tests and I'll put them through STAT. We should have answers in a couple hours, I hope. By then we can make a decision about whether or not you travel.

I thank the doctor and he leaves, but not before giving me a requisition form for blood tests. STAT. I drop Sean off at a friend's house where he barely looks back to say goodbye while heading to the playroom filled with toddlers. Thank goodness for friends.

After getting blood drawn STAT, I call my OBGYN office, and they call me down for an emergency ultrasound. Thankfully the images rule out an ectopic pregnancy and show that I have "free fluid" in my abdomen. This indicates a ruptured ovarian cyst and they tell me to take ibuprofen for the pain. Free to move to Minnesota, I return home around 1pm - and there are still two men packing the truck.

Despite the inability of the moving company to fit in all of our worldly posessions, we leave South Bend with most everything we own in a truck and our family in a car around 5:30pm. We sleep in Madison for the night, and then arrive in Golden Valley, MN on Saturday.

Sunday, August 7 - 8:25 PM
24 hours in our new house and the Carmonas arrive to help us move in, play tourists for the week, and just be the best copadres any family could ask for. Sean and Victoria are so excited to see each other, they are running around the house, giggling, yelling, and throwing their bodies onto the futon and couch. Sean runs into the living room headed for the couch again and trips just before making it there. His face slams into the wooden base of our couch. He screams. The parents standing around offer their usual condolences, "you're okay, get up, brush it off." "Come here, let me see, you're okay." He still screams and turns around from the couch. We see blood coming from his lower lip and as Tom picks him up, his screaming stops, his eyes still searching the room for some explanation of his pain. His body then bends completely backwards making an upside down "U" and someone says, "Tom, he's not breathing."

I run for my cell phone, because we have no home phone. Four years of house management experience and working in a building with poor cell phone reception, and I walk immediately out the front door while my cell phone connects with 911. Someone picks up.

1st responder: emergency 911. (his voice does not sound at all urgent)

me: 1435 Toledo Ave. N. Please, my two year old just hit his head and passed out. I don't think he's breathing. Please send someone. Please.

1st responder: what city are you in?

me: Golden Valley, MN.

1st responder: one moment while I connect you.

ONE MOMENT? I don't have one moment, my heart is racing, fear is wrapped around my shoulders, clutching my chest and throat, my eyes frantically search the street as if an ambulance might be coming at any minute.

2nd responder: 911 emergency.

me: 1435 Toledo Ave. Please send someone, my two year old hit his head and passed out, please send somebody. 1435 Toledo Ave.

2nd responder: one moment while I connect you with Golden Valley EMTs.

Are you kidding me??

3rd responder: Golden Valley

At this point, I can't remember the exact exchange other than the 2nd responder tells the Golden Valley EMTs our address and they quickly get off the phone. The 2nd responder then continues talking to me.

2nd responder: they are on their way. Are you with your son right now?

Am I with him? No. What kind of a parent am I? What am I doing outside? Why am I standing at the edge of our very long driveway? I feel like I'm a mile away and start jogging towards the house.

me: no, I came outside to get cell phone reception, but my husband is with him...

I continue rambling, explaining, justifying myself. As if this woman is judging me.

2nd responder: okay, go to him, and tell me if he's breathing.

Thankfully by the time I get back in the house, he is awake, but pale, sweaty, and confused. He is looking around the room trying to figure out why everyone is hovering over him. The 2nd responder tells me to keep talking to him, to roll him onto his side if he vomits, and to call 911 back if he passes out again. Shortly, the first police officer arrives and then the EMTs. They ask us where we want Sean to be taken. A hospital, right? I have no idea how to get to the grocery store much less the ER. One officer says, "I have 5 kids, and if I had to send them someplace, I would send them to Amplatz." Okay. Amplatz - wherever that is. They put a neck brace around his neck and roll towels on either side of him while they transfer him onto a board. He does not like this.

Another police officer writes directions down on a piece of paper for me, and they try explaining directions to me verbally. I am certain the look on my face is utter confusion. I pack the diaper bag, put Audrey in her carseat, and tell our copardres goodbye. This is when I break down. Astrid tells me it's going to be okay. Victor tells me that Sean is fine, this is just a precaution. The police officer sees me crying and tells me this is a good decision to send him to the ER, but he thinks he's okay. It doesn't feel like he's okay when he's just been carried out of the house on a board.

I follow the ambulance to Amplatz - thank goodness it was a Sunday night - not much traffic. Tom rides in the ambulance with Sean, so when they get there, the two of them are rushed into the ER, while I look for parking elsewhere. Tom's parents are with me, and we all head up to the ER entrance together. The woman at the front desk checks me in and asks for my address. I'm able to give her everything but the zip code and then I break down again. I tell her we just moved here yesterday; I don't know my zipcode.

After a couple hours in the ER, they determine that Sean is fine. The doctor believes he hit his head, cried so hard that he held his breath, and then passed out. They send us home by 11:30 PM with instructions to return if he gets worse. At some point during our discharge with her she says, "Welcome to Minnesota."

Monday, August 8 - 12:30 PM
Truly the most anti-climatic part of this story is me fixing lunch for the kids and slicing off the top of my thumb and thumbnail with a cheese slicer. I spend the next week healing that wound, but in comparison to the rest of our medical exploits this seems minor.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The first day of my life

This is the first day of my life. I officially completed my last day of work and started a life as a full time mother. I could not be happier. This evening, my co-workers threw me a going away party and the volunteer ushers asked me over and over again what I would be doing when we moved. I felt so vindicated in saying, "I'm going to stay home with our kids." I received a variety of reactions; everything from, "oh that's wonderful" to some blank stares to looks of bewilderment that I didn't have another job lined up for myself. It's this process of becoming. I'm sure it doesn't make sense to some people that I wouldn't have something else on the horizon. Thank goodness for the space to figure out what might be next.

Someone said to me last week, "we know where we are born, but we do not know where we will die." What's more fitting to where I am right now is "we know where we are, but we have no idea where we are going." A complete and total act of surrender this moving away.

In moving away from South Bend, we are physically moving, but there's also a metaphorical moving - a spiritual and emotional moving. Who we have been in this place will never exist again. We are in the process of becoming new people; a new family.