Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hurry Up and Wait

Ok people, this is torture. Traveling across the country to have major surgery....yes. Leaving the girls for at least 2 weeks...yes. WAITING to leave....yuck!!! Initially, I was spending days on the phone with insurance companies, hotels, hospitals, etc while Mere was putting together lists for my MIL and discussing picks/drop offs with friends. Now, we are done. The car has been tuned up, most of our Christmas shopping (for the girls) is done, I have had my preop appointment, we joined AAA, and we are READY. Now we are just waiting to leave. The days are spent somewhere between reality and a sense of total disbelief. Most of me wants to buckle myself to the sofa and refuse to leave. There are moments when things almost seem normal and in those times I really want to convince myself this is not happening. Anticipation is always the worst part, right?

My mom is coming to our house and cooking Thanksgiving. Obviously, she will need to spent the night Thursday night since we are leaving early Friday morning. So, our last night together will be Wed. I think we will play games or cuddle in bed with a family movie.

So, the schedule (for now)

This Friday: Mere and I hit the road. We are hoping to make it to New Mexico by Friday night. Mere thinks she can do it. I agree. But, I'll be the one on the air mattress in the back so I'm not going to be the decision maker. Anyone have any suggestions for audio books?

Sat-Sun: Continue driving with a plan to get into to LA Sunday night (we might actually make it by Sat night)

Monday: 4:30 pm MRI of the entire spine (supposed to take 3-4 hours). Guess it is a good thing I like the MRI machine (see previous posts)

Tuesday: 2pm appointment with Dr. S (neurosurgeon)

Wed: Check in at 9am for 11am CT myelogram. This is where they put dye in my spine and take pictures. I HATE these and Dr. VH will not be the man doing to sticks. I wish I could take him with me!
Tommie arrives Wed afternoon. She is a good friend of ours that is staying through Tuesday. I can only imagine what she is going to walk into. I'm sure that Mere and I will be buck-ass crazy by Wed afternoon and in need of distraction.

Thurs: Surgery (all day)

After surgery I will have 2-4 days (most likely 4) in the hospital then will be discharged to the hotel. I will have a follow up 1-2 days after discharge. Dr. S will let me know when we are safe to go home at the post op appointment. I don't know the finer details of the surgery and I won't until I actually see Dr. S. It doesn't matter. I don't have any other choices. This is it.

I will be blogging right up until surgery and I'm thinking Mere will blog while I'm in the hospital.

Some random things I don't want to forget:

My dad cried on the phone the other night. I have never heard/seen him cry. EVER. It just about put me over the edge. MY. Dad. Is. Crying....really?? We were talking about details. We all hope that all goes well and I come back healthy. But, not planning for the worst doesn't make it not happen. You can't ignore the possibilities. He was asking me if I had a will and life insurance and plans. Yes, I have a will and yes I have life insurance and yes I have a Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxy (Mere). I was telling him (my mom already knows this) that everything goes to Mere and she is to make ALL medical decisions. Period. We have all the legal documents to back up these decisions. He started to say something and then silence. I thought he dropped the phone and then I realized he was crying. I spent the next few minutes saying, "I'm going to be fine. I'm young. I'm healthy. He is the best. Nothing is going to happen to me. I promise. I will be fine." My poor dad.....I felt terrible. It must be awful to be so far away when your child is going through a health crisis. At least my mom is going to be here with the girls...she will be busy and won't be able to spend a whole lot of time thinking about me. But, there is just not much he can do right now. I promised him that Mere will call him (right after my mom) on the surgery day every time she gets an update and that I would call him as soon as possible.

I had to go to U.AMS for a preop appointment yesterday. Before the appointment I ran up to the Heme/Onc department (where I work) to sign some papers and say hi to one of my close friends. It was strange to be there. It felt like a WORLD away from where I am right now. Who cares about call schedules and presentations? Man....I wish I was there!!

When I get back to 100% Mere and I are getting married. We are getting in the car, heading to Iowa, and getting married. I know it is not legal here and we have been "married" for a long time....since our Civil Union in Vermont. But, I want to do it.

It pays to have friends who love electronics. One friend is letting us take her K.indle, G.PS, i.pod (between her and her wife they have 3), and n.intendo DS (so Mere can play games). Talk about friends in high places!!!

I'm getting a new pair of socks. For those of you who don't know....my MIL makes the most AWESOME knit socks. I mean, they are like one of my favorite things ever. I asked Mere to ask her to knit me a pair for surgery. I think major spine surgery is a good reason for new socks. I know, I'm shameless....what can I say? They are really great socks.

Mere has been making lists like crazy. She is trying so hard to keep it as normal for the girls as possible. The truth is....it is not normal. My mom will not do things the way we do. It will be different. But, that is ok. The girls will be taken care of, loved, clothed, fed, etc....the rest is gravy. I think she is most worried that my mom will mess up the pick up/parking line at their school!

Layne is having a lot of accidents. She has been completely potty trained for awhile with rare accidents. Over the last week, she has been having at least one/day. I think she is a little messed up right now. She woke up last night and told Mere that the monsters were going to get her. I wish we could take her with us. She is so sensitive and little and attached. She might say, "you know, I'm a big girl now" but she is still our little baby.

I'm glad KJ is back. If you don't know her then check out http://www.roleplayingwithkids.blogspot.com


Sarah said...

Wow, woman, are you ever keeping it together or what? You are strong and i feel strongly that this will end and you will come out better. I'm sure that on top of everything else, having to worry about your kids is hard too. But you're right, your mom will do fine. You came out ok...and alive, and that was more than 2 weeks.

I don't love audio books, but I've heard really really good stuff about the lemony snickett ones..all the series of unfortunate events books are fab to listen to. You also might enjoy some margaret cho. We love listening to her in the car, well pre kid we did. Now, never...but you won;t have children in the car.

You're in my thoughts though we've never met and i only ever just read and lurk on your blog. I'll be a readin and looking forward to your return.

CJ said...

You are all in my thoughts and prayers! I hope this trip is the end to all the difficulties you have faced with this!

K J and the kids said...

Hey, thanks for the shout out !

I read your itinerary like 4 times. I didn't see stop in Utah at any point in it ? I'm confused....because I know how important it is for us to meet you and so I was CERTAIN you'd work that out. you know, with all of the stress of leaving and driving and surgery ;-)

I've given you a HUGE list of movies to watch while you are down.
I'm sorry if they put you in the mood and not a thing to do about it :)

I'll be pasted for updates, so don't leave me hanging.

Lori said...

Jess, I've been keeping up with everything through Mere's log and yours. You guys are constantly in my thoughts and prayers. I'm praying that your trip and surgery go smoothly and you're back to normal soon. You and I have never met but Mere and I have known each other since we were pregnant together 7+ yrs. ago. Plus when you guys were in PA, Mere and the girls stayed with us while visiting Hershey. Perhaps someday we can all meet. You are a wonderful family and I am very grateful to have you as friends.

Safe travels and a speedy recovery.


Bob and Susan said...

Our thoughts and prayers are with you both, Be strong, think positive thoughts, be optimistic and good things will happen.

Sonya said...

Awesome update! We continue to keep you in our thoughts and prayers. You'll do awesome!

Jocelyn said...


I am amazed at your strength in all of this...keep staying positive!! My family will be praying for safe travels, fantastic medical care, and a very speedy recovery.

Love and blessings to y'all :)


Anonymous said...

Always the lurker, never the poster no more. Now I come out of my cave to say that you and Mere are already in my thoughts and prayers. Blogs have a way of making the reader feel so connected to the (in this case, unknowing) blogger, and for a couple of years now, I've followed with great joy all the fun in your family. Now I send you all the good thoughts I can for this trying time in your life. Trudy's Mom

Jen said...

Hugs to both of you. And lots of prayers coming your way for strength to get through this and a healthy recovery. You guys are in my thoughts all the time.

BTW, we went to the Grand Canyon a few years ago and left here aroun 9:30 or so in the morning and made it to Albuquerque by 10:00 or so . . . something like that. Anyway, what I remember is that we didn't leave all that early and we got there not too late.

Anonymous said...

Rather than making one long, deep incision along patients spine — and having to strip muscle away from bone to insert a corrective rod — surgeons make three smaller incisions through which they fed the rod these days. They then use screws to align and tighten the rod immediately correcting the curve in patients spine.

New technique in spine surgery.