Friday, June 11, 2010

Filed Under: Misc.

Today is the first time I can really sit down and exhale from all the crazy.

We went to San Diego and it turned into a very child-unfriendly ordeal. American Airlines, whom I have hated since I was 21-- (when I was flying to Ft. Lauderdale for a conference (with a stomach bug) the bitchy stewardesses made me hold my barf bag of vomit for three goddamn hours because they didn't want to dispose of it!) ---lost our carseat AND broke our stroller. This was a big stroller of the $$$ variety (graciously given to us by my work buddies). The frame was bent, and would not snap back into place.

We discovered this at the gate in San Diego as I was trying in vain to snap the fucker in place while P holding a very pissy girl who had been cooped up in a plane for three hours, and was calm until she realized that she was not going to be able to chill in her ride.

We dragged the broken stroller to the luggage claim, which felt like it was located in San Francisco, only to find out our car seat didn't make it on the plane from Dallas. We did a lot of cursing in that terminal, let me tell you. Especially after being told that our stroller was now a very expensive door stop (we don't cover strollers, sorry, read the fine print). I threatened bodily harm if they didn't find our car seat. They did, and it was delivered to our hotel 5 hours later (they loaned us a crappy carseat to get us to the hotel).

And although the meeting was good, it was just a blah time. Radha just was not diggin' San Diego, and her blase' attitude was spilling over to us. P and I enjoyed the zoo, but she slept through most of it. I was cursing the damn umbrella stroller that we bought at a Target to get her to and from. Damn thing moved like a $30 stroller. Enough said.

We got back from San Diego and had exactly 24 hours before our friends from Michigan arrived. We planned this deliberately as I had Memorial Day off and a Comp day, so I could spend more time with them.

We were all trucking along, having a grand old time. On Memorial Day, Radha woke up at 4 am with a fever. Low-grade, but a fever. We gave her Tylenol, because she was uncomfortable. She fell back asleep, but battled the fever all day.

P had invited his parents over and he grilled while I was trapped upstairs trying to calm a sick, crying child. I had no idea what was wrong with her, but her fever kept spiking and she was miserable. At 6pm, I took her temp and it read 104.9.

I. Lost. My. Shit. I paged her Pediatrician and near hysterical, told him her temp and her symptoms. He said to take her to the ER.

We loaded her up in the car and she was burning hot to the touch. I do not have to tell you all what horrible thoughts ran through my head as I was hauling ass to try to get the the Med Center. I made P sit in the back with her, and I could see her dozing off from sheer exhaustion in the rearview mirror, but panicking, I told him to keep her awake. The fear in me was carnal. Awful. I felt vomit in my throat.

We walked into the ER and when the receptionist ask what was wrong, I burst into tears. I am sure they are used to seeing this, but I was just losing. my. shit. P had to tell them what was wrong. Radha was lying so still against his chest, cheeks flushed from fever. She slowly reached out to me and I held her. She was so hot.

We sat in the waiting room where there was a gigantic aquarium. She lifted her head to follow the colorful fish. They finally called us back. They took all her info and did an ear read for her temp and it read 100.3.


Did her fever miraculously go down 5 degrees in 30 minutes or was one of us off? I told the nurse that we had a read of almost 105 on our thermometer, and she nodded like she didn't believe me. She gave Radha some more Tylenol and brought us to a waiting room where we changed her into a little yellow gown. It was so cute, yet so sad to see her in that.

Long story short, the ER Ped felt it was viral, and reassured me that because her shots were up to date, it most likely was not bacterial meningitis. He checked for a UTI, negative. And her ears and throat were clear. She was responsive and cried every time someone with scrubs walked in. He said he was thrilled to see that, and they sent us home with a fever-buster plan. But after the dose of Motrin that night, she slept soundly and didn't spike a fever again.

She woke up in the morning smiling like NOTHING was ever wrong. This was Tuesday. We spent all day watching her like a hawk and she was cool. Go figure.

Wednesday morning, a few minutes after I got out of the shower, I got a text that told me that my Grandfather was not doing well after his surgery the day before. When I was driving into work, I called my family and learned that it was the worst case scenario. A routine surgery to remove a kidney went horribly bad, he bled out, and they had no hope for his survival. At 9:30 a.m., he coded, and the old man took his leave.

By this time, my poor friends were thinking they were bad luck. We did manage to get through 2 more days before I put them on the plane and drove south 5 hours for the funeral. We left Radha with my in-laws, not wanting to chance any more freaky-deaky fever things. I am glad we did, because it was 80% humidity and 95 degrees at 10 a.m. Saturday morning before the funeral.

It was worse the second time around. Putting my grandfather in the ground meant the end of an era. Many tears were shed that day, and by the drive back home the next day, I was completely and utterly spent emotionally.

I am glad to be home. It's quiet right now, and if it stays this quiet all summer, it will be a-ok with me....

A pic from last August. Radha was the lastest great-grandchild, and my grandfather tried to hold her after my grandmother's funeral, but she was just not having it. She cried. LOUDLY. He laughed and said she was just like me. He told a story about how my parents left me with them when I was about that age---they wanted to get away for a weekend. I cried so much they called my parents to come pick me up three hours later! :)

In loving memory of my Grandpa Ray....

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Pray For Us Sinners

Dios te salve, Maria.
Llena eres de gracia:
El Señor es contigo.
Bendita tú ere entre todas las mujeres.
Y bendito es el fruto de tu vientre:
Santa María, Madre de Dios,
ruega por nosotros pecadores,
ahora y en la hora de nuestra muerte.

The rosary was supposed to be in English but there was a mix-up at the church and the women leading it that night were native Spanish speakers. I sat and watched my Grandfather stare at my Grandmother's body as the rosary was recited. He looked like he was in hell. Purgatory, maybe. Grief sat so heavy on his chest, it was difficult for him to breathe.

He sat there from noon until 9pm that day, and the day before. All day, greeting countless people while he stared at what was left of his wife. I sat there watching him instead of reciting Hail Marys, and really took in his face---the deep lines of sorrow, the fatigue, the helplessness, the defeat.

It got me thinking about how we all handle our grief. I wrote early on that grief was exhausting. I swear my teeth hurt along with my heart. He looked a lot like I did after Ronan died---lost. Like he wanted to climb in that casket and die holding her.

Someone told me once that the loss of child and the loss of a spouse were very similar. I hope to God that I never have to find out--because I never want to feel the way I did January 26, 2008 ever again.


I wrote this when I returned from my grandmother's funeral last August. My grandparents were married for 54 years, had 12 children, 37 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren. My grandparents loved each other very much. Deeply. They always looked at each other like they knew an inside joke.

I remember vividly how they spoke to each other: Carefully. Jokingly. Respectfully. Kindly.

I sat at the house after my grandmother's funeral and watched how life buzzed around my grandfather as he sat on the couch, lost in thought. Lost in transition. Lost in translation. What does he do now? How is he supposed to move from this horrible place where there was no Teresa?

I turned to Peyton and said "I don't know if he's going to make it."

We have all read the stories about how some elderly die shortly after their partners do. (Statistically, if they make it over a year, they will probably live much longer). I have always found this to be poetic. A wee bit romantic.

Two weeks ago, after many months of agonizing silence, my grandfather finally complained of pain in his side. An MRI revealed his left kidney was double the size it should be. A biopsy revealed kidney cell carcinoma. Surgery was supposed to be performed last Tuesday to remove the kidney and assess the cancer. It was bumped to this past Tuesday. He woke up from the procedure, where they found that it had spread to basically every organ, including the liver (which was evident from the jaundice). Tuesday night in the ICU he took a turn for the worse. At 5 a.m. I got a frantic text from my mother, and by 9 a.m. he took his leave. On his terms. He was ready to go, just nine and a half months after my grandmother....

I like to think my grandmother was waiting for him on the other side.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Meerkat Manor

Ever wonder what zoo animals think about when we take their pictures?

I can imagine a Jersey accent "What YOU lookin' at, eh?"

A British accent: "Wanna snap me pic, eh?"

What do you think they are thinking?