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The Best Laid Plans…

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We should be in Austin right now. Snuggled up in my mom’s upstairs rooms. Tomorrow morning my mom had arranged to have a family friend take photos of us so we could have some nice photos as a whole family. Afterward, the kids were going to stay the night with their Grandma (Chris’ mom). While with her, I was going to help my sister move my dad to a smaller room at his memory care facility and empty out some of his storage unit. We were going to celebrate my birthday. And my brothers’ kids’ birthday. I had plans to visit with a dear friend I’ve had since elementary school. First time I’d see her since the separation. First time I would’ve seen any of my family, for that matter.

Instead, we’re at home. Our trip has been cancelled. Or rather, postponed.

You see, I didn’t blog about it but about a week ago one of my kids came down with the flu. She spiked a scary high 104 degree fever and after calling her pediatrician, I was advised to take her to the ER. It was my first time to take either of the kids to the ER. Luckily, we got her fever under control. She was diagnosed with flu type A, but we’d caught it early so the dr. gave her a prescription of Tamiflu for treatment. He gave sister a prescription of Tamiflu for preventative measures. Both kids have been doing fine. I thought we were out of the woods with the whole flu snafu.

The girls stayed the night with their Dad last night and I picked them up this morning to head straight to the airport. Literally within 5 minutes of getting in the car, one of my daughters (the one who hadn’t had the flu) says she feels sick and needs a bag. Uh oh.

We had no bags, so she threw up in a coloring tote bin, as I was stuck on the highway and couldn’t exit due to road construction (several exits in a row were closed! Ugh!) As soon as possible, I got off the highway. Got her cleaned up and into a spare change of clothes. Stopped at a gas station to try to buy some medicine. They had absolutely NO children-dosed versions of anything. Nothing at all. We load back into the car and I get her a new puke bag. We keep driving toward the airport. Another 10 minutes down the road. She throws up again. I’m looking at her in the rear-view mirror and she’s pale as a ghost. Doesn’t feel warm or feverish, but clearly not doing well. I pull over and call my Mom. What do I do? We have a 6-hour travel day ahead of us! My mom suggests soldering on – that she’ll run out and buy meds and get everything ready so my kiddo can be comfy when we arrive. My daughter throws up again literally while I’m pulled over on the phone. A third time within about a 30-minute time span. My other daughter starts crying. She’s very sensitive, in general, and is having a really tough time watching her sister be ill. It’s upsetting her and she starts begging to go home. Sick daughter, with barely audible voice, peeps up – “please mom, can we go home?”

Heart-break.

Poor sweet baby. After she’d thrown up in the coloring tote, I threw it away at the gas station and fished this gallon-sized ziplock out of a suitcase (it had contained toiletries). So here she is, clinging to her (used) puke-bag, passing out in the back seat. Bless her heart.

I turn around and head home. My mom had bought these flights for us for our Christmas present. It was on Southwest and, thankfully, they allow full credit to be used on future flights (no penalties or fees), so I resolve to look for flights leaving tomorrow or maybe Saturday.

We get home and sick kid falls into bed and sleeps basically the entire rest of the day.  I search flights. But, unfortunately, last minute fares over the holidays are totally unreasonable. Our original flights were about $350/each. The cheapest flights I can find for tomorrow or Saturday are running over $1,000/each. Nearly triple the cost. I just can’t justify the added expense, especially given the shortened timeframe of the trip. I can’t lengthen our stay because I already have work meetings planned for my return. It just doesn’t make sense to spend so much money to only visit for a couple short days.

And so, with family Christmas gifts still packed in our suitcases (and their gifts for us still nestled under their trees), we decide this is just not going to happen. We can use our flight credit for up to a year, so we may try to plan a trip back over the girl’s Spring Break or even over summer.

Bummed does not begin to describe the feeling. Not only were we all looking forward to then trip just for normal reasons (to see each other/exchange gifts/be together around the holidays), but in the wake of the separation I felt like I really needed that time with my family. Almost like it would have been a therapeutic experience.

But sometimes being an adult means making tough decisions. And I definitely think it was the right call. It would have been selfish (and insensitive and rude) to try to force my sick kid into making the trip – exposing other airline passengers to what I’m assuming is the flu virus. Plus, with my luck, I’d end up catching it while in Austin and then being forced to make the trip back while ill. And it wouldn’t be a very fun trip if my kid was stuck sick in bed the whole time.

So here we are in Tucson. Suddenly, I’m finding myself with the next week totally open (I’d thought we were gong to be out of town!) with no plans and no school and what can we do to occupy our time?

One thing is for sure. I don’t think I’ve ever been so ready to see the turn of a New Year. My birthday happens to be New Years Eve, so it’s perhaps even more a time of reflection and planning given the turning of the year AND the turning of my age at the same time. I remember last year at this time. It was a really tough time in my marital situation. I remember resolving myself to the fact that Christmas/New Years this year would look totally different (though I didn’t know at the time that would mean a separation). To my credit, my life this year DOES look totally different and I’m in a much better, happier place. But I still have a lot of metamorphosis to go through. I guess we never really stop growing and evolving. I’m looking forward to what 2019 will bring and where I might find myself on New Years Eve next year. 🙂

 


Good and Bad

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I posted on Monday about my first time being sick as a single parent (spoiler alert: it sucks!). My symptoms had started on Sunday and I was pretty sure I had the flu: high fever, alternating chills/sweats, nausea, vomiting, body aches. Classic signs, right?

In our co-parenting plan, the girls’ Dad takes them on Wednesdays overnight. He picked them up Wednesday afternoon and I was STILL at Death’s Door. In texting with my sister (an RN), she convinced me things had gone on too long to just be the flu. If anything, symptoms had been worsening. I was completely incapacitated. I mean, just writhing around in bed and on the bathroom floor (in between puking my guts up). And then I started to really notice the pain. Right in my lower back. Like…..right on the kidney.

I don’t know why I hadn’t noticed it sooner. I had an extremely high fever the first couple days of illness so that was front-and-center for me. My thoughts were distorted, I couldn’t put together a coherent sentence. I was a mess.

It took me at least an hour to pep-talk myself into getting up, changing clothes (I was wearing puky PJ’s) and drive myself to a full-service urgent care. But once there, a urine analysis and ultrasound confirmed a diagnosis: KIDNEY STONES

I have an extensive family history of kidney stones: my brother, my dad, all my dads’ siblings (including the females), my grandpa, etc. I grew up listening to stories about my Grandpa’s work ethic. He used to live in New Jersey and take the train into work in New York. He’d literally lie under his desk writing around in pain until he passed his kidney stone(s), then back to work and on the train home again. Long family history. So the Family Curse has struck again.

The Good News

  • I’m not contagious!!!! I was so sure I had the flu and was terrified that the second I got better, one of the girls would get sick and then the other girl and this would be a two-week long ordeal. Thank god that’s not the case!
  • It’s treatable! I came home with a whole smorgasbord of prescription medications: things to help with pain, nausea, antibiotics (because my urine also showed an extremely elevated white blood count – the stone likely caused an infection, too), and something to help my urinary tract expand so the stone can pass more easily (<not sure if this is just layman’s terms? That’s how it was described to me).

The Bad News

  • It still hasn’t passed. It was sitting low in my urinary tract so the doctor felt it would pass “soon.” That was Wednesday and no relief yet. He said if it hasn’t passed by Monday or Tuesday to come back again and they can zap it with a laser to break it up but he didn’t want to do that as a go-to because he didn’t think insurance would cover it.
  • It’s a lifestyle change. You get it once? Odds are you’ll get it again. I need to get an internal medicine doctor to help me so I can better manage stones when I undoubtedly get them again. I have been 100% INCAPACITATED this entire week. The stress from all the missed work (not to mention the already high stress of my life, in general right now) is almost enough to break me. I will likely need to make some dietary changes and things to try to prevent or reduce the re-currence of future stones. And I need to figure out some better pain meds. I was initially prescribed oxycodone but I took one on Wednesday night and was HIGH AS A KITE!!! Y’all. I’ve never done mind-altering drugs before, so I have nothing to compare it to. But this was insane. I was seeing sounds and hearing colors. I was god, controlling weather patterns. I mean….it was out of this world and NOT in a good way. Immediately Thursday morning I called and got a new pain med, Tramadol but it makes me super tired to where I can hardly keep my eyes open. I need to find something that can help manage then pain, but still allow me to at least do minimal amounts of work and take care of my children!
  • It’s costing me $$$. This was the kids’ Fall Break week! I was going to save on money by doing fun things for free. But instead I was forced to put them in daycamp for Thursday and Friday because of said incapacitation (see above). I’ve also had to buy way too much take-out because there was just no way I was going to be able to cook and the kids needed to eat. I haven’t reconciled the budget from this week yet, but I’m pretty sure I’ve used our entire “eating out” budget just this week. Plus prescriptions, co-pays, a heating pad, etc. etc. Lots of extra money spent this week.

So there you go. At least now I know what I’ve got and I can try to take active steps to get out ahead of it and better manage it in the future (recognizing the symptoms and getting started on meds sooner). But I’m still in pretty excruciating pain so there’s that.

I’m accepting all thoughts/prayers/well-wishes you want to throw my way. I appreciate any and all! <3

~Ashley


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