Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Thoughts after a long and strange vacation week

Winter vacation week is over, and for Janey, it went quite well.  This is the vacation that is often the stuff of nightmares, being situated in the middle of winter with little to do outside the house, but this time, Tony took the whole week off, William was home from college, and Janey got a huge amount of attention from them and from Freddy, and overall, she was happy.  We noticed by the end of the week, she was talking more than usual, something I've noticed happens after she is around us 24/7 for a while.  She showed also a new behavior---getting very mad over specific things.  She certainly has gotten mad and upset PLENTY before, but this mad was different.  For example, at one point Freddy and I were watching a Star Trek The Next Generation episode, and Janey wanted to watch Kipper "on the big TV"  Tony offered it on the computer, but she didn't like that idea, and she threw a fit, screaming "I WANT KIPPER!  ON THE BIG TV!  ON THE BLACK TV!"  She stomped her feet and overturned a toy box.  We didn't give in, but were able to talk her down much more easily than times when we had no idea what she was upset about!  It looked like a 2 year old tantrum, and it was actually quite nice to see, in a way.

The big event of the vacation, for me, was a horrible medical test.  A little back story...About 18 months ago, my doctor ordered a bunch of blood tests.  This was because at several points, I've had quite abnormal liver tests (with normal tests between the abnormal ones).  I'm quite sure something happened to my liver both when pregnant with William (because of severe preeclampsia) and when I had a terrible reaction to Aldomet when pregnant with Janey.  But to assure I was okay, the doctor wanted more testing done.  This turned up some weird results, the biggest of which was a marker for scleroderma, a marker that is almost always accurate.  This led to seeing a rheumatologist, which in turn led to seeing about a million other specialists, which lead to about a million other tests.  As is usually the case with me, I got some bizarre results, but overall, nothing definitively wrong.  I was diagnosed with an "undifferentiated connective tissue disorder" and "possible Sjogren's syndrome" and "maybe future Scleroderma"  All of which means little.  However, in the course of all this, at some point it was noted I get short of breath a lot.  I had written this off as being out of shape, but the pulmonologist wanted me to see a specialist in pulmonary hypertension.  I did, and that doctor said I needed a right heart catherization with a combined exercise test.  I balked at this, but he said I was "the strongest possible candidate for the test he's ever seen".  An in office test showed I probably had PH---which is a very scary and usually fatal diagnosis.  So---I agreed to the test.

To end the suspense, the test was perfectly normal.  I am fine.  However, the test itself was HELL.  I was told it's usually no worse than a dentist's visit.  Well, if that is the case, the dentists must be like the one in "Little Shop of Horrors", the sadist dentist played by Steve Martin.  It turned out that I have arteries that don't like things poked into them.  In trying to get a port into my left wrist, the first doctor failed, the second doctor failed, the third big gun doctor they called in failed.  So after 75 minutes and FIFTEEN attempts, they switched to the right wrist.  At the same time, they were working on getting a probe into my heart through my neck.  This took about 7 attempts, a broken wire, a few "Oh s**t"s from the doctor, questions about whether I've had heart surgery (no, I haven't), etc.

I came home from the test feeling awful, and I kept feeling worse all week.  Eventually, by Saturday, although I had vowed to never visit a doctor again, it was pretty obvious even to me my wrists were infected.  I had a fever, and they had spreading redness.  So another doctor's visit, and only some quick talking on my part let me "try" having antibiotics instead of going back to the hospital.  They seem to be working, and hopefully, it's all over but the huge bills I'm sure I will get.

So that's a long story that in the end is fine.  The other thing I heard about on Saturday doesn't have any happy ending.  A dear friend's nephew was killed in a car crash last Friday, driving to work, seat belt on, slipped on snowy unsalted roads into the path of a truck.  He was 20 years old, married with a daughter, and a son on the way.  Gone in a random, horrible flash.  I didn't know the nephew at all, but that's not the point.  It was the ultimate and saddest example of random I can think of.  Nobody was doing anything wrong, but still---things happen.  Tragic things.

My mind has been working on all of this, and of course there is no neat conclusion.  But my thoughts have been along these lines---We try all our lives to control outcomes, to predict problems, to make sure we are healthy and safe.  And we can't.  The tests were all well meant for me, but they were not really any use, and in fact they caused me some harm.  The man killed was doing all the things a young husband and father should do, but he still was killed.

How does this relate to Janey?  Well, it made me think that the future is far from assured for any of us.  And for Janey, the present is what she really has.  She doesn't, as far as I can tell, anticipate the future.  She lives in the now.  And when I am making decisions about her future, I am going to use how it will affect her Nows.  I don't mean I will not do the basic things we all need to do for health and safety, but I am not going to make big changes in her life in hope of some vague future benefit.  She adores the school she is in now---I will leave her at that school.  She was very unhappy last year at summer school---I am not sending her this year.  We will work on giving her happiness.  We can't predict the future.  We can't prevent, in any big way, the events the future has in store for us.  I will try to not dread the future, Janey's future or mine.  I will work on every day we are given being the best day it can be.  I know I'll be tested in this, and I know I won't live up to that goal, but I am going to try.

1 comment:

David Fee said...

When I read a post like that I hope you have some kind of life insurance. I'm not in the insurance industry but I'm glad my wife and I got some term life insurance. If I have to die prematurely, I hope at least my family will benefit because the alternative is to die and the family get nothing.