Tag Archives: pain

Off and Running

11 Jan

Why begin the new year with mediocrity?  Well, to answer the question as plain as I can, we are not.

To kick start our meander into 2013 we had the awesome pleasure of learning our daughter’s first semester as a full time college student ended with her gaining  “A” grades in every class.  And since my mother was in town when the good news arrived (her last visit before moving full time to the south American country of Nicaragua) we decided to have an ‘out to dinner’ celebration.  Which we did, at a local Japanese-California fusion type restaurant.  We had a magnificent time until I looked across the table and over at my son, only to realize with a single hand he was (literally) squeezing a restaurant spoon with such force that the head of the spoon found itself visiting with its tail.  My son is strong to be sure, but this action was not customary even to him.

Turns out he was experiencing a significant amount of pain which led me to square up the bill in a hurry and get him home where his pain medication innocently awaited his return.  Unfortunately not even prescription narcotics could avert the intensity of his anguish.  Mind you, he has been through a lot…brain surgery, eye surgery, kidney stone passing, combat zone activity, etc.  And yet, this amount of pain was causing him to have respiratory failure to the point his hands were numb and had turned blue.  We watched him attempt to pull his hair out as he writhed on the bathroom floor awaiting the emergency crew who had just been summoned by me, via telephone.  We were at a loss, what with no bloody wound to apply compression to.  And no apparent heart attack, choking, or drowning in process.  Only an abdominal pain so severe that the five of us (Cole included) weren’t sure if this was his last hour.  HAPPY NEW YEAR! 😉

So off to the emergency room we went…for further celebration, of course!  Thankfully Cole is still with us.  He had an intestinal blockage and the ER doctor gave him the necessary shots, IV’s, and nutrients so Cole was able to return home and suffer out the rest of the process here at home.  Now the day after our celebratory fiasco, my mom had to get to the airport, my son to his doctor, and my daughter to the store for a couple international necessities (voltage converter and the like).  Those errands were accomplished and Esther was packed and ready to go.

Brian and I took Esther up to LAX airport (insisting to Cole he remain at home due to his tenuous circumstance and uncertainty of requiring a second trip to the hospital).  We left our young world traveler in the hands of the long security line with the loving words of a TSA agent as her new found guide, “Where is your boarding pass?  You need to be prepared!”  Esther, in her inexperienced manner, had clipped all of her paperwork together…annoying the agent because she had to rifle through a few pieces to encounter the boarding pass.  Brian and I left our little girl smiling anxiously, knowing the next step was unfamiliar for her, but having confidence she would learn even if from her mistakes.

LAX International

The sea of security, LAX International

LAX security line

Mom’s shaky hand manning the camera, notice the boarding pass!

So she is now in France.  She has already experienced a class at the university, the marketplace, the local cuisine, a 16th century apartment, and been introduced to various people.  She called us this morning (via Skype) because she said her brain hurt from so much French–meaning, she is truly in an immersion situation and her abilities are being utilized and stretched beyond their present capacity.  …mission accomplished!  At this moment, with her host family, she is on her way to the coast and tomorrow they will venture into Spain.  We couldn’t be more excited for her…and she is truly enjoying every moment of being there. …Touché to the movie, “Taken”…touché!

Now on another front, you might not believe this, but I am still sick!  I actually finished my regimen of antibiotics last Friday, but after our trek to the hospital and then the days which followed with quite a lot of activity, I have again landed back on my ass (buttocks, not to be confused with my imaginary mule).  What the heck?  This is one tough repiratory virus, that is all I can say.  And of course, when combating such a fierce microscopic bug, I do recommend staying far away from their known watering hole…the hospital.  But like I was going to send my son off in an ambulance with a kiss and well wishes…NOT.  So to the watering hole I went, and here I now sit as result.

The good news, 2012 shall not be outdone!  We roll into this new year like a band of wild horses who know not which way they are headed; just off and running, as is their custom.  Sweet Jesus, can you please keep the minions at bay?!  For we just might want to nibble a small crumb of mediocrity for a spell.  …I don’t know, it’s just a thought. 🙂


26 Jul

A couple of months ago my husband Brian and I were with my aunt for the unveiling of my uncle’s tombstone.  It had been over one year since his passing and though traditionally the unveiling is done at the one year marker, for reasons that avail themselves to be a part of life, the unveiling happened at about 15 months.  At any rate, while we were driving in the car my aunt confided in us that the second year of living without her husband seemed to be harder than the first.  I remember really taking in what she said at the time and mulling over its meaning.  And quite frankly I haven’t stopped my mulling.

Our family (and more specifically my son), is at the 16 month marker from the date of learning of the dreaded brain tumor.  We are in the second year, and I concur with my aunt, it is harder.  I have a motto: “You mess with the brain, you mess with the entire body!”  And since Cole’s surgery, besides the obvious physical disabilities he is left to contend with, he has been left with an internal system that remains, at best, mysterious.  Quite frankly, his gastrointestinal system is a problem.  In fact, his last two trips to the hospital ER have been due to extreme pain in the region of the small intestine.  So much so, that only a narcotic pain relief system has saved him from the agony.  And because that is not the course of treatment we look to, on the long term, the diagnostic testing was moved up and completed this past Tuesday.

Now being that Cole has Crohn’s Disease on both his maternal and paternal sides of the family, as well as colon cancer heavily on my side along with ulcerative colitis, you can imagine how happy we were to learn that none of these issues befalls him.  Yes, we can let out a big sigh of relief…for he doesn’t have to contend with having had a malignant brain tumor and then contend with having any form of additional disease on top of the whopper he already endures.  A big “Praise the Lord” for that!

But what he does have heavy upon his mind and soul is the big nothing that showed up in every test and culture taken.  “Nothing, everything looks normal.”  Yet he has agonizing pain.  This is the “hard” I mentioned earlier.  The moving through the nothings of life and trying to keep the chin up.  The first year post tumor resection was spent in concentrated rehabilitation.  Our family was on high alert living off of the adrenaline rush of the circumstance.  Now we are not.  It’s as if we have turned another corner…  We have moved out of the big city of dodging cars and people, with blinking lights–green now yellow then red–which seemed to guide our every step.  And we are now heading along a path that is more subdued, plain, and perhaps a bit monotonous.  With a tumbleweed or two, from time to time, rolling across our path.  Not enough to invoke our internal emergency system (the chemicals which strengthen us in times of emergency), just enough to wear us out from dodging them.  And when we think there might be a tornado on the horizon, which could possibly kick up the ‘ol juices again, it turns out to be nothing more than the lackluster performance of a dust-devil.

So here we are, walking a long road of nothing.  Cole has pain and now has to somehow process that this is normal.

Being the last of the diagnostics were Tuesday, and yesterday he was down as a result; And today he was still suffering the tail end of the tests intrusions, I have to somehow remain hopeful that tomorrow we will figure out how to traverse this “second year” path no matter how droll the scenery may be.

Does that make sense to you, my reader?  Can you feel the anguish through my metaphorical ramblings?  Because I assure you, I am not lamenting the adventure of our previous year.  I am merely sharing my current observations.  And what they boil down to, in plain spoken text, is that it is harder to have to tell my son that his disabilities and internal sensitivities just might be here the rest of his life when in the first year we were pushing as hard as we could to help him gain back every ounce of ability lost.

That, dear friends, is my tumbleweed.

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