Sunday, January 22, 2012

'Tis the Season


Two cars back I had a Nissan Pathfinder in lovely maroon, which was a wonderful car for that slightly more active and young part of my life. I had it from the time I was 17 until right after Charlotte was born, It was great in the canyons and okay in the snow, and had some delightful quirks. One of these was the electrical system, which sometimes worked correctly, and sometimes presented fun surprises like resetting the clock whenever you opened the door, and for awhile, setting off the alarm if you didn't start the car within 10 seconds of climbing in. The reason I mention this is the other day I climbed into my mom van after working at the hospital all day, and started pawing through my purse looking for my keys. I couldn't find them in the dark of the parking garage and found myself quickly moving into anxiety bordering on panic. My fingers closed over my armless Buzz Lightyear key chain and I almost ripped the lining out of purse trying to get the keys into the ignition before....
...Oh yeah. That was 2 cars and eight years ago. Mom van doesn't throw itself into a wailing whooping fit if you don't immediately prove you have the key upon entering. Funny how things like that come back to you though. Part of you always remembers.
Even now, 13 years since I graduated from high school, the approach of the beginning of June still brings a happy nervous exciting tense feeling, as if 3 months of rollerblading and sleeping in, and toilet papering are on the horizon. Then it always turns out I'm still expected to come to work even after June 6th (that date just always sticks out in my mind) has come and gone. And rollerblading is apparently not cool anymore.
And so, why would I expect anything different surrounding this time of year? On that deep visceral, car alarm, summer vacation level, this time of year is about cherishing every moment, even the awful ones, and about tears and grief and loss. It is as much about death and being left behind as Christmas is about joy and life. For me, anyway.
Naturally I'm going to be a little down. And late for work, or unable to sleep, or absolutely exhausted, or annoyed, or cranky, or quiet, or not very social, or thoughtless, or sobbing my eyes out with my cheek pressed against a cold granite headstone on a windy Sunday night. 'Tis the Season.
For the few years we had Charlotte with us, these few weeks were about desperately awaiting the spring, when the air would be clear and the flu would fade away, and all of us, especially Charlotte, could breath a little easier. And then came the year that would be her last, and the winter had been rough, and I felt like we were just around the corner from relief. Well, she was. She was taken quickly by a common virus after a long, slow, barely perceptible decline. Then just two years later we were going through the very painful and strange but holy weeks of trying to make Lily's life peaceful and comfy as she slipped away from us.

And that was only a year ago. Not eight. Not thirteen. I will always have this heaviness during these cold, gray, tender weeks. It's natural and it's okay. But I do apologize for being somewhat cocooned around myself at the moment. It's self preservation. And I'm not laying in the fetal position crying all day. I'm just keeping quiet. I'm fine, and functioning and happy. I'm just a little sad.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

My PRK Surgery or One Wild Weekend"

For Christmas this year, my parents offered to pay for one eye's worth of corrective vision surgery for each child. With a deal like that I saw no reason not to undergo PRK surgery last thursday. I was not a candidate for LASIK due to steep corneas, or some jargon, but I was good to go for the older, more painful PRK surgery.
I'm not saying it was a mistake, but at this point i'm not recommending it. The procedure itself was fine, made almost pleasant with a little valium and getting to lay down for a few minutes. The only part that bothered me was when the nurse said "let's just get that little bit of epithelium out of your eye" and did a little scraping motion over my taped open eyeball. Ew.
But I went home excited to climb into bed and listen blindly to books on tape on my ipod for a couple days in the dark. "Every mother's dream!" my own mother declared. Not that I disagree.
Once in bed I noticed some discomfort but quickly fell asleep trying to pay attention to the rather studious 1776. Zar was going to go pick up my pain meds and eye drops and then pick up the kids from my mothers, and then I figured we would get some burritos and have a fabulous long weekend together.
The next thing I remember was waking up in quickly intensifying pain. As if someone were rubbing sandpaper against my eyeballs. At this point I already had the residual valium and two Lortabs on board, and of course, was blind, but I made it downstairs to paw through the medicine cabinet looking for some sort of relief. I opened the freezer and grabbed what I thought was a bag of peas but turned out to be Ella's weird chemical "Make your own dehydrated snow". In any case I rushed back upstairs, located my phone and ordered it to call my husband and in turn ordered him to rush home with my drugs.
"You can't have any more drugs yet," he replied.
Then I lay keening on the bathroom floor in the dark waiting for him. The next few hours, or really, the next couple days are blur, as I was being fed around the clock Lortab with messed with my sense of time but did not seem to touch the pain, which progressed to feeling as though my eyelids were made of shards of glass, or razor blades, and my tears were lemon juice. There was moaning, wailing, and swearing, there was banging of heads against the floor. At some point fairly early on I yelled at Zar to go find my "Pro Something Pills" which knocked me out for two days during my pregnancy with Ella. I told Zar I was nauseous, as Zar does not believe in taking a drug just to be knocked out. Although in this case I'm sure he would have been cool with it. In any case, thiis the only reason I'm not dead now. Seriously, it was the WORST physical pain I have ever experienced, and I stand by my hysterical raging of two days ago that people in this kind of pain should be sedated in a hospital, not sent home with a headache pill, swear swear swear. C-section recovery has NOTHING on this, except when Ella jumped on my tummy right after Lily was born and I was certain my innards had exploded all over my hospital room. It was about like that, if the toddler continued to jump on the incision and I had no power to stop it. Yes, that bad, yes, if I had a gun, I would have used it. In hindsight maybe we should have called the doctor, the one who mentioned "mild discomfort." I hope they have me fill out a survey.
Here's a few other details I recall:
Zar trying to force me to wear my sunglasses while in bed to keep me from rubbing my eyes, and me throwing them off and screaming abusively.
Zar putting cold compresses on my face and me throwing them off screaming "IT DOESN'T HELP" and swearing abusively,
Trying to act nice and calm in front of Ella, but losing it and wailing "MOMMY NEEDS MORE MEDICINE!" and hearing her burst into tears, and then, heartbreak, her not wanting to sleep with me that night.
Zar ordering me to open my eyes for my drops and screaming abusively, but I'm sure you guessed that.
Ella coming in and piling her toys on me--monkey, Uno Moo Game, various plastic balls, penguin, and plastic foods to make me feel better once I had fallen into an exhausted drugged out heap.
Thinking I had better have x-ray vision once this is over.

Well, the pain is gone, and I can squint well enough to type somewhat reliably. But not drive. And certainly not be a useful employee tomorrow. But I'm going anyway. I have to pay for my other eye. My vision should continue to improve over the next few days and reach full improvement in six months...but really...didn't I look kinda cute in glasses?