As my dear friend Johnny Optimism says, "things could always be worse." After which, for Johnny, they always get worse. And there's a little of that going on at stately (well, sickly) Jarlsberg manor just now.
Going back a few days, Daughter J's surgery was successful and the surgeon removed a 30-pound cyst from her abdomen. That's three 10-pound bags of potatoes for anyone math-impaired (I'm looking at YOU Elizabeth Warren, AOC and, what the hell, every Democrat except Joe Manchin). "Bob" was removed intact and posed for a precious (and impressive) baby picture which you can see right here if you're the medically curious type.
Daughter J now has a long abdominal incision held together by dozens of metal staples. Daughter J herself is being held together with hydrocodone.
At the time of the surgery, Daughter J's mom was still stuck in a different hospital. Kathy's 3-day chemo visit turned into a 10-day visit with additional chemo because her leukemia, like a bad party guest, apparently doesn't know when to leave. Then as a bonus, Kathy got diarrhea which kept adding days to her hospital stay (it's hard to get well when your immune system has been decimated by chemo).
On Saturday, I left Daughter J with her aluminum walker and opioids to visit Kathy. She still had the trots and everyone who came into the room wore a plastic apron with sleeves, a face shield, gloves, and a mask. But surprisingly, we were told that Kathy could come home that very day! Yay! And so we packed up and got Kathy (quite weak from treatment) back home.
I couldn't believe the change in our fortunes as Daughter J began heading (slowly, with the walker) towards the den for a reunion with her mother. And then the phone rang.
It was the hospital. "We just put the pieces together and realized that we might not have mentioned that your daughter must not get anywhere near your wife!" Because Kathy didn't just have diarrhea - she had (and has) C.Diff, which is a magical hospital-acquired bacteria that is wildly contagious, hard to get rid of, and can cause people to have whole sections of their colon removed or just kill 'em outright. Which would have been nice for me to know when I was in close quarters with her at the hospital and packing all of her stuff (C.Diff is easily passed by touching something that an infected person has touched).
At special risk of infection (and having a funeral where everyone is snickering about death by poop) are people over 65 (me) and people who have just had surgery (Daughter J). So my two women needed to stay well-removed from each other as they toddled around with their walkers.
But fortunately and somewhat heroically, I could still take care of both of them...right up until about two hours ago, when I suddenly began vomiting violently without even having used Clan MacGregor as an emetic. Our home resonated with the sound of "ARRRRRRK!" but it was not the herald angels singing. And yes, I've been taking care of myself, but when the Devil has you in his crosshairs, there's only so much you can do.
This is not an opportune time for me to be sick, nor for our house to be quarantined and thus keep additional caregivers out. So I'm hoping I just have food poisoning and not something which will infect anyone else in my household (and which will hopefully pass quickly).
Because "hoping I just have food poisoning" is pretty typical of what passes for holiday optimism in the new normal around here.
|"The barf bags were hung by the chimney with care..."|
MONDAY MORNING UPDATE
Huzzah! I made it through the night with no recurrence of vomiting nor any other symptoms of illness. So apparently all I had was my latest lesson in humility and gratitude - a reminder that things really COULD be worse. All the chores that have recently felt like hard labor will today feel like a gift because I can do them.