There was a rock slide in Glenwood Canyon, but they have the eastbound side open to single lane traffic each way. It slowed me down, but by 9:30 I made it to Glenwood itself and decided to stop for the night. Yes, I could have made it all the way to Moab, and even easier to Junction, but I've been up since 5:20 and I was still in my scrubs.
Called Mark to let him know I made it this far, got a glass of wine from the bar (a generic magnum brand, but surprisingly quaffable) and had a lovely hot bath. When Mark and I do build a house (well, when we pay somebody to build a house), there will be a deep bathtub.
I reread the previous post from three weeks ago. I need to learn that plans change at the U as capriciously as an eight-year-old girl's moods. There will be no mitosis in May. At least, that's this week's decision. Good. Sam and I were both drinking a little too heavily and sleeping very badly that week. It got better.
The date for surgery was confirmed for April 21. Six weeks from today, I will be making some night shift nurse's day a living hell. I am already thinking that whoever I'm most awful to, I will nominate for a Daisy award for putting up with me. Maybe I'll bring some apology cards with me.
I did not leave us much time cushion in travelling....we fly the morning of the 20th, and have the preop appointments at noon, along with testing (another EKG, I'm sure they'll take blood, a type & screen, etc). They want a f/u CXR, and I left Monday and Monday only for that. We're flying back the morning of the 26th, on first class (a suggestion from the pectus blog). It's not a long flight, but my guess is that I'll be glad that I can recline. I got travel insurance, in case. And the car is done, as is the hotel.
Now we wait.
Chase will be staying with his mother. Juliette and Richard have been really great about that. We told them this was coming, and it's a huge relief that Chase is taken care of that week. If we didn't share custody, we'd have the hard choice of scheduling my surgery around his school stuff (which delays us until June, and Dr. J was already booked in June for this reason back when we went to AZ for the consult), or pulling him out of school for a week. Subideal. And I would not be excited for him to be there the week of surgery. I don't want him to have to see me in pain. I don't want him to have to see me in a hospital bed. I think some illusions of parental bullet-proof-ness are a good thing until he's an adult. I'm going to be frustrated that I can't pick up things, and I'm probably not going to handle it with a lot of grace. I wish I were that person, but I know what I am.
And if anything goes badly, I don't want him to be there. Best he be home with his mother.
He comes back home with us the day after we fly in. My folks will already have arrived, and by then I will hopefully be able to be more functional. At least I'll be less crabby, just by being home.
I called the FMLA people, too. They are sending me some stuff in the mail that will tell me what to do. I saw my new PCP (my other PCP moved into an administrative position...which sucks, because I really liked her). I liked the new one well enough, and she's willing to help order the follow up CXRs, but she wants the surgeon to fill you the FMLA. Shall see how that goes.
Work people are being great. I feel like I'm dying by teaching Kate and Denise "my" work. It was weird enough sharing my favorite pulmonologists with them, but they've taken the lead, which was desperately needed for pulm, and is as it should be....but it's weirder still to share my nephrologists. They're setting up kidney biopsies, and asking how to do dialysis start stuff. I want them to succeed. It's all very uncomfortable, though.
Wearing the brace garners questions. Up until I started wearing it more than four hours a day, I'd only told three of them (most of the staff, yes, but only three of the MDs). And because this is health care, when you wear a brace, people ask. And no, it's not easy to wear my scrubs on top of it. Health care is not like other businesses where people won't ask "what's wrong with you?" out of politeness. Nurses and doctors do not share this respect for boundaries. Sometimes, I'm telling people it's to keep the alien inside a little longer. But often, I am telling the truth, typically in as few sentences as possible before changing the subject. I not only feel like I'm dying because I'm training others to do my job, but that I'm wounded and broken now too with the brace....and I've got six weeks left. Which is a lot of time. Or. Hardly any.
The most I can wear the damned thing is 7.5 hours now. Strangely, though, when I have it off, I notice how much I slouch.
But generally speaking, I resoundingly do not wanna talk about it. It's in my face all the time. Concerned and caring people ask what I did to myself, and ...I spoke with an adult son of a patient once, and he was complaining that his mother was "noncompliant" (his word) with wearing oxygen. He said, "She's very vain about it." I told the son that his mother probably was not "vain" and we don't think people refuse to wear their Os because of vanity. People judge. People look and people with oxygen and they think words like "geriatric," "sick," "diseased," "contagious," "weak." All sorts of bad judgements. I don't think it's vain to not want to be judged. That is how I feel about this brace. "Injured." "Weak." "Hurt." Maybe even "drugged," (which I am not). And it makes me feel cornered. Or like I should protect my stomach from a large bird ripping out my entrails.
There's nothing rational about it. So I answer the concerned colleagues, because they care, and I am actually grateful for their concern and kindness. It's just hard to stuff that fight or flight thing back down my throat. And it's constant. Every time I hand over "my" work, or someone asks "Hey, when is your surgey happening again?" or "What'd you do to yourself?"
So I'm going to Utah. So I can sit on the bones of the earth, in the ocean that isn't.
I need it. It's like air hunger how much I need to get to the desert. Everything is good. Never better. No, really, The part of my brain that is not awash in irrational chemicals knows this. My limbic brain has been guppy breathing all week. You'd think booking the flights would help; it didn't. That part of my brain will only be fine when I feel the fine grit of warm sandstone under my hands and feet. And when the sky is big enough, and the air has the faint sweetness of juniper, and I can hear raven wings over a canyon. That will give me air.
I think I'll go to bed. And get up before the sun and go.