Monday, January 26, 2009

Very Bad Luck

TOBY: These things take patience. These things take skill. These things take luck. In the 15 months we've been in office, what kind of luck have we had, Ginger?

GINGER: Bad luck.

TOBY: What kind of luck?

GINGER: Very bad luck.

TOBY: We've had very bad luck.

This exchange is from the Season 1 episode of the West Wing, "Six Meetings Before Lunch." It's also a very apt description of life this past week and a half. In my last post I noted the water damage in my home and that my wife was to have surgery on Friday. Not exactly good times, but life throws your curve balls sometimes and you just have to deal. I mean it can't get worse right?

Not so much. I swear to you, loyal readers, the following is all true...


6:30: Get up early so that I can meet my mom in Fort Wayne and offload the kids on her for the weekend.

7:00: Get a call from mom that she's been sick with what she thought was food poisoning, but now my step-father has the symptoms so it must be the flu. She'll still watch the kids if I want, but the only thought worse than that of my kids coming home with the flu is seeing my wife get it while recovering from abdominal surgery. I cancel. My mother-in-law is coming down for the weekend anyway, so we'll have some help.

1:00: Arrive at the surgery center. They take my wife back to be prepped.

1:30: I'm called to come back to see her, I presume, before they administer the anesthesia. Instead I'm told that she had some kind of seizure about a minute after they put the IV in. She's never had a seizure before. (Note: I'm going to continue using the word seizure here, but I'm not sure that -technically- it's the right word for what happened. Her hands clenched shut, her tongue swelled a bit, and she couldn't move her legs and said it felt like her insides were shaking violently. It lasted a minute or two, during which she was fully conscious.)

2:30: We're told because they don't know what set off the seizure they don't want to do the surgery. This would normally be inconvenient at the absolute best of times, but considering the constant abdominal pain my wife has been for over a month that this surgery was likely to ease, it's frustrating as hell. We're also told an appointment has been made for her to see a neurologist that afternoon to make sure it was just some kind of extreme reaction to the IV and not something more serious.

3:30: We see the neurologist, who uses some big words to say basically, "Yeah, I don't know what's going on." Always comforting. Appointments are set this week for an EEG and MRI. Yay!


12:00(ish): Angie feels an ovarian cyst rupture (we think; she has a condition that causes these cysts and they're all over her ovaries right now; it seems like every other week or so she'll feel one rupture and it's painful). A minute later she has another of these seizures. Given her lack of tolerance for pain/needles I start to wonder if these aren't being triggered by pain. Regardless, one of these instances is worrying, two is a very scary trend.

Sunday: This is where the wheels officially come off.

9:30: Angie, deservedly sleeping in, wakes up and feels the effects of another of these seizures. It's not as severe this time; her hands aren't clenched shut but she still feels like her insides are shaking. It passes. I worry some more.

10:30: I get a call from the restoration company saying they want to come over today (yes, on a Sunday) to remove my kitchen floor. There is never going to be a good time for this, so I say okay. They assure me they'll call 20 mins. before arriving.

11:00: We pull some of the kids clothes out of the dryer to find that, evidently, both brown and black crayons were in one of their pants pockets. Said crayons have now melted and dried over everything in that load, which constitutes the bulk of their most oft worn clothes. Again.  Yay!

12:00: I start boiling water and washing the clothes out by hand in the kitchen sink. The good news is this works pretty well on most (though not all) of the clothes and a quick run through the dryer should dispense with the problem. The bad news is that boiling water burns skin. I know. Shocking, but true.

1:00: Still working on the clothes there's a knock at the door. Hey, it's a six man wrecking crew come to remove my flooring. So much for the advance phone call. I immediately have to switch gears, clearing out the kitchen, laundry room and pantry floor.

1:30: Watching our new tile get smashed into a thousands of pieces breaks the heart.

2:30: Angie is resting, watching TV in the bedroom. (Actually, it's the TV from the kids' play area; I moved it to the bedroom for her because the small LCD we had in our bedroom had to go back to the manufacturer for repair. More fun, that.) I go to check on her and she tells me the picture on the TV is out. I reset the DirecTV box. It starts to reboot and then goes out again. I repeat this process a couple times, remove and re-attaching all the cables. No luck. I sigh and promise to deal with it after the crew has left.

3:00: The tile is all out and the crew is working out pulling up the vinyl. Hey, what's that? Why a long 1cm wide crack on the concrete slab floor that runs the length of our kitchen and into the kids' playroom. Is this a worry? I have no fucking idea, but I am so loving life.

3:30: The head honcho of this crew points out to me that there is, once again, water in the laundry room. There's not a lot, but there shouldn't be any. I check the water softener drain hose, the suspected culprit from the initial water damage, and it's firmly in the drain. The crew leaves and I clean up the water; seeing no source of a leak I conclude it was spilled out when the guys unhooked the washer and dryer to move them into the garage. Speaking of which, hey the washer and dryer are still out there and I have a whole load of sopping wet kids' clothes that need to be dried. Again, again: Yay!

4:30: I put our other satellite receiver in the bedroom and it works. I try the bedroom receiver in our family room and it doesn't. Looks like the receiver box is toast. Huzzah!

6:30: I return to the laundry room and the floor is wet again. W.T.F.? Where is this all coming fro... oh's no's. The water softener tank that holds the salt. It's leaking out from underneath that. I shut off the valves, but there's a ton of water and salt in that tank and I can't lift it or do anything else about. All I can do is put a towel under it and try to soak it up as it leaks out.

6:45: I go to put a new roll of paper towel on our wall mounted paper towel holder and one of the cheap plastic brackets snaps off. This is the last fucking straw, I swear to god.

9:30: Left 4 Dead with Bill (and Bill). Slaying zombie hordes with friends is clearly the only way to cleanse the stench of one of the most foul weekends in memory. Tomorrow will be a new day and things will start to look up, I'm sure of it.


7:30: I wake up late, but feeling a little more at ease on a good night's sleep. The kids are already up and watching TV. I'm not wild about the notion of them getting up and going straight for TV, but whatever. I say good morning to them. Kyle looks at me and says, "Daddy, I had an accident." Sure enough. The kid is sopping wet and, when I got to check it, his bed sheet is soaked. Why he didn't come and tell us this, I don't know. An issue for another day. And crap, now I have to start a load of laund... aw hell. (The washer and dryer are still in the garage.)

7:45: The towel I put under the water softener at about 1:30am soaked completely through (knew I should've used the bigger one) and there's water on the floor again. Not a ton, but enough to be annoying. I clean it up and call the water softener company. They'll send a guy out with a new tank... on Wednesday. I think about telling the guy to look up the word "expediency" in the dictionary, but think better of it.

7:46: I'm largely agnostic/ambivalent about the whole higher power thing. I prefer to recognize my ignorance of the cosmic for what it is and just trust to the natural order of things. That said, whatever you want to call it -god, fate, karma- I am officially declaring uncle. Uncle, I say!!! 


Anyway, this is all a very long, very drawn out way of saying that blogging from me will continue to be sporadic for the forseeable future. Also, I'm not writing anything here for sympathy. It's just cathartic to put it all out there and try to find some humor in it all. Obviously most of this stuff is all nuisance bullshit. In the case of the kitchen floor, it's expensive nuisance bullshit. But whatever. If the country can live with trillion dollar deficits then I can live with paying a deductible and repair of my water softener. Well, there's the paper towel rack too. That's $7 out the frigg'n window. Dammit! Point is, I know it'll all get fixed up in due time and it'll all be water under the bri... No. I'm declaring a moratorium on metaphors involving water. At this point the mere sound of running water makes me want to collapse into a fetal position in a closet.

The big issue, of course, remains Angie's health and I'll post updates as we learn what's going on. (Any of you who have insights into the pain followed by seizure symptom, I'd love to have your insight.) Hopefully it's just related to one of the prescription meds she's been taking (the neurologist indicated one of them lowers the body's resistance to seizure... if I followed what he was saying correctly) and we can get the surgery rescheduled. Regardless, the kind emails I've received from a few of you are much appreciated!


Brandon said...

Damn man. Here's hoping that everything works out for all involved.

Dave said...

Yeah, like Brandon said - fingers crossed that everything sorts itself out.

bill abner said...

Jesus Todd I had bno idea.

Call me if you need a vent outlet.

We can always play some more L4d :)

Jim Schmaltz said...

Wow Todd, best of luck to you and the family. Hang in there!

Blob said...

One of my friends had the same kind of cysts and symptoms - started with pain and nausea, then cyst pop and seizure. Happened a few times but usually months apart, one seizure per cyst.

todd brakke said...

Thanks to all of you. As I said, your comments are much appreciated. Blob - thanks in particular for yours. It's very reassuring to think that there's something to the cyst/seizure connection and that it's not a symptom of something more serious.

Jeffrey said...

Todd, 2 things:

1. There can be an influx of chemicals into the bloodstream from a cyst rupturing. This can cause a physical response not unlike a pseudo-conscious seizure.

2. Sometimes the pain and sudden change in pressure can cause a pain/anxiety related response. It ebbs as the body gets used to the change and the pain subsides.

I've missed a lot of the blog here lately, but several factors can SIGNICANTLY increase the rate of cyst formation:

* Any change in hormone levels, even something which shouldn't seem to affect levels, like removal of the uterus while leaving the ovaries behind can do it as well.

* Female birth control and even coming off birth control. IUD's ironically have the highest level of extra cyst formation. But the pill or any other option can cause extra cysts and an increase in size.

* Some doctor’s put women on the pill to help regulate the occurrence of cysts, but it can do the opposite in some women.

I'm confused as to why your doctor didn't put forth these theories to you. My wife is going through these cyst issues as well and she's got one the size of a large grapefruit right now - never had one before (had them in the breasts but not big ones on the ovaries). But she just has a her uterus removed from a fibroid mass and though the uterus does not techincally create hormones, it is part of a feed-back loop and whenever this is disrupted it can cause problems such as this.

Shoot me an e-mail if you need to chat with someone going through this too.


todd brakke said...

Jeff, I don't think I've got your email. If you would, email me directly I do have a couple questions for you. Thanks so much for the info!

Mark said...

Jeez. 2009 isn't off to such a good start. Sorry for all the trouble you're having right now, but in order for the universe to stay in balance, the rest of the year should be completely great for you and your wife. They owe ya that, man.