Sunday, December 13, 2009

Quite the Eventful Day

Thursday the 9th of December started out a fairly normal day. Angie had to open at the Zimmerman store, Brooke went to school, and I started my day getting Heather ready for school. Heather had had a bit of a cough for several days, but never had a fever and seemed fine otherwise. It was cold that day, and I couldn't find Heather's backpack, so I dropped her off closer to school and walked her in so I could tell her teacher she was missing anything that she might need in the backpack.

I had a bit of an appetite, and I wasn't going to pass on this increasingly rare condition, so I had some lunch about 12:30. I was surprised to hear Angie come in a few minutes later. To me it is a given not to call or in any way assume anything other than the fact that Angie is very busy during lunch hour when she is working. So I was not expecting her until closer to 2:00.

She had gone to work at the new Zimmerman, MN Hardee's greatly in part to the fact that she wanted to work with Barb. Barb was the manager of the Elk River store that Angie had most recently worked at. I was never very keen about Zimmerman because it was almost twice as far as Elk River that I already thought was a bit far.

Well, Angie had a story to tell about her day, but the short version is that Barb to "promoted" to a position in which she would not be managing the Zimmerman store. Needless to say, Angie was pretty upset. She has had issues with some of the other people, and at 3am I imagine the drive suddenly did not seem as short as it once might have. Really the only thing that was keeping her tolerant of working in Zimmerman was Barb. She told the new manager that she was going home and said she didn't care to work there anymore. It was sort of an ultimatum: she'd work in the Anoka store, but not Elk River nor Zimmerman; if that didn't work, she would be quitting.

After listening to the tale, I went back upstairs to continue working from home. Angie left the house about 3:40 to pick up Heather. About 3:55, I got a call from the school: they said Heather was puking and we'd need to pick her up from the nurse's office. I called Angie to let her know. And in the meantime, I scheduled an appointment for after-hours care, which wouldn't be until 7:00.

When Heather got home, she looked like heck. We took her temperature, but she wasn't above 100. But not even an hour later, I checked again and she was over 102. So the two of them packed up and went to the ER. I am not really supposed to be around sick people during chemo, so a hospital isn't the best place -- well, the waiting room at least. Besides, I needed to wait until Brooke got home from wherever. She had skipped coming home right after school like she is supposed to, and I had little idea where she was or how to find her (she has a way of making this the case).

As I waited, I tried calling Angie a couple of times. I knew that her phone needed to be off in the ER, but it's tough just waiting. Angie was able to sneak a quick call and gave me an update. I could even hear in the background that Heather sounded better after they were able to get her fever down. But she had pneumonia and they would be admitting her to the hospital.

Angie called several more times with updates, from the ER, from the room they were admitted to, and kept me up to date. During this time, I was still waiting for Brooke. And I was deciding that if we had flu?/pneumonia in the house, with me on chemo, and having just few out-of-the-ordinary (for me) coughs and a tightness in my chest, I figured I'd probably want to get myself checked as well.

And I waited and I waited and I waited for Brooke to get home. She was supposed to be home by 9:00, but I hadn't seen her by then. It was finally about 9:30 that she was making something in the kitchen that she made her presence known. She insisted she was home by 9:00 but went right downstairs. Sneaking out, skeaking in, she is never easy. Loud all the rest of the time, but not when I need it.

Well, I grabbed a bag with some things for Angie and quickly headed out the door. I stopped at McDonald's and grabbed Angie something to eat on the way. I came up to visit Heather fairly briefly and drop things off. She looked like she was doing a lot better. But apparently she was still having a hard time keeping food down.

Then I went to the ER. There wasn't a line, so things went somewhat quickly. But it was still a lot of waiting for test results. Blood draw and wait for the result. Chest Xray and wait for the result. They didn't find any pneumonia or flu, so that was good. But something in the results made them look for a possible blood clot in the lungs. I think one of the chemicals in my chemo has some clotting behavior to it. So they also got me in for a CT. Eventually, they ruled me pretty much okay, maybe with some bronchitis.

I visited Heather and Angie again briefly before leaving, but it was already 1am. They still looked pretty good, although trying to rest and not all that comfortable. I stopped at Walgreen's on the way home to fill my prescription, and in my wait time went for a quick look for something to eat. The only place open at that hour was White Castle. Not what I'd hoped for, since I hadn't eaten since lunch, I was damn hungry.

I got home a bit after 1:30. And I was disappointed with Brooke for being up downstairs and later discovering that one of the first things she did after I left was go into our room and grab Angie's laptop (which she is suppposed to ask permission for before every time she uses it). She has a way with taking these little opportunities to impress us with her maturity and failing rather miserably.

Friday morning I was scheduled to go to the clinic for lab work (meaning a blood draw). I didn't sleep well, and I was up by 7am, even though after trying to unwind I hadn't gone to sleep until after 3am. Well, I needed to let work know that I'd be doing my best to work from home. And I tried to call the clinic and see if I could skip out on the blood work -- if they could use last night's results from the ER.

I did skip it, my callback didn't come until 9:20, and I was scheduled to be there at 9:20. But Dr. Amatruda's nurse let me know that I didn't need to come in and that they could use the ER results. Or if anything, for me just to stay home and rest and if they need a different test that they'd call me back for Monday.

But in the process of discussing blood and test results, she let me know that the tumor on the 2nd thorasic had grown. And that a new one was spotted on the 12th. And, as a later call from the radiologists also mentioned, that there might be some cancer in my lung, but that they thought it was most likely mucus.

Later, Angie had called to let me know how Heather was doing. She also let me know that the school called and said the Brooke had some injury to her hand and that Angie needed to come pick her up. Angie was not happy about that, and looking at Brooke's hand later we had no idea why she needed to be taken out of school.

I was having a bit of a time trying to work, and had fallen asleep around noon or so. I missed my Friday call with my manager and felt pretty bad about it. Later I did call a co-worker about the software we're working with, but he pretty much tabled things until Monday.

Heather was released from the hospital in the afternoon. Brooke was of course grounded for not coming home after school the day before. So of course when Angie went to pick up some prescriptions, Brooke left and left a note saying she'd be back about 9. I had been upstairs and Heather was watching TV downstairs when Angie left (apparently followed by Brooke). It sounded "too quiet" downstairs, so I went to check it out and learned this situation. Again we were more than a bit unimpressed with Brooke.

But Heather seemed to be doing all right, and she kept herself fairly well entertained. I did my best to keep a sharp ear for her from the upstairs as I tried to simultaneously "kept an eye" on her while trying to keep my distance because of the chemo and the reduced immunity.

All in all, it was quite the eventful 24-hour period. Frankly, I prefer a less exciting routine.

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