Wednesday, December 27, 2006

growing... going...

I know it's a cliche thing to say, but it seems like just yesterday that I was holding you in my arms for the very first time. Today though, on your 15th birthday, you stand a good 6" taller than me, shave on a regular basis, play big-boy sports like football, and have the broad shoulders of someone twice your age. We'll be going soon to get your Learner's Permit for driving, you talk of getting a job, wanting a serious girlfriend, spreading your wings... and it takes every ounce of strength in my body to let you grow. My instincts all seem to say, "Quick! Hold him tighter! This is your BABY!"
Lucky for you, my mind isn't afraid of my instincts. The rational part of me says, "It's OK, Christina. You've prepared him well to handle what is to come from here."
This is where my heart chimes in..."Yes, he's ready to be a man to the world. That doesn't mean he'll ever stop being your baby."
I have so many hopes and dreams for you, but in all honesty, they're no body's business but ours. Just know that I am forever grateful for the wonderful little boy I brought into this world and am in unending awe of the incredible young man he has become. You hold the wildest of success in the palm of your hands. Don't ever be afraid to be amazing. In fact, I'll accept nothing less.
Happy Birthday, baby. Thank you for everything you do and everything you are. I couldn't be more proud of you.
All of my love, always...

Friday, December 22, 2006

shaken... and stirred.

I probably would have known how to react if I had been diagnosed with breast cancer. My scare with possible ovarian cancer last year has female cancers on my radar. We always hear how women are twice as likely to die from heart disease. That's another one I would most likely have been able to handle. Even car accidents and gun violence were floating around in the back of my brain somewhere. But pancreatitis? Are you friggin' kidding me? I could die because my PANCREAS might rupture??

Life was going along swimmingly... we had just spent a wonderful week in the mountains of Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina, and managed to score tickets to the SEC Championship game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta to watch our beloved Gators trounce the Arkansas Razorbacks. We returned safely to Florida, and Collin and I made quick work of FINALLY getting our home settled. Friday night we hosted a party for our home school group at our house. It was a great evening! Saturday we were out and about most of the day. Collin had his final football game that morning, then he and I went to a birthday party while Michael headed out to the beaches area for a chorus performance. We met up again at the Southside Baptist Singing Christmas Tree performance, where Michael was performing in a warm-up quartet with several friends. We watched to show together, grabbed a late dinner (as is usual for us!) and headed home. "Momma-guilt" set in over having our four-legged girls in their beds most of the day, so we let them sleep with us Saturday night.

Sunday morning I woke up with a horrific back ache. I was convinced it was because I had slept all askew, with Sophie snuggled up next to me under the covers, and Casey planted firmly between my feet. I took some Advil and tried to get on with my day. The back pain lingered, but I also began to notice upper abdominal pain that got worse as the day progressed. That night we headed to Ponte Vedra for a Christmas concert at my brother-in-law's church their whole family was participating in. The pain was definitely present, but not debilitating. At least not yet.

After the concert we stopped at Olive Garden for dinner (yes, you guessed it... a LATE one!), but I barely ate anything. I had no appetite. (It's OK, I couldn't believe it either!) We got home and I quickly made my way to bed only to toss and turn all night. It didn't matter how I laid, I was in pain. On my side... painful. On my back... ouch. On my stomach... excruciating. I took more Advil and hoped I'd at least get some rest. My pain only continued to worsen.

Monday morning Michael was on the phone as soon as possible to our doctor's office. I was able to squeak into a 2:45pm appointment that afternoon. Our doctor listened to my symptoms (severe upper abdominal pain, back pain, increasingly darkening urine and almost white bowel movements--sorry for those last two, but if it's ever something that happens to you, you'll WANT to have known that part!!), examined me, sent me for blood work and urinalysis, ordered an ultrasound and a CT scan with contrast of my abdominal area and warned me to head to the ER immediately if I began vomiting, had a fever or if the pain got any worse. He also handed me a prescription for Darvocet. Off I went.

By 6:30 that evening (Monday, December 11, 2006), my pain had reached the level that I was literally in tears. I told Michael around 7 that I simply couldn't take it anymore and needed to go to the Emergency Room. As luck would have it, it was a busy night in the Baptist South ER. I was through Triage pretty quickly, but it took another 2 hours before I was called to a room. A nurse drew blood and took my vitals, but another hour passed before we finally saw a doctor.

(Don't stop reading now... here's where it gets good.)

Important Medical Note for Women in Severe Pain: If you have to turn in a urine specimen, make sure your name is securely attached to the container. If they want you to put the container in a plastic bag, make sure your name is on that, too. Heck, make sure it's on the sample and bag at least 6 or 7 or 8,000 times. The LAST thing you want the ER to do is confuse YOUR sample with someone ELSE'S sample. Especially, (and I now know this from experience) if that someone else is f'ing PREGNANT.

Back to the doctor coming to see me...

Keep in mind, it is now after 11:00 at night. I am in serious, severe pain and can't find any relief. I didn't want to take the time on our way to the hospital to stop and pick up my Darvocet prescription, so I haven't had ANYTHING to take the edge off of my pain. A short, dark haired woman with a slight accent who wore a tell-tale white coat finally came in to see me. She asked the mandatory, "So, what brings you to the Emergency Room tonight?", and I detailed my last several days for her. I concluded by stating that my doctor ordered an abdominal ultrasound and CT for me, but the earliest CT scan appointment I could get was Thursday evening. (Wait for it...)

The doctor proceeded to tell me that she would go ahead and have the ultrasound done immediately, but (and this was dropped on us like a comment about the evening's unseasonably warm weather) I couldn't have a CT scan due to my pregnancy.


I looked at her and said, "I'm sorry... I can't have a CT scan why?" She promptly replied that would not be possible because I was pregnant. This is where things turned in to a semi-Abbot- and-Costello-type routine.

"Uh, I'm not pregnant."

"Yes, you are."

"There's no way."

"Apparently there is."

"Maybe it's YOU who's pregnant."

"Mrs. Schriver..."

"Who's on second?"

At least I think it went something like that. The part of the whole scenario that was most deeply etched in my memory is what happened next... AFTER the nurse and doctor left the room.

"Is she serious? Are you pregnant?"

"There's no way I am pregnant. I've been pregnant before, and I know what it feels like to be pregnant. I'm NOT pregnant."

"Is there something you need to tell me? Have you been with someone else?"

"It's a damn good thing you're out of striking distance, buddy, because right about now you'd be picking your ass up off the floor."

"I had to ask."

"Yeah, just like I'm going to have to beat your ass once I can stand up straight again."

That's just the general gist of the conversation that started between my husband and I about what we were going to do if I was indeed pregnant. While we waited for blood test confirmation of the positive urine test diagnosis, Michael and I had plenty of time to contemplate the enormity of what had just been laid at our feet.

I'll save the suspense and let the cat out of the bag. I am not pregnant. The girl who came through Triage behind me is. Our urine specimens were confused during lab analysis. It took us an additional 3 1/2 hours to determine all of this. During this 3 1/2 hours I was not allowed any pain medication, as it may have had an adverse affect on the baby. Yeah... the baby that I wasn't pregnant with.

You can imagine my immense relief when the nurse FINALLY came into the room with a syringe full of morphine. As soon as she told me what I was getting, I turned to Michael and announced, "Then apparently I'm not pregnant." That was the end of that. And just when I had started to think that being a mom again after all these years might have been a cool thing...

They did manage to steal me away from the ER for a short time during the aforementioned 3 1/2 hours to perform the abdominal ultrasound. When the doctor finally returned to my bedside she informed us I was being admitted immediately due to blocked biliary ducts as a result of gallstones and acute pancreatitis. The party begins.

(To be continued...)