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Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Climb

What was supposed to be a fun road trip for me and my girl has turned into a trip from Hell. We left Illinois headed to Lake of the Ozarks at 6 am on May 30th. We spent one night in Missouri and were going to drive to Florida with my mother and father in-law for a family wedding.

Since my father in-law wasn't feeling well and had refused to go to the doctor days before, I dragged his ass to urgent care. He complained the whole time but knew he couldn't travel if he were sick. After five hours of tests and observation, and back and forth from urgent care to the ER, the doctor determined he had a slight case of pneumonia and a bladder infection. Because he is a diabetic and has other health issues, the doctor wanted to admit him. He refused under the promise he would take the medication prescribed, not travel for two or three days, while getting plenty of rest.

Still full of piss and vinegar, he said we girls could take off in the car and he would fly out to meet us the day before the wedding. My sister in-law said she would look after him while we were away. Feeling content with his medication and care, we left.

We took turns driving the 1,200 miles over a three day span. On the second day, Lane 2 was really feeling the effects of being trapped in a vehicle with her mom and nana. Caged animal comes to mind. Anyhow, we arrived at the hotel around 8. The pool was open until 10, which was just what this little girl needed to expel her energy.

Unfortunately, the pool was outdoors, with no lighting. There was a green glow beneath the water and a thick layer of fog rolled across the top. She looked at me as if to ask, "You're kidding me, right?!" A frog began croaking in the distance. It was "uber creepy" and little miss was certain the Loch Ness Monster was going to attack her as soon as she dipped a toe into the water.

Lane 2 never calls me mommy, but she was so scared, she said, "Mommy, are you sure it's safe?"

Seeing how genuinely terrified she was, I sneakily emptied my jeans pockets, slipped off my shoes and sternly said, "Damn it, there's nothing in that water... except for me." And I cannon-balled my clothed ass in. The look on her face when I resurfaced was priceless. She eventually joined me and that was the end of our fun.

We returned to our hotel room to find my mother in-law bawling her eyes out. Her brother, who had been in care of hospice passed away. She got the call while we were out of the room. Lane 2 only heard her say, "He's gone," and assumed she was talking about her grandpa. She went to the washroom, where I thought she was showering, but instead was crying her eyes out thinking her grandpa passed away. Not to lessen the loss of Uncle AB, but Lane 2 spent most of the drive with her headphones on and didn't even know he was sick.

After consoling my mother in-law, I went to check on my girl, who I thought was showering. That was when I found out that she thought we were talking about my father in-law. She was trembling and could barely stop crying. Definitely a huge scare.

So now my poor mother in-law was completely torn, a sick husband at home, a dead brother in Oklahoma and her first grandchild getting married in Florida. It was a tough choice but we agreed to continue on to Florida. Calling to check in on Pops every hour, he sounded like he was really enjoying all this coddling my sis in-law, niece and great nephew were giving. He still was talking about flying out to meet us before the wedding.

We arrived at the house we rented in Florida just in time to unpack the car and leave for the shower, which was an hour away. That's about the time Mr. Lane called to tell me someone hit Lane 1's car. Can you even believe it?!

He was parked outside of his friend's house and the boy's mother backed into his car causing $2,000 in damages. I'm so glad he wasn't in the car but damn it that poor kid has had nothing but trouble since he got his license and none of it has been his fault. Thankfully this time the driver had insurance.

The shower would have been more fun had we not had so much on our minds. As soon as it was over, we went to the grocery store to pick up some essentials. We got to bed late and up early the next morning.

That's when Pops started feeling really shitty again and my sister in-law drove him back to urgent care. They added steroids and an additional breathing treatment to the medication he was already taking and sent him home.

We went to the hall and helped decorate. Later we went to the rehearsal and then out to dinner, where my mother in-law looked at me and said, "I just want to go home." Thinking the stress had gotten to her, I suggested we head out and back to the house for a nice soak in the tub. I handed her a glass of wine to take into the tub and said goodnight around 1 am. Before 3 am she was screaming my name to tell me Dad was admitted into the ICU and put on a ventilator.

By 4 am (the morning of the wedding) the car was repacked and we were driving back to Missouri. By then Mr. Lane and Lane 1 drove from our house with my sister in-law Deb. We drove straight through 19 hours and arrived at 11 pm. Thankfully the hospital staff let us in to see him right away.

My father in-law's respiratory system, digestive system and kidneys had all failed. The doctor said his pneumonia completely took over his lungs and became septic attacking his entire system. It was so hard to see him like that and not know if he would make it.

The next morning, I opened my laptop to look up my brother's phone number to let him know I left Florida and wouldn't be able to see him. The last webpage I was on was Facebook, which reloaded as soon as I opened the lid. I saw, "RIP Uncle Tommy" written on my cousin's status update. Who finds out that their uncle died on Facebook? Apparently I do. Uncle Tommy (Cousin Benny's dad) wasn't even sick so it was a huge shock.

It's been two weeks and my father in-law is still on the ventilator and not out of the woods yet. He had two days of dialysis, which thankfully jump started his kidneys. With the help of 16 days of laxatives and a stick of dynamite, his digestive system is back on track now too. (Just making sure you're still paying attention.) He has a long way to go before they can take the ventilator out but since he's gone from 90% oxygen to 40%, we are hopeful he will continue to improve.

That's about all I can tell you for now. It's a waiting game. If you're the praying kind, please drop a line to the big guy for Pops. Besides my own father and son, he is the only man in my life who has loved me like a part of his family even on my worst days.

Mr. Lane and Lane 1 have been off of work this whole time so our next big crisis should involve all four of us Lanes asking, "Would you like fries with that?"

P.S. Thank you all for the birthday wishes, and happy father's day to all of you daddies.