Wednesday, July 31, 2019
I seriously cannot wait to say goodbye to this stupid month. It has been one of the worst months of my entire life, if not the worst one. Definitely top 10. Or bottom 10? Top Ten Worst Months of My Life, or Bottom Ten Months of My Life.
Is this like a glass half-full or half-empty thing? Either way, there are four ounces of water, and July sucked.
It started innocuously enough, even looked deceptively promising, with my office giving us Friday off in addition to Thursday the Fourth. Independence Day was forgettable, but I did make it to the gym that day. Yes, July was on its way to going in the books as a winner, despite my kiddo having a nagging cough.
Since I was off July 5 thanks to the terrific new lady-in-charge, I figured I'd take the baby to the doctor. "Upper respiratory infection!" they said. "No medication necessary!" they said. "Ears look great!" they said. "It'll go away in a week or so!" they said. Okay. I'm super-chill for a first-time mom, so I paid my copay and took him to daycare so I could party all day, and by "party," I mean binge-watch episodes of "South Park."
Later that night, the boy had a fever. No problem, the pediatrician is open on Saturdays. We gave him some Tylenol and put him to bed. Later, my dad called.
He told me "John" died, which is fine, because I don't know any Johns. I figured he meant one of his oldster friends, but then he clarified. My cousin Johnny, who was 39 and a former Marine, died of a heart attack on Friday. I was the first one he called, and apparently he didn't get any better at telling us. He told my sister that her "Uncle Johnny" died, but we don't have one of those, either. And I mean, I get not being very good at breaking this kind of horrible news, but com'on. You can at least get the name right.
So Matthias went back to the doctor on Saturday for his fever, and again, no bigs. "Ear infection!" they said. "Give him amoxicillin!" they said. My husband got home with the baby and the "bubble gum medicine," and we gave him a dose. But his breathing wasn't right, and it got worse and worse.
No problem, the pediatrician is open on Sundays, too. But as the day turned to evening and evening turned to night, I started to wonder how any of us were going to be able to sleep all night given his labored breathing, fussiness, and our worry. I told my husband we should go to urgent care. We loaded up the car, and as we carried him into the doctor's office, my husband said he'd like to go to the kebab shop in the same strip mall when we finish with the doctor.
No dice, pal.
At the urgent care, they gave Matthias a chest x-ray and checked his oxygen levels. The doctor came back to the room and said, "We think he needs to go to the Emergency Department." Okay, we can do that. "And we called an ambulance." I'm pretty sure my knees buckled.
We got to the ER, and actually, going in an ambulance wasn't so bad, because he got seen immediately. I had to follow in the car while my husband rode with the baby, but I quickly lost the ambulance, because they told me I wasn't allowed to run red lights with them. Anyway, by the time I got to the hospital, he was already hooked up to oxygen. I figured, "well, hey, he sits on this machine for a couple hours and we go home." No dice, pal. They told me that once he's on oxygen, it's at least 24 hours. And it was. It was three days, actually.
Meanwhile, I was trying to find out when my cousin's funeral was going to be, so I could book a flight to be there. Because he was so young, there had to be an investigation and an autopsy, so it was all up in the air. Could we have a funeral that weekend? Would it have to wait? For how long? There was SO MUCH going on that I had NO control over, and it was very overwhelming. The hospital wouldn't/couldn't tell us when the baby would be well enough to leave, and the coroner couldn't tell us when he'd be done. I finally was able to make arrangements to go on Thursday, and Matthias was released from the hospital on Tuesday.
The trip itself was a disaster. I don't really want to go into what happened there, but suffice to say, I wish I hadn't gone and that I could have paid my respects at a different time.
Recovering from all this has been a feat, too. I mean, when it comes down to it, I was home on July 14 and back in the office on July 15, but I still feel so raw. I don't think I've caught up on sleep just yet, and it's all just still very painful and uncomfortable. My cousin's family situation is particularly tragic, as he left behind a daughter in her early 20s. I'm consumed with worry for her, even though she is tough as nails. I'm grateful for that, and for my coworkers and friends who have been amazing through this awful month, but I wish someone could take on some of this emotion for me. That'd be nice.
So goodbye, July! I hope for a more august month in August.