Thursday, May 13, 2010

Why Did the Elephant S**t on My Week?

Weak, disoriented, and hardly able to stand, my pulse begins to race and sucking in air has become a chore rather than part of the natural rhythm of life. The room begins to spin and my stomach lurches, and it's everything I can do to keep my dinner where it belongs.

Just when you think things are going great, the forbidden French foible happens. Some may say it hits the fan, but for me it comes from an elephant's ass, leaving copious piles of poo in my path.

It was about this time two years ago that I found myself making my first official "blog" post, otherwise known as a "note" on facebook. It was entitled A Week Worth Writing about, and it was indeed a week worthy of expression through written word. I could never forget those seven days filled with stories I had told my friends, stories inevitably to be told to my children and grandchildren some day. It was a week of D's; a downward detour of disaster that involved a dishwasher in flames, a drainpipe that wouldn't drain, and a dog untrained, which respectively resulted in a dish stack in the sink, a newly refinished basement becoming a lake, and an forbidden bite out of a four tier wedding cake. It was one of those weeks where one might indulge in a stiff drink to drive away the angst at the end of it all. Alas, that was not the way I rolled back then, so my liquor was left untouched.

I find that while a lot of things have changed since then, so many things have also remained the same, and two years later I find myself with another "week worth writing about".

After Emie's birthday bonanza a couple of weeks ago, Jon and I were invited to attend an adult birthday bash of an old buddy of ours. My perception of taxing times was poor, and after what I thought was a somewhat strenuous week, I deemed a stiff drink (okay three) necessary to smooth over the serrated edges and celebrate another year of life, forgetting it had been a day of inadvertent dehydration. Only two screwdrivers and a Mike's Hard Lemonade later did the tough times actually present themselves, and the aforementioned elephant took its first of many dumps on my series of seven days.

At 32 years of age, I finally faced what so many experienced after many more than three drinks, and at an age half that of mine - the first hangover that had hung over my head for so long finally happened . . . . I imagined many would not suppose that was such a bad thing, as a hangover has happened to the best of most. However, while Emie's precious party was the day of my lightweight drunk fest, her actual birthday was the day of dreary drunken regret. Having had many more liquor lavishes in one evening in the past, I never dreamed that three of them would fling me full force into an abysmal after affect. I spent much of the morning praying to the porcelain gods and crying like a crazy woman for the horrible mommy I felt I was in that moment. Sitting in a chair unable to move while my daughter opened her remaining presents was not how I envisioned spending Emie's birthday. Putting on my best happy face, I began to be thankful for Emie only turning three . . . she was none the wiser to my state of suffering, and had she been a bit older she would have assuredly understood the circumstance at hand.

So as each birthday passes in a child's life, subsequently do annual well check-ups . . . Emie's pediatric appointment of 2010 is one I may never forget. Not only, as many of you may already know, am I handed a book called The Difficult Child, but I am informed, after assessing Emie's gait and reflexes, that she may have a condition called Tethered Spinal Cord Syndrome. The panic does not set in initially, as the doctor does not fully explain what this means for my adorable daughter if she continues to live with this condition, but after Googling it I feel like vomiting once more. TSCS is when the spinal cord is fused to at least one part of the spinal column, and is a condition that can eventually interfere with Emie's ability to walk and appropriately relief herself on the potty, a condition that can be cured, but only by surgery on the spine. I try not to think about it much, as no official diagnosis has been made yet. A diagnosis can only come by way of a very expensive and very invasive MRI. Since the condition deteriorates only with growth, we have a bit of a window to watch for possible improvement . . . three months of waiting before we know more.

I am blessed with two days of calm before the storm erupts again – one of my mom's best friend passes away, Jon and I's Goddaughter is taken to the hospital, and I get a bad burn on the palm of my left hand, and all in the course of one afternoon. The barrage of bad news begins to be too much to manage, and I think about a glass of wine to wipe away the worries for awhile. But the nausea returns as I remember the recent morning of mourning over the misguided decision to drink my misconceived woes away, and just like two years ago, I choose not to roll like that and stay stunningly sober.

So what I am grateful for in this week of wretchedness that my room spinning, heart-racing, short of breath experience which I described above did not occur as it has so many times before. For all it is worth, not having one of my many migraines (which I usually get weekly) is the only redemptive thing about my story of seven days. And much like Emie had no punch line for "Why did the elephant poop on the ground," nor do I have one for "Why did the Elephant Shit on My Week," other than *it* happens sometimes, and so goes the ebb and flow of life and poo.

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