Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Day In The Life

To my son Tommy,

I thought today you can follow a day in my life. The plan for the day is to bring your Grandpa Leo to hospital to map his brain for the radiation treatment. Along the way I have to do the normal things. Will piece together a day from voice memos, and notes, and quick blog edits.

Pre 5:15 AM Haven't slept much. Tossing and turning all night with things on my mind. Nothing specific, just everything.

5:15 AM Alarm goes off for your mom. She has to get ready for clinicals. I try to roll over and go back to bed.

5:45 AM Vaguely remember instructions from your mom. I am sure it has to do with your medicine. I will figure it out. I mumble acknowledgement. Just need a couple more minutes of sleep.

6:15 AM The front door opens and your mom heads out to clinicals. Time to get fifteen minutes.

6:27 AM I can't count to fifteen evidently. Shower time. I look in the mirror and realize the goatee is threatening to morph into a full beard. I shave the cheeks to define the hair on my chin and lip. Movember is over so I should shave the whole thing but I just don't have time. I jump in the hottest shower my body can stand. I realize I might have asbestos for skin.

6:35 AM Man this shower feels good. Hey, did I fall asleep in the water? I am not getting out yet. I use the solitude to pray as I multi task by stretching as the hot water relaxes me.

6:45 AM Out of the shower and halfway dressed. My jeans are downstairs and, against your mom's suggestion, I am going to where the same pair. They have everything in the pockets already, even if they could probably walk on their own. I go to wake you up.

6:47 AM After agreeing to give you a couple minutes more sleeping (like father, like son) I go down to make you breakfast. Oatmeal with apple sauce here I come. Oh yeah, something about medicine too. Let me pull on my big boy jeans and get going.

6:55 AM I place your breakfast on your table and put on public television. The end of Arthur is on. I call for you to come down. Surprisingly, you wake up and come. You really are an easy kid to deal with. At the bottom of the steps you say, "It is too early!" and I mentally add "for this crap" on the end of your phrase and chuckle. I get you a blanket to wear while you eat and give you an oral syringe of amoxicillin. It shudders you and you inform me that tomorrow is the last day for this stuff. I go to make your lunch and you start eating and searching for your Elf on the Shelf who is riding Clifford the Big Red dog near the television.

7:01 AM Lunch is made and you found your elf. I lament not doing something creative with your lunch but am just happy to have everything running on time. I check your folder for school and it looks like Mommy has everything in order. She is great! I convince you that you should wait till Mommy is with us tonight to open your next day on your Lego Star Wars Advent calendar. As you eat, I get a break to write some of this down.

7:20 AM Breakfast is done and time to get dressed. Your mom has your outfit laid out. She really sets me up to succeed! Small intermission when your pajama pants come off. The cold air affects me the same way. I use the break to grab some missing socks. When we both get back, we go for the dressing record and come up short with a long 37 seconds. Time for teeth brushing and vitamin. Afterwards, you notice Chippy has a note for you.

7:33 AM Wild Kratts is on the boob tube. Grooming done. Vitamin taken. Elf note read. I check my ipad. Only a dozen work emails. They can wait. Cuddle time! Your mom does cuddle time first thing in the morning, but I wait till everything is done and then cuddle. Moms and dads do things differently. Each way has advantages and no one way is better than the other. It is just what works for me.

7:49 AM Time to head out for school. Again I convince you to wait for the advent calendar, as we break away from our cuddling. We grab your minion backpack, make sure the lights and television are off, set the alarm, and out we go. All and all, a smooth morning. Thank God for small blessings.

7:57 AM Picked up the Baltimore Sun as we left the house. Must be a free subscription trying to entice me back. Frankly the only reason I cancelled it was because they throw it in your mom's flower bed, which they did again. Oh well, something to read later today. Got you to school and through the drop off line. Bit later than normal, but local traffic made it tough to make a left turn off of Rock Glen. Off to fill up gas as the low fuel level just came on in the truck.

8:08 AM All fueled up. Hope this doesn't make me late for picking up your Grandpa Leo. I am taking him down to Johns Hopkins to get mapped for his upcoming radiation treatment. Appointment is not till ten but your grandpa wanted to get an early start. Caught a glimpse of my reflection in one of the truck's windows as I fueled up. When did I get this fat, old, and ugly?

8:12 AM Beltway looks backed up so taking the back way to your Grandpa. This might add a few minutes so I might have to go a bit faster than normal for those windy back roads. Feeling anxious so I use the time to say a decade of the Rosary as I drive.

8:31 AM Didn't make bad time. Got a minute or two to say hi to your Great Uncle Paddy who is in from New Mexico. But not much time to waste. Off we go.

9:49 AM Well traffic was less than stellar this morning. An hour plus to get down to Hopkins and parked and shuttled around to where we are supposed to be. I didn't mind as I got to have an hour long conversation with your Grandpa on just about everything. I love talking to him. Of course now the waiting game begins and we both sit here in quiet pensive contemplation while we both distract ourselves with our iPads. He is playing solitaire and I am catching up on this daily journal blog.

11:01 AM They started the CT scan on your Grandpa. Put some type of pliable self molding mask on him beforehand, I assume they don't have to write with marker directly on his to mp the radiation spot or spots. They had to strap him (at his bequest) so, in case he falls asleep, his arms woudn't fall off the i-beam they use for the scanning table. Taking the time to ask St. Peregrine (and a couple family members that I am sure are up in Heaven as well) to pray for your grandpa. Never realized how much I do actually pray during the day.

11:25 AM CT scan done and MRI starting. Really is interesting seeing the science working, seeing the magnet take magnetic slices of his head. Of course the circumstances of getting an MRI almost always take away from the neatness factor and don't allow you to enjoy the science. Settling into the Baltimore Sun now and it looks like former Governor Erhlich is now having presidential aspirations. If he does, that will be the third from Maryland to throw his hat into the ring, joint Governor O'Malley and Dr. Ben Carson. I think these guys need to start surrounding themselves with real people as advisors, to tell them how it really is and humble them a bit, because they all seem to believe their own hype. Guess that is Maryland politics. I miss Willy Don. Maybe the lifestyle section will have something of more importance. Or I could answer some of the twenty work emails piling up. Probably do both as this is the long scan.

12:15 PM MRI done and heading home. Only thing I found in the paper worth the ink was an eggnog sugar cookie recipe, but alas I don't need that. Also was a review of a blended red wine, but since it didn't come in a box and was around twenty bucks,mthatnwould be splurging for us. They played Bach for your Grandpa Leo in the MRI, which he enjoyed, what he could hear of it through the clank clank of the machine. Hope traffic is smooth. Is there a patron saint of roads and highways?

12:57 PM Just got to Grandpa Leo's house. Talked to your grandparents about upcoming doctor appointments. Your grandmom Roro has a doc appt Monday and Tuesday of next week that we have covered and then on Dec 22nd goes into Sinai for some observation for possible seizures or pschizophrenia episodes. Your Grandpa Leo starts radiation on the 15th and I assume starts with chemo then too, but we haven't got the prescription for that yet. Got some calls to make I guess. Funny how the todo list always remains and always gets longer even if you are dealing with cancer.

2:26 PM Reported all the details of today's visit and caught up with your great uncle. Also visited with your great grandparents. Ran out and picked up chinese for your grandma. Your grandparents generously offered to make sure that ambulance bill was covered. Just heading out. Now to decide to head into work or work from home tonight. I think I might surprise you and pick you up from school and then work from home. Got my hands free on the phone and am calling into the office now. Wonder if I will make it in time for dismissal?

2:55 PM Made it in time for dismissal, but I must say Maryland drivers are horrible. Though I went to confession last night, after this drive on this wet day with Maryland drivers, I am pretty sure I may need to go again! Your Bwama pulled up right as I did. Unfortunately, since I was there to get you, and your cousin Ryan had STEM, she didn't have anyone to pick up till later.

3:10 PM After the normal pleasantries that you go through at dismissal, which evidently are extensive as you must say goodbye to each and every person on a personal level. We made it home. I gave you about 15 minutes on ipad and then homework started.

3:46 PM Your mom got out of clinicals early. When she came in you were working on your first page of homework. I started to discuss some chores and stuff like that. In the process I put down your folder with the second page of homework. Big mistake.

4:20 PM After frantically searching for this folder, and getting more and more angry with myself for misplacing it, and more and more bewildered as to where it could be, we found the second page of homework. I get myself all worked up and then I get myself all upset because I should clean more and it really snowballs from there. I shouldn't allow that to happen. Your mom just kept chuckling and trying to cheer me up as I searched/cleaned/pouted/grumped around. Your mom is a saint for putting up with me. Anyways, second page of homework done.

4:30 PM After finishing your homework, your mom and you have found the perfect cuddle place on the couch and are watching a Toy Story That Time Forgot, which is a Christmas special I recorded last night from ABC. Jealousy abounds in your old man! Maybe I can channel that into work, so I log on to the company computers.

4:50 PM Perhaps the most perfect part of my day, I take a quick break from work, and we decide to do the advent calendar. Again I end up with extra pieces, but I am okay with that now. We discovered that the instructions for each piece/day is actually on the back of the door that was just opened. Before getting back to work, going to start some water boiling because I am sure you want either pasta or mac and cheese for dinner.

5:15 PM You are eating some mac and cheese I heated up, and your mom is actually boiling the water for the next batch because you are going to want more. Before you would eat, you complained about belly pain. When you didn't take my "go poop" advice, I had to do a whole production. After listening to your belly, making you bend down and bend up, and pushing on your belly, I declared you cured and you went to eating your mac and cheese. A little showmanship is an excellent placebo. Your mom is dead tired and I am not sure how this amazing woman is still going, even though I did catch her cat napping on the couch. Do you think wine with working from home is okay?

6:05 PM Dinner time for daddy. You had yours and your mom found some left over turkey pot pie. I am settling into some leftover pasta. I decided against wine earlier but grabbed a beer to wash down dinner. Just one, to take the edge off.

6:50 PM Bedtime! You have taken your medicine, sang our bedtime songs, changed into pajamas, said are nightly prayers, and are all tucked in. Your mom is headed up too. I got a bunch of work to do so I am going to try get some of it done tonight before I crash, so I am going to sign off from this letter.

What is the point of this journal for today? I have no clue. It was just another day, a busy day, perhaps a boring day, but just another day. Though the challenges kept creeping in, work, traffic, scheduling, etc., nearly every moment of this day was filled with family and prayers and love.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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