Monday, January 31, 2011

a story, part three

awesome husband and i were snuggled in bed, visions of venture bros. dancing in our heads.  we were both kind of drunk.  i tend to sleep shirtless to let the girls run wild and free.  also: because i hate that tight, clothesy feeling.

i know, i'm crazy.  you should know that by now too.

so awesome husband and i were spooning, a couple of cats on the bed, warm and snuggly.  i was half awake, in that state of coming in and out of wakefulness and listening to the venture bros. with half an ear.  only a few hours had passed since we convinced mom to go to the emergency room, and my brother had updated me at around 8:30 letting me know that they'd gotten through triage.  i think there was a text or two about a cat scan or xray.

we had gone to be around 11pm.  at 12:38am that sunday, november 21, my brother called me again.

four hours.  just about four hours had passed since mom went through triage.

four hours.

i know i sound repetitive.  but, seriously - four hours.

my cell rang and it was my brother.  i picked it up and he just blurts out 'mom has cancer'.  i was stunned and asked him to repeat himself.  'mom has fucking cancer' he said.  i turned on my bedside lamp and sat up.  i asked where and he said her lungs and brain.  i then asked him if i could call him back in a minute.  i hung up the phone and turned to awesome husband, who had woken up and was looking at me.

i don't remember what i said.  i just remember crying and screaming and holding awesome husband.  i do remember the warmth from our bare chests, my breasts smushed into his ribcage.  i think i remember it because under the warmth, i could feel my heart breaking.  it felt like my lungs were collapsing into themselves and a hole was being opened in my chest.

awesome husband and i clung to each other on the bed, crying, for a few moments.  i remember my hands scrabbling on his shoulders, like i literally couldn't hold on.  i remember yelling out, grabbing awesome husband like my life depended on it.

this was already the start of the grieving process for us, i'm sure of it.

i called my brother back for more details, what was happening now, how was mom, where was she, what were we doing.  he informed me that they were moving her to icu.  intensive care.

not good.

i told him i'd be there as soon as i could.  this is where planning steph gas emerged (i'm not convinced she's ever gone back to wherever she emerged from).  i was booting up my laptop before i hit 'end call'.  we were suddenly wide awake.  just about 1am i'm online and looking for flights, finding one for only $89 that day around noon.  it wouldn't let me fucking buy it.  i called one of my friends who came through with a credit card over the phone at 1am on a sunday.  i have great friends.  my dad called me around 2:30 after dropping off my brother and sisterfromanothermister once they left the hospital.  it's the strangest conversation i ever had with my dad.  he told me my mother seemed resigned when they told her she had cancer.  we figure that maybe it's shock, maybe she's just not sure how to act yet.

awesome husband and i tried to go back to sleep.  we put venture bros. on and cuddle with each other and the cats and tried to sleep. sleep eluded us for most of the morning.  we spent a lot of the early morning hours staring at each other, staring at the television, staring at the ceiling.  we finally started nodding off for a bit around 5:30am.  once 8am rolled around, we gave up trying and i started packing.  awesome husband drove me to the airport and kissed me goodbye.

i landed at jfk sunday around 3pm.  my brother and sisterfromanothermister picked me up and we went straight to the hospital.  my mom was in icu, hooked up to machines to monitor her heart rate and oxygen levels, an iv drip, and had those annoying oxygen tubes in her nose.  but she was still 'mom'.  as she saw me walk in with my brother and sisterfromanothermister, she started crying.  then she got mad at me because i'd be missing classes. 

of course, i didn't.  my facilitators were really supportive and since the hospital had wifi, i was able to keep up with all of my schoolwork while i was up in new york.

we stayed at the hospital longer than we should have, spending time with mom.  i learned that mom had a large mass in her lung and numerous lesions on her brain.  that afternoon, one of the doctors stopped by and used the term metastasized.  up until that point, we figured mom would be kept comfortable (we knew she wouldn't do the chemo thing) and we'd fight this bastard as best we could.  once that evil fucking word was uttered, i realized it would be a matter keeping mom comfortable and enjoying what time we had left together - the holidays were coming up, and we'd definitely be able to fit one more family vacation in.  no one was comfortable giving us a time frame yet - they had to biopsy the mass and determine what kind of cancer it was.

we left mom in the icu to rest and got taco bell for dinner.  we talked about what we might be able to do for mom.  we discussed who had to do what, who would call her job, how long i'd be staying.  we talked about how we were going to fight this, how mom would stay in new york because we felt she'd get better care and all of the family is up there.  how awesome husband and i would just dump the house and get to new york as soon as possible so we could all be together.

november 21st was a day my life changed forever.  what i didn't realize, what none of us realized, was that it was only going to get worse.  every day our lives change, i know this.  but that week, every day changed our lives drastically.

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