Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Whatever holidays you celebrate this season, I wish you much happiness!

So I've started at least half a dozen blog posts this month and, you may have noticed, haven't managed to get a single one finished and posted. Yet. 

It hasn't been the December I was planning. 

Life got very complicated when Scott suddenly developed a kidney stone late on Dec. 8. Suffice it to say that my husband, who almost never takes a sick day or admits to being anything other than "fine", has been home ever since. This week he had surgery to remove the 6mm stone that was stuck in his ureter. He was sent home with a stent that continues to cause more pain and bleeding, much less than when the stone pain had him white-knuckling it but significantly more than he had during the break between waves. With luck, he will return to work on Jan. 3. 

So it's been a doozy of a month. It's a new role for me to be the "healthy" spouse and have to find meals to serve, pack Ellie's lunches and snacks and get her to school or camp each weekday. The cumulative effect is ... challenging. But we're making it through, and it was hugely helpful that Scott had some good days between onset and surgery. It was kind of like we took turns picking up each other's slack, which I think might be a good definition of marriage and parenting with chronic illnesses.

As a friend on Facebook said, it takes a village. We were blessed with good friends, including our next-door neighbor Rex, who took Scott to the ER shortly after he got home from work at 10:30 p.m. Dec. 8. When we asked, Scott and I both expected Rex to drop Scott off at the ER and head home, figuring it's easier to take a taxi home from the hospital than to the hospital (and I couldn't take him because I had to stay home with the sleeping Ellie); instead, Rex stayed with Scott the whole time until he was finally sent home around 5 a.m. 

Another friend was kind enough to help out for Scott's surgery, which ended up occurring on Dec. 21, aka Ellie's 7th birthday. She took Ellie home from winter-break camp along with her daughters, then they took her out to dinner at Red Robin, where she got balloons and a birthday sundae. When it was looking like Scott's surgery would be so delayed that he might not get to leave the hospital until 9 p.m., she said not to worry about it because Ellie could just have a sleepover. 

That friend was also kind enough to bring Ellie home from school that first day of Scott's kidney stone and another who, when I feared I wouldn't be able to get to school in time for pickup because Scott had ended up back in the ER, rearranged her family's plans so she could take Ellie home that day. There were many other local friends who expressed sympathy and offered help. 

It really does take a village, and not just for rearing children! 

And it was a good reminder for me that people are generally very happy to help out. They just don't know how to if they're not asked to do specific tasks. I always dread asking for help for myself, but I hope this experience will remind me that people often really like being able to do something. :)

Meanwhile, I hope all your holidays are happy, and that 2012 brings much joy, prosperity and good health to you and yours!