I took a leave of absence. Things got crazy, both in real life and in my own mind. It was hard to think clearly and frankly, my heart hurt. Writing is feeling, sorting, being. And it takes effort and energy. I had no energy left over, and all my effort was going into getting through each day. NOTHING left over.
And then as the spiral continues, I wake up one morning and see all the bathing suits and towels on the porch railing. What does that mean? It means summer. It means swimming. It means kids. And suddenly, it means happiness. The heat, the hum of the insects, the faint smell of wet towel and chlorine; they make me happy. They offer proof that we not only get through each day, we cannon ball in the deep end.
The Alzheimer’s is still there. The COPD, the nut allergy, the asthma, the learning disabilities, the family drama, the constipation of life is all still there. And yet, bright blue and pink towels and damp swim suits drape across our porch railing, their fluttering existence proof that we are here, living, being, present.
My leave of absence is over.
It has been an exhausting fall, but we managed to celebrate Maggie turning 5 in grand style, with a real princess, which thrilled her. Maggie collected many books and toys to donate to CHaD and Toys for Tots. Her generous and kind spirit is one of the many things I admire about Maggie. She is funny, quirky, and silly. She freely bestows hugs and smiles on nearly everyone, is so quick to share her toys with her brother and sister, and cousins, and is always willing to help out with chores. She can also have quite the temper, be very stubborn, and insist on doing things her way. Happy 5, my baby, keep growing strong and true.
Start spreading the news, we’re leaving today… wait, no. No, we aren’t. You Nork will have to wait. We are packed, stacked and ready to roll out in the morning for our almost-full-week of vacation in NY, when Sam, who has been a little blah all day, says, “Can you take my temp?” And sure enough, a fever. Not too high, but a fever none the less. Is this connected to the weird rash from last week? Could it be Lyme again? Do we leave for NY and hope for the best? We decided to wait a couple days and post-pone rather than cancel the trip. I kind of want to wait and see where the fever goes (hopefully nowhere.)
Last summer the Lyme was such a nightmare for Sam. He suffered through days of fever, chills, fatigue and feeling awful. When we went to the doctor and diagnosed the cause, we still had major issues. He was 7 at the time and the most effective antibiotic for Lyme at that age is amoxicillin, but he is allergic to that. The most effective drug for 8 and over is doxycycline – we were about 7 weeks from Sam’s 8th birthday, so the consensus was – we’ll go for it. My question – his Dad is allergic to doxycycline, could Sam be allergic too? Mmmmm…(picture Winnie the Pooh -think, think, think) good question. Our doctor’s office called the CDC, we waited for call backs, they researched the question… meanwhile Sam is spending the second week of July on the couch dressed in flannel pajamas, wrapped in blankets, too sick to even enjoy extra Wii time. And that is SICK, let me tell you! Finally, on a Friday afternoon (we’d initially gone to the doctor’s on Tuesday) we get a call saying the doxycycline is go. They call in the script, I call the pharmacy and am told that that medicine requires prior approval from the insurance and the process takes 24-48 hours. Starting Monday. Really???? When our doctor found out about this she was FURIOUS and called in a 4 day supply of the medicine and put it on her own credit card. How awesome is that? Wait, because this story gets better. We get the medicine, give him his first dose Friday evening. By Sunday morning he is covered in a strange red rash. We go back to our doctor (yes, on a Sunday morning we see our own doctor in the office.) She confirms what I suspect – Sam is indeed allergic to doxycycline. He needs to be off it for 24 hours before he can start a new medicine. What medicine? Well, after another round of research we have to special order a drug from a compounding center in Boston and then drive 45 minutes out of the way to a pharmacy that will agree to mix it (it comes in brown glass bottles.) Sam does okay on this medicine (I can’t even remember what it is) for two weeks, but the symptoms don’t entirely go away. By late August we are back at the doctor and put on another round of the brown-glass-bottle-antibiotics.
Sam has had no lasting effects, thank goodness. But when he starts with a fever and loss of appetite, I get a little nervous. Hopefully by the end of the week we can head for You Nork. Maggie is looking forward to seeing her booster seat (we keep one out there, not sure why this a highlight for her, but she is weird.) I am looking forward to sitting on the deck and looking out at this… only wish I enjoy a cocktail while I enjoy the view, but the medicine I am on for Lyme disease doesn’t allow for it. You think I’m kidding, but I’m not.