Don't F*$% With the Pancreas (Blogisode Four)

Happy Friday!  We will not have another blogisode of Don’t F*$% With the Pancreas, a medical comedy approved by Rob Meffe, until Monday.  Many important things happen for us over the weekend, so let me lay them out for you.  (This is great, because it’s kind of like I am making a to-do list.  Fun fact about me, I never make to-do lists, they make me feel behind.) 1)  We leave Quisisana Resort in Center Lovell, Maine and drive to New Hampshire to visit our friends David and Robert, and their adorable, amazing Golden Retriever named Tucker.  The most likely scenario is that Beatrix and I will kiss Davis and Robert hello, then proceed to throw the ball for Tucker for the entirety of our visit.  (Heaven).

2) We then drive to Weston, Vermont where we move in to our guest house for the summer.  I am doing A Funny Thing Happened On the Way To the Forum at The Weston Playhouse.  I start rehearsals on Tuesday.

3) Grocery shop, unpack, blah, blah, blah.  (Too overwhelming to think about right now.)

Our road in Vermont. Internet? No. Moose? Yes.

Our road in Vermont. Internet? No. Moose? Yes.

Just a fun fact, the house we are moving to has no Internet, TV or telephone service--to clarify--no landline OR cell service.  (Too overwhelming to think about right now.)  It does have a few mice and with any luck, a moose sighting.

4) On Sunday, we drive Rob to the Amtrak station in Albany where he catches a train to Manhattan.  He’s moving into a friend’s room in mid-town for two weeks while he rehearses 10 Cents A Dance for the Williamstown Theatre Festival. The kids stay with me.

Enough of a list already!  Stop making me race into the future!

Most importantly, a new Blogisode on Monday, and I will let you know where I found Internet, which can sometimes be stringing together tin cans and fishing wire.

And now…back to our regularly scheduled programming.

So we have Beatrix and I racing up the stairs to find Charlotte pacing at the front door with her eyes as big as saucers.  I run in and ask how he’s doing, although the answer was written all over her face.

Charlotte:  He’s sick.  He ran in and threw up as soon as we got to the top of the stairs.

(Shit, crap, DAMN.  Poor, sweet Charlotte.  I’m sure I could have figured out a better way to do everything so that she didn’t have to see him so sick, but there was no time to look back.  Time to get things rolling.  The meter is ticking.)

Me:  (Trying to sound-oh-so-calm) Honey, you and Beaz go in the livingroom and let me take care of Daddy.  Do you mind coloring with her?

My name is Beatrix and coloring is my job.

My name is Beatrix and coloring is my job.

A funny thing about Beatrix is that she colors like it is her job.  Sit her down with a coloring book and a box of Crayolas and she’ll stay for hours.  It’s low tech, cheap and an amazing turn of event for a kid that rarely stops moving.  Charlotte is also a coloring enthusiast, although this was not the case before Beatrix came along.  Thirteen and three, who’d figure they’d have a meeting of the minds over Burnt Sienna and Fuchsia.  They cracked open a brand new Curious George coloring book and got to work.

I look in the bathroom, expecting to see Rob on the floor.  He’d made it to the bed, but it was bad.  He kept saying he needed to sleep it off, and I said I was calling his doctor, which he only kind of resisted.  I called and left a message with the doctor’s service (remember, it was a Sunday) and called the one person I know would have a strong opinion about what to do, and the clout to help me execute a plan.

His mother.

Rob's Mom. She's smart and she answers her phone.

Rob's Mom. She's smart and she answers her phone.

Rob’s Mom is a nurse and a generally all around fantastic caretaker.  Additionally, Rob is the ultimate “good guy” and really does listen to his mother, so I knew he’d take whatever advice she had.  I call her cell phone and after several rings, she answers to what sounds like a carnival.  I remember that she is at Walt Disney World with Rob’s sister and her family, and I try not to feel guilty that I am about to scare the pants off of her.

Rob’s Mom:  Hello?

Me:  (Too chipper) Hey there!

(I explain what is going on, that he has a doctor’s appointment tomorrow, what he is saying and doing,  and very quickly, she gives me what I am looking for: a definitive answer.)

Rob’s Mom:  You have to get him to a hospital.  A gallbladder can burst.

Burst.  That's a bad word.  Say no more, we’re on our way to the hospital.  I hang up with Rob's Mom and go to the bedroom to tell pack a bag and tell Rob.  This was the moment in time that I realized I was absolutely in charge of him.  It might seem like I really am (to borrow Tina Fey’s word) a bossypants, but because Rob can be both stubborn (sorry, Rob) and also has a wee bit of medical training, I treat him like he is a doctor.  If the kids have a sore throat, Rob looks for white spots on their tonsils.  If someone has a splinter, he is the surgeon.  If I have Google-diagnosed myself with a terrible cancer, but it’s really a canker sore, Rob talks me down.  I know he isn’t a doctor, but he wanted to be one for a while, so that makes him a lot smarter than me in the science world.

I walk in and get really tough with him.  I lay down the law and accept all responsibility.

He's like a doctor but he's not really one.

He's like a doctor but he's not really one.

Me:  Your Mom says you have to go to the hospital.

Yeah, don't mess with me.  I pack a bag, knowing odds were that he wasn’t coming home until that gallbladder was outta there.  I fly around the room grabbing his glasses, his iPad, his phone charger (brilliant!  just the kind of thing I would normally forget!) and basically trying to think of things I took to the hospital when I had the babies.  Leave the pacifier and onesie at home, bring the insurance card.

As I pack I start leaving the following message for anyone in my cell phone directory who had ever watched my children.  Somehow NO ONE was answering the phone.

Me:  Hi, hey, we’re having an emergency and I’m wondering if you can possible drop everything and come up here and babysit the kids for an undetermined amount of time?  Maybe bring your pajamas?  Thanks so much.  Call or text me back.  Oh, and this is Sharon.  Thanks.

I refrain from telling people I will pay them any amount of money they ask for.  In this kind of situation, babysitters, just know that you pretty much have people by the balls.  Also, this is THE moment when not having any family within a 6 hour radius really, really, really sucks.


Our lovely and wonderful babysitter Hannah, who lives in Astoria called right back and said she could come.  Astoria is in Queens, and I want you non-New Yorkers to get an idea of how far that is from my apartment in Inwood.  If you put out your left hand and look at it, spreading your thumb away, Astoria is about at the knuckle of your thumb.  Inwood is across the river (that is the space between your thumb and your hand), across your hand and up to your pinky finger nail…but imagine your pinky finger is longer, like as long as your middle finger.  Lenox Hill Hospital (where the doctor—who had finally called back—said Rob should go) is at about the big knuckle of your first finger.  And that is our New York City map.  We’ll refer to it again later, so don’t lose it.

I got Rob packed, although,  I leave his computer at home, despite him telling me firmly he  “had some work to do.”  His “work” as I told him in my best bossypants voice, was to get better.  He was not pleased, but I was firm (I almost threatened to call his Mom)--iPad YES, computer NO. Flush with bossiness, I even remembered to bring the copy of Bossypants my sister had sent.

Charlotte agreed to babysit Beatrix until Hannah got there, which could take an hour and a half from knuckle joint to pinky fingernail.

Sneaking Rudy.

Sneaking Rudy.

Just as a sidebar, I had recently banned TV and all “screens” for about a week.  It’s something I do periodically if I feel like the kids have had too much media.  This meant that watching a movie had a lot more cache than normal, which made Charlotte’s babysitting job pretty easy.  We put in Sleeping Beauty, which Beatrix calls Sneaking Rudy.  Rob kissed the kids, and we slowly made our way down the &*%$ stairs to the nearby car.

The Lenox Hill Hospital adventure begins.

Since I am saying goodbye to Quisisana, which in Italian means, a place where one heals one's self, here is a little video I filmed this evening after a thunderstorm.  The mountains are a little hidden behind cloud cover, but you'll get the point.  Rob did a lot of healing here and love to all who made it possible.  Have a peaceful, uneventful weekend, everyone.  See you Monday.