I hope you all had a great weekend! I spent the weekend in rehearsals and today (Monday) is my day off. I am writing this blogisode on Saturday night, and as soon as I am done, I will start a marathon of Mary Tyler Moore and Bob Newhart shows (Bob Newhart Chicago, not Newhart Vermont) with my friend David as we recreate our childhood Saturday nights. Chances are strong that I will try to lure Charlotte away from reading The Chosen, which is on her school summer reading list and erode her brain with 70’s TV. Chances are even stronger that Charlotte will not join our junky TV viewing until she has finished the entire book because she is just that kind of conscientious girl. But I will fight the good fight by explaining that Mary is an iconic feminist role model. I think if I make it sound like homework she might fall for it.
This blogisode is brought to you by Mary Tyler Moore season four on DVD, and Chaim Potok’s The Chosen. And Jiffy Pop Popcorn, which I don’t have, but sounds like it should be part of my 70's Saturday night. And shag rugs. And paneling. And pantsuits.
We left off with a feverish and medicine phobic Beatrix, a starving and slowly recovering Rob in the ICU pumped full of pain medicine and fluid, Brynn and Jacob and Hannah and our friend Izzy taking care of the kids (quick shout out to Izzy who brilliantly hid medicine in a brownie, thereby tricking Beatrix), and Charlotte suffering a slight breakdown during math class. And me—walking around like a zombie because when I managed to get to a bed for some sleep all I could think was HURRY UP AND GO TO SLEEP!!!!! HURRY!!!! Even the sheep I tried to count would yell HURRY UP as I counted them.
Tuesday in the hospital was a day full of checking in on Maryday and her kids as they traveled, reminding nurses that Rob needed more pain medicine, me sneaking food after being busted by Nurse Betty for eating in Rob’s room, “Get out of here with that food! Your poor husband is starving and there you sit eating in front of him!” She was so mean about it that I ran out instead of explaining that Rob had requested that I bring food back rather than leave him alone. From then on in, I was back to sneaking food—a skill I’d perfected as a child. Some good news, they removed Rob’s catheter, and if you’ve ever had a catheter, you’ll nod your head in agreement; this is good news.
When I wasn’t talking to a RN or an MD about pancreatitis, or sending or receiving a text message about whether Beazer’s fever had broken, I did do one guilty pleasure thing. I read Bossypants by Tina Fey from cover to cover, trying not to laugh so loudly that I woke up the entire 6th floor. Good book. Funny…funny…funny and highly recommend if you are super stressed out but have to sit quietly in a chair for hours. I suggest that you toggle between that book and Angry Birds, which allows a release of fury onto annoying and snorting pigs. Cathartic. Oh, and don't try to sneak pretzels because they are loud when you chew so you end up waiting for them to dissolve in your mouth and just kind of swallowing the lump whole.
Let’s pause talk about Charlotte for just a minute. It was clear to me that Charlotte knew just enough to know Rob would be all right, but was smart enough to be worried out of her mind. After much consideration I decided that the only remedy for her was to lay her very own pair of eyes on him. I looked him up and down and decided that some improvements needed to happen before Charlotte could see him. There wasn’t a lot I could do about the heart monitor, the oxygen and the numerous IV’s—they were going to have to stay in—but I could clean him up—a good thing because he hadn’t had a bath of any kind since Sunday morning. I went in search of a nurse who might bathe him, and discovered that I was allowed to help him if he felt up to it. We pulled him out of bed and hey—all I can tell you is this—that while I might not be able to get a job bathing grown men who are strapped to a million monitors, when it was all over we'd laughed our selves silly, he was clean and I hadn’t electrocuted him. Success! He shaved and brushed his teeth and looked like an almost normal person. I told him I’d be back in a half an hour and he should rest up to do a terrific acting job as “cheerful and recovering Daddy” for an important and concerned 13-year-old audience.
Just before 3pm I jump in the car and run over to pick up Charlotte from school. I had a small moment of concern when all the kids came out with no Charlotte in sight—and I was told she'd had a crying jag in math class—but soon enough she comes bopping out with a bunch of papers in her hand. She jumps in the car and tosses the papers at me, “Sorry I’m late Mom, but I had to get something from Miss Steel! Look!” I look down to see a configuration of numbers that send my exhausted head into a spin. When I ask her what it is she replies with glee, “It’s worksheets of percentages from Math class! Daddy loves percentages and Miss Steel printed them out so I could give them to him as a present!”
Perhaps for the rest of my life, when I try to explain how close Rob and Charlotte are, I will use this story as my point of reference. She was totally right, he was delighted, and I learned this: If Rob is in the hospital, in lieu of flowers, bring percentage worksheets from math class and a pencil.
Overall, the hospital visit went well; Charlotte was visibly relieved to finally see Rob. They did some math, he took a nap while Charlotte did her Chinese homework and I obliterated pigs with angry birds. Good quality family time. Actually, it really was kind of fun in a bizarre "in-the-hospital" kind of way. The only bad part was that I didn’t want to take the time to search for free parking, and put the car in a parking garage on 77th street. $65 for 3 hours of parking. Grrrrr, New York City. On the upside, cab fare for the day easily could have run $75-$100, and public transportation would have taken hours.....so the way I figure it, I still came out ahead.
Around 7pm Charlotte and I kiss Rob goodbye and head back to our apartment. It was hard to leave him all alone—he was so bored and lonely—and not sleeping unless it was drug induced nap—so he spent many nights lying in bed trying to find something on TV that wasn’t a food commercial, and watching the clock tick. Oh, and did I mention, there is no wi-fi in the Lenox Hill Hospital? Bored. He was so bored. He was clean, but bored.
Home and hospital were two very different modes. Hospital was sit and be quiet. Home was insanity. When Beatrix was medicated, she was fine…jumping around and acting like her normal self, although she had a constant temp of about 100, even when on Motrin. Brynn had cleaned my entire apartment in preparation for Maryday and the girls coming because she is good like Cinderella. I went home, moved beds around, changed sheets, and got the kids to bed. I camped out on the couch and watched back episodes of junky TV shows on my DVR while I waited for Maryday and the girls, who arrived around 1am. Maryday was exhausted from the drive and I was exhausted from all those sheep yelling at me every time I closed my eyes.
Our grand plan to get to bed right away was thwarted by Beatrix, who woke up just as they arrived with a fever of 104.8. Yes, you read that correctly. 104.8. Somehow (explain this to me, all you doctors out there) she was burning hot yet thrilled to see the kids--acting almost normal. We managed to get some Motrin in her by hiding it in an inch of apple juice--not unlike the way Maryday and I had hid Gwendolyn's chemo medicine in chocolate sauce when she was a baby. Maryday's girls' had napped from Allentown to Manhattan, so they were raring to go, so we all watched Sneaking Rudy until Beatrix's temp dropped. I think we went to bed around 3:30am. All in all, though, everything was better because Maryday had arrived. I had a partner. Better.
This is the picture I sent via text to Rob that night: