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Posts Tagged ‘anxiety’


Eli slept well. I did not.

I lost track of how many times I woke up, and why. Like the night before I turned off the white noise app around 1. At some point I woke up to the sound of splashing. I wondered if perhaps a street sweeper had gone by. Eli woke me up for water. Another time I woke up, stretched and suddenly got cramps in my back and one leg. Around 4 I noticed that the A/C turned off. It finally got down to 75 degrees! I could faintly hear the periodic chirp of that lousy smoke detector whose battery they couldn’t or wouldn’t replace. I kept thinking about Eli and how he’d do on the trip home.

Around 6:15 I gave up. This is when I realized the splashing was a rain storm. I peaked through the blinds (did I mention they had no controls, so initially I had to close every slat by hand?). This may change the airport equation. There isn’t much rain in LA so they may drive as horribly as Tucsonans.

I had gotten dressed when Amie called. I kept it brief because I had plenty to do. I got Eli up. He was in some pain after not moving much all night. But he went to the bathroom and then I gave him water and his antibiotics. We got him out of his pjs and into shorts and a shirt to travel. This was when he moved, quite quickly because he had to throw up again. Oh … this did not bode well. I wondered if this had to do with El Niño I heard about.

I had to head downstairs to get cleaning supplies. As I was heading down to the office I saw the buckets in the center of the common area. Apparently the roof had a leak. But it was still raining, which did not bode well. Back upstairs I pulled the sheets off the bed. I noticed, with relief, that there was very little blood on the towel I placed over his pillow. Last time there was far more. I was also relieved to know he hadn’t thrown up again. I cleaned the bathroom and gave him some water. I needed to get the trash to the receptacles so I drank the carton of apple juice we’d brought from the hospital. I figured that might be a bit much for his stomach.

After returning from my errand, I got him in the rundown wheelchair. Off to the rickety elevator when thumps when it starts making you feel incredibly secure. He waited in the commons area while I went to retrieve our luggage- my briefcase, his backpack and a small suitcase. Then to the office to check out and pay the “suggested” donation. In the past they have checked the room before returning my deposit. This time it was simply, did you strip the beds? Okay.

The van was only a few moments late so we got in. I pulled up the stool thinking we were the only people going. What a fool! He came back and noted, with frustration, that another family had called at the last minute but weren’t ready yet. They had an 8 am appointment at the hospital. This was on the way to the airport, but not a main road. So … we waited. It was at this point that I wished I had that jacket Jadon told me to bring. It was a bit cool with the rain. Then I apologized to Eli, thinking I should have given him the pants to wear so he’d be warm. He did have a sweatshirt on so I wasn’t a completely incompetent father. Yeah, we were still waiting.

Finally a guy showed up with a little girl in his arms. I thought we were ready to go. We weren’t. Still waiting for his wife and daughter who finally arrived. Our 7:30 departure morphed into a 7:45 departure. This was not looking good.

It looked worse when we entered traffic. It would NOT be a 5-minute drive to the hospital. It was snarled like nobody’s business. Anxiety raising to Def Con 2. Since Virgil is only one lane in each direction he went a block to a wider road, but that didn’t seem to help much. While we sat at a light I made a few observations. LA must have an aversion to left turn arrows, which made turning left in such situation very difficult particularly in light of pedestrians sauntering across roads. Second, the Metro stop had a fancy looking toilet building. Curious I asked and it was relatively new.

That 5-minute ride took about 20. We were now about 30 minutes behind schedule for the 30-minute ride to the airport. But the driver needed 5 minutes to run into the hospital. Def Con 3.

Sooner than it felt, we were back on the road, and caught in traffic. Every. Red. Light. Starting to think we might not make it I asked Amie about other flights out. Not good. 10:45 (only 40 minutes later) but thru Vegas instead of our nonstop. There was a 3, but also thru Vegas. Eli doesn’t do well in Vegas because he gets overstimulated by the lights & bells. Perhaps being post-surgical this wouldn’t matter but the thought of a layover with a post-op kid was not appealing. This is when I started praying that the flight would be delayed. So far it was scheduled to depart on time.

I was talking to God about it since talking to the driver could do no good. My control idol was very unhappy and I was trying not to stress out. I absolutely hate it when I have no control over anything. This was one of those times. “Help me, Jesus, to trust in your love and power no matter what happens!”

Finally we were on the highway. An earlier glimpse had not been good. We were in the HOV aka Fastrack lane (you pay for this privilege, well the hospital did), and finally making good time. My anxiety level began to go down.

But then we hit the bridge between the 101 and 105. Fastrack no more! Backed up was more like it. It was moving but merging onto the 105 was not easy. Eventually we got moving at a good pace. I asked how long it normally took from this point to the airport. 10 minutes was the answer, which would put us at about 9, an hour later than expected and 35 minutes before boarding. There was still a chance, but possibly a Lloyd Christmas chance.

As we drew near to LAX the traffic came to a new standstill, again. I kept watching that clock as it slipped past 9 am. Oy vey!

Thankfully Southwest is the first airline you come to. In light of the traffic this was such a happy sight to my eyes. It was about 9:10. We had 25 minutes, with a hobbled Eli, to get our vouchers transformed into tickets, a wheelchair for him, thru security and to our gate. I was … stressed.

We were dropped off by the curbside check-in. We got in line, Eli quite painfully. Then I spotted the wheelchair check-in on the far side. Off we went, with Eli hobbling along while I had care of all 3 pieces of luggage. We must have looked pathetic but he was a trooper. Getting a wheelchair also meant we got to use a different sky cap station. This jumped us to the front of the line which was obviously fortuitous, to say the least. If I hadn’t been so stressed out, I’d have been more thankful that Eli had kept that water down.

The other great thing about a wheelchair is that you go through security more quickly. This time it was a bit odd. Here they are checking for explosive residue on the hands of a child who had surgery the day before, AND a wheelchair owned by  the airport. Of course they had to open the backpack and examine his medications. I always use injured children to smuggle things on airplanes!

Our gate was the 2nd gate! We arrived at ….9:35 ready to board. And had to wait. The plane we were going to fly was late arriving, and they hadn’t de-planed yet. I could catch my breath and call Amie. Last time we had plenty of time so I bought him yogurt to eat with his pain meds. No such luxury now, so food and med would wait. Caffeine too. We were the only pre-board on a half-full flight to Tucson, so we sat in the front row, which we had to ourselves. I read Lawhead and he played Angry Birds Star Wars on the iPad (he was obviously feeling okay).

It was an uneventful flight, and the family was very happy to see us.

On the ride home I was telling Amie about my struggle with control and stress that morning. “Well, this will add to it.” Apparently, our washer which was awaiting its 3rd new mother board decided to exhibit a new problem as a result. Usually is doesn’t turn on. That morning it turned on and was on mid-cycle when they heard a not-so-good-sounding noise. Heading upstairs they discovered the door had opened and water was gushing out. They got the machine turned off but used just about every towel trying to get the water up. If we still lived in FL this would be no big deal. The washer was in the garage. This house? Big deal. Not only is the washer inside, it is upstairs (as you may have caught from the earlier statement). We counted 10 water spots in the ceiling downstairs as a result. Thankfully they were home! If not, the washer would have kept running and would have flooded the upstairs causing lots of damage. Big props to Jadon who kept her head, and got the other 3 kids to help clean up.

We are grateful to be home. We are grateful for Eli’s excellent surgeon. We are grateful for friends who let us use their machines for laundry. We’re just plain grateful.

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