Friday, August 1, 2014

The Sky is Falling, or Why Does it All Hurt So Bad?

"The sky is falling, the sky is falling," said Chaviva. Move over Chicken Little, this mama is struggling.

For two weeks we had Mr. T's son iBoy with us in Denver. It was amazing. Although I spent the bulk of that time guilty that I wasn't actively in the office working because of all of the ups and downs of being back in the U.S., we had an amazing time traversing Colorado. I saved up all the places I wanted to take Mr. T until iBoy was here. We went to the Celestial Seasonings tea factory (alas, no babies allowed, so I got hopped up on tea in the tasting room), Garden of the Gods, to the Flatirons near Boulder, down to the REI flagship store and rented a kayak and went out on the lake in a thunderstorm ... we did tons of things to keep ourselves entertained, to show iBoy how beautiful it is here, and to make sure, above all, he felt like he was our family, that we love him, that we miss him, and that we want what is best for him in life.

It was a hard thing letting him go on Monday, but these things have to happen (legally, of course). Since then, it's been tough to get him on the phone or Skype, which has been hard on us all. Ash got used to him being around, Mr. T got used to having him around and his entire demeanor changed -- after all, wouldn't yours with both of your sons around you? And me? I got used to seeing Ash light up in a new way, to seeing Mr. T so, so happy, and to having the sound of giggling and snoring and the thump of iBoy running around the apartment and begging to go out and play soccer with his dad.

Last Shabbat we spent ages with iBoy and his dad playing soccer, until it started to rain. Ash and I sat and watched, with Ash mesmerized by this bigger version of himself kicking around a ball and falling all over the grass with his dad.

We felt like a complete unit during those two weeks. So it's a bit heartbreaking as we go back to "normal" without iBoy.

On Tuesday, after dropping iBoy in Omaha, we stopped in to check on my dad, who'd taken the week off from work. Mr. T, playing on a Jewish softball league, wanted to pick up my dad's old bag of softball bats that they had out in their storage unit. I don't think my dad had touched those bats since we left Joplin in 1996. In southern Missouri, baseball reigns supreme. T-ball, little league, adult league softball, it consumes the summertime. My dad played on and coached softball teams throughout my childhood, and he loved the sport. His bats were housed in a green, old Navy bag with his name stamped on the shoulder strap. It's not that military surplus stuff, it's the real deal.

Then, on the way out of the unit, my dad started acting weird. Buckled safely into the car, he wasn't answering questions I asked again and again, and then? Then he seized. His entire body clenched into a giant fist. Asher was in the backseat watching Baby Einstein, Mr. T was in the seat next to him, and I was in the driver's seat, my dad next to me, and I held him and panicked.

In an instant I became a child again. I don't think I've called my father "Daddy" in years. All of a sudden it's the only thing I could say, with a giant question mark at the end of every single utterance of the word. He shook, he clenched, it was like I was watching a TV show or movie. It was textbook. I'd seen it before, but never never in person. I knew they were happening, but I'd never experienced it.

I just held him. I held his head when it flung back. I grabbed the storage unit keys from his hand once his body relaxed. We raced to the hospital, not sure if it was the right one, unable to call my mom thanks to T-Mobile having zero service in Lincoln, Nebraska.

He was out of body the entire drive. For 20 minutes he was gone. His head back, my hand holding it up, it was almost like he was sleeping, snoring. I kept on. "Daddy? Daddy? Are you okay? Daddy?"

We got to the hospital and all of a sudden I was in parent mode. My dad slowly became lucid, but didn't know what happened or where we were or why we were there. He was curled into himself, not sure of himself. I coaxed him out of the car with nurses, took him inside. Gave them his information; they knew him, he'd been there before.

They went through the same motions as always. CT scans, EKGs, vitals, etc. He slowly became lucid and realized what was going on. We were all frustrated, especially after several hours when the ER doctor came in and said everything looked fine; they were sending him home. As usual.

I now understand what he is going through, first hand, after seeing it, and after seeing how the ER doesn't seem to have much to say or do about it all. They offer up the usual: three meals a day, cool and calm environment, low-stress activities, plenty of sleep, take your meds.

For months this has been going on. No one seems to really have a good idea of what's causing the seizures or why. So I found an internist who is going to take on his case. And we're going to hope, pray that something gets figured out.

On that note, maybe Mr. T and I will move to Nebraska and set up a B&B or a little shul for passersby to have a nice, quiet Shabbat. We'd be close to dad, rent would be cheaper, we'd have peace of mind.

Ah emotions. Between family and what's happening in Israel, my head is about to explode. The things of the world that do make sense people don't seem to get (you can't negotiate with terrorists) and the things that should make sense (having seizures, a child and divorced parents) just don't.

HaShem? Let us see you.