Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Christmas 2016 or "It's 2016, What Did You Expect?"

Christmas is a big deal in my house, primarily because it's one of two times each year where both of our kids come home at the same time. For Pam, having our kids home is her Christmas. So, what happened over the last three days will enter into the official record as reason number 2,345,631 why life isn't fair.

Late last week my wife started having cold symptoms. She immediately started taking over the counter medicines and calling on her vast resources of internal fortitude to fight the thing off before the kids got here. I've seen her do this before, steel herself against an approaching illness until some big important event had passed, then collapse in a heap after the last guest leaves. But this time, it wasn't to be. On Christmas morning, she was as sick as I have ever seen her in our nearly 35 years together. She literally could not get out of the bed. It was at this point when my daughter and her husband flipped a switch and turned into the reincarnation of Ozzie and Harriet.

There was much left to do to prepare for the big day. I still had to pick up Patrick at the airport, there was a ham to cook, a giant Greek salad to prepare, and some fancy frosting to make and spread on a gingerbread cake that Pam had prepared for the dessert table at Linda's. Meanwhile, I was upstairs trying to help Pam out of the bed so I could take her to Patient First. She was white as a ghost, weak, queasy and bitterly disappointed. I had briefed the kids on what needed to be done, relaying Pam's suggestion to forget about making the frosting since it was complicated and difficult to get right. At this point Jon pops into the room to inform us that he had looked at the recipe and not to worry...I've got this. By the time I got Pam downstairs and into the car, Kaitlin was slicing up the vegetables for the salad like it was her job. I had followed the directions for cooking the ham with my usual only passing relationship with the facts, thrown the thing in the oven and hoped for the best.

Patient First wasn't very crowded, thankfully so they took Pam straight back. Immediately, the dopey doctor diagnosed her with that catch-all, go-to diagnosis for anyone who comes in with cold symptoms in the winter...bronchitis. Z-Pak was passed out along with a cough suppressant. When we got back to the house, Jon had made good on his frosting boast. . .the cake looked beautiful. The Greek salad would have made Zeus proud, and they were in the process of cleaning the kitchen.

Then, I got Pam back in bed and rushed over to the airport to pick up my son. By the time I returned, the ham was out of the oven, all the presents and food had been packed into the car and we were all ready to head over to Linda's. . . without Pam. Yes, my wife spent all of Christmas Day in bed feeling like the ghost of Christmas past.

The next day, our story takes a positive turn. We had planned for December 26 to be our Christmas Day. Pam woke up feeling much better. She was able to get out of bed, move around like a normal person, and enjoy most of the day. She still felt like someone with a cold, but not like a person with the flu from hell. We had our day together and it was fabulous. I was starting to believe we were past the worst of it. Incorrect.

Yesterday, Pam was back to looking like an extra in Revenge of the Zombie Apocalypse. By 9:30 the two of us were at the WestCreek ER. The doctor there, a real doctor, could not have been nicer or more thorough. He very much doubted the bronchitis diagnosis of our doc-in-a-box quack, calling it a virus instead. What had made her symptoms so much worse on the alternating days might have been the cough medicine she had taken on those days. She might have been having a reaction to the medicine, who knows?  Regardless, Pam's last day with her kids was spent at a hospital.

By yesterday evening, Jon and Kaitlin had left for Maryland to visit his family, and I had taken Patrick to the airport and put him on a plane to Nashville. So, Pam got one day with the kids and two days sick as a dog in bed. Nice.

So, Christmas 2016 won't be making many appearances in any future Christmas highlight reels. On
the other hand, we had one really nice day and it's not like anyone has cancer or anything. Pam will eventually recover, and we will find a way to laugh about all of this one day.

2016. Psshhtt!!!!