Posted by: Wagons Ho | January 16, 2016

The drama is real

Have you ever had one of those friends who always has some kind issue going on in their life? Every time you talk to them some new horrible thing has happened. At first you feel bad. Then you feel really bad. Then you start to doubt them. No one could have this much drama going on in their lives all the time. Then you avoid them. It’s too much. They clearly have issues and you just can’t listen to it anymore.  I am now that friend.

I’ve been there once before. Several years ago I had a few months of the most insane stuff happening, one right after the other. It got to the point where I quit telling my friends what was going on because it just didn’t sound believable. Things got better though and I went back to my pretty good life.

Fast forward to Dec 2014. Marshall is traveling for work and has been gone about a week. The window in Trapp’s room started it all. It was leaking. We had been having this problem with it on and off for a while. This time though when I went to re-caulk around it I noticed that the drywall was wet, and there was some mold. I decided it was time to call in a professional. I picked a handyman that came recommended by several people in the neighborhood. He came over that same day, gave me a good estimate to fix it, and I hired him.

When he came to fix the window he found a hot mess. It had never been sealed correctly, from what he could tell, and he needed to completely rebuild the opening including the header. More money, more time, a lot more work than I was ready to deal with so I said do it. He did a great job, at what I thought was a really reasonable price, and finished quickly.

In the midst of this I get a call from mom. Dad hasn’t been feeling well. He had a fall at home and was too weak to get up. She had to call 911. He’s in the emergency room and they are going to admit him. This quickly progressed to he’s confused, he’s having trouble breathing, they are going to intubate him as a precaution and move him to the ICU. I don’t need to come mom assures me. That’s what she always said though.

The next morning I call the ICU to see how he is. They put me on hold and the doctor gets on the line. I knew that wasn’t a good sign. The doctor tells me it’s very serious and I need to come home. Marshall drops everything to get home. I call friends, work, daycare. We get everything planned for me to fly out early the next morning. What I don’t know until later is that during this time the doctors are telling mom and Jodie that they don’t think dad will make it until I get there. They decide not to tell me since at that point it didn’t seem to matter if I got on a flight late that night or the next morning.

Then something amazing happened. Dad hung in there. After 8 days on the ventilator he was extubated. He was weak but improving. He moved to a step down unit. Then eventually to their rehab unit and finally home. He was still weak. He had liver damage, wounds on his legs, and several other medical problems. He was readmitted a couple times over the next few months. We planned a trip to the beach thinking it might be our last vacation with the whole family. Little did we know how right we were.

The beach trip was hard on him but we were able to get in a lot of the dad loved. He went deep sea fishing with Marshall. He spent time sitting on the deck watching the kids, flying kites, fishing on the beach, and crabbing in their favorite spots. We finally tried the donuts everyone raved about. We took mom to see the wild horses, and even saw a couple! The trip was good.

We convinced dad to get a home health nurse. Over the next couple months his legs improved, he was weak, his liver was still bad, but he was fairly stable. We still worried about loosing him but not as much.

During all of those months we were dealing with a crappy contractor, the one that had been so good in Dec that we decided to hire him to do a bunch of other stuff for us, was now the bane of our existence. It was a constant battle to get him to do the work. We’d find more problems hidden behind the walls of our 20 year old home every time he worked on something. We knew that the additional issues weren’t his fault but the delays, and aggravation, were. We were not sorry to see the end of him.

In Sept mom wasn’t feeling good. She had a cough and was exhausted. In typical stubborn parent form she put off going to the doctor. It was allergies, it was her chronic pain, her insomnia she would say. She finally went to the doctor. It was pneumonia they said. She started antibiotics.

At the same time Marshall’s mom was sick. She started missing work. A day, then 2, then 3. A woman who never missed work. We were concerned. After a week plus of being sick we finally convinced her to go to a doctor. She also had pneumonia. Antibiotics and rest and she would be on the mend. And she was.

My mom was not. She went back to the doctor. She was still coughing, still tired, still not right. This time they said it was bronchitis. Different meds. Inhalers. Get rest. You’ll be better in no time. She was not. The inhalers caused thrush. The meds weren’t working. Then she noticed a swelling in her neck. The doctor said it was probably nothing to worry about but they wanted to do a biopsy just in case.

It was cancer. They did a CT Scan and found spots everywhere. Next up was the oncologist and more tests. It’s small cell carcinoma. It’s bad. She’ll need radiation and chemo. They are optimistic though. This type of cancer usually responds well to treatment they tell us. It’s possible she could go into remission. We may have as much as a year even if no remission. We have hope.

Now the house is acting up. We have leaks in the roof over 2 bedrooms. The washing machine is randomly not draining, and the dryer is squeaking like crazy. We caulk the leaks, fix the washing machine, and ignore the dryer.

I fly home for the first round of chemo. Marshall and the kids stay here. The day I’m scheduled to fly back Marshall comes home to a giant leak in the kitchen. He has to cut open the drywall in the ceiling to find the leak. It’s a mess. We leave the drywall repair for another time.

The week after Thanksgiving mom is admitted to the hospital. She’s having complications from the chemo. They stabilize her and plan some more procedures. Then we get a call about Marshall’s mom. She passed out at work and was taken to the hospital. She is severely anemic, needs 3 L of blood, and is being admitted. We deal with work, the kids, planning a trip home for Christmas to see my mom, trying to figure out if we need to go see Marshall’s mom. The days fly by.

Both moms are discharged. Marshall’s mom is stable but needs a colonoscopy as they still don’t know why she is loosing blood. My mom starts her second round of chemo. She is weak, not eating, but adamant that we don’t need to come for Christmas. I’m equally adamant that we will be there.

We finish work and school and start the drive on Christmas Eve. We should be there Christmas Day. We have beautiful weather. The kids watch movies and hardly fight. We enjoy the scenery and try not to worry too much. Jodie texts Christmas morning. Mom is not doing well. We need to get there asap. I drive to keep my mind busy. We tell ourselves it’s just the chemo. This was the same day post treatment that she was hospitalized with after the first round. The kids are more restless in the car. They need to pee more often. The gas tank seems to empty faster. I kick myself for being too cheap to fly. We get there late in the afternoon. Mom perks up. She is in bed but wants to see the kids. She spends time with them. We have hope.

Mom passed away the next day. We were devastated. The days passed in a blur. Then we get a call. Marshall’s mom had her colonoscopy. It wasn’t good. She has cancer. They are doing a CT scan that day and will have the results after the New Year.

The CT shows the colon cancer, and some areas of concern in her liver and lymph nodes. They schedule surgery. At this point we are numb. How much more can we take? Marshall’s mom is adamant he not come for the surgery. He decides not to go so as not to upset her. The surgery goes well. The doctor is sure he got all the cancer and thinks the liver and lymph nodes are fine. He sends everything to pathology and we wait for the results.

Last night we get a call. Mom had her follow up today. The diagnosis is stage 3 colon cancer. The lymph nodes were not clear. The liver was. The doctor is referring her to an oncologist. He thinks they will recommend chemo. Her appointment is next week. We feel like it’s all starting again.

As I drag myself to bed I find a puddle of water on the beside table. I assume Marshall or the kids spilled a cup of water. Marshall comes up and looks up at the ceiling and notices, you guessed it, a big leak. So at 11:30 at night he is in the attic trying to caulk another spot in the roof. We will have to get a roofing company to come take a look. I have feeling it will not be good considering the roof is also 20 yrs old.

So here we are with a house that needs repairs, a mom with cancer, a dad who’s still not 100% and in mourning for the wife he lost just a few short weeks ago. The drama is real. No matter how crazy it might sound.






  1. So sorry about the loss of your mother. Thinking of you and hoping things start to look up for you and your family soon!

    • Thank you. I’d say it can only go up from here but I don’t want to tempt fate. 🙂

      • We have a saying in our house that we would like the giant sign that says, “kacken hier” removed from the top of our roof. May your days get brighter and brighter.

      • LOL Yes!

  2. […] was on the ventilator. He was septic from 2 different infections. It was Dec 2014 all over again (The drama is real ). For the next 3 1/2 days he was on the ventilator and more meds than should be given to any one […]

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