Just when you think you know how something’s going to happen……
Birth and Death
Let’s start at the beginning, birth. When I had my first daughter, I was three weeks overdue. I read all the having-a-baby-books I could get my hands on so I would be well prepared for the blessed event.
Late one night I kept running to the bathroom, nothing. Felt like I really needed to ‘go’, nothing. I called my doctor and told him something was wrong with me. He said, “Get to the hospital!!” I did. A young orderly brought me a wheelchair, I told him I didn’t need one. I explained it was a misunderstanding, my doctor made me come to the hospital, but I really wasn’t in labor, but I could use a bathroom. The young man insisted I be driven to the maternity ward in style, so I obediently climbed aboard.
My then-husband Jack, kept saying he was going to tell all of our friends that I drug him out of bed in the middle of the night for no reason.
I said, it’s not my fault, I only wanted to go to the bathroom, the doctor made me go to the hospital.
They hooked me up to a machine that instantly confirmed that indeed I was in labor. I guess the baby book writers left out the part where you feel like you need to use the restroom when you really need to deliver a baby.
Baby no. 2, also three weeks overdue. I didn’t feel anything. None of the back pains I read about, none of the front pains one could expect. Nothing. Went to the doctor, he said go home, pack a bag, meet me at the hospital. I said, Ok, he was going to ‘jump start’ my labor with a drug called Pitocin.
After it kicked in in 5 or 20 hours the main event would begin, he said. They ordered x-rays, weird I thought, I didn’t read about that in my many useless books. Ok, whatever, I just wanted to get the show on the road.
The doctor came into my hospital room and said, Good news, Bad news. The Bad news, the baby is breech. Unfortunately I had just viewed an episode of Little House on the Prairie where a lady DIED from that! The doctor reassured me that the x-ray showed the baby was “really” small and it would be no big deal.
They gave me a shot of Pitocin and 3 minutes, not 3 hours, later I was in labor. Tina was born 10 minutes after I got the injection, she was 9 pounds not 6 and broke all the records for the largest breech birth in the hospital’s history.
The third little angel was supposed to be scheduled for delivery in February. They planned it out because of the middle kiddo coming so fast they said I’d never make it to the hospital in time. Heck, my doctor thought I might have her in my sleep, and not wake up.
My doctor had a vacation planned that began on February 7th, so we moved the original date up to the 6th. Unfortunately for the baby, I had the 7th sorta stuck in my head. It wasn’t until her 8th grade school project that involved a birth certificate that we all realized we had been celebrating her birthday on the wrong day her entire life, woops. What kind of mom doesn’t know her own kid’s birthday? That answer wasn’t in the baby books either!
Now for death.
The father of my girls, Jack came upon hard times. Make no mistake, when we got a divorce I considered hiring a Mexican Mafia person to break his knees, it was a tumultuous divorce to say the least. Lucky for Jack, I didn’t know any Mexican Mafia folks, so his knees were left intact.
Anyhoo, twenty years after our divorce Jack came to live with my husband Poor-Jim and me. It’s not as weird as it sounds. We have a guest house that isn’t attached to the real house so a person could live out there pretty independently. Kitchen, bathroom, bed and TV. I had long since stopped hating Jack. He got sober and I found the friend I always knew was buried deep, deep, deep down inside.
Jack lived with us for 7 years. The main problem is he always took Poor-Jim’s side and Jim always took Jack’s side. It could have become an issue, but since I was ALWAYS right, it didn’t really matter what they thought.
The day Jack told me about the cancer I felt helpless but hopeful. I did the only thing I knew how to do. I sent him off to visit his buddy in Palm Springs for a couple of days. With Jack out of the way, I invited daughter no. 1 over and we cleaned his room. When he got home, he was speechless. He loved how great it looked. Unfortunately, we accidentally threw out all his hairbrushes. They needed cleaning and we had run out of steam.
I had watched enough movies to know exactly how things would go. He would beat the odds and live another decade, at least, to take Jim’s side against me.
I took him to every doctor’s appointment; I managed all his medication. I went on a road trip with granddaughter no. 1 to his favorite place, the Grand Canyon.
The entire family took Jack to The Happiest Place on Earth, that was on a Thursday, the following Thursday his battle ended.
He loved Disneyland. He came home DEMANDING we get an electric scooter, just like the one he drove on Disneyland’s sidewalks. He wanted to drive it around our property. We live on a farm full of animals and decomposed granite, and those are not conducive to sidewalk friendly vehicles, so that couldn’t happen.
I thought we would have weeks of bedside chats with family and friends like they do in the movies, at least days of them.
He was given Morphine for the horrendous pain he was in, took a nap and never woke up.
Back in the old days, I was ready to have Jack clobbered by the Mexican Mafia. The unexpected friend Poor-Jim and I came to love left us way too soon.
I think of the man that worked so hard to stay sober, He wanted to be an inspiration to people struggling with the same demons he struggled with, and give them hope.
He was an incredible asshole, that became an amazing man.
we miss him…