I didn’t think I was going to survive yesterday.
Do you ever find yourself in a situation that is so absurd you can’t even believe it’s real life?
I had one yesterday and thought it might be the catalyst to a nervous breakdown.
Let me set the stage for this story…
Andy has been gone for almost 3 weeks. We hear from him maybe once a day. Usually on Facetime which is a rare form of torture if kids are involved. I’m homeschooling Grace who is very bright and very agreeable for EVERY TEACHER OTHER THAN ME. We have end of the year restlessness, but keep doing our lessons as painful as it may be. I have a threenager and a rambunctious toddler. We are packing up our entire life and moving away from everyone we know. Without Andy. There are a thousand administrative things that need to happen before we move. It’s up to me to handle them and they’ve resulted in hours on the computer and the phone. My children make sure to freak the freak out EVERY time I’m on the computer or phone. Grace, who is normally my most independent and helpful child, broke her leg a month ago and has been in a cast up to her groin since then. Our home is grossly undervalue and after WEEKS of contacting my mortgage company and military legal services there’s nothing that can be done for us, so we’re going to have to rent it for at least a year. Which means I get to be a landlord from several states away. I just got this news yesterday afternoon.
Yesterday morning I got a sitter for the littles (I love you, Norma!) and Grace and I smiled all the way to the doctor’s office where she was going to get her cast off. I pictured them removing it, x-raying it, and sending us on our way.
That’s NOT how it went down.
Grace SCREAMED bloody murder during the cast removal. You’d have thought the cast saw was sawing her leg off.
Once that was done, she whimpered through her x-ray and complained as we sat in the exam room for a half hour waiting to be seen by the doctor. Doctor Compassionless came in to see us and was totally perplexed by Grace’s tears and unwillingness to move her leg. That was fun.
He told me he wanted to see us back in two weeks and wanted Grace to wear a boot in the meantime.
AWESOME. My sensory-sensitive child has to wear a scratchy boot now and I have to come back for another appointment.
I told him we’d be in Maryland by then but could follow up with someone there. NOPE. He decided to see us back in one week which happens to be a day the movers will be in my house packing everything up and I will need to be home.
I process all that while I wait for them to bring us the boot. Except they don’t have a pediatric boot, so they hand me a script for one. UGH.
Grace and I left the office and headed to a nearby donut shop for the treat I promised to “celebrate” her cast coming off. Somehow I’m not feeling very celebratory, but we get a few donuts and I finally get a cup of coffee, which I want to hook directly up to my vein. I was up until almost 2am the night before, so not only am I irritated by the whole cast situation, but I’m also exhausted.
I still managed to inhale two of the heaviest, most delicious eclairs I’ve ever had, while having visions of being removed from my home by a crane after stress eating myself up to 600lbs.
We sat in the donut shop parking lot while I called medical supply company after medical supply company looking for this damn pediatric boot. I finally reached a place that might have what we needed, so they suggested I make the 20 minute drive to find out. UGH.
Grace and I headed home to relieve the babysitter and feed the kids lunch and then I loaded up the van with all 3 kids and drove to the medical supply place. We got our little circus inside and proceeded to wait 30 minutes to be seen for this boot that “might” work.
About halfway through our wait time Avery tells me she has to go poop.
OF COURSE SHE HAS TO GO POOP.
Satan himself must be in charge of programming children’s poop schedules because they never have to go when it’s convenient. They only have to go at the worst times!
So I carried Drew, pushed Grace in the stroller with my one free hand, and verbally prodded Avery straight ahead as she tried to go anywhere BUT the bathroom.
I juggled everyone in the restroom which involved lots of yelling not to touch anything and lots of corralling Drew with one hand while trying to minimize Avery’s potty germ exposure with my other hand.
We survived that whole thing and made our way back to the waiting room for another 15 minutes.
They finally called us back to be seen, so I carried Drew, pushed Grace in the stroller with my one free hand, and verbally prodded Avery straight ahead as she tried to go anywhere BUT the exam room we were headed to.
Once in the room, a nice man brought in the smallest pneumatic full length walker (aka boot) they had, which I could immediately tell was too big for Grace.
At this point I got a whiff of the most foul smell. Turns out it was coming from Drew’s diaper and my diaper bag was safely stored inside my van in the parking lot.
I apologized to the man for the stench and he kindly let me know I could use the bathroom to change Drew. Sorry buddy! My diaper bag might as well be in Siberia it’s so far away. You’re gonna have to press on and get us out of here in good time so I can deal with the poopy diaper. I’m not going anywhere right now.
Not only does Drew smell like a dead animal, but he’s also completely wired because he should be taking a nap at this precise time. Avery is also amped up and continually running around the room throwing Grace’s shoes into the air over and over again.
Through clenched teeth I keep telling her to settle down and be obedient, to no avail.
Meanwhile Grace is on the exam table sobbing and refusing to bend her newly-uncasted leg for the man trying to fit her with yet another boot.
Drew is pushing the stroller into the hall and disappearing. I’m repeatedly stepping out to retrieve him, kicking and screaming.
Avery is still running around. Drew is crashing the stroller into every wall of the exam room and ends up collapsing with it on top of himself, resulting in ear piercing screams and a bloody lip.
YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME. IS THIS REAL LIFE?!?!?!
I’m begging God to help me survive this without losing my mind or my temper.
I don’t feel any kind of heavenly intervention, but I somehow manage not to completely fall apart.
I find a paper towel to clean up Drew’s bloody face and I force Avery into a chair for a time out.
Grace eventually gets a boot that fits after several tries and a phone call to Dr. Compassionless to approve a boot that’s different than the one he prescribed. We walk out of the exam room as I carry Drew (screaming and thrashing to get out of my arms), push Grace in the stroller with my one free hand, and verbally prod Avery straight ahead as she tried to go anywhere BUT the waiting room.
The guy has to fill out paperwork, so he encourages me to go out to the van to change Drew while he wraps things up.
Thanks man! I’m glad you’ve reminded me multiple times how bad my kid’s ass smells!
In tears, I drag everyone out to the car where I attempt to change Drew who will not lay still, but instead struggles over and over to roll onto his stomach and crawl his poopy butt away from me. Avery is trying to climb into her carseat which is smack dab in the middle of the spot I’m trying to change Drew.
I lose it.
I push Avery out of my way and lean all of my weight onto Drew’s chest to hold him still. I cry and tell them they all have to stop being so naughty and start listening to me or I’m going to go crazy and end up in the psych ward!
Now they are all crying.
We finish the diaper change, manage to get all the way back to the waiting room where I sign the paperwork and listen to the guy go on and on and on about how important it is for Grace to bend her leg and all the ways we need to care for the boot and how we should call him with any questions and blah blah blah.
JUST LET ME OUT OF HERE SO I CAN TAKE MY FREAK SHOW BACK HOME!
After an eternity, we are back to the parking lot and I’m buckling 3 crying children into their carseats and turning up the radio to drown them out and driving like a bat out of hell all the way home.
By the time we reached our house, the two little ones are asleep and Grace is stunned into silence by my maniacal behavior.
I get the littles into their beds and I get Grace onto the couch where I toss her the ipad and run out the side door.
I called my sister and recounted the whole story to her in vivid detail. In typical Ellen fashion, she laughed through the whole thing. Her laughter actually helps me when I’m in despair. It reminds me that I’m not going to die and this isn’t a real tragedy and everything is going to be ok.
Everything is going to be ok. I’m going to survive all this and better days are ahead.
I will tell you I love God more than anything in the whole world, but at times like this it is so hard to trust that He sees me and knows me and is perfect in all his ways.
I think trusting Him when everything around you tells you not to is probably the path to deeply rooted faith.
Looks like I’m in the market for some deep roots!
Lord, have mercy on me in the meantime.