The request came on a cheery, holiday-colored green piece of a paper. I was assigned sliced apples to bring the day of the girls' school holiday party, I did think to myself, 'why can't I get a bag of marshmallows' but I thought slicing up some apples the Thursday before that glorious, last day of school before Christmas break cannot be too hard. We always have apples on hand and no one would judge the size or shape of the slices (I'm not on Top Chef preparing my mis en place).
The girls also knew what outfit they would wear -- cute Target t-shirts with minimal glitter and no words, just a picture of a reindeer on one and a penguin on the other. They also were planning on taking the Santa hats my dad gave them. I mean, it was a perfect Granddad gift -- Santa hats with a springy ball bouncing on top.
And, bonus, the party was at 8:25 a.m. And, it lasted, 45 minutes. I allowed for the party in my work schedule so all was good. Planning done, plenty of fourth part available all week.
(Oh, and I had a holiday happy hour with some friends two days before the holiday party. Nice! Planning for weeks -- who would take and pick up the girls from tap, dinner, etc. -- allowed for my cocktail-filled fourth part happy hour. I even had a change of clothes in a bag in my car for the festivities.)
Until, G Adams started throwing up. OK, this may be TMI and get a little descriptively disgusting, but the facts are very important to the story.
Reminder, school party is Friday morning. Holiday happy hour is Wednesday. Thursday p.m. reserved for apple slicing.
1 a.m. Tuesday morning is when the hurling began. G is a dramatic vomiter. I think he braces himself against the bathroom walls, which requires some bumping and banging. He is also a moaner. Oh, and all lights turned on is a requirement -- to see the throw up? Oh, there's more. He flips on the bathroom fan, too. It's 1 a.m. I'm sleeping, kind of. He goes to the living room to let me rest, but every 15 minutes or so until about 3 a.m., he runs into our bedroom to visit our bathroom to do his do. Lights on, fan on, moaning, etc.
I move to the sofa and shut our bedroom door so he can turn on all kinds of lights (and the TV!) and fans. Then, it subsides. Throughout the throw-up session, I make loving comments such as it can't be what we ate for dinner because the other four in the house aren't sick. I say with my medical degree in hand, it must be a bug. I remind him last year during the holidays he missed Christmas Eve service and Santa had to bring the balance beam, Barbie dream house, TV and stand to the tree.
He stays at home to rest. I drag myself up and out of the house -- doing full morning duty. Remember, I usually work out while he does lunches and breakfast. I did it all ... The gentle, sweet wake up, the clothes, the hair, the shoes, the breakfasts, the sandwiches, the backpacks.
He started to feel better so he went to run basketball practice, took the girls to and from dance and stopped at Luby's for dinner -- mashed potatoes for him (along with the stomach calming chopped steak and corn, really!?!). I went to my happy hour.
Bedtime comes after I ready for the next day. I even get a little at home fourth part -- DVR joy! I pop a melatonin and head off to sleep when, yep, 1 a.m. for round two. I immediately jump to the sofa. He starts talking loudly, along with the moaning. I say, again very lovingly, maybe he needs to take a deep breath and relax. He says someone is stabbing him in the stomach. He then announces he needs to go somewhere. I Yelp an emergency clinic in our hood that is open 24/7. I then sweetly, supportively say our son can take him (because I'm thinking all they're going to do is give him some anti-nausea medicine).
Two hours later, my son comes home, wakes me up and says there is something wrong with G's gallbladder. I fall back asleep as we are to wait on a call. I get that call at 6 a.m. from my drugged up husband asking me to call his head coach and talk to the doctor, who tells me he will be transported by ambulance to the hospital for surgery! What?
I pop out of bed, do the morning routine (not even more fun or any easier from the day before because now I'm going on two nights of not good sleep, and am in a bit of a margartia haze) and pray the clinic does not call about the ambulance transporting until after I get the girls to school. They think their dad is at the doctor and know nothing else.
I have not bought apples at this point. And, slicing is not looking like it is going to happen.
Drop the girls off, head to the clinic, hear the story and then off we go to the hospital. Many hours later -- with lots of last-minute planning with babysitters and Chris taking care of some errands -- gallbladder removal surgery happens Thursday p.m. We all see G come out of anesthesia -- he was a first-time surgery patient so his recounting of his sniper moments in the bunker with his assault rifle in the very cold weather at the North Pole (Bible, he said all this) was a treat. We head home.
We joyfully prepare for the last day of school before Christmas break. Throw lunches together, lay out pre-planned outfits, ready backpacks and oh, e-mail the teachers about the lack of sliced apples. Ain't happening. A bit of guilt, yes. Enough to cause me to go to HEB, nah.
Friday morn, we're up a bit faster than usual because of the holiday party. Everyone enjoys the party (I end up holding the springy, Santa hats), I don't check the girls out early from school and I'm off to the hospital.
Another day of negotiating babysitter pick up times (she brings the blank check with her to the hospital when she drops off the girls) and figuring out events, allows us to hang with G at the hospital until morphine hits.
Then, it's the weekend. We're kicking off no school for two weeks -- and there's a party to go to that night (we won't be attending) and there are basketball games to coach (which he won't be doing).
Fourth parts feel like a dream, but then, I remember, I'm such a solid planner, I've got vacation mapped out, shopping mostly done, Christmas cards finished (when you are sitting in a hospital room all day for a few days) and presents wrapped. Whew.
Saturday coming home from the hospital was not too tough. G settled into bed, popped a few pain pills and the girls and I did house stuff. I made lists for the upcoming weeks, wrapped gifts, planned for a few more and then, rest.
Yeah, the fourth part after all this was rest. Lovely, sweet, melatonin-induced rest. The perfect fourth part for the not-so-perfect few days.
(Thank you God for providing surgeons, doctors and nurses who cared for my husband. And, thank you for my husband's forgiveness and mercy with my less-than Proverbs 31 self).