The Wheels on the Bus

UPDATE: Michael’s Covid PCR test was NEGATIVE.

I finished my weekend post anticipating Becky’s discharge from the hospital and a calm weekend at home before her surgery. And I closed with these words, “Unless Becky has other plans for her Saturday night.”

She did.

Greta drove to the children’s hospital on Saturday afternoon to pick us up. I was excited to be heading home for the last few days before her surgery. And then the wheels on the bus starting to fly off.

While driving home, I learned that Michael had been exposed to Covid. After quickly thinking through various scenarios, I decided it was safest for Becky to stay away from our family. Mom had recently landed and settled into a hotel near the hospital. I spent about 15 minutes at home, scurrying to gather all of Becky’s medications and feeding supplies, as well as the items I would need at the Ronald McDonald house. I said quick goodbyes to the kids and left. Noticing a low gas tank, I prudently stopped for gas to fill up. Because I’m smart like that.

Once at the hotel, I scrambled to schedule Michael for both rapid and PCR tests. I also contacted the surgical team to disclose this new information. By Sunday afternoon, Michael’s rapid antigen returned a negative result. But our pediatrician cautioned us to wait for the gold-standard PCR test.

On Monday Becky had a long morning of appointments. The surgical nurse practitioner said that Becky’s surgery would most likely go ahead even if Michael tested positive for Covid as long as Becky remains symptom free. We discussed the surgery, potential complications, and preparations for the coming 48 hours. After her chest x-ray we went for her labs. It was a horrific experience. She is a difficult stick and it was heart-wrenching to watch her in so much pain. It ended up being all for nothing.

A few hours after I returned to the hotel, the nurse called and told me that the surgeons had cancelled Becky’s surgery. Apparently her pre-op x-ray looked worse than Friday night’s emergency room x-ray. That was enough to postpone the surgery. Her recovery could be prolonged if she undergoes surgery while simultaneously developing a viral infection. Becky’s cardiologist agrees that she can wait another week. He has increased both the dosage and frequency of her Lasix medication. I feel safer being so close to the hospital in case Becky’s need oxygen or other support.

All of this makes sense but it doesn’t take away the disappointment. We were less than 48 hours away from a surgery she desperately needs. It was devastating. And there were tears. Mom and I called my dad and a couple of my siblings to share the news. My brother Dennis observed that it is far better to delay the surgery for a week than for Becky to spend it on the backside fighting an infection. He also reminded me that my glass is neither empty nor full. It’s refillable. Clever guy.

There were more surprises yesterday afternoon. Becky’s endocrinologist called to update Becky’s thyroid medication. We’ve been playing with the dosage and another change is necessary. Shortly after this call, Becky’s pediatrician called to tell me that Becky has developed a milk protein allergy. This necessitates an immediate change in my diet. Dr. A says it will be simple and told me just to eat fruit, vegetables, and grilled chicken. I am to avoid all dairy, lactose, and soy. Start reading labels and you will discover that soy is in everything. Becky also needs a new, expensive formula. It is difficult news to receive while holed up in a hotel with a microwave, small stovetop, and refrigerator. But we will manage.

So that’s what is going on here at the hotel. Meanwhile, back at the ranch.

As I prepared for Becky’s pre-op tests, I received a call from the grade school. Johnny was being sent home since his sisters were quarantining due to a holiday ski trip. Apparently, I misunderstood the complicated Covid rules. I had sent him back after the Christmas holidays but kept Veronica and Mary Frances at home. It took a few days for the school to discover my mistake. Of course, they discovered it yesterday.

Johnny arrived home and began remote learning. Unsupervised, his lessons quickly morphed into a personal grooming session. He said the oranges were to help the hair grow back faster. Preferably before Sam could notice it.

The oranges didn’t work. Sam fixed it later with a number 2 attachment. He sent along this picture.

While at dinner, the powder bathroom off the kitchen began bubbling. I’ll spare you the details but the situation was overflowing and emergent. Our shop vac came to the rescue. Hopefully, the situation is under control. I don’t mind missing out on this little adventure.

As with so many things in life, there was good served alongside the disappointing. Greta scrambled to run errands for us, delivering Becky’s new medication and my new diet to our doorstep within hours. My brother-in-law, who knows about making instantaneously life changes, has already emailed me tons of meal suggestions. My sister extended our hotel reservations for another week and frequently calls to share her ever optimistic outlook on life. My pediatrician has been an absolute God-send, answering numerous texts and offering timely guidance. I figured out how to use a smart TV and we watched my nieces’ basketball game and heard David’s color commentary. And through it all, Mom is right here with me.

So, to recap today’s top stories:

1.Becky’s surgery has been delayed until January 20.

2. Becky needs a new type of formula and I need a new diet.

3. Johnny is sporting a new haircut.

4. Something weird is going on with our plumbing.

5. And I write about all of this while sitting in a hotel dozens of miles from home.

Note to self: Don’t begin a Bible study that incorporates the Book of Job in the days proceeding your daughter’s open heart procedure. Alabama winning the National Championship is about the only thing normal that has happened in the last 48 hours. As I mentioned in our family group chat, it seems the wheels are coming off the bus.

And Josephine responded, “Mom, there is no bus.”

13 thoughts on “The Wheels on the Bus

  1. Re Dennis’ “glass” comment, I just had another bourbon. Sounds like the “new normal” of 2020 has snuck into this new year. I am with your brother in believing better to postpone Becky’s surgery under the circumstances. You have the BEST support with Jeannette being there. As always, ❤❤❤🙏🙏🙏, Aunt Cynthia (ps: the hair will grow back- the ones Sam is pulling out!)


  2. Kathleen, Mother Guerin says to trust in Providence which has never failed us. I attended her canonization in2006 and have addedBecky to the prayer list At her shrine. If you want me to do more , I am praying, just let me know. I am so glad you Mom is there.!We all need our Mom! God bless! Sent from my iPhone



  3. You certainly have had a lot to deal with lately! I think you are handling it beautifully and with a good sense of humor. Your family is so supportive and I am happy that your mother returned to help you.
    It is absolutely better to postpone the surgery since her X-ray is worse. On a positive note Becky looks cute and she is growing well so kudos to you! I like Johnny’s haircut he is adorable. I know it’s a lot to handle but you can do it! I have complete faith in you. Hugs and kisses!


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