The weather was terrible as I predicted on Wednesday and everything that was planned for Summer’s schedule at the hospital was falling to pieces. At 2 PM… The ice was raining down and it was expected to fall all day Wednesday as well. We woke up to a sheet of ice on everything in the parking lot. If this happened in Illinois… I would be expecting a power outage! I was told by security when I asked the question if we could lose power that they had backup generators at Target House. Too many vulnerable kids with medical equipment risk losing power.
While that kinda stunk… We knew that Summer could not get any release from Memphis until her blood tests on Thursday. So… We were trapped. Angela said she would have gone out and driven around. I think she forgot how bad the drivers are here. Summer and I chilled out on the couch and binge-watched “The Bear”. It’s a show on FX (HULU) about a Chicago Italian Beef restaurant that is trying to be turned around by a semi-famous chef. It’s a hardcore realistic restaurant show… We have both worked in food service (albeit my experience was just three decades ago!)… So, it’s a good watch. Besides that… We had an eye on the weather and appointments for Thursday.
Thursday morning Summer left the room without me to get labs. The lab room is literally the next room over in Target House. I always tell her that I have to be with her all the time in case she falls over. She doesn’t like that… But that’s really the truth. She can sign herself in and out of everything since she is technically an adult. That was 7AM… I made breakfast and acted as if it was a normal day… But it was not. Summer knew that there is a really good chance that we would be leaving today.
I started the car around 8 and let it run for 40 minutes to get the 1/4 inch layer of ice loosened up. I was taking it of in sheets!
Our first appointment was at 9AM and it was with PT. We checked in and found out that our Physical therapist was not in today… The ice on the roads had kept him home. UGH. More sitting!
We then went to E CLinic to get lab results and talk to nutrition. Within a few minutes… The doctor called Summer and said her numbers were holding fine and she was clear till Tuesday. That was pretty great, but we were still scheduled to be at the hospital till noon waiting for nutrition. Summer was hoping and praying they would push her up on the docket… But I reminded her that the nutritionist works all the floors of the hospital and who knows where she could be. She could be at home because of the ice! Nutrition showed up about 30 minutes later. So, that was grand. After a short meeting and consultation about her weight, she was free to leave!
Her weight, BTW… Is holding steady. She made it through the last round of chemo without a feeding tube… But she is pretty sure that will not happen on the next round. (We shall see!)
We had the car loaded in anticipation of this moment, so we hit the road for Carbondale. I literally drove off a sheet of ice from the side street that had an exit onto a bone-dry interstate 55. It was a stark comparison. Also, this should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me, I left Memphis on 2 bars of gas and that was stupid. The interstate was moving well, but there were some detours around accidents that had my google maps route fluctuating from the interstate to backroads and back. I drove for 45 minutes in this nonsense and then had to get gas in the middle of nowhere Arkansas. Once I got off the interstate it turned into slush and ice-covered roads again. My gas light was blinking and NOBODY was on the road. I have to believe they canceled all work and school because of the conditions. I found the gas station listed on Google Maps and nobody was there. Not even a car for an employee. GREAT! I am in a town of about 300 people 2 miles off the interstate with no gas! Brilliant!
As luck would have it… The pumps were turned on! I added my 8 gallons of gas to the Prius and about did a sign of the cross. God was watching me on that one. As I turned out of the gas station, I went through the town to get back to the main road (Weird location of a gas station, trust me) and I was dodging wandering dogs and kids riding bikes in the slush. I was creeping along trying to avoid these dogs and I think that made them move even slower. At one point, the dog just stood in the road and looked at me like “I dare you” when crept towards her. (I know it was “her”… I would feel more appropriate describing that face-to-face than on this blog)
We did make decent time from there to Carbondale. I dropped Summer off with Z at the apartment and watched her try to manhandle a big ottoman full of stuff from the apartment. Z and I both offered to help, but she refused. I think she was trying to show her independence and lack of need for me… But when she almost fell over… My old adage of “I’m here to make sure you do not fall over” was proven necessary.
On the way home.. I stopped in Murphysboro at 17th St BBQ for some smoked meat and a beer. Finally, I got a nice porter and a half-smoked chicken. I was able to decompress a little bit. It was 24/7 hospital and apartment time on this past visit. Sitting in a small BBQ joint, enjoying some food, and thinking about the past couple of days was a nice reflection point. I still had a long way to go to get home.
Summer had plans to spend time with Nate and his Mom this weekend in Decatur. They had plans to take family pictures so that meant Summer needed to pack 50 pounds of clothes for outfit changes during the shoot.
Today, Summer was picked up by my Sister Sylvia for the coming week at St. Jude. This week, she will go back to another A treatment of chemo. I think the plan is to start Tuesday with inpatient and then camp out at the hospital for the next 4 days.
Many people asked after I shared the story of the label maker for info on Summer’s gift list. Here it is if you are inclined to get her anything.
And her address again:
I got home Thursday night and had the pleasant surprise to find Aiden home for a long weekend. He is done with his J-Mester at Carthage and has off until this Wednesday. I spent some time with him on Friday and we went shopping for him to make his (Now Famous) Lasagna. It was a great day and it was hilarious watching him prepare the food. I the meantime, we talked about his classes and the fact he made Dean’s List at Carthage during his first semester in college. Pretty cool.
Angela is set to go down to Memphis next weekend and stay for 2 weeks. I honestly am a bit torn. That means I will have been away from Memphis for 3+ weeks. I might have to make a weekend appearance.