Clueless in College

WineGuy and I started last week with such high hopes. Wizard was finishing his summer session at community college and getting ready to start at the local public university. Wizard reported that his summer classes were going well and that he expected to receive As or Bs in his three classes.

Tuesday afternoon, WG and I drove up to the community college and helped Wizard pack up all his stuff. “Helped pack” meant WG randomly threw stuff in plastic bins while I carefully folded the laundry that Wizard thoughtfully washed some days prior. Mamafoldit worked for 40 minutes folding and packing every polo shirt, every t-shirt, every pair of shorts, pants, socks, and underwear in to Wizard’s suitcase. Wizard swept up some stuff and threw a few things in his backpack. By G-d’s grace, we finished and were checked out in just over an hour, and returned home 40 minutes later.

Continue reading

Wild Thing Drives

There’s nothing like a new teen driver to turn the most atheist and agnostic person into a G-d-fearing bowl of jelly. Wild Thing turned 15 in May and got his learner’s permit then. WineGuy refused to drive with him at first, so I got stuck with the initial driving lessons. After the first lesson, I was willing to pay any amount of money to hire a driving instructor, but WineGuy said “no”. So, I took WT out driving a few times, mostly on deserted Sunday mornings when there were fewer targets on the road. WT went off to his summer program and returned, anxious to start driving again.

Good wife that I am, I volunteered WT to be WineGuy’s chauffeur to his daily wound care and other doctor appointments. WineGuy gave me a dirty look, but I just smiled and skipped away gaily while bluebirds flew out of my butt. Every day for the last week or so, WT drove WineGuy anywhere the daddy needed to go.

The family was brave enough to let WT drive us to Shabbat services yesterday and out to lunch today. I sat in the back seat with my lips clamped shut and my eyes hermetically closed. Moose sat next to me, whispering in my ear repeatedly, “Jesus, take the wheel.” I almost agreed with him, but we’re Jewish. I’m a fervent monotheist, but never in my life have I wished for an armful of idols, saints, and kachina dolls to which to pray. The silent scream oratory went something like, “OMG.OMG.OMFG. Jesus Christ, slow down!!!”

We’re back home safely now, and Xanax is my best friend.

Evil-Minded Vehicles

Many, many years ago, I bought my first Mom-mobile:  it was a 1997 Volvo 850 sedan with a leather interior and a manual transmission. I took delivery of that car when Wizard was one month old and loved every mile I drove it. When the Volvo went out of warranty, repairs were minimal until the a/c in the Pennsylvania-purchased car decided it couldn’t handle the Florida heat. Still and all and a couple thousand dollars poorer, we kept the Volvo for 14 years; sometimes, I still wish I had that car today.

Continue reading

Going Back To The Hill

I’m taking a few days’ break from The Zone and heading to Ithaca, New York for a few days. I’m off to Cornell University to celebrate my 30th college reunion with a few hundred Big Red crazies, and I’m excited! I don’t think my 51+ legs can carry me up Libe Slope the way they did three decades ago, but I’ll maneuver my rental car all over campus. When I return, I’ll fill you in on all the latest medical, educational, and metaphysical drama in The Testosterone Zone.

In the meantime, in honor of Comcast’s yanking all TV, Internet, and phone service to my immediate area, read this rant about another favorite public utility.

Finally, because everyone needs to hear a great rendition of the best university alma mater song anywhere …

Winners and The Loser

My longtime friend IRL, Aim, has started blogging about *her* life with three little boys. She calls herself “The Outnumbered Mother,” and you should leave The Zone right now and go read her blog. She is hysterically funny. Moreover, even with a baby and two small children, she is blogging more regularly than I, and she shames me into getting off my duff to write more often. Thanks for kicking my ass, Aim.

We have had more naches in The Zone this week than we’ve had in a long time! First of all, Moose’s beginning middle school band had its final concert of the year. The 6th graders played a 30-minute concert consisting of 6 songs. The band performed four of them really well, especially “Guantanamera” (a song close to my Cuban-rooted heart) and the theme from “Star Wars”. I was really impressed with how well the children kept time, watched the conductor’s stick, and played the music together as opposed to a group of individuals. Afterwards, WineGuy and I treated Moose and Wild Thing to a sushi dinner to celebrate. Wizard wasn’t there because Wizard wasn’t there.

Continue reading

I Am She

WineGuy had his first of two cataract surgeries yesterday. This morning, he had a follow-up appointment with the ophthalmologist, and it went amazingly well. Hardly 24 hours post-surgery, WG is seeing a magnificent 20/20 out of his left eye. It’s the best vision he’s had since he was a kid!

Upon hearing the doctor’s praises, I remarked snarkily, “WineGuy’s lost all this weight, and he will have perfect eyesight. He’s going to dump me for that perfect, trophy wife.” The doctor’s snappy comeback:  “You ARE the trophy wife, Alto2.”

Damn right, I am.

Disease Diary (Part 6)

What we originally anticipated to be a 5K has now turned into a 100-mile ultramarathon. When last we spoke, we were waiting for the results of the latest PET scans. They were actually good: the tumors were significantly decreased and their cancerous activity decreased as well — almost a remission but not quite.

Continuing on our winding path, WineGuy’s surgeon removed the surgical drain he’d implanted in WG’s leg months before to aid in the drainage of dead tumor and other yuck from the last surgical incision. The drain had been in for months and left a pretty large wound in the top of WG’s leg. As I changed the dressing daily, I noticed the drainage changed color from clear to black and foul-smelling. We rushed right into the surgeon, who sent us on to the infectious disease doctor and for a wound-care consult. The ID doctor cultured the wound and found all kinds of nasty bacteria, so she sent WG for IV antibiotics. Since the beginning of April 2014, WG has been going to the local outpatient infusion center for daily IV antibiotics. The drugs seem to be working because the latest cultures were clean.

WG’s initial wound-care consultation was a harrowing experience. I sat in the room with him while the team probed the open wound in his leg. WG howled in pain and gritted his teeth through all the poking and prodding. After 10 days of daily wound-care, including visits from a dorky home health nurse, the new wound-care doctor changed the schedule to 3 times a week. Wound-care reports that there is active healing going on, and things look good.

The point of my tangent on wound care is that the oncologists will not resume chemotherapy while WG has an open wound. So, we’re in a holding pattern again … sort of. About 2 weeks ago, WG noticed significantly decreased vision in both eyes. I got very worried and rushed him in to see the ophthalmologist. WG has cataracts in both eyes. It is likely that the chemotherapy and/or the radiation accelerated the growth of cataracts. What to do?

That brings me to this morning. I am presently sitting in an ambulatory surgery center while WG has his left cataract removed. You can’t have cataract surgery while undergoing chemotherapy. So, while he’s on a forced hiatus from the chemo cocktail, WG will have two cataract surgeries over the next two weeks, in addition to daily IV antibiotics and 3x/week wound care. And, I am still the only driver in the house. Boy, am I tired.

In the meantime, the oncologist wanted us to get approval to start another experimental chemotherapy drug, Imbruvica (ibrutinib), made by Johnson & Johnson. In typical fashion, Florida Blue health insurance denied coverage, stating that WG does not fall within specified parameters. So, we applied to J&J’s Foundation to supply the drug via compassionate use, and the Foundation approved the application! We just received the first bottle of these oral chemo pills from J&J’s affiliated online pharmacy.

As soon as WG’s leg is healed, he can start back on chemotherapy, both orally and intravenously. The oncologists at Mass General have requested WG go through another two rounds of the latest IV chemo cocktail before they will accept him for a bone marrow transplant.

Time-wise, that will keep us in The Zone through May 2014. We’ll be home for me to take Moose to Atlanta this weekend to audition for Jeopardy!; to celebrate Wild Thing’s 15th birthday and the acquisition of his learner’s permit; to hopefully attend Wizard’s graduation from high school.

I’ve learned to plan what I can and roll with the rest of it.