As some may know, my husband and I just returned from a week in sunny Phoenix, AZ visiting family and friends. What you probably do not know is that recently, we have suffered an interruption in work circumstances which has left both of us scrambling for work. I’ve been frantically looking at freelance jobs of all sorts, having a varied skill set in office work, insurance and a talent for business writing. You would think a smart gal like me would find something but it’s a tough world with a lot of people all scrambling for the same scraps as I am. It’s stressful times.
In light of these stressful times, I had hoped a week back home would relieve a lot of the stress and help me gain a fresh perspective on life. I’m 6 months pregnant with my first (and potentially only) child and of course everyone is just as excited as my husband and I are. You can’t beat that kind of joy and anticipation. I thought “hey, I’ll eat like a horse for a week, relax, enjoy my family and friends and come home refreshed and renewed!”
Mmmm, or not?
We arrived on 14th September in the early evening after a long flight (including angry pregnant lady fighting with drunken midget golfers but that’s another story) and were ready to head to our hotel in Phoenix and relax.
Rather, we got to the hotel and were told that something quite serious had happened and we needed to discuss with my folks. What ensued was the reception of very emotional news that my Aunt had just been given an emergency amputation while we were in transit as she became septic due to a leg infection. This is shocking stuff any day of the week and even worse after you’ve been traveling for the better part of 24 hours from one country to another.
I have to say at this point that I was not entirely shocked. I had been with her about a year or so ago when she had stints installed in the leg in question and was told by the doctor that amputation may be a very real possibility regardless of the surgery. I had known over the last several months that she had repeatedly put off check-ups and refused to seek treatment when she knew it was a possibility that amputation may occur. I had seen a change in her personality for the absolute worst and asked her several times to seek medical attention to which she said she would “next week”, etc.
So, I wasn’t shocked per se, though hearing the news is shocking even if you know its coming. I mean a leg amputation?! WTH.
My reaction was anger. I was very angry. I get very angry when people are not proactive about their own health and safety, leaving the burden of care to others. If I have to bust my ass to take care of myself (and now my family), so should others. I have gotten down right sick of having to beg and plead with family about taking care of their own health needs because they feel like what they do has no effect on anyone else.
News flash, it DOES. Stop. Just stop.
After the anger and crying subsided enough to walk my parents out, my husband and I tried to get some food before calling my Mother. I did manage to talk to her for a few hours that night and a few more hours over the next day, making plans to visit my Aunt in the hospital and to help her sort through affairs.
An absolute blur. I recall nothing. Not even kidding.
Even for the sake of posterity, I won’t even go into all the things that were discussed on this day or what was said as it was a bit more than I can even process now, a week later. Let’s just say that sick people say a lot of weird things and experience a lot of weird things which can be hard for family and friends to process. And so do parents who are ailing and in crisis. Let’s not forget adult children who are exhausted, stressed out, pregnant and fed up with a lot of things in general. Things were said and that’s all I will say about that.
After the visit, we got some Taco Hell and went back to their place to sort through the paperwork and affairs. Again, it was too much and it’s not something I want to go into detail about but I spent a good 8 to 10 hours sorting through phone calls, paperwork, contacting her employer, calling Medicaid, filling out SSD forms, etc. It was emotionally and physically draining, not to mention maddening to me that so many items were in utter and complete chaos. It was too much for me to deal with in a single day; I shudder to think how it can be sorted out and dealt with going forward.
I vaguely recall going to the movies the next day with Danielle and my Husband, Ken. We saw “Riddick” and I was not impressed. It was basically a rehashing of “Pitch Black” which was fine on its own, it didn’t need to be remade on another planet with CGI dingos, as cute as they were.
Later that night I know we went to Theresa and Bill’s for dinner with Christine, her baby Abby, and Clarissa. I got to hold Tess and Bill’s baby, Sofia for quite some time but it’s kind of blurry. I was exhausted, sick and ready to pass out. Again, to say that Ken and I were exhausted and feeling like shit is an understatement. I’m not sure how we were coherent or even if we actually were. I think Ken said 5 words total all night. I probably babbled and drooled on myself.
Note: Ladies, if I said anything insane or insensitive any time while I was in Phoenix, I apologize. I was out of my gourd. We felt like re-fried Hell beans covered in stale urine. That bad.
We packed up, had a lovely breakfast at the Hyatt (where we stayed) and met my Dad to bring us back to Gilbert, AZ to stay the next few days. Again, I don’t recall much of this day at all other than I probably cried a lot from exhaustion and stress. We had Boston Market for dinner which was nice. Then I think we got some sleep.
The day itself is a blur but that night we went bowling with Alisha, Courtney, Danielle, Cait, Wendy, Dad and Linda. We actually had a great time! It was fun to see Cait and Wendy having a great time, being that they’re mostly new to bowling. I love to bowl so for me to share that with my family and friends was a great experience. The screams of joy, the shit talking to Ken in an attempt to prevent him from bowling strikes … ah it was good times. I probably over worked my body a bit but I think it was worth it for the fun we had. I’m glad we got to spend time with some great people.
We went to sleep when we got home but I woke up in the night with the most insane and painful left leg cramp ever. After I failed to massage my leg and get my foot straight enough to walk on or stand, I hit Ken in the night shrieking “do something, it really hurts!”
Ken’s reply was “what do you want me to do about it?!”
I managed to yank my foot into the right position and it suddenly subsided but has left my leg feeling like I have a baseball sized knot in the calve.
I believe Friday was a day of pedicure, manicure and shopping for maternity clothing with Linda. I don’t recall much else about the day other than the lights and a/c went out in Target while we were shopping and we ended up just guessing what would fit and checking out. I met a Scottish lady and we had a nice chat about the UK and medical care.
Sadly, this was out last day in Arizona and a whirlwind day. We had a nice breakfast of gluten free biscuits, gluten free gravy, bacon, eggs and hash browns. Yay for greasy American breakfasts! I proceeded to take a long while doing my hair and applying copious amounts of make-up (got to fake that “glow” pregnant chicks are supposed to get) in anticipation of baby shower guests.
Sadly, of the numerous people invited, only three of the people on my list actually showed up. I did get a notification the night before from my cousin that she wouldn’t be able to make it the next day. Christine had told us on Tuesday night she couldn’t make it because of work which of course we understood. I appreciate that both took time to let me know personally. I had gotten notification from another guest that morning that she wouldn’t make it and again, I totally understand. Several other people who RSVP’d did not show and did not text, call or FB myself or Clarissa (who organized) which made me sad, not for myself but for those who put their own money and effort into creating a fun event for all. Food was purchased with a confirmed guest list of about 23+ and about 10 people were no call, no show per my understanding.
Again, I don’t care if you don’t make it, I don’t take it personally but I do get upset for those who spent their own time and money to provide you with food, drinks and gifts for guests only to have lost money when people don’t take the time to cancel their RSVP. For the people who did notify myself or Clarissa, thank you. For those who did have a valid emergency, of course we understand and it’s no biggie. For those who just didn’t bother to say anything for whatever reason, please be sure to take the time to call or text your host in the future if you’re unable to make it. There is not need to apologize now, it’s done and I’m sorry that I did not get to spend those last hours in Phoenix with you.
The shower itself, while small, was great. Though a fund was setup for Doula services post my c-section coming up in December, one donation was received. Instead, we did receive a bunch of baby clothes and items from my family, family friends and Clarissa. I also received some personal gifts from Danielle which I very much appreciate! I am looking forward to using my new Hello Kitty ear buds since mine broke ages ago and I have been bud-less. *hah*
Thank you again to the family, family friends and Clarissa for the lovely baby items. I am looking forward to dressing little ALF in his new baby clothes in December! I am also looking forward to him wearing clothes from Auntie Lin and Nan Vera who are also eagerly awaiting his arrival.
The Flight Home
The shower went a little long and we ended up just barely having time to pack and make it to the airport for our return flight to London. There wasn’t any time for emotional good-byes which I am glad for because I did enough crying during the week.
We arrived at Sky Harbour, got through to our gate with no problems but had to endure a bit of a delay with our flight. I did have a scary experience that I won’t go into which then lead to a mini-panic attack at the gate but otherwise, I was mostly ok boarding the flight. We managed to doze on and off during the flight to London which was good. It was still a long flight, even with a little dozing off. And turbulence. A lot of that. *eeek*
Our flight from London to Manchester was uneventful (thank God) and we got home safely Sunday evening.
I managed to sleep like the dead as soon as we got home and most of yesterday. I’m still pretty tired on all levels but am maintaining. I am, of course, glad for the precious time we did get to spend with Christine, My Mom and Aunt, Theresa, Bill, Sofia, Clarissa, Danielle, Cait and Wendy, Adam and Gail, Scotty and Melissa, Teri, Len and of course my parents. As much as I would have liked to see so many other dear friends, it was both not possible due to exhaustion, no transportation and of course many of my friends have families and lives of their own. As much as I miss each of them, I understand they have a lot more going on in their lives as did we that week.
I am glad to be home here in the UK where the weather is substantially cooler and I can get back to focusing on our immediate future i.e. jobs, having a baby and trying to carve out a future that will hopefully give us some breathing room soon.
I don’t want to give the impression that our week wasn’t enjoyable or fun because we really did have a wonderful time with everyone! Sadly, our good time was tinged with a lot of sadness, anger and stress on my part but that is to be expected. Certainly, I feel that the timing was very good so that I was able to try to help my Mother and Aunt in their time of need.
To that end, I’m continuing to focus on what myself and husband can do to help my Mother and Aunt going forward. I have been in contact with agencies local to their area to try to get them some financial and medical assistance. It’s not easy for me to navigate and I know it’s got to be 100x harder for them. I am willing to do it and whatever else I can as long as they are willing to participate with me. It’s a long, hard road but I am committed to doing my best, just as I always am in all things I do.
Thank you again to everyone who made our chaotic stay in Phoenix last week loving and full of joy. We could not have enjoyed our time without each of you. We could not fully enjoy our lives without the love and support we receive from each of you on a continuous basis. Thank you sincerely for all that you do and I hope we’re able to return the love and support as well.
An additional thanks to my folks for all the that did for us while we were visiting. It wasn’t necessary to go out of your way for us but we thank you for doing so! Love you!
Also, a special note for Lin, Paul and Mike who were so extremely helpful to us upon leaving, while we were gone and upon our return. We are incredibly grateful for your assistance and support. Thank you for being there for us and I hope we can do the same in the future in whatever ways we can. Thank you and we love you.
In regards to the Doula service, we will need to cancel the services retained. Since Ken and I are both looking for work, we’re unable to afford to pay the remaining funds for the service after my c-section. We can’t afford to not work, we can’t afford to retain the doula for that time and we can’t afford to put up family nor do we have room to put them. I am not subjecting any human being to cat box scent and sleeping on our couch. We cannot afford to help with hotel and travel costs either. My only foreseeable alternative right now is to cancel, potentially loose the deposit we put down and just suck it up.
Having had abdominal surgery before, I know what to expect and I’m not looking forward to the pain. I’m also not looking forward to caring for a new baby while in mind numbing pain while probably being unable to take pain killers (due to allergic reactions and also needing to breast feed). But tough shit. That’s life.
Thank you, Dee Dee, for donating to the fund. Your donation will be used for baby items in lieu of the services we had hoped to apply towards.
I think that ties up the week. Again, it wasn’t pure agony but it was rough due to the emotions experienced and the exhaustion. We did have a good time though and we already miss sunny Arizona and all your smiling faces. We are looking forward to visiting again with our son as soon as we can 1) afford to and 2) he is able to travel. Should be exciting!
All Our Love,