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Friday, July 29, 2016

Colon Cancer is a Pain in the Ass

It had to be said.


F-Bomb Warning.

And duh - this is a Cancer Post™.

It is also a post about video games, hospital nurses, tesseracts, timey wimey TARDISes, American politics through the eyes of an eight-year-old child, the ins and outs of epipen costs, nice mechanics and nicer baristas, complications of illness, and children's odd interpretations of just about everything. And money, of course, always money. Or at least security.

So, most of you know that Laston was admitted to hospital again yesterday (July 27) because of severe gastrointestinal issues and side pain. There was some concern that it might be appendicitis (because why the fuck not?) but the scans show nothing wrong with his abdomen (or his chest, for that matter, so pneumonia is out - yay!) that we didn't already know about, like colon cancer metastasized to his liver. 

Nope, he has C. Diff Colitis. And for those of you who'd rather not read the link, it's one of those bacterial infections one gets from too many antibiotics (or other things that affect the GI tract, like, say, colon cancer or food poisoning). Very unhappy symptoms, mostly involving the uh... lower intestinal tract, if you know what I mean. Hence the post title. This is, mind you, in addition to our friends Too Much Ammonia in the Gut (which causes severe fatigue and nausea, and can go as far as coma), and Ascites, which is what causes people with liver problems to have swollen abdomens.

Problem is that the treatment for the too-much-ammonia issue is also a laxative. This is a bad combination, so they want to have him in a place where they can keep a close eye on things, which I cannot do in my living room, until they can get the C Diff under control.

Also, Lizzy should not be in his hospital room, because she can't stop touching things, and is at risk for infection thereby. Grownups (and older kids) can usually manage it though, with rigorous handwashing, surgical gowns, gloves and so forth, so they don't want him home until he's no longer contagious.

Sounds like when I had Giardia Lamblia in the long ago (July 1992). I still have gastro issues through this day, so I have a little panic whenever I have a gastro moment. As mine are often triggered by stress, this is a problem.

Naturally on the way home from the hospital, on hold with my insurance company to see about getting the available discounted housecleaning service (did not get yet; there's a process; regularly priced cleaners are coming in tomorrow to make at least all but the kids' rooms hygienic), my mom texts me saying she's left her purse at KFC when she got Strongly-Discouraged-Lizzy from the hospital, and could I go get it? I turn around, get to KFC, and they have no idea what I'm talking about.

Shit.

Turns out that my mom, who has lived in the area since well before I was driving a car, and whose favorite Chinese restaurant is only across the parking lot from this KFC, didn't even know that the Totem Lake KFC existed, much less that it was closest to the hospital.

So I went to the Woodinville store, where they had her purse waiting for me. Silly Mom.

Then, when I stopped to pick up Abby's epipen refill, the pharmacy told me they were over $1500 for four pens (two packs).

Excuse me?

After much frantic texting with my ex-husband, who carries her insurance (bless him) and a quick visit to the website for the manufacturer's coupons for epipens, I got that down to $110.

On the other hand, with Abby at her Nana's house (my ex-husband's mom) and Leanna with her mom, we are getting quite a lot of Lizzy and Mommy time. And boy is it weird.

The conversation started this morning on the way to the hospital (before the Lizzy-ban) with her asking about a specific episode of Doctor Who (The Doctor's Wife), and went through multi-dimensional travel (with a side trip to whether she is ready to tackle A Wrinkle in Time; she is, as long as it's the same way she reads the Harry Potter books, which is that I read it to her in an effort to deal with any context she doesn't have), and then to the concept of empathy. Because, you see, in the episode in question, the Doctor can (for the first time ever) speak to the TARDIS in words, not just empathically. I asked her if she knew what empathy was and she said yes, it's 'trying to understand what the person you're talking to is feeling.'

Good.

Then she made a connection I was not comfortable with; she asked if that's why I don't like Donald Trump, because he's the one who's "not a demmy-something, the other ones, the ones who don't have the empathy."

Hold on there, kiddo; I never said that. I know lots of Republicans who have plenty of empathy (like some of our best family friends, and also some of her grandparents, and that I'm not a Democrat anyway, though I am a liberal). I also explained that although Trump is the choice of the Republican Party (I'm not getting into the reservations on the parts of many Republicans with an eight-year-old) that I don't think he's a good example of a Republican anyway.

"Because he doesn't have empathy? Oh!" (you could see the lightbulb come on) "Like Dolores Umbridge doesn't have empathy for Harry Potter, but most of the people from the Ministry of Magic are nice?"

Yeah, pretty much. 

But seriously, she's not quite nine, and she's into politics and science and unicorns, and can pretty much flit from one to another with little effort. She is definitely her parents' child. As a further example, I'm writing this while watching 2001: A Space Odyssey on Amazon Prime on my new PS3, because Laston isn't here for me to play Final Fantasy XIII with. And yes, I find 2001 soothing; call it prenatal influence; it was released the summer my mom was pregnant with me.

Outfit on Clearance
Another example is this outfit, which we came across for a grand total of six bucks, on our way through Sears to buy her new shoes, as her old ones are size two and her new ones are three-and-a-half. Note that she deliberately balanced the STEM-themed shirt with girly leggings; she said it needed "a little girling up."

All righty then.

And this was after we got the van's (typically Laston's vehicle, as he doesn't like my little compact sedan, but it's running a lot better than my car. If this keeps up we'll only need the one car anyway; currently Laston isn't up to driving much) oil changed and the body washed, gassed up and a new fuel cap.

Oh, little problem; transmission fluid was dirty, our climate means that mold often grows in the cabin air filters (ew!) and he needs new wiper blades. This gets expensive. Although in fairness, after the barista attached to the garage heard about our day (shutting Lizzy up when she's excited is an exercise in futility) she gave us the oil change discount on both drinks, not just one.

New Shoes!
So the rest of the school supplies (she really needed the socks and shoes) will have to wait until next payday.

So yeah, a pain in the ass kind of day, although bits of it were fun, intellectually stimulating, or both.

This is the Moving Target and the New Normal. 

I shall just keep swimming.