After more than 24 hours of thunderstorms and rain, I opened the front door on Wednesday morning to blue skies, sunshine, and cool/dry air. Perfecto! With my little Kodak camera I tried to capture the raindrops still falling from the eaves and glistening in the trees, especially when an occasional breeze stirred branches and brief showers fell. It was such a delightful sight, but I could not make the inadequate digital camera copy what I was seeing. (Yes, those thin white lines below are drippings from the rippling branches…I need a better camera.)
It’s totally frustrating, like my inability to illustrate children’s books I’ve written. Even though publishers say it is not necessary to provide illustrations, I want to. My mind’s eye knows exactly what pictures should go along with the words, but by the time these visions have traveled through nerves to my fingers something quite inadequate comes out. (I have no examples of my feeble attempts.)
Wednesdays are golf days with Dad, and I had just put away the camera when he honked from the driveway. While we were on the third hole, my cell phone rang. It was my son, Judson, letting me know that his wife’s PET scan on Tuesday had revealed that the cancer had returned to her right hip…On August 16, 2010, our pregnant daughter-in-law, Amy, was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer (IBC). On August 17th, our precious granddaughter was born by Cesarean section, so that Amy could begin her treatments at M.D. Anderson. This past December 2011, CT and MRI showed she was cancer-free, so Wednesday’s news was totally unexpected.
Amy, who was a matron of honor at daughter Merideth’s wedding on April 28th, is a CPA. From January 1st through April 18th, she worked and stressed over tax returns for her clients with long hours, usually seven days a week, not sleeping well, and not eating right. In my opinion, the cancer cells took advantage of her depleted immune system to reactivate and ignore the monthly bone strengthener injections and the daily anti-estrogen pills. I can envision those evil little IBC cells joyfully ramping up their growth in response to her weakened defenses. Inflammatory breast cancer is uncommon and very aggressive. www.cancer./IBC .
By the fourth hole, on Wednesday, the blue sky had been replaced with thick, gray rain clouds. Just like that! While worry had seeped into me and my concentration was shot, the instant change in weather seemed to happen on cue. Both of us played lousy, needless to say, but cutting our game short would have served no purpose. (At least as far as Dad was concerned.) Amy and Jud were enroute from Houston, having left Ripley and Harley with Amy’s parents. On Thursday, she was to undergo a previously planned reconstructive surgery in San Antonio, and her cancer doctor had okayed the procedure. Had the PET scan revealed multiple cancer sites, the surgery would have been postponed or canceled.
Yesterday morning, in the rain, I picked up Jud at the hospital, after Amy went into the OR (8:50 a.m.), and took him to breakfast. Having left home before 6:00 a.m., he was pretty hungry. Amy’s surgery was to last nearly eight hours, so Jud suggested last week that we have a rare mother/son day. Before leaving the hospital, he left his cell number with the nurses’ station, the waiting room attendant, and outside the OR. We would not be far away.
We pulled into La Madeleine’s off I-10. Jud had a big breakfast, while I chose only a mini blueberry muffin, since I had already eaten. We left well-sated and faced the rain with the intent to buy some books for Amy and maybe take in a movie. However, Nellie, our 2000 Chrysler van with 218K miles, balked at that idea by not starting. The dashboard lights and radio worked, but turning the key illicited only silence. We talked, watching the rain and the traffic go by down below on the access road and the freeway, and waited for the driver parked next to my side to return – hoping for a guy. Nope. Neither was the driver of the next vehicle to park there. (I know, La Madeleine isn’t exactly a male hangout.)
So, I called Danny, who was sick but on his jobsite 40 miles away. He would be there in an hour or so and we should wait to call for roadside assistance until he tried his magic. The car has to breakdown in the rain! Jud and I envisioned having to push the van backwards into an available slot so Danny could jump-start it, but that probably wasn’t going to happen. It was nearing noon by then and the parking lot was refilling despite the rain. Jud and I discussed many things and the hospital called with an update that the surgery was going well. Great!
When Danny arrived, a miracle occurred – the car on my side pulled out just so he could pull in. He donned his yellow rain jacket and peered beneath the hood. He could hear a tiny click as I turned the key, but it wasn’t audible inside the car. Using the jumper cables I keep in the van, he hooked his truck’s battery to mine. Nothing. More probing. Hmmm. With no alternative, he calls our insurance company, who calls the towing company. I wait in the van, while Danny returns Jud to the hospital. The tow truck – I hate that it said “Wrecker Service” on the side; Nellie wasn’t a wreck, she just had a problem – arrived before Danny got back and had to block part of the parking lot, which probably irked new arrivals to the cafe. By the time it was over, my watch showed 2 p.m., I was starving, and the rain had stopped momentarily. Of course, Danny and I gave La Madeleine more of our business. Jud called that Amy was out of surgery and doing well.
On the way home, we stopped at Costco in one last attempt to find Danny’s favorite water beverage: Talking Rain. We were told last summer that it had been discontinued, but Danny refused to accept its true demise. And lo and behold, it was there! – touting a “NEW LOOK,” but the same price.
For nearly a year, Danny has had to substitute Crystal Geyser’s sparkling water with lime and Perrier’s sparkling lime water, most unsatisfactorily, for his Talking Rain. Except for still being feverish with an odd virus, he’s in heaven over this discovery!…I don’t know about you, but we certainly have had a weird week of ups and downs.
[P.S. #1: I did not mean that only a guy would be able to help us, but it was raining and a guy wouldn’t mind that so much. #2. I am behind on several book and movie reviews and hope to get them out within the next week. There are several other posts in my draft list, that I need to attend to as well.]