“The ants go marching two by two Hurrah! Hurrah!”
Unless, they are marching up your leg, While you’re in your comfy chair. Then it’s more of an “Ant go marching up my leg: SCREAM! SCREAM!” Followed by a stomping dance that ends in big fat crunchy black ant death. I know because this has been happening a lot here lately. We’ve had week of biblical plagues.
It was ant anarchy. They were trying to take over. They refused to leave by boric acid, peppermint oil, any Guard and ant baits…. Yes. We kept stepping up our defenses when they refused to stop crawling up my legs. We started all green and healthy- but at this point I’d leave the house and happily set off a tiny nuclear device if that would work.
I doubt it would. These are cockroach-like nuclear bomb surviving ants. They are most likely demon possessed. I tried to cast them into the neighbors cat over the cliff of my porch. it didn’t work. To say it was stressing me out is more than an understatement. It was making me nuts. As in: I feel bugs crawling on me even when I’m not at home” crazy-cray. Certifiable. We’re talking sleep deprivation type fear. Followed by anger that is probably sinful. (Can you sin over a bug? I think: yes.) They crept up the walls. The door jambs, the dishwasher. Yes. In the dishwasher. And- Did I mention they climbed on my comfy chair? Not good.
Honestly….During a normal week. this would have been my drama limit. This kind of stuff- (when I can’t fix it.) Can send me into a cupcake and iced tea swilling frenzy.
I had no idea. This was just the beginning.
Monday was one of the longest days in recent turmoil history.
It started with the ants and my rants about ants. Then my husband called me upstairs. (That’s ever a good sign… that is code for: I need to talk to you about something dreadful.) My stomach immediately did that roller coaster flip flop thing. My shoulders tensed. I didn’t even make it up the steps when he told me about the blood. In his URINE.
My brain immediately went through all the likely causes of blood in urine… Kidney stone? UTI? or….. has the cancer spread and this is IT. The moment when life changes from cancer being a background noise that occasionally raises it’s volume above that of our normal- crazy loud lives to it being the center stage main act that hurts with every note.
“Call the doctor. I’ll get ready. We’re going to the hospital.” Is what came out of my mouth.
His oncologist AND his surgeon both happened to be on vacation. (Vacations we probably paid for… but let’s not go there….We love them, and they’re worth it. Except they should plan vacations a little better. Like; NOT WHEN WE HAVE A SYMPTOM FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 2 YEARS OF PROSTATE CANCER TREATMENT.)
Anyway- I packed an emergency overnight bag. With each item packed- I wondered if he’d even be coming home. I wondered what would happen if this went bad. I prayed that God would be with us… and DO SOMETHING. I rallied the troop of our kids for crisis management. I was ready in 15 minutes….
He was still playing phone tag with the cancer center.
They were trying to figure out what to do with him.
A few hours went by with intermittent calls full of awkward questions. “Are you still passing blood? What kind of clots? How big?”
And with intermittent calls of my husband for me to come inspect his still bloody but less so, pee. (After nearly 25 years.. of course I had to see it.)
The last call confirmed that no-this wasn’t normal, and that if he spiked a temp, had pain, or suddenly wasn’t able to go at all… it was an emergency and to go to the ER.
My response: “We’re going to the hospital. I’m not waiting around for your ureter to implode.” Or something to that effect.
We fed the kids. He packed a bag. (Much smaller than mine… I must add. But- you’re not surprised.)
We drove to the hospital. The whole way I kept repeating the same things:
“Maybe it’s a UTI. ”
“Maybe it’s a Kidney stone. ”
“If it’s the cancer… we’ll get through it.”
“We can do this. I hate this.”
I sounded like a monk at a weird cancer monastery… chanting about cancer. And Fear, And Faith. And hope.And UTI’s and Kidney stones. For 30 minutes.
The ER was packed. But- there is an upside to being a cancer patient. IF you suddenly start peeing blood- you go to the head of the line. We were in a room within 20 minutes. He dropped off a “specimen” before we ever sat down.
A room with a TV. With a crazy cat lady channel. (Seriously- there were frolicking kitteh’s with classical music playing in the background. I think it was supposed to be relaxing. It was instead: Weird. But- we laughed. Which was good.)
They made him put on a lovely gown. (So very NOT MIchae Kors if you know what I mean.) They put in an IV and drew blood. Suddenly the kitteh channel sounded pretty good. He also suddenly looked: Sick.
I fought the panic that flooded my brain.
He peed in several cups. (Mostly specimen cups.. I think.) No UTI. (we are probably the first people to be disappointed by that news.)
They did a CT scan. We hoped they’d find a kidney stone. (Yes- we were desperate enough to HOPE for a kidney stone….) Nope.
They also didn’t find any visible masses.
His blood counts were normal.
They sent us home. We have no idea what caused the bleeding. It did- however- eventually stop.
My neck hurt. Probably from the tension I didn’t even know I was holding in my shoulders.
Right about the time we started to settle down….. we also started to feel slightly overheated. I thought I had a fever. Nope. I checked thermostat. It was set to cool but the temperature was warmer than the temperature outside.
Yup. During one of the hottest and most stressful weeks of the summer… Our AC Died.
More phone calls. A first attempt to fix was nothing but a tease….. cool air for 24 hours then back to the fry pan.
Another Heating and cooling company was called out.
“You need a new unit. We can install it tomorrow.”
I didn’t even want to know how much it would cost. I wanted to run away. But not too far. (That whole cancer thing…) So I took the youngest to a movie.
We spent a sweaty night looking forward to our “Between 1-3” appointment the nest day for cool down.
At 3 pm. My husband called. “They’re on their way. Be there in an hour.”
5 pm and 2 calls later we found out that someone had car trouble…. they’d be here in 20 minutes.
Have I mentioned that being sweaty with no beach in sight makes me: Cranky? Well, it does.
And I was. I wanted to harm the installation team.. AFTER they were finished, of course.
Two big kid-men showed up around 5:30. One confessed that his wife’s car had broken down and he’d had to go help her… that’s why they were so late. On hearing that…. My heart melted a bit. (My brain had melted to a puddle at the bottom of my spine hours before…) I was slightly less cranky. Slightly.
But— as the sound of drilling and shuffling of a big new AC unit came through the living room window… I started to feel thankful. In a cranky sort of way. At least we had insurance for the hospital visit. At least we could pay for the stupid AC…. Thankful that the cancer was still there… but hasn’t (yet) exploded. Thankful to be home. Together. Sweaty or not.
I called my husband in…. “After all the run around.. I’d NEVER normally tip these guys….. BUT… I feel like we should. Can you go get some cash?” (Um yes- I can never remember my PIN number and so am incapable of getting cash from the ATM…. Which is probably good- but DOES mean I sent cancer man to the ATM… one less point in the good wife category…. what can I say? I’m probably in the negative at this point….
Within a couple of hours the house was cooled down.
So was I.
We still don’t have answers- we’re still waiting…. but we’re making it through this week. One crisis at a time. One breath at a time. One unclenched fist of pseudo control at a time….
God has been with us… even here.
Dear Lord- this week sucks. I didn’t want to use that $ for a new AC unit. I had other plans for it. I didn’t want to hear my husband EVER say the words: “I am passing blood in my urine.” I didn’t want to leave the hospital without answers. I didn’t want to have nightmares about bugs crawling on me for 3 nights in a row. But I did. I didn’t want to yet again remind my youngest that Yes- daddy still does have cancer.” I didn’t want to be reminded of it- myself. But Lord… I know you’re here. In your provision. In your people. In your whispered words of encouragement and courage. You are here Even- here. In the middle of what feels like an apocalyptic week. Please Lord.. continue to stick around….. Cause I cannot do this without you. PS— I’d really appreciate it if the ants could go marching somewhere else… i’ve been “considering” them a lot this week…. but mostly? It’s ways to kill them.. so… yeah… if theres a message there? I’m not getting it. Though…. I do feel like a sluggard….. But I’M NOT ALLOWED TO DO MUCH. I love you Lord. I don’t understand you… But I love you and I need you. Amen.
Some weeks are like this. They are just crappy. You get through them. Like slogging in boots through mud. Mostly moving forward with the exception of those moments when you raise your foot to find your boot still in the mud.
If that happens? Slip your foot back in the bot and tense up your ankle…. pull it out slowly.. you will make it…. one step at a time… This week that happened to me a lot.
In my mind. In my heart. I slipped out of peace and into panic. I slipped out of thankfulness and into frustration.
But I’m not giving up. I’m taking the next step…. even here- and i hope you do too.