Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The last post before we leave on our journey to Philadelphia

It has been both a whirlwind and an interminable wait. At a time when we could have appreciated smooth sailing, nothing seemed to go right. (And between performing a mind-dump of every detail of our lives--for Harry and Toby's caretakers--and shopping for yarn for my projects on the road, I had not a minute left over to update here!)

We suffered a ridiculous amount of mechanical failure: the computer, big truck and washing machine all died in the space of a week, causing Mark to spend an inordinate amount of time fixing, fixing, and installing (new laptop, new washing machine). Thankfully he’s good at that…but it’s not like he had much in the way of free time. So, realistically, other things he wanted and needed to accomplish did not get done.

I had no idea how paranoid and nutsy I’d get about germs in our environment but as soon as we hit the two-weeks-before-surgery mark I went on the warpath. Every germ in our way was a threat. This, of course, eventually led to a paranoid freak out of the worst kind. Ben, particularly, has not left the house much except to visit friends who are symptom free. And, when he has sneezed a few times…it stops me in my tracks. If he gets any kind of respiratory infection before surgery it will have to be canceled. This CAN NOT HAPPEN.

So, I’ve been plying everyone with large doses of Vitamins C and D and Airborne. I require everyone take frequent trips to the bathroom to wash their hands. We’ve tried out a variety of hand sanitizers and love this one made by our friend Jenny Mountjoy. I won’t tell you how we’re doing (superstious) until we’ve checked Ben into the hospital.

Oh, and speaking of “nothing seemed to go right” in the middle of all this Mark got food poisoning and had to miss our blessing circle last week. Oy.

On the other hand, much has proven to be just as I know it is: through times of hardship the silver lining always shows. Our community of friends and family rallies around us with the best kind of care. We are being given food, playdates, rides to and fro, gifts of all kinds, even a housecleaner’s services, and, of course, HUGS (from the germ free folks!). We have a support network set up, which you can join if you'd like: Ben's Friends. Our friend Barbara got us a fabulous discounted reservation at the Ritz-Carlton in Philadelphia (that's it, over there on the left)! We will be pampered and well cared for, don’t you worry.

Our current schedule is:
  • Depart Sebastopol at 8:30 am tomorrow.
  • Fly out of SFO at about 1 pm nonstop to NY.
  • Stay two nights at Grandma Joyce’s house.
  • Saturday, drive down to Philadelphia (which is currently experiencing a blizzard!!) and check into the Ritz.
  • Sunday, check Ben into the hospital at noon.
  • Monday, surgery at 7:30 am.
We will be at the hotel for our entire stay in Philadelphia and we will come home to CA directly, without a stop back in NY on either February 27 or March 1, depending on how Ben is doing. We decided that this would be best for our whole family and Ben will be fine to travel several days after his follow-up appointment. We’ll play the medical card at the airport, anyways, getting a wheelchair or other transport, so that he won’t have to be stressed by the day.

Many of you are asking how the boys are doing and I'll say that they are managing. There have been millions of melt-downs and hours of TV escapism. All of that is fine and to be expected. Toby asks every day when we are leaving and I spend extra time tucking him in at night. Harry's created a set up for Mark and me to record our good-night songs for Toby and has installed them on his iPod along with recordings of us reading some favorite books. He'll be able to listen to them at bedtime while we're gone. Harry has stepped up to the plate and is being remarkably mature about the whole thing, including taking the utmost responsibility for his junior college coursework and getting up early to feed the equines and clean up their environment. Ben has had a lot of trouble sleeping, so I have been sharing our guest room with him for a few days. The proximity of his warm (and most likely, snoring) mama has made it possible for him to get a good night's sleep. And it's been great for me, too, I'll admit. Proximity is very important.

And now to the millions of last minute details, packing, hugging my boys, and checking my lists twice, three times, and again...

Thank you to all of you who have come to our aid. While the world at large seems often to be in a state of tremendous despair, I feel so fortunate to know that my own little world is full of love, connection, and the confidence that we are doing the right thing, as difficult as it feels every moment. We are wrapped in a blanket of your love and support. You hold us up and help us to breathe through the most challenging moments. We couldn’t do this without you.

Blessings to you!

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