Sunday, November 25, 2012

Keep moving

As most of you know my uncle, Tom Scuto, was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia in July. It has been a very difficult four months.

Last Tuesday we learned that there was really nothing more that medicine could do for him but to make him comfortable.  My mother went to be with him.  I struggled a lot with whether or not I would go.  In a way, I wanted to be there and in another way I believed that he wanted me to always remember him as my strong, knowing uncle.  He and I had cried together many times over the last four months and our connection would never be broken.  I do not believe this is the end of something, but the beginning of something different.

I usually handle stress by cleaning.  I scrub and polish and organize when I am stressed.  I de-clutter.  I knew I needed more than that this time.  I had been wanting to paint my bedroom since before my uncle's diagnosis and I decided that was a job to tackle over the four day weekend when my husband was home to help me.

Only God or the fates or whatever realized that I needed more than that.  My husband is a super early riser.  He gets up at 4am, does yoga, goes for a run, reads....his day is well underway when I get up at 7am.  On Friday morning, he couldn't wait for me to finish my coffee to move the heavy antique furniture in our bedroom into the living room--his idea to give us more room.  I kept saying, "Wait for me!" and he kept grunting and pushing and pulling, getting huge dressers around sharp corners.  And he felt this pop in his leg and a shooting pain and then an intense stabbing pain.  But he kept soldiering on, even doubled over.  He said he must have moved funny, used the wrong muscle, his back and not his legs, whatever... it would go away.

He told me that he had gotten a pain like this before and it always went away.  It was a pulled muscle or something.  He laid down.  I went about prepping to paint.  I gave him the heating pad.  He told me he was feeling better.  Later on in the day, however, the pain came back and there was this bulge.  I thought we should go to the hospital.  He thought it would be okay.  Then he vomited a few times and we decided he really HAD to go to the hospital.  I called my dad and he met us at the hospital and stayed with the girls.

My husband was diagnosed with an inguinal hernia at about 2am.  In the morning, when the surgeon saw him, she said he needed emergency repair.  She had another procedure and he could not go in to surgery until 2 or 3pm...which turned out to be 4:30pm.  She came out around 6:30 to tell me that this was something Jason was probably born inguinal hernia is this little pocket that may not close before birth (homeschoolers: only males have it, it's fascinating, look it up) and some of the fat and muscle can sort of get pushed into it when you strain, push, may have seemed like a stitch in his side or something, but over time it got bigger and finally big enough for some of the fat & muscle to bulge out.  He had a lot of scar tissue but she was able to put a cone and mesh in, which are really great reinforcements and he should hopefully not have another issue with this.  

I called my dad to tell him Jason was out of surgery and he told me that my uncle had passed away.  I sat in the surgical waiting room crying.  The surgical area was very quiet, since it was a holiday weekend.  I remembered waiting in that same surgical waiting room with my uncle and my dad and my brother when my mom had had surgery that had not gone well...afterwards, she kept telling us about seeing white lights and how it was so peaceful, so beautiful.  I knew that was where my uncle was.  

I somehow got to Chipotle.  I have no idea how.  The line was ridiculously long and then somehow I was home.  I called my mom and my aunt.  I went back to the hospital to be with Jason when he got back to his room.  I drove to my parents' house, where my girls were and slept there.

I am just keeping moving at this point.  It's how I am coping.  Jason is home.  He is still in a great deal of pain, I am throwing myself into being his nurse, getting him orange juice and snacks, making sure he takes his OxyContin every 4 hours.  I am still painting our bedroom.  It's keeping me sane.  I can control this.  I can manage this.  It's going to be rough, but we will make it through.

I am relieved for my uncle.  I know he is in a better place.  I know his pain is gone and he is reunited with those who have gone before.  I know he will continue to be part of my life and that no one who ever knew him will ever forget him.  I will love him forever and he will always be a part of me.