Monday, January 31, 2011

202 to 188: 'Condensed' Pt. 3

Where was I? Hmmm . . . IMPROVING!!! So what can I report? Let's address the title first, shall we? 202 to 188. Random numbers? Nope. I'm proud to announce they are pounds people! Pounds, I say! Before leaving for the ATL I weighed in at a hefty 202 lbs.

Just to give you a baseline - my first prom dress was a size 3. I was an athlete in high school. Still fit in college. Then at 21, I remember feeling embarrassed that my wedding dress was a size 10. I weighed 140 at the time. The most I'd ever weighed. Ever.

Enter MS and the kiddos . . . and the POUNDS. I really can't complain as I have been lucky enuff to maintain right around 200. Steroid use due to exacerbations would rocket me up to near 220, but that has been my all time high. I've always eaten what I wanted - still do.

Trouble has been my darned inactivity. Lack of energy. Lack of ability. Grrrrrrr! MS sux! So I get LIBERATED. Have I joined a gym? No. Doing rehab? No. Insurance wouldn't pay, remember? And my docs don't believe I need therapy just out of the blue. Anyways . . .

So I've been feeling better. So much so, people are noticing. "You look good." "You are smiling more, Angela." "Your color is better." I told you about the guy at church asking me if I'd gotten taller, right? And my favorite compliment thus far: "You losin' weight?"

Welllll surely not. I wasn't doing therapy or working out or eating healthier. If anything, thanks to my reawakened taste buds, I'd been eating more. So I'd reply, "Nah. Just feelin' better, but thanks." Or, "Nah. Just wearin' bigger pants." Ha! Yeh, I know, sad attempt at being funny.

Then I try to get in the truck the other day and can't lift my leg. Oh no! Was the MonSter back? Whoops! Long story, short - welllll, thank the good Lord and my Momma 'cause my ass was all them bad boys was hangin' on. Huh? Those once perfect fittin' jeans gave a whole new meaning to ridin' low. Too many more steps they'd surely have wound up 'round my ankles.

Maybe I had been losin' weight. There's that word again - MAYBE. So I'm at my Mom's for dinner and there sits her fancy new scales. "Do you mind if I try those out, Mom?" Up, up and "WHAT? That can't be right." 188. Ta da. Another LIBERATION miracle. Hmmm . . . must be 'cause I'm able to be more active. Not alot, but apparently every little bit counts.

Just imagine what I could accomplish if I worked at it. Ahhhh, yeh. But this entry isn't about my future. This is about now! So what else is going on? Let's make a list, shall we? Where to start? Where to start? I mentioned taste, right?

1. Taste is revived. Some stuff I don't like as well. Some I like more. Eat! Eat! Eat! And swallowing is easier too. Knock on wood - not once have I choked since LIBERATION. I'm even swallowing pills easier. (Ahhh, pills! A perfect segway to my next improvement.)

2. I've been off of my Provigil for 1 month. Thanks in part to my new insurance requiring prior authorization and in part for the med being $600 a month for cash paying customers - long story short - I chose to wait it out. And low and behold - I made it. A couple innocent little naps here and there, but by golly, I MADE IT! Up w/out uppers! Yeehaw!

[Sidenote: Now I'm struggling with whether or not to start them back up. Not because I NEED them but because I can't help but think they'd make me feel even better. Make me more productive. A better me perhaps. Just sayin'. Dunno. Jury's out. Maybe just half. Or maybe every other day. Any thoughts?]

3. SHOWERING!!! The jury didn't even have to deliberate on this one. Yes, Todd, I'm sure the water bill has skyrocketed but my bathing daily, as Ms. Martha Stewart would say, "It's a good thing." And why is it special? Isn't there some unspoken rule that bathing daily is just what people do? Well if you hadn't picked up on it yet I'm just gonna come out and say it. I didn't!

I used to dread it. It would zap me of all energy. Even sitting in a chair, yeh. Sad, sad ordeal. Just the act of undressing. Soaping. Standing to rinse. Drying off. Dressing again. Killer! Shampooing? Hated it. And thus didn't even do it every time I'd shower. Nasty, I know. But think about it. It's more sad than nasty. And then there was making my way outta the bathroom to drop like a ton of bricks and not be able to function for hours afterwards.

And speaking of dropping. Nevermind all the wet slippery circumstances prime for falling. Nobody who falls in perfectly safe conditions ever goes enthusiastically into a more precarious environment. Just sayin' . . . until now! Now I look forward to it. I even stand a great deal of the time. And I can put my head back to rinse my hair. That is a luxury I'd forgotten about, my friends. I'd been rinsing from a chair, head down facing the floor for much too long.

Opening of the shampoo and soap bottles is going better too. I don't need help people! Do you hear me? Drying off is easier too. Standing and drying outside of the shower is much more time effective and efficient than attempting to dry while sitting inside on my chair. (And yes, I do turn the water off first.) Drum roll please!

I have energy after I shower! I can dress. I can stand to brush my teeth. Yeh, you heard me, STAND! And then leave the bathroom and do something else. Get a snack in the kitchen. Shoot some pool. Watch some TV. Or get this people . . . you sittin' down? Dry my hair! That's just crazy, heh? Actually on purpose applying heat to oneself. Suicide, right? Not anymore!

So I'm "all gussied up" as my Dad used to say. And no where to go? Huh? Here's a shocker for ya - I feel like going out. And I have been. Guess what. Walking better = not worrying about falling or embarrassing anyone. Yippee!

4. WALKING! No walker. No cane. And, yeh, I may be just a bit taller. I still waddle, sure, and at times could pass for drunk, but the point here is - I AM WALKING!!! Yes, everywhere! With a hand up and down curbs. And with just one hand on the railing - the stairs! Walking up and down the stairs y'all. Hear me? Not crawling. Not struggling. WALKING, I said!

5. Dancing.
6. Driving.
7. Staying up later.
8. Getting up earlier.
9. Baking.
10. And what kinda writer would I be if I didn't leave a little sumthin' sumthin' for your imagination? Suffice it to say there have been improvements even where improvements weren't needed. Yeh, take that and let your mind wander. EVERYTHING IS BETTER. EVERYTHING!!!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

'Condensed' Soup Pt. 2

Did I make y'all wait long enuff? Too long? I can't help it it. I'm a sucker for cliff hangers. Know what else? It tickles me pink I actually have readers. Pinker still when they call me DRAMA QUEEN. (Thanks Shawn!) And when I'm asked, or even begged to continue . . . now that's an all together different shade of pink.

And in the spirit of 'Seasame Street': The color pink has been brought to you by Dr. Sullivan and the American Access Care of Atlanta. "Ha! Ha! Ha!" adds The Count (my favorite Seasame Street resident). "So far in this entry Angela has used the color pink four times. Count them with me. One - Two - Three - Four. Ha! Ha! Ha!"

And the number four has been brought to you by, "NOBODY!" yelled Oscar the Grouch. "And furthermore, YUCK!" he grumbled. "That's an awful lot of pink for just two lousy paragraphs." So although clearly aggravated The Count had nabbed his top spot on the street, the beloved trash talking goblin had a point.

And how on Earth had I wound up on Seasame Street to begin with? Perhaps I should have simply said: Knowing I have readers makes me smile. I hear tell smiling now turns my cheeks a rosy pink. And to what do I owe this new found pigment? LIBERATION. The End. Boring, heh? Yeh. I liked my puppet dialog much better.

On with it then . . . I believe I'd left you not knowing the outcome of something or the other. Had it been a steel cage match between The Grouch and The Count? No? Of course not. I was telling you about traveling with the varsity basketball team my sophomore year of high school. No? Not that either? All right already. Enuff with the teasing.

I'm on the bed waking up from my procedure. And when I say waking up, I mean waking up. "Rarin' to go," as my Dad used to say. But unsure of what the doc had or had not found OR was or was not able to fix, I did not want to immediately go bragging. Besides, how does one explain feeling 'awaker'? And another patient had been a curtain over from me. What if his procedure hadn't faired as well?

Thus far then I am 'awaker.' A definition, please? By this I mean faster to wake. Easier to wake. Even eager to have woke. How 'bout that one? Was my vision better? I know that light was not that bright earlier! Hearing? Tennis shoe squeaks on the floor. Interesting, but maybe that was just 'cause nobody was talking to distract me. Deep breath in. And out. VERY NICE! People had reported breathing better - deeper. And until just at that moment I'd had no idea what they'd been fussing about.

I was thinkin' I needed pinched at this point. Where was that gorgeous husband of mine? You know the one - the one who actually told the doctor to "balloon something - anything - whether it needs it or not!" (Not an irrational request since he was paying for this himself.) Anyways, I knew Jason would tell me the news - good or bad, just as the poor guy had to back in May.

So all this, and before I'd heard whether or not all had gone as it was planned. And as soon as our eyes met I could tell somethin' wasn't as it should be. How disappointing. And I'd thought I was feeling improvements. Hello Mr. Placebo. C'mon in. I'm just as big a sucker as the next guy. Too bad I can read my hubby's non-existent poker face. Screw the pleasantries. "What happened?" I demanded.

And then he smiled. Or tried for one anyways. Enuff with the teary eyes. Enuff with the swallowing hard. He cleared his throat as I continued, "There wasn't anything wrong with me was there?" He looked perplexed as if I weren't meven speaking English. I rephrased my question. "They didn't fix anything did they?" And with that he was up on his feet standing over me and holding my hand. (A sidenote: His hand was warm. Was my being able to feel the warmth of his hand on mine another improvement?)

Finally he talks over my nervous rantings to tell me the right jugular was blocked % and left was blocked % . . . AND that they both appeared to respond well to ballooning. Welllll, correct me if I'm wrong but that sounded like pretty good news to me. Who am I kidding? Phenomenal news. Fan frickin' tastic! Music to my ears. Why wasn't he dancing a happy jig? Had the despair he'd been fighting so hard to mask not been so telling - - -

Commence with the interrogating. Boys okay? Yes. Mom then, or g'pa, I'd thought. Still with no offering of information, I ask, "You talk to Amelia?" And with those four words my friends, all Hell broke loose. "Ha! Ha! Ha!" laughs The Count. "Count with me. One - Two - Three - Four. Ha! Ha! Ha! Four words 'til all Hell breaks loose."

"That's garbage!" interrupts Oscar. "Using us to stall with details is just plain dirty." Again with the infinite wisdom of a trash can inhabitant, right? Couldn't be all that bright, heh? Then forraging thru the gnarly green hair on his head with one hand and pulling at his chin with the other he asks me, "Know what would be even trashier?" What with the loaded questions I wonder? I pause to think. And I got nothin'. So I reply, "What?"

His monobrow raised hauntingly over his left eye and quivering with anticipation, he looks around to be sure no one is listening and whispers slyly, "Can this entry. Make 'em wait for part three." Hmmmmm . . . as I take a moment to ponder this genius he begins to grin ear to ear and laugh devilishly arms flailing all about. Genius indeed, I'd thought as I raised my right eye brow in contemplation. Not a bad idea.

But, not a good one either. Sike! Did I getcha? No? Well, my sister nearly got me. And now, without further ado, an explanation. "Well, what did Amelia say?" I asked. And he says, of all things, really and truly, "She told me not to tell you." Yep. Those exact words. "She told me not to tell you. WHAT? Well whoopity doo! Them's was a fightin' words my friends. Who cares if she's Red Sonja? It was on like Donkey Kong. No joke. Nobody was keepin' nothin' from me. Not no way. Not no how. WHAT? WHAT? WHAT?

A bit of backstory must be inserted here. Way back when, when my Dad had his first heart attack - it was kept from me. Whilst I was partying at a slumber party my Dad was having a heart attack. I was dancing, singing, maybe even drinking and he was near death. The next day when I was supposed to go with these same friends prom dress shopping I was told "No!" by my Momma. And my g'pa would be there to get me in an hour or so. WHAT?

Long story short I report to my grandparents house instead of home. Anyways, there I was all mad I wasn't still out havin' fun. I was quite a little brat about it if I remember right. Guess what else? Had I not gone off the handle about missing out on a girls' day out I'd have prolly never been told about it at all. Had they thought I wouldn't be able to handle it? Amateurs!

When finally I had dragged every last detail out of 'em I was livid. I coulda been there. I coulda helped. If for nothing else I coulda been there as support for my Mom. What if he'd have died? Huh? What then? All whilst I was partyin' hard. Well, not that hard. But still, you get my point. And from that moment on it was sworn I would be made priivy to everything pertinent and done so immediately. Get it? Got it? Good. And so it had been 'til this escapade. Grrrrr! For my own good and whatever. I know that now. But still, WHATEVER.

I finally get that they MAY . . . just MAY have to take my Mom's foot. Please pay extra especially close attention to the word MAY. It's not just the month between April and June. Without looking up the word's official Webster's Dictionary definition, to me it means possibly. Not for sure. Might. Maybe, get it? Notice how the word MAY is even in the word maybe. Coincidence? I think not. Propping myself up on my elbows (as if getting closer would help me to understand him better), I ask, "When?"

Had I been getting loud? Or was it that I should have still been laying flat? The real reason unknown -- seconds after this exchange -- enter Jacob. Yes, the nurse. "You doing okay?" he asks. "I know it's early," he says. "But I just have to ask. Notice any improvements yet?"

Bring on the water works. No. That description does no justice to what actually went down. A better illustration: Niagra Falls. I answered Jacob with a "no" although it had not exactly been the truth. A "no" however was all I could muster thru the tears. And as I had not been given the chance to share these potential improvements with my husband yet either, he somberly explained to Jacob the news I'd just received from home. He looked concerned thru out their conversation and nodded his head several times to let us know he understood. His only request before leaving my bedside was that I try my best to lie still for as long as I could manage.

Fine. Now back to the "When?" WHEN? WHEN? WHEN? We were at least 7 hours away. And I was supposed to lay flat for four hours. She had to wait. "Call 'em back," I'd demanded. "Tell 'em we'll be there as soon as we can. They gotta wait." Irrational much? I know, right? That made no sense whatsoever. It was gangrene, people. Wet gangrene even. That shit travels fast people. And if it gets in the blood, welllll, I don't even wanna go there. But until I got to my trusty internet, those delicious morsels of information were unknown to me.

Allow me a tick to clarify. Ask me about Multiple Sclerosis, lung cancer, kidney failure, dialysis, heart failure, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, heck, even pit bulls and I've done my fair share of research. Somebody gets somethin' or worries about somethin' I dive in to learn more. It's what I do. But had I done it with gangrene? Not exactly. Self-centered hussy! I'm going to forever feel like I should have/could have done more. Again, Mom, I am so sorry. So I knew a smidge about gangrene but as she'd never been diagnosed with it - I didn't know enuff and what I did wasn't exactly good. The short version was that gangrene meant infected, rotting flesh that needed to be removed. But Mom was only admitted for IV antibiotics, right? Couldn't be anything that horrific. Couldn't be.

So back at home: Mom was being prepped for surgery. Or already under the knife? I still don't know exactly for sure the timeline. Remember I learned later that they were even considering doing it the night before? Remember the night I got aggravated at my sister for not being able to leave my Mom alone? Remember me telling Amelia that Mom was a big girl? You don't remember? Wellll, I do! So --- under the knife in a surgery deemed 'emergency' and for a longer time than they had originally estimated.

I hear tell it was touch and go for awhile during, and even after surgery. I can't imagine what poor Amelia had been going thru. And all whilst 'The Wheel' was partying it up in the ATL. I'm aggravated I wasn't told the truth and aggravated I wasn't there. BUT, and this is a big BUT - BUT I am and forever will be eternally greatful I was given the opportunity to get my life back. What a mixed up mess 'o emotions. Geesh! And that's not all folks. She didn't just lose a foot. She lost almost her entire right leg. No one would know 'til the next day whether or not the doc was able to get all of the gangrene or whether or not the infection had spread to her blood.

All this excitement whilst I'm layin' in a bed balling my eyes out. Uncontollably sobbing. Hmmmm. Jacob? Where you at? "Could I get another one of those little somethin's to help relax me?" He checks with the doctor and - booyah, score! And not long after the Xanax arrived so did Dr. Sullivan. Very concerned. Came to my bedside. Sat. Talked and listened about my Mom. Yeh. You heard me right. What doctor does that? And the very same one to give you your life back? WOW! This man rocks! P.S. He even wrote RX for a little somethin' for the next few days. Help get me thru the rough stuff. Unheard of.

Where was I? Mom touch and go. And me a mess in ATL. Ahhh, yes. Lunch time marked my halfway done mark. A turkey croissant from the deli next door. Oh, my! The best food I'd ever eaten. Ever! Had my tastebuds been revived too? Another improvement? If all food was gonna taste this good, I dunno, could be a problem. 200 lbs was already more than enuff. So with my belly full and my xanax, ummmm, xanaxing time flew by. It wasn't long and Jacob came around with discharge instructions. I was to return the next day at 9am to get a blood thinning shot in the belly. WTF? Nooooooo! I'd done my four hours flat and that was hard enuff. That was four hours closer I coulda been to home. "Please, please, please, no!" Was there anyway I could do without? Had I not made it clear I wanted to go home? C'mon Jacob. Work some sorta werewolf magic would ya? Hehehehe. And with the good doctor's approval Jacob readied a syringe that my hero hubby could administer in the a.m. no matter what our location.

Soooo, we're ready then? Ready? Ready. And we were off. Welllll, off to the lobby. We needed paperwork and the prescription from the doc. Not really so much a part of the story, but definitely worth mentioning: The clinic is also a dialysis center. While we are there waiting an older gentleman enters with a nice big lumpy fistula on his left arm almost exactly where my Dad had his. I know Jason noticed this too as I caught him doing so. Our eyes met then and we shared a smile thinking of Dad. Then a nurse came out to get some of the patient's information. You won't believe what his name was? Give you one guess. Robert. And as he exited the lobby, "WHAAAAAAA!" You'd have thought I'd cried myself dry, but alas I had not. What a blubbering baby! Had that been a message from beyond? Was Dad telling me Mom would be alright? That I needed to take care of myself? OK, now I've cried myself delirious.

Anyways . . . The plan was to swing by the motel, check out and head home. Who cares that my sister had given instructions that I was to stay there overnight as had been planned? Who did she think she was after all, heh? A pretty darn good 'wheel' I hear. I'm so very impressed with how she handled everything. I've heard stories since I've been home. Stories even that she'd actually wished I had been there. A source (who I'll leave unnamed for safety's sake) even told me she'd said, "I don't know what I'm gonna do without Angela." And she may not have known. Not right away. But she sure figured it out. I'm so proud of her. (I taught her all she knows, ya know. wink, wink)

The 16 lanes of Atlanta traffic were stressing on a girl from a town that not all that long ago only had two traffic lights. We're big time now tho -- we got five. "Count with me," says The Count. "Ha! Ha! Ha! One - Two - Three - Four - Five. Ha! Ha! Ha!" Needless to say by the time we'd made our way back to the Drury, I was spent. Physically and emotionally drained. Where had those improvements gone? Were they a figment of my imagination? Had they been there at all? Would they come back? And even more important, how did any of this even begin to compare to what my mom and sister were going thru? God be with them!

And He was. He was with me too. Even at the Drury. We'd gone in just to get our bearings and maybe rest up just a bit. Maybe. And covers up. I was out and out fast. No drugs required. Zonked. And I don't think I moved a muscle 'til 4:30 or 5 the next morning. I had to peeeeee, BAD! Huh? I'd held it all night? Another possible improvement? Or a fluke? Or maybe complete and total exhaustion had been the culprit. Either way, I was a happy, well-rested (and dry) camper. Yippee for me. I walk without any disorientation, support or stumbling to the potty. Another yippee. And then, "Yeeeeeooow!" The tile beneath my bare feet in the bathroom is ca-ca-ca cold! No big deal, right? The big deal is that I could feel the cold floor.

Wanna hear more? No cliff hanger this time, but there is more to come. A part 3 ought to catch us all up quite nicely. So much has happened. Improvements, improvements, improvements! For me and my Momma! You won't believe the stuff we can do. Heck, I don't believe alot of it myself.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Miracles Abound - A 'Condensed' Soup Version Pt. 1

Dec. 10th, 2010. A gain. A loss. Both miracles. A contract I'd have never signed, but one I'm sure my Momma would have. Silly girl! And now (pause for dramatic effect) - an explanation, not only of my LIBERATION, but of my mother's fight for survival. [cue cliffhanger music]

A two for one, heh? Now you can't say I never gave you anything. MERRY CHRISTMAS, late my friends. But a very MERRY CHRISTMAS just the same. My apologies for the wait. Please know I have written and re-written this first post-angio entry a bazillion times in my head.

Do I give the gritty details of the trip? Do I focus on the clinic? Do I write only of Jacob, my nurse? How's about skipping to the results? Soooo very much has happened since my last entry there is no way to truly catch you up. And tho my memory is among my many improvements, well, nobody's got that much time on their hands.

That said, this prose doubling as your Christmas gift, I shall condense it down (note the catchy title) and hit upon the more miraculous of events as best I can. And of course wrap it all up with a fancy bow. Deal? Deal.

Where'd I leave off? It was snowing. Mom had a wound. G'pa was in the hospital. And I was, by way of a 'Wizard of Oz' analogy, coming to the realization that the world did not revolve around me and me alone. The weather. The illnesses. My baby boy's begging. So many reasons to stay crossed thru my mind. But never a quitter I had to take one more swing.

May 2010. Strike 1. November 2010. Strike 2. Sooo, if and only if this third attempt was a strike would I officially be called, "OUT." You know what? I don't even follow baseball. Let's make this easier on all of us, shall we? It's fourth down. Seconds on the clock. With me?

No punting. No field goal attempts. And even as beautiful as they can be at times - no hail marys. If I'm runnin' the show we block like our lives depended on it and run it right up the middle. So. Down. Set. Hike. The 'ol 300 gassed and ready - we were off for the ATL.

Boys off to school and Ryan calls to see if he can take us out to breakfast before we leave. Well, of course! I loves me some breakfast. But alas, he took only Jason as I had made a last minute appointment with my hairdresser, and dear, dear friend. Thank you, JoAnna!

Thank you for just so happening to have a little extra time at the beginning of your day for me. And on such short notice. And get this readers, after working her magic on me, she wouldn't even let me pay! And I got a hug. Meanwhile in the Vern, Ryan bought Jason's breakfast. We are so blessed in the friends department.

9:30 a.m. Thursday December 9, 2010 and we were off. Whether or not I'd return successfully LIBERATED this time out -- I would come back with a new do and a new additude. Pinky swear. That was the deal. Christmas was coming and it had beenm a year I'd been wrapped up in all this business.

Hell or high water I was coming back refocused. Less me and more them. Them being my boys. My mom. My g'pa. My Jason. My Gooch. My sister. All my family. All my friends. You! Yes, you! So aside from not having received the call from my Mom that I'd been promised the night before . . . all was right with the world.

We were 'On the Road Again,' Mr. Nelson. But country wasn't among our listening repitoire. At least not at first anyways. Thru some of Tennessee it seems to be all we could pick up. (Truth be told, this 'ol country girl didn't mind.) Talk of Christmas and of Santa and of hopes for what the new year may hold set a cheery tone making this mountainous trek much smoother than the first. "Roll on 18-wheeler. Roll on!"

Almost too easy some might warn. Little did we know everyone at home seemed to be paying for it big time. Earlier in the afternoon I had called my sister to see if she would be able to get to the Christmas program and grab a video of Abe for me. "Sure. No problem," she replied.

There'd be plenty of time after taking Mom to the wound clinic to get back, retrieve the kiddos and the camera and be at school by 7. Again, with the easy peezy, right? Looking back I should have thought it odd her overly eager willingness to help. Anyways . . .

So Mom had a wound clini9c appt. the previous Thursday. If you ask me she should've seen somebody way before then, but stubborn does run rampant in the family. They 'treated' the wound and instructed her to return in a week. (Nothing new here, as that is always how they do there. Same 'ol, same 'ol).

But what with the unbearable pain? Did that not make this different than the other sores or wounds? Guess not. Well once home -- it worsened. So much so all I will say is KUDOS to my sister for being able to care for it - her weak stomach be damned. Or perhaps a better phrasing would be blessed. Alas her weak stomach had been blessed with the strength it needed to endure what lie ahead.

Back to the story. Something was wrong at the OK Corral. Mom called the wound clinic everyday reporting in to them with new foul findings practically begging to be seen again, yet they repeatedly answered, "That's normal. We'll see you next Thursday." Grrrrrrr!

I pushed for her to go see her general practitioner, dear 'ol Doc Lee even having offered to accompany her although we all know how our last attempt at that turned out. I even offered Jason to assist in the endeavor to no avail. And Amelia pushed for visiting the emergency room. I'd have been happy either way. WHAT HAD SHE BEEN WAITING ON? Me?

So Thursday gets here. Finally. I'm on my way and Mom will finally get to show the (forgive me Lord) idiots that have been putting her off all week just the horror she's been dealing with all week. I discover not until my return home post-angio that she was welcomed at the wound clinic with many, many dropped jaws. (Forgive me again Lord) Dumbasses! Grrrrr!

She is sent immediately to the hospital. Not by ambulance. Not by bed across the street. Nah. They instruct Amelia to take her to emergency. Great people, heh? Not an "I'm sorry" in the hole group. One lady I hear tell even followed them around with an aerosol can to mask the horrid odor.

Pop Quiz: Did you know wet gangrene travels fast and is accompanied by an odor? I didn't. But you'd think that a wound care clinic would, right? Geesh. I feel so horrible I didn't drag my self-centered crippled butt down there and take a look at it myself. Why hadn't I? And why hadn't I taken the time to consult my handy dandy internet about it? I'm so sorry Mom.

Just as it's starting to get dark we arrive at our destination. Drury Inn just outside of Atlanta. We even got the same room right next to the back door that we had last time. As little walking as possible makes this gimp a happy girl. Yay, me! Awww, the king-sized bed. Hello, lovely!

And Jason left for Taco Bell. I loves me some Jason and some tacos. Then a call to my sister. Or did she call me? Either way . . . I did not get the news of my mother being admitted to the hospital until I had confirmed my arrival to Atlanta. And with that all I was told was that they were admitting her to administer IV antibiotics.

Fine, I had thought. Nothing out of the ordinary. We had suspected as much. Was it odd that Grandma was with them? Nah. Not at all 'cause g'pa was still at the hospital himself so she would have already been there when they arrived. Weird I still hadn't talked to my Mom tho. Just plain weird, I tell ya.

Weirder still Amelia calls back as I'm finishing up my taco feast to ask me why my in-laws couldn't get a video of the Christmas program. Simple answer: Welllll, 'cause they don't have a video camera. And there's plenty of time to make it home and to the program. Mom's already admitted. "Mom's a big girl," I said.

(Such a smart ass, I had been. Please Lord, forgive me.) "Why can't you leave her? I think she can handle a night at the hospital all by herself." Such horrible words. Had I only known the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Yikes. Unbeknownst to me at the time thy were considering removing her leg right then and there.

Of course, Amelia should have been there. Guess who else woulda been there too had she known what her baby sis knew. Damn right I would have come home. Damn right, I'd never have left to begin with. WHAT HAD SHE BEEN WAITING ON, INDEED? "I dunno," Amelia replies to my taunting. "I just don't think I can make it home in time," she says.

A bit put out, even aggravated, I go to Facebook and commence to begging anyone attending the program to getting some video of it for me. The only thing I should have been begging for is prayers for my Momma. And for my sister. God she was gonna need strength for the upcoming days. 'Cause her big sister - 'The Wheel', as our Dad had come to call me - would not be there to take charge of things.

Boys skyped goodnight, alarm set and prayers said Amelia calls to say she's on her way home. (About time I had thought.) Whatever. Glad to hear Mom was all settled in, Amelia was nearly home, boys safe and sound -- I could drift safely off to dream land. No limits to what tomorrow may hold. Thank you God for everything! Amen.

Bright and early Friday morning Jason went down to the lobby for that meal he dare not speak of since I couldn't partake before my procedure. Tacos don't fail me now! And yeh, I'd eaten extra knowing I'd be without for so long the next day. A bear preparing for hibernation, if you will. It makes no sense. I know. But I've never advertised as making sense now, have I?

With minutes to spare I must, must, must talk to my Mom before I do this. It had been waaay too long since I'd talked to her last. Somethin' just wasn't right people. I tried everything. I called the switchboard. I called her room twice. Then her nursing unit. Then her room again.

Nothing. Nada. Zilch. 'Cept sitting just outside the front door of the clinic I was about to make us late. Jason reasoned we'd better go on in and we could try her again before I went back. Had he somehow known something I had not?

Enter the clinic. Familiar smiles welcoming me. Hands reaching out for payment. Ha! We got this. As if we'd come all that way again empty handed. Then just as I was feeling sour about the whole ordeal. Beginning to see nothing but $$$ signs dressed in scrubs in comes the x-ray tech.

Was his smile forced too? Had his out stretched hand been searching for the $10,000 cashier's check that I'd already surrendered? As my dad always used to say, "If you snooze, ya lose." If I was a bettin' man I'd say the girl I gave the check to already had it cashed and deposited, maybe even spent.

Paranoid. Yeh. Glass half empty, girl? Hell yeh. Bitter much? I know, right? God help me. I needed my Momma. But maybe my x-ray tech would just have to do. Hand outstretched he introduced himself to both my gorgeous husband and myself. Great sincere eye contact. I love me some eye contact.

Then he asked me if I was nervous. Wow! What a loaded question. I could have unloaded on this poor unsuspecting soul. But prolly having asked this a few times before, he quickly followed his own question with further nurturing reassurance that all would be okay. "Even better than that," he'd said.

Tricky sort I had thought at the time. How dare he not allow me time to answer. Then he went for my hand again and eye contact locked in he continued, "Just know that if my mother needed this done, I'd be sure Dr. Sullivan was the one doing it." Jason says he wenton about the good doctor's caring and compassionate ways, but alas HE HAD ME AT "MOTHER."

Exit the x-ray tech. Teary eyed eye contact with the hubs, a couple breaths in and out and enter Jacob. Not the werewolf - the nurse. And a very good one at that. All this time later and I'm still considering having a Team Jacob t-shirt made although I am not a fan in any way shape or form of the Twilight saga. (Sorry dear sister!)

Soon I was dressed (or undressed rather) and ready to go. Vitals checked and rechecked and a little somethin' to relax me. Hmmmm. When was that little somethin' to relax me ever gonna kick in? And more importantly when was I gonna be given an IV? Time was a wastin' people and I was not gonna be an easy stick. Just sayin'.

I'm not one to tell anybody their business. Well, okay, maybe I am - but, I knew there were patients scheduled after me and I didn't want my lousy veins to hold anyone up. You sittin' down readers? NEWSFLASH: They do not feel having IV access in the arm is neccessary when they will already have access once in the vein in my leg. BRILLIANT!!! Absolutely, positively brilliant. Makes perfect sense to me. You?

Guess what else? I didn't hurt like hell during the procedure. I didn't beg for pain medicine. I didn't cry. I felt pressure at times, but mostly I slept. Now there's a concept. Why cause a patient excruciating pain when you don't have to? Again with the brilliance. Yay, Atlanta! And more important - yay, me!

And then there was the after I had sooo been dreading. Coming home from my failed attempt in May I remember breaking out in whelps and itching and just being plain miserable. Commence with the high dose of Benadryl. Yikes! I don't wanna have to go back to the blind Maverick. He might not see my rash. (Mean. I know. Forgive me Lord.)

Anyways, back to recovery. Woke right up. Not groggy in the least bit. Kinda cool. Should at least be groggy from the meds, right? Wrong. Hungry then? Nope. Plenty of tacos I suppose. Itchy. Had to be itchy. Nearly two hours of dye vs. the maybe 15 minutes of it in May - in my pea brain that meant I'd prolly had enuff of it in me to kill me this time around.

Or worse yet maybe I'd just change colors and swell up like poor little Violet did in 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.' Surely my husband and Jacob could fight off the Oompa Loompas when they came to roll me away. Fear not movie-goers. I always fancied myself more of a Veruca Salt anyways. Singing, "Don't care how - I want it now!!!!!"

And whilst I'm on a movie tangent I must pay homage to 'TRON.' Not the original. The Legacy. For seeing it last night is what has spurred me back in to blogging. How easy it was for the creator to heal Cora. I cried. It seemed as equally easy for me to be healed. Tragedy not everyone is having this done. Grrrrr. But more on that later. Promise.

Where was I? Comin' round, heh? Feelin' good, heh? Then why the long face gorgeous husband 'o mine? Can't be there wasn't anything wrong with me. Dare I shout it out that something is different already. Dare I climb upon my bed and shout? Nah, I was suppose to lay still for awhile. And so I would try. Didn't wanna jinx this new feeling.

But still, "What up, Buttercup?" Hello? Husband? What's the haps? (To Be Continued)