Week 13 and counting. It has been thirteen weeks since our last trip to the Emergency Room, adrenaline pumping, kids safely shepherded across the street to the neighbors' house. Thirteen weeks since we moved through the automatic double doors as quickly as possible, my husband shuffling and leaning on me, my heart racing as I tried not to telegraph my fear.
Every 12-15 weeks for the past three years we have partnered up for this dance. Twice we've called an ambulance, one time we aborted a trip to the ER by making the car do an about-face and heading for the nearest fire station instead. We've visited hospitals in big cities, small cities, foreign countries. Five endoscopies, double-digit CT scans, blood draws to fill a gallon bucket, enough IV solution for a small African country, eleven hospitalizations and a major abdominal surgery later we know only what the diagnosis isn't. So here we are.
Week 13. So far, so good. No reason to think it won't happen again, so we're trying to move forward in spite of it. Another test is scheduled for Monday. The beginning of week 14. I'm home alone with the kids this week. He is working furiously on a major project at work for which he's been preparing for months. It's exciting that it's finally here, frightening that the stress might send him into another cycle. We check in at least twice a day, making small talk... 'Eve lost another tooth...The opening ceremony went well...Lola might have a sinus infection...Got another dinner meeting tonight.' As the conversation winds down, "How do you feel?"
"I'm going to get to bed early. I'm drinking lots of water, trying to get some fresh air every day. I'll call you later. Love you."
Sigh. He wouldn't lie. Not any more. Denial was powerful in those early months, but there have been enough heart-stopping moments and prescriptions for narcotics to fix that. We're both bargaining with the gods to give us one more week. Let the new doctor run his tests and find something, anything. Or not. Just let him get through this week without incident...