Monday, August 28, 2006

More of a day than I needed

Some days are kind of, I dunno, bigger than life. Just jam-packed with a few more events than are really required. Over-achieving days (which can be quite as annoying as over-achieving people). This one is showing indications of that.

Preparations for this day started back in July, when my aged father, who lives in a separate and far-away state (let's put it this way: you can't drive there in one day from here), found out he was going to need a second heart bypass operation. His first one, a triple, was back in 1991, and was quite successful. But two of the arteries had silted back up in the intervening 15 years, and had to be replaced once again.

As noted, we found out about this in July -- just when D. and I were getting ready to start the stim medications for our second IVF. The thing is, we had decided not to tell my dad that we were even trying for a family, since it was still pretty iffy at that point, and we didn't want to set him up for disappointment.

(Also, to be honest, I didn't want to hear any comments about the endeavor from my brother, who lives with my dad. My brother and I have a rotten relationship, due mostly to severe and ingrained defects in his personality. [He apparently does not realize the extent of my dislike for him, since I am polite to him for my dad's sake.] I did not want to hear One. Word. From him. About the whole IVF thing, since I knew if he said the wrong thing, I might finally lose it and try to crawl right through the phone line so I could push his teeth down his throat in person.)

So -- going back to our IVF timing and my dad's announcement of his coming bypass -- we had to decide at that point if we were going to proceed with the stims or hold off. I had already been taking the b/c pills and was within a day of starting Lupron. On the advice of our doctor, we decided to forge ahead, since otherwise we would have had to go back to square one, let me have a period, and start the b/c pills all over again, which could have resulted in a delay of as much as three months. Which is a long time when you're staring 44 right in the eyeball.

It turned out that my father's operation was not scheduled until today, August 28. I had no idea where we'd be at that point, but the possibility existed that my cycle would be a big bust anyway, and that, non-pregnant, I could go help out my dad.

Of course, things worked out otherwise, and I'm not only preggo (yayyyy!!) but high risk preggo, at age 44 and currently carrying multiples (not so yay). (Also feeling like sh!t on many days of the week, forbidden to have sex, raise my heart rate above 140, or lift more than 20 pounds, and starting to experience vertigo and vague nausea from time to time.) I'm in no shape to go nurse anyone anywhere, let alone in another state.

The thing is, though, my dad still doesn't know I'm pregnant. Because of the high rate of miscarriage at my age, D. and I had previously decided not to tell my dad about the pregnancy until we were past the 12-week marker (and hopefully with a good strong nuchal fold test behind us). When we found out about the multiples, it seemed like an even better idea to keep the whole thing under our hats, since we didn't want "assvice" about it from anyone, even my beloved dad. (And certainly not from my brother, who not only freely dispenses assvice, but gets completely bent out of shape and insulting if you don't follow his carefully thought out assvice to the letter and then report back on its resounding success.)

But my father, being the sweet guy that he is, insisted that he didn't need my help after his operation, since my brother would be there to help him, and in any case they were going to hold him hostage in the hospital for five to seven days after the operation. So technically, I'm off the hook. I guess I just feel wretched because I'm afraid he thinks I simply don't care enough to drop things and come be useful. My mother passed on several years ago, and both of D's parents are gone as well, and I find myself clutching desperately at my sole remaining parental figure. I always got along much better with my dad than my mom, anyway, since our personalities are very similar, and there's nothing both of us love better than going into a long discussion about whether Andre Norton's Witch World books are better than Anne McCaffrey's Pern series, and if so, why. (Answer for the student: Norton trumps McCaffrey any day of the week, since McCaffrey apparently got lazy after a while and started writing what amounted to Soap Operas with Dragons, whereas Norton wrote clear up into her 90's with very little loss of steam or clarity.) (Also, Norton sometimes wrote about cats, which of course gives her extra bonus points. Heh!)

In a nutshell, although my reason and logic tells me I'm doing the right thing, I feel as though I'm keeping a bad secret from my dad -- instead of a great one, which will with any luck will be revealed in just a few weeks.

As for my father's operation today, it apparently went quite well, and the last I heard, he was resting comfortably (or as much so as possible, when they have you hooked up to a morphine pump or whatever they use after they chop your chest open and rummage around in there for close to six hours). I'll know more tomorrow, and hopefully get to talk with him.

Well. Just to make it a thoroughly eventful day, this morning we receive a phone call from D's sis, who informed us that their aunt had died. Aunt Sparky, as we'll call her here, was a very sweet and intelligent woman, with a distinctly tart side to her personality. A lifelong smoker, she had been suffering from emphysema for several years, so her death was not a surprise, but it's always hard anyway. (And anyone who reads this who still smokes should go visit some emphysema patients in the hospital. I honestly think emphysema is worse than lung cancer, since it drags the agony out for as much as a decade or so.) Aunt Sparky also looked and sounded very much like her sister -- D's and sis's mother -- who passed away several years ago, and whom they still miss very much. Losing Aunt Sparky was not only painful in its own right, but also poked a bit at the old wound of losing their mom.

They say things come in threes, and sometimes "they" seem to be right about that. After ordering flowers and so forth for the aunt's family, and finally finding out that my dad had made it all right through his surgery, I eventually made it out the door for my (subdued, heartbeat under 140) neighborhood walk. My neighbor lady was out and about, so we chatted for a while, and she told me about her son, who works for the Mosquito Abatement department. (I had no idea there was such a thing; did you?) He had been out on some ranch doing Mosquito Abatement things, when he saw at a distance what looked very much like the wreck of a small plane. He called his department head, who called the sheriff, who called the rancher, and in short order, several official and unofficial vehicles were bouncing down the ranch's dirt road toward the wreckage.

Her son had assumed it was old wreckage that had simply not been cleared away. When he got there himself, he found out the actuality: It had happened about midnight, and nobody had realized that was where the missing plane was, or come to pick up after it yet. Consequently there were various body parts strewn here and there, and the broken bits of plane and carrion stank to high heaven. The sheriff's department and ambulance people seemed to be inured to that sort of thing, but it was a first for my friend's son, who ended up taking the rest of the day off.

Well. Enough already. Or enough for one day, at least. And then some.


Blogger casey said...

With all the drama coming in one day, it's fair to say that you deserve most of September off. I suppose that's just too much to ask, though, isn't it? :)

It sounds like your dad is the kind of person who will understand why you didn't tell him sooner, once you tell him. I have found that life is full of moments when you have to choose between two "right" decisions, although leaving one of them out feels wrong. Which makes it all the more confusing.

(Even though these are tough life events you write about, I enjoy keeping up with your're a great writer!)

7:01 AM  

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