A few things have been on the radar the past few weeks. It seems like ages ago that my kids were asleep in their beds after day 2 of the school year. Would you believe that was only 3 weeks ago? I have been writing some smaller journal entries and notes to friends in the past few days, but I have not had the capacity to tell the next story of my 100 day journey. While my hometown has been falling apart, I have struggled to find the words to tell you about one of the happiest times in my life. It just seems so empty. I have wanted to walk away from blogging all together, but instead, I am taking a side journey to tell you about a few of the lessons I have learned in the past three weeks. The first of these lessons was the storm before the storm.
On Monday, August 21st, my dad was admitted to MD Anderson Hospital in the Houston Medical Center. Having developed an abdominal infection, it was necessary to treat him with aggressive IV antibiotics. He has a compromised immune system that compounds his “very unique” blood condition. These diseases cause his kidneys to have decreased function. When they admitted him on Monday, I hoped for a short stay and a quick recovery. Neither was on the horizon.
Tuesday and Wednesday proved to be long days. With each passing blood test, the numbers were more inconsistent. By Thursday, two things were clear:
a) there was a major hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico
b) the storm in dad’s body was not resolving
Before bed Thursday night, we learned that the girl’s school was cancelled for Friday. When we woke up Friday morning, Ally and I loaded the car to check on Mimi and Papa. With no clear indication of the infection clearing or flaring, the discussion the previous day made a case for release. When the doctor came on Friday morning, they reviewed the day’s blood work to find that his kidneys were not in a good place. When we walked in the room, the resolve was apparent as my parents had been told that they were taking a Harvey sized vacation in the hospital.
Ally and I tired to entertain. We made Papa laugh and even persuaded Mimi to go shopping for hurricane supplies in the gift shop. Liz brought her kids for a visit, as well, and we all walked to the observation deck high over the med center. From the 20-something floor, we could see the dark clouds roll in off the Gulf. It was bazaar, as you could see rain and hear thunder, but you almost felt like you were watching a movie as the glass window protected you from the wind.
As the afternoon pressed on, I realized that I needed to get home before dark. Ally and I kissed mom and dad goodbye and loaded in the car, leaving them in an area of town that was prone to flood and sure to be impassable from the south. I must admit, it was a strange feeling. Through all of my adult-ing hurricane experiences, my parent’s house has been the evacuation point. They are my refuge and location of choice in time of storms. This time, I was driving headlong into the dark clouds and leaving them in unknown lands with unknown outcomes. These were not familiar nor welcome choices. All of this, and the storm had yet to make landfall.
I should have known that the foreshadowing was not good, but as I drove home on Friday, I went to sleep with tired eyes and restful dreams. Little did I know that this would be the last night of good sleep I would have for weeks.