....there's nothing to do but begin at the end and backtrack to the beginning.
Poppy's leg was amputated this past Wednesday.
He went into the hospital on Friday the 13th, for an angiogram. That's when they saw that he had some of the worst calcium deposits in his arteries that the doc had ever seen. His right foot already had signs of gangrene, but we were given a "worst case scenario" -- an amputation-- that had a 20% chance of happening.
The scheduled him for bypass surgery last Friday. In the meantime an infection they had found in his teste, that for whatever reason they only let drain, re-appeared and so they went in to see what was causing the infection. They ended up removing the teste. Immediately, he began to perk up.
Then he had the bypass surgery... and initially the word came back that the surgeon was very pleased. But by that night the prognosis changed; the gangrene was too deep and the blood still wasn't circulating in his toes, and it was decided the leg had to be removed.
It was terrible. The anticipation of this event was almost more than I could bear... more than any of us could bear. Except for one small thing....
The day I'd sat with him in the ER waiting to get him the CAT scan was easily the worst day of my life. I had held it together until early the following morning when I'd finally gotten in bed. Alone. Handling shit by myself, as usual. And I cried. I cried for Poppy, and his pain and I prayed hard for God to end his pain... fully accepting whatever that meant.
Cuz the thing I've learned about praying for shit is... sometimes when you pray for a specific thing, it will come to you... but it may not come the way you envisioned it. And you have to accept that. And so I prayed for an end to Poppy's pain, recognizing that this could even mean his death. And I didn't want to see him go... and Poppy had said repeatedly he wasn't ready to go... but I couldn't bear to see him hurt anymore. And so if an end to his pain meant he would leave, then I would accept it.
So losing a leg, in comparison, was a little bit of a relief. But still... getting the news last Saturday took my breath away, and waiting for Wednesday sucked ass.
I hadn't wanted to tell the Sun about it, but Poppy had asked me to hug him and when I went to do that, I just started to cry. And so I had to tell him, the Sun, that Poppy was going to lose his leg.
Poppy himself was pretty accepting. The leg, whom he named Reggie, looked awful. But Poppy himself looked pretty good, and sitting with him when we visited was very peaceful.
On Wednesday, the surgery was scheduled for late in the day, so I went to hang out in the Sun's school for a bit cuz it always makes me feel good to be there, and then I went over to sit with Poppy for a while. They had said they were going to take him down to surgery at about 2P, and at 1:30 I couldn't stand it and left. I know my limitations. I couldn't watch them take him away. I went back to the Sun's school. BigBear had arrived by then, and she sat with him till transport came.
I had felt it important to keep the Sun's day as normal as possible, and so after school we went to Violin cuz that's what we would have done normally.
The Professor was the one to call the Recovery room every half hour, to see if he'd gotten there yet, and she texted me every half hour or so "He's still in".
At 7:30P he hit recovery. I was standing at the bus stop waiting for the bus back onto the Rock, with ShoeFly and the boys. It was awful.
I knew that I couldn't be there, but I had expected either the Professor or BigBear to be there, but in the end everyone chickened out. ShoeFly was mad about that... but I have faith in God, and I believe that in these times things happen the way they should...
Because it's odd... all of Poppy's other surgeries have wiped him out; the anaesthesia left him loopy for hours, he stayed in recovery longer. But take a leg, and within a few hours he was back in his room and coherent enough to call each one of us on our cell phones to tell us he was OK. And in an odd way, I think it was better. We all suffered much more than he did, which is ironic. I guess once he'd made up his mind to accept the surgery, he was resigned.
But it was awful. And when I got home and got in bed I cried some more.
The next morning, though, Thursday, something snapped. I could picture Poppy in his hospital room, could picture the stump, and I could see it all so clearly that I was able to accept the new reality. It was done, afterall. There was no going back; things would never ever be the same.
In addition, I'd gotten a Crackbook email from a high school friend.... she'd written that her father was on morphine and Percoset, and that most days he didn't know her. The docs told her and her family that his end was imminent. Another Crackbook friend, also from High School, wrote the Professor and I that she shed tears for the father who didn't know her, who had never bothered to know her. She couldn't cry over him or what happened to him... she had no relationship with him. And she cried because she didn't have a father to cry over.
And I realized I was blessed. Blessed that Poppy was still here, still determined to fight. That no matter how bad your reality is, there is always someone out there who's reality is worse. And however great things are for you, there is always someone who has it better. And so your best bet is to live your own life to the best of your ability, and take your lumps with grace and dignity, and move on. To be empathetic to those who suffer, no matter whether you think their suffering is greater or lesser than yours, and to be happy for those who are rejoicing because at some point, you will be rejoicing, too.
The Sun and I were both tired Thursday morning. Worn out. When I woke him for school he begged not to go... and when I relented he crawled back into his bunk and went back to sleep for another three hours.
On the train into the city, the Sun and I shared my iPod, set to "shuffle". About halfway in, Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry, Be Happy" came on. The Sun, who's head had been resting on my shoulder, looked up at me. "We need this right now" he said.
As we approached the hospital, the Fabulous sent me a text, asking how I was. We've been texting off and on... but I really appreciated hearing from him right at that moment, and his texts kept me company as we got closer. I looked at the Sun: "Are you OK?" I asked.
He started singing "Don't Worry, Be Happy".
But when we got to Poppy's room, it was exactly the way I'd seen it in my head. Poppy was a little sad, but on the whole, physically looked amazingly well.
About halfway through our visit, the PT came in; tiny, Asian, no-nonsense. She made Poppy sit up, she made him scoot toward the end of the bed. She showed him how to stand, holding on to the walker. She showed him exercises he could do to keep the circulation in his remaining left leg. She showed him leg raises for his right leg. She said she was impressed with his range of motion, and his general health, and told him she would recommend Acute Therapy. And she left.
Poppy, completely overwhelmed, began to doze. And for a minute I wondered how he was going to handle the mental change... and if he was going to be accepting of the work he was going to have to do.
Today, Friday, they discharged Poppy from the hospital, and sent him over to the Hospital Rehab. He'll have about 3 hours a day of OT and PT, and in 7-10 days he'll be home.
Which poses a problem; Poppy and BigBear live in a 5th floor walk up in a no-elevator building. Sixty-six steps. So our immediate dilemma is finding them another place to live. That is either on a very low floor or in an elevatored building.
All of my other problems still exist... all the other questions I've been pondering, all the other things that have been pissing me off about my life still exist. And no, I don't feel any better about them; it's just that they have taken a backseat for the moment.
But at the same time, I have been simply overwhelmed by love and support by folk in real life, and a whole lot of virtual support from folk on Crackbook. Some people have made a special attempt to check in on me almost daily... Gman, Nene, CNC and the Fabulous in particular. Nene means an awful lot... I guess because there's history. It's nice not to be forgotten just cuz you're not intimate anymore. I'm sad for me that there hasn't been anyone to crawl into bed with and cry on at the end of the day... but fuck it. I realized through this that there is, and always be, just me. Me and the kid. And the kid has been a brick. His big eyes speak volumes though he's said very little.... but he has been an enormous source of comfort. And amazingly, his father, "SD" has been wonderfully empathetic, and even made his own peace with Poppy by calling him.
It's been surreal. I kept trying to come back and write and it wasn't even that I haven't had anything to say, it's just that the days have flown.
So here we are... at the start of something completely different, yet as Poppy keeps saying, a continuation of what has gone before...