A day in the life

We are home from vacation and the kids started summer camp. This particular week, one child attends a camp in Cambridge and the other attends a camp in Newton. We live in Cambridge, and Newton is not far, but both camps are on the OPPOSITE end of the close side of town.

In addition, both camps start at 9 a.m.

I love logistical problems and this is how we solved this one.

7:40 a.m. Leave the house for an 8:00 drop-off for the Cambridge camp. We drive 20 minutes, park, then walk him to the building. Return to the car by 8:20.

8:20 a.m. Start the rush-hour, 50-minute drive to Newton. Drop off around 9:00 (sometimes 9:10).

9:00 a.m. Drive home, arriving around 9:40.

Basically, driving the kids to camp is a two-hour gig.

Their pick-ups are at 3:30 and 5:00, so I leave the house around 2:30 and make the loop in reverse, arriving home around 6 p.m.

I honestly don’t mind all the driving. It is only one week. Besides, it is what I am supposed to be doing. And I can do it! It feels like a dance.

However, even on my chemo holiday, health challenges interrupt my week. For example, on Monday, I had debilitating shoulder pain (that is now thankfully gone). And I have had a pain in my leg for the past three weeks, plus the pains in my abdomen. Though I am not fully functioning all the time, I can do a lot and try to maintain some degree of normalcy and routine for our kids.

My CT scan is scheduled for Friday and causes me to miss the end-of-camp shows. Bummer, but I think the kids will be okay. I called the hospital to ask them to scan my leg while they were scanning my chest, abs and pelvis.

“Come in immediately for an ultrasound. It might be a blood clot. I got you in for a 1:45 ultrasound. It will take 30 minutes, then the doctor will see you at 3:00. Be prepared to stay in case they find a blood clot.”

Life upended and I tried to stay calm. A 1:45 ultrasound works if they run on time. But three o’clock is right in the middle of my pick-up rounds. Plus, be prepared to stay? What does that mean for childcare when you have kids?

As I said, I love a good logistical challenge, but I couldn’t think straight and this threw me into a tailspin. I looked at the clock. It was almost noon. I didn’t have a lot of time to figure this out.

A friend in California offered suggestions via text messages, though I couldn’t see any solutions I liked. A few lucky friends happened to email me at the time and I complained to them. They offered to help but honestly, who can drop their plans at the last minute for a multi-hour, traffic-laden gig for kids who will be understandably upset about a sudden change and worried about their mom? I texted a neighbor to see if she could take at least one boy after camp, but there was still the pickup puzzle.

Eventually, I decided to scoop up the Newton camper on my way to the ultrasound (though it wasn’t exactly “on my way”) and take him with me. The au pair, who was out for the day, could be home in time to pick up the Cambridge camper at 5:00.

My son and I arrived 15 minutes late for the scan, and the folks at Dana Farber could not have been nicer. We were admitted right away, and the tech rubbed the gel on my leg.

As I lay on the table, my phone rang. It was the director of the Cambridge camp. Our son wasn’t feeling well and could we pick him up?

I thought I was calm, but I could again feel my life unravel as I called the au pair. No answer, so I left a message. Argh. Hopefully she was on the T (Boston subway), on her way home earlier than planned, but I didn’t know. As the tech slathered more gel on my leg and pressed down with the ultrasound probe, I took a deep breath and called another friend. Even though driving in Cambridge traffic is her own personal version of hell, she agreed to be on standby.

Just then, the au pair called. She had indeed been on the T when I rang, and was now almost home. She could pick up the Cambridge camper without delay.

The heavens opened, light appeared and angels sang.

About 10 minutes later, the tech told me that there was no blood clot.

And just like that, life returned to normal.

I would love to have no glitches in my life, especially no health glitches. I would love for the boys to have some consistency and to feel like they can rely on me, that I am there for them. I know that we are doing the best we can, and I am grateful to God for helping me through these moments, even when I forget to rely on that. Now, if I can just trust during that space between the moment when life turns upsidedown, and the moment it is righted again….

I hope that when you are in that blank space, between a problem arising and a solution arising, that you feel taken care of and can trust that it will all be okay.

Much love,
Marie