We’re now officially four days out from Nugget’s kidney surgery and I’m doing exactly what any mother in my situation would be doing, buying wine. But fret not, it’s strictly medicinal. Twenty years ago I knew the kind of people that could deliver a Valium cocktail to your door in situations like this but I’m old now and a Valium cocktail would put me to sleep until November. With age comes wisdom and wine works just fine for the old and wise. I’m really not just buying wine, I’m buying groceries too and as some rude ass old man in the store pointed out this morning, I’m buying a lot. “Wow, that’s a hell of a lot of groceries huh? Must have a lot of mouths to feed. Wow.” Yes old man Hoosier, I might be overbuying, but I’m nesting. What of it? I am nesting like a damn boss!
It makes sense because nesting-aka-mothering, is what I excel at. Oh trust me, ten years ago I couldn’t mother a damn squirrel but thanks to doing time in Turkey where I was forced to develop my skills as a hard-core Turkish housewife, I can now mother the hell out of someone and make everything better before the first tear even falls. I’ll whip up a layer cake from scratch, press your pillowcases to a crisp perfection (Insane I know, but that was my mother-in-law’s thing and she taught me well.), clean your floors so you can eat off them and make it look like our lord and savior Martha Stewart was the last person to make your bed. Oh, I can mother. Since in this situation, I can’t take the Nugget’s place on the surgery table, I can’t perform the surgery and I can’t kiss that boo-boo all better, I damn well better mother the hell out of him.
I’ve got a house full of groceries, cookies in the oven and I’m on my 4th load of laundry today but still I’m nervous, but it’s justified. From the time I found out about his kidney problem when I was five months pregnant, they always said that surgery was the worst-case scenario. In those years since then I’ve worried that with any high fever or after every ultrasound or renal scan we would be facing the worst-case scenario. Every time I’d leave one of our appointments I’d call the Turk and tell him we’d “dodged the bullet.” Ok, the first time I had to backtrack and explain what that meant as English idioms aren’t his thing, but once he got it, that was our code. There were even a few appointments in there when I got to tell him that not only had we dodged the bullet, but that things might be looking good. We relaxed. We could breathe. Maybe, just maybe this little guy who’d gone through so much wouldn’t have to go through any more.
In June, as we were in the midst of moving into a new house, he had a fever that just wouldn’t go away. It culminated with a fever that spiked so high, so fast that he passed out and I’m pretty sure that moment took at least 5 years off my life. I did the only thing I could think to do, just what they’d told the Turk to do with me when I was pregnant with a high fever in Turkey – I stripped him down and stood with him in the shower under “deniz-gibi su” – water like the sea. He finally came around and the fever broke. But I sat up and held him all night long, scared to put him down, terrified the fever would return. The next morning it was back so we rushed to the closest children’s ER only to be told it was “just a UTI.” The ER didn’t call his nephrologist though. The one guy who needed that information never got it or things would have been handled differently. For a kid like Nugget, there is no such thing as “just a UTI.” A few days later, it all happened again and this time, I called the nephrologist and he sent us immediately to his ER. After countless tests they couldn’t really come to any conclusion but all signs said it was time for more intense testing on that kidney.
A few weeks later he had his 4th renal scan. With an IV and a catheter, he needed to remain completely still while they pushed radioactive liquid through his little system for however long it would take for his kidneys to totally drain, usually about 45 minutes. Anyone who has ever met a two-year old knows that remaining still is not an option so Nugget had to be taped to down. The first scans were rough but he was tiny and easily distracted. Now, he was two and a very, very wild two at that. The Turk had the Ipad tuned to a dog movie, that kid loves him some doggies. I was on head-patting, sweat-wiping, Twinkle-Twinkle-singing, paci-duty and Big Bro was armed with an arsenal of Elmos. We were a Nugget entertaining sideshow but the Nugget was not amused. He proceeded to spend the entire 55 minutes screaming like an angry Turk preparing to wage jihad. I’m pretty sure Homeland Security was called by a nervous Hoosier in the waiting area, but I have no proof. He screamed through the entire test but we made it through. Unfortunately after four of these tests I knew what I was looking for and I could tell that his jacked-up kidney hadn’t drained. The nurse reassured me that this sometimes occurs but moms know and I knew we weren’t going to dodge the bullet any more. We were likely looking at the worst-case scenario.
A week later our bespeckled little doctor in his charming bow tie told us it was time. He patted Nugget’s leg, looked right into my nervous-mom eyes and said, “We tried. We gave it time but it’s not going to fix itself and we can’t wait any more.” Maybe because of my super-mom Spidey sense I knew it was coming so I wasn’t totally freaked. I didn’t even freak when he told me about the four-inch incision, the stent, the kidney draining out his side or even the whole camera up his man-hoo-hoo to find the blockage part. (I think that last part didn’t freak me out only because I don’t personally own a man-hoo-hoo. Whooo.) When did I freak out? When I had to call the Turk and tell him we didn’t dodge the bullet this time.
Lots of anxiety has filled the past six-weeks to get us to this point. We had to make the decision for me to take an extended period of time off work to care for the Nugget. Then we had to figure out how in the hell we could afford for me to take time off. PS – we totally can’t afford it but sometimes as the All-Knowing Tim Gunn would say, “You just have to make it work.” (Oh, and if in coming weeks you happen to spot me on a nearby corner waving a cup, holding a cardboard sign declaring my hardship, please, give generously. Thanks.) We had to prepare ourselves and above all else, we had to make sure that Big Bro wasn’t getting the shaft, which is often the case when there’s a little guy in the house with big issues. Thankfully, he’s the most awesome big brother in the universe so we’re all good.
So you see, there is no reason to secure me a spot in Betty Ford. (Though I hear it’s fab.) My wine buying is justified, as is my nesting. It’s been a very long summer and it’s time for us to fight our way through the worst-case scenario. It’s time for me to Martha these next few days away and make sure that everything is clean, pressed and totally prepared. It’s time to put away all other petty concerns and mother the hell out of my Nugget. Above all else, it’s time for some wine.