Last year around this time I did a very brief review of my summer, in which I mentioned some of my major highlights. Sadly, this summer has really sucked. Like, big time.
There have been no beach days, no dinosaur adventures, and only a handful of River Valley escapades. Plus, I've barely seen the sun and am still the same pasty white shade that I was last February.
Here's the Cole's Notes version of the last four months.
My husband was out of town, I was 7 months pregnant, and I brought my mom in to the ER. This was hospital visit #1, where she remained for the next 3 1/2 weeks. I had no choice but to use my vacation time and take an early leave from work prior to my scheduled upcoming maternity leave.
My daughter performed on stage at her very first year-end music concert. We recorded the performance and played it for my mom in hospital.
We "celebrated" Mother's Day in the hospital.
My mom was released from hospital.
My mother-in-law arrived from New York to stay with us for the next month.
My sweet Wyatt was born via emergency C-section.
My sweet Marina turned four.
My mom fell ill and was again admitted to hospital. (Hospital stay #2.) Also on this day, her toilet tank broke and caused major water damage in her home. As in, walls had to be torn down, floors had to be removed, and ceilings were ripped apart in an effort to fix the place up. I'm still dealing with the insurance company and contractors, as renovations are still underway as I type this.
My husband turned 36. I honestly don't remember if we had a cake for him or not.
I had to leave my daughter's belated birthday party to rush to the hospital. A surgeon was called in to deal with my mom, who was becoming toxic and bordering on needing emergency surgery. She was not considered a good candidate for surgery, though, so a nasogastric tube was inserted instead. Luckily, this alternate procedure probably saved her life.
My mother-in-law went back to New York, and I was reminded of what it was like to deal with a newborn all on my own again.
The freezer portion of my mom's refrigerator broke down, leaving a huge mess on the floor from thawed-out food. Everything had to be thrown out. What a waste.
My sister-in-law and her husband, who was best man at our wedding, arrived for a visit with us from Phoenix. Together we discovered the sinfully wonderful dining experience that is Soda Jerks.
Being a chronic stress-eater, I gained 5 lbs. in the last month alone and decided to rejoin Weight Watchers. Yes, again.
My mom "celebrated" her 78th birthday in hospital. Also on this day, we paid a guy to come out to her house and fix her refrigerator freezer.
Doctors told us there was nothing more they could do for my mom, so they prematurely released her from hospital. She could not be left alone and so she came to stay at our house instead of her own.
Dehydrated and running a fever, my mom was again admitted to hospital (3rd time).
Battling stage 4 colon and lung cancer, my father-in-law suffered a seizure and a stroke while in hospital in upstate New York.
My daughter won the "Cavity Free" monthly draw at our dentist's office. No child has ever been more excited than this one to go on a $20 shopping spree at Toys 'R' Us with her well-deserved gift card.
Our day trip to the US Consulate in Calgary turned into the road trip from hell. First our 'check engine' light began flashing on our Highlander an hour into the trip. Then our family could have been killed during an asleep-at-the-wheel incident on the way back. And then we got a speeding ticket just outside of Ponoka. Things couldn't get any worse, could they?
My mom began having seizures while in hospital. No known cause.
My mom fell and hit her head. Two hours later, her behaviour completely changed to the point where she was no longer herself. She was hyper-paranoid and thought we were all trying to kill her. The psychiatrist thought it was dementia. The neurologist thought it was due to a series of mini strokes. Regular doctors thought it was due to the anti-seizure medication. We thought all of these doctors were just guessing at this point and really had no idea what they were doing.
We were told our Highlander needed $11,000 worth of repairs. Seriously.
We purchased a brand new Highlander. My daughter wasted no time in naming her Jasmine.
In an effort to actually do something just for me, I bit the bullet and signed up for a Running Room class again. (You know, to be done in all my spare time.) And, shortly thereafter, I received an email stating that the class had been cancelled and my money was being refunded. Doh. I can't win for trying.
My mom was released from hospital, essentially no better than when she went in. Her behaviour returned to normal by this point, but we still had more questions than answers. She was unable to care for herself, so Wyatt and I moved into her home to take care of her. My daughter was not pleased.
On the hottest day of the year so far, my mom's furnace had to be replaced because of the water damage from June. And they had to turn it on and let it run for a good 20 minutes to test it out. Today. On the hottest freakin' day of the year.
Fearing that my mom had become toxic again, she was rushed to hospital via ambulance. (Hospital stay #4.)
After having to cancel our chaperoning duties at my daughter's day care for her gymnastics field trip and her Kinsman spray park field trip, my husband and I (along with Wyatt) were actually able to volunteer on her trip to the Devonian Botanic Gardens. Day care field trips are the best.
Weighing just over 80 lbs., my mom was released from hospital and is now staying with us until her home is complete. And after a summer of torture and suffering, she's still no better than when she first fell ill in April. Plus, whether or not she can actually make it on her own again remains to be seen. A referral to a surgeon is still pending.
Our laptop broke down, possibly due to a virus. Geek Squad is still trying to fix it, but my fear is that all our family photos and videos from the last year will go down with the ship. I remain unimpressed by online lurkers who use their powers for evil instead of good.
So that's it so far. I'm trying to remain positive despite the stress and exhaustion I feel from having been through all these ups and downs the last few months. To say that I'm managing both my household and my mom's all right, all while acting as her sole caregiver, is being kind.
(I may or may not have fed my daughter ice cream for dinner at some point this summer. Ahem.)
I think it goes without saying that this is definitely NOT the way I had imagined my maternity leave to play out.
But, had I not had a baby in June, then I would have had to take an indefinite unpaid leave from work to deal with the gong show that is my personal life right now. And THAT would have been even more of a nightmare.
So at least I have that going for me.