Resilience

Susan and Sophie drove off to pick up carryout. Look at us gamely gutting through our vacation. Resilience. I read a blog post comparing it to a coat hanger. When a coat hanger gets bent out of shape, you can bend it back, Heck, you can untwist it, fish your keys out of a locked car, and later, reshape it to hang up your shirt. It keeps plugging along, functional, worse for wear, sure, but still a coat hanger. It just looks like shite.

Delete coat hanger, insert vacation.

A couple of hours ago, we returned from Eli’s second trip to the emergency room in five days. Vacationing in Bethel, Maine he crashed his bike, fractured his pelvis. Today, now in Bar Harbor, he was simply ill. Eli’s stomach hurt since his accident. We blamed the opiates. Those things make me feel like crap. Upset stomach, uncontrolled sweating, shaking. After my appendectomy, they wrote me a script. No thanks, I said. I stuck with Tylenol. No wonder Eli felt so bad.

He stopped taking the opiates on Sunday. Susan and I stressed him out: “You took ANOTHER oxycodone?” But his stomach didn’t improve. Last night, Monday night, he started sinking. Long intervals in the bathroom. Increasing irritability. His stomach degenerated. He looked a little green.

Yesterday, we started the day on an upbeat note. We bought him a wheelchair so he could still enjoy vacationing with us. You can only gimp along on crutches so far. At the Wild Gardens of Acadia, we took turns pushing him along the narrow boardwalk of the mile-long nature trail. His initial apprehension gave way to the absurdity of the situation. We spent the whole time laughing.

After dinner, as we prepared to head out to watch the sunset from the top of Cadillac Mountain, it started. He needed convincing to come along. By this morning, he was vomiting.

I don’t know if all parents experience this feeling or if it’s just me because I make bad decisions: When Eli fractured his pelvis, my first thought was “I guess we’re going home early.” But then we didn’t. We just kept on vacationing, less active than planned, but we never slowed down. At times Eli struggled, but he soldiered on. Susan and I never suggested we should bail. We assumed we would continue, so we did. This morning, I began to wonder if we pushed him too hard. I wondered if it was just the fracture, or did something else happen to him in the crash that’s just showing up?

I called urgent care in the next town. I gave them the rundown: Bike crash, opiates, nausea, concerned about additional internal injuries… Can we come by?

“I’m sorry, sir, the doctor said you can’t come here.” I sat in silence waiting for an explanation. “I’m sorry sir.” She hung up.

Back to the E.R. As Eli laid in bed awaiting results from the blood test looking for a related infection or markers of internal bleeding, Eli said “I think I’m about done with vacation.”

The lab work showed nothing. “It’s just gastrointestinal. Maybe he picked something up at the hospital, but more likely, he ate something bad.” So Eli’s diagnosis: Unlucky.

Sophie and Susan should be back any second. A lobster roll for me, a fried fish sandwich for Susan, fried chicken for Sophie. Eli had pasta, pan-fried with butter, not yet well enough to eat bar food. He’s tough, but tired. Eli’s the coat hanger, mangled, bent somewhat into a shape resembling his old self, but clearly worse for wear. Possibly it’s time to head back home and rest.

25 thoughts on “Resilience

    • Yes, I’m certain appendicitis is one of the things that would show up on a blood test. That’s how I was diagnosed when I had it. So far this morning, he says he’s feeling better–but it comes and goes, so we’ll see.

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  1. Good grief, Jeff. This is awful! You all are not going to feel warmly toward Maine. I feel so bad for you and apologetic for our state. I’m so sorry. You all have been utterly determined coat hangers. I had envisioned you all swinging by Bangor on your way out in which I would get to meet you and the famous Eli, Sophie and Susan but I’m thinking that’s not in the cards. (Still, if something changes, let me know! It would be fun to meet you all!) I hope Eli feels better soon.

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    • A couple of weeks ago, I tried to find our conversation on this topic so I could see where you live. I couldn’t find it and then it slipped my mind. Bangor was actually where we needed to go to get the wheelchair so I’ve been there (at least the part with Harbor Freight). I think we’ll need to settle for proximity this time around. I feel like I’ve spent 80% of this vacation in a car or an emergency room.

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  2. noooo!! I should have caught up on all the posts. Glad there wasn’t anything funkier than a GI issue, and how weird for urgent care to decline your visit? Lobster roll sounds yummy – glad you all found a way to get a giggle out of the whole situation. You all will talk about this trip for the rest of your lives!

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    • Well, we wound up bailing out today. Vacation beat us. Staying halfway home in a Marriot. Just ate tasty tex-mex. Yes, I’m sure we’ll remember this one. Everyone still talks about the time I got my appendix out at the beach and that was 13 years ago.

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  3. An epic adventure! That’s how this will all play out when you gather as a family in ten, twenty years and remember (with laughs) this horrible “vacation.” My definition of an epic adventure is the trip that goes awry, yet you survive; no fun at the time, but great fodder for story telling later on.

    Sorry all the drama happened, but glad you’ve all survived and are headed home. Home, sweet home.

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    • I hope it offers fodder for stories later on. Right now it just seems like an incredibly expensive cluster_____. Although time as a family is never wasted so maybe it’s all fine.

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  4. Bravo for trying to carry on, and for knowing when it’s time to call it quits.
    Don’t believe all the bad hype about pain medications. Without fentynal I would have zero quality of life. I spent 3+ months bedridden when I didn’t have effective pain relief.

    I’m sure with some comfortable rest that Eli will be building his next project. Maybe transform the wheelchair for off-road/trail😉

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    • The house wasn’t well set up for a sick kid. One bathroom which Eli was in almost all waking hours and really crappy internet. He’s much happier at home (and of course his stomach is almost completely better). Now we have a big bottle of narcotics. I don’t know why they give so many of them. We’ll need to figure out how to get rid of them before someone decides to go the recreational route.

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  5. Since I subscribe to your blog I get an email when you write a new post but since I don’t have WP on my phone (and wouldn’t know my password to log in if I did download the app) I couldn’t comment when I read this last week sitting on the beach – but my original out loud comment went like this: “Oh noooo!” I’m sorry, Jeff. That really stinks. Eli’s diagnosis sounds about right. Unlucky. I hope he is feeling better and is adapting to life on crutches. Poor guy!
    Urgent care did that to me as well. They wouldn’t put stitches in Bobby’s cheek stating it was “too close to the eye.” When we made it to the ER the nurse said, “Let me guess. They said it was too close to the eye.” Gave a huge eye roll and showed us to a room. Our second trip happened at midnight for the tooth pain. He got pain pills and a penicillin which helped until he could be seen by his doctor. The insurance company refused to pay any part of the bill stating we should have gone to urgent care. I had the pain pills from the last time Bob had the same tooth pain. I didn’t feel right giving them to Bobby but $1500 later I’ll definitely think twice if I am ever in that spot again.
    Hopefully, you guys will get to do something vacation-y when the unlucky spell is over. And hopefully, Eli is feeling better soon.

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    • Yeah. I’m looking forward to that urgent care fight. The hospital thought it was because they don’t have a cat scan machine. I wish they said that to me. Seems weird to be turned away. We’ve talked about a few days at the beach later in the summer. Meanwhile I fell off my bike yesterday and had a shoulder subluxation. Hurts like #%*€.

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      • Dude! Hopefully that is the third thing for you guys and you are all done. No more Unlucky anything for the Canns. You guys are done with all that. Hope YOU are feeling better soon!

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      • I hope so too. Coaching starts next Tuesday and I’d really like to be able to ride. Eli got great news at the doctor today, he said he could start road riding in a week (depending on pain levels). The doctor was really optimistic.

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