Saturday morning I shot up out of my bed, my mouth completely dry, my chest felt tight, and I couldn’t get a deep breath. Immediately I grabbed my phone…7 am an entire 2 hours since I last woke up and I hadn’t missed a call or text, that must be a good sign. I knew I was Travis’ emergency contact, so if he went into surgery I’m sure someone would call, right? For sure if he didn’t make it through the night they would’ve called. I drank some water from my water bottle on the nightstand and focused on breathing. I kept telling myself “He made it through the night.” Not much later I shakily made the call “please pick-up” I kept repeating. After a few rings, I heard the most beautiful thing that morning “Hello?” from Travis! We chatted for a bit and he said he’d call me after speaking with the doctor. I allowed a small amount of relief to enter as I told the kids he was alright and started to get ready for the morning.
It all started the previous Thursday, Travis was having a mild fever which he couldn’t shake. My kids hadn’t been sick and he hadn’t left the house, so we knew it wasn’t a cold, the only logical explanation we could conclude was that it was his abscess, the enemy that won’t leave us alone. After 4 hours, and realizing our doctor’s office would close soon, we called and asked what we should do. They told us that for a normal person, they would say watch it, however with Travis’ history they wanted him to come into the Acute Care as quickly as possible. So, I called on Travis’ little army to get him to Salt Lake and to take care of my kids!
After an emotional drive, we made it to Huntsman and got him checked in. We find out his fever has finally gone away, probably due to the Tylenol, and as Travis begins telling the story to the doctor I convince myself he is fine and we will be home soon. They had already talked to our Oncologist and read our file, so they decided to do a blood test and CT scan.
About an hour later it took me a moment for the results of the scan to sink in, the abscess was back and they were admitting him. Devastation took over as we realized Travis’ fears were correct and he would stay the night at the hospital. As they pushed Travis down the hall in a wheelchair, I trailed behind with tears running down my cheeks. I knew I needed to be strong for Travis, but I just couldn’t keep the tears in. We got him settled in his room and he fell asleep, I sat and watched him sleep for just a couple minutes, kissed him goodbye and then cried most the way home. Seven years ago, I would’ve seen this as another step in getting him better, but I’m tired now, it’s been a long fight, and nothing ever truly gets better anymore, and so to me, the hospital was just stealing my time with my husband, and the abscess has caused sepsis so many times my fears were running through my head. My Mom told me the other day that fears live in the future and so I kept telling myself to just live in this moment, but it was still hard because at that moment Travis was not there…so fear was taking over.
I called Travis Friday morning, wanting to know what the doctors had said. He informed me he would have a drain placed and then probably be able to come home. The kids and I cleaned the house in excited anticipation for Travis’ return home. I hid in the bathroom often to cry because I felt so overwhelmed, but I kept a smile on my face as we cleaned.
Finally, I got a call from Travis letting me know the procedure didn’t go as well as planned, my heart sank and I asked what that meant. He said that the abscess and tumor are next to arteries, which were damaged, and so Travis needed to stay the night to see if the bleeding increased, especially after taking his blood thinners. He told me if they sent him home and the bleeding increased we wouldn’t get him to the hospital before he passed away, even keeping him there the situation was very dire. To attempt a repair on the arteries was dangerous, even more so since he has had radiation in that area, and does take blood thinners.
Despite or because of the circumstances Travis wanted our kids to come up and visit and so we rushed up there. The kids excitedly told them everything they had done and thought about recently and we had a great time. Then we explained to them what was happening and took a moment to say our goodbyes. Not just normal goodbyes, but a possible permanent goodbye. The heaviness of saying goodbye to Travis can’t be put into words. I felt like I was shattering my sweet little kids’ entire worlds I was taking away the innocence and safety, everything became so real and fragile and I felt awful for doing that to them. After the elevator shut with Travis on the other side, I wanted to fall to the ground and sob or run to the trash can and throw up, but I put a smile on my face and started chatting with the kids. I knew I needed to be their strong Mommy and so I was.
Friday night was just awful. I couldn’t sleep well, which shocked me after all the crying I had done. I would drift and wake up, constantly checking my phone until 7 am came and I could finally talk to Travis!
We did bring Travis home that Saturday, however, I don’t know if any of us will ever be the same. Sunday he was bleeding a lot and we said our goodbyes again on Monday which gave us all another level of unsettledness that I hope will go away with time. I think the kids in some ways can relax more knowing I’ll tell them what’s up, but I think my kids grew up too much over this last weekend. Things escalated so quickly, from okay to life threatening and I don’t know how to relax fully. After the doctors cleared Travis on Monday I finally got a deep breath and the tightness in my chest dissipated. But, the tension in my shoulders and the lump in my throat was still there. My Mom and sister did an amazing job of doing super fun things with my kids this week, which helped distract them and they are happy kids doing kid things! We are still focusing on today and we treasure those moments that we can just be near Travis, in whatever condition, he is here and we sure adore him!
I believe that every moment in our lives has a purpose. I know that God is concerned with the details of our lives and I know that even “the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matthew 10:30). Some days, it still feels like everything is falling apart, but I know that to God it’s not, if the hair of our heads are numbered then I would think he is even more anxiously engaged in the truly difficult parts of our lives. Things are happening according to his timing, under his direction, and there is a purpose. Today we are doing our best to fight one day at a time!
Copyright © Stacy Fredericks 2017, All rights reserved