So, Trillian came through the root canal just fine.  The whole day yesterday was a surreal experience.

Here I am, sitting in the lobby, and in between thought sessions about how I was going to shuffle money around for all these big checks I was writing, I fretted a whole lot.

I worried that Trillian would come out all swollen, maybe even bleeding, and most of all very angry for making her go through all of this without warning.  I felt a huge amount of empathy and foreboding.

She came out into the lobby after the root canal…laughing.

I almost did a double-take.  She wasn’t swollen or bleeding, or even in a lot of pain.  Instead, she was enthralled with the fact that she couldn’t feel half of her face.

She asked her brother to poke her in the jaw (I stopped him).  She asked for a drink of water so she could enjoy the fact that she couldn’t hold it in.  She grabbed her lip and moved it in all kinds of directions, laughing the whole time.   She was just short of manic, and giggly.

On the way home, she informed me that, yes the needle did hurt – a lot.  And they had to give her three shots of “antiseptic”, as she kept calling it.  She did not enjoy that at all.  But to her, it was worth it to know the novelty of being completely numb in one part of her body.  That, and seeing the smoke and dust fly as her tooth was drilled, and still not feel it.

I don’t know why she enjoyed it, but she did.

Then, the anaesthetic wore off.  At that point, she ceased to be having fun.  Luckily, they had prescribed her Tylenol with codeine, so that took the edge off a little.

Through it all, even when the fun turned to pain, Trillian was good natured about the whole thing.  She was so brave, I was at a loss for words. 

It’s funny – I see so much of Lintilla and me in the kids.  It’s neat to point to this attribute or that and say, “that’s just like me”, or “that’s just like her mother”. 

However, what’s far cooler is when you see something in your child that is totally unique; it doesn’t seem to have come from environment, nor heredity. 

These traits are simply gifts from God; they brighten otherwise gloomy days with sweet surprise.

‘Brace’ Yourselves

We had the first of three dentist/orthodontist/endodontist appointments for the kids today.  The news on Zaphod took me aback a bit.

His mouth is so crowded, his teeth are coming in at such angles – they will have to take four teeth (two top, two bottom) before they can even begin straightening him out.  As most of you who have been through this before, the “straightening” out part can take up to two years or more.

They want to take four perfectly good adult teeth out of his mouth. 

What’s bad about it is that we really don’t have much of a choice.  This isn’t some vanity thing – his teeth are literally destroying one another by the angles they are coming in.

The cost is a little bit of a concern, (Disney World might now be in jeopardy), but what I’m most worried about is Zaphod.  He was already quite worried about having to have braces; now, the thought of multiple extractions is scaring him to death.  And I don’t know how to make it any less terrifying for him.

The only saving grace is that we have an appointment in two weeks (after school, thank goodness) in which they will make really cool computer models of what Zaphod’s mouth will look like when they are all done.  That’s the only thing he’s looking forward to out of all this.

Next, we go to the endodontist to see if they can save one of Trillian’s teeth (which is quite cracked).  Then, back to the dentist for a sealing.

I’m going to need a drink before this day is over (so will Zaphod).

Update The hits just keep coming. Trillian is getting a root canal at this very moment. Lovely. The only good news, this cancels the need for the 3rd appointment (today at least). When they asked if I wanted to do it today, I thought it best to get it over with before she had a long time to stew about it.

A Crazy Week – In Other Words, Normal

This will be long, but it HAS been a while.

It has been quite a week.

We managed to over-schedule ourselves again; we have a hard time saying ‘no’, and the things we signed up for, individually, are no big deal.  But together, they just about killed us earlier this week.

Of course, I’m doing the blog-a-thon, and I’ve been scrambling this week to put together enough posts to meet the required 24.

This is VBS week at church.  There are a few ‘big things’ our church’s children’s ministry does throughout the year, and this is one of them.  Lintilla and I have become associated with the 4th and 5th grade kids (we’ll be teaching a new group on Wednesday nights next year), and we volunteered to shepherd these kids through VBS.

This group of kids is incredibly bright, and problematic at the same time.  They are 95% boys.  A good number are ADHD (or at least they act that way), and their age means that normal VBS activities are too childish for them.  So, we adopted a curriculum that takes them out of the normal VBS activities, and involves them in “service” – little mini-missions (More on that later).

So, this past weekend, we had family activities planned (some of them fun!); that meant that household chores had to be put off.  Monday and Tuesday, I worked my butt off getting the house clean, doing the laundry, getting groceries, mowing the lawn.  I knew that starting Wednesday, there would be no time for any of that.  Our days, through Saturday, would be packed morning-to-bedtime.

And then came Wednesday.

After work, Lintilla and I had to meet with her doctor (the urologist this time).  A few weeks earlier, the oncologist had found a “spot” on her kidney.  We weren’t sure what it was, so we kept quiet about it.  But I had a good idea what to expect when the doctor asked me to come in with Lintilla for the consultation.

The doctor took forever to see us (don’t get me started about that), so we were already running late.  She told us that Lintilla had a small tumor – something called Renal Cell Carcinoma.  It wasn’t related to the tumor she had last year.

There is a surgery to remove it, that involves cameras, robotics, and all kinds of high-tech stuff, and it is 93% effective (the tumor does not return).  The doctor does not want to perform the surgery right now (neither do we).  She wants to look at it again in Aug/Sep, and, in her words, “the tumor will tell us what to do.”  If it has grown, we’ll schedule surgery soon thereafter.  If not, we’ll wait till early next year, because she just had another major surgery this past December, and I’d rather not her have to go through two painful Christmases in a row.

Both of us are just a little weary right now.  So, if we can wait, and no harm come of it, we’ll wait.

So, in the middle of the consult, Lintilla notices it’s after 5, and I have to pick up the kids in Bellevue at 5:30, or they’ll get taken back to Camp Renaissance in Dickson and I’ll have to pay a fortune.  So, I rush out to Bellevue, and barely make it in time. (One thing I learned delivering pizzas – driving smart routes is infinitely more useful than driving fast).

The kids are now upset that I can’t feed them – I have to take them directly to VBS at church.  We do get there about 5 minutes before the start of VBS, and wolf down some food the director generously saved for us, then get to the proceedings.

I can’t begin to tell you how awfully the children (all of them, not just mine) behaved.  The first night of VBS, in this curriculum, is supposed to be a time of learning just what service is.  But there are no activities, and I think this was a mistake.  It was simply chaos.  We never really got them under control, and Lintilla at one point lost her temper and yelled at them (fun VBS, huh?)

Then we had to stick around and make sure every kid (in all levels) left with a parent.  We got home at 9 and crashed, exhausted.

Then yesterday, things started to turn.  Work, for me has actually been light this week, so at least I have that going for me.  Lintilla’s boss let her shift some patients around so she could leave early yesterday and today and have unwind time before VBS.

For VBS, we took the kids to a nursing home to serve ice cream and cookies and visit.  Y’all – it was such a turnaround, it was just incredible.  To see these kids – the ones who had been totally incorrigible the day before – display a warmth and tenderness toward Alzheimer’s patients, well, it brought a tear to my eye.  I’ve dealt with Alzheimer’s patients before; many times they can’t speak back, but the look in their eyes tells you how they feel.

They were beaming.  Perhaps the presence of the children kindled feelings for their own kids and grandkids.  It was quite a sight to see.

Today, I am somewhat more at peace.  Plugging into that awesome love of God will do that.  Yes, there will be upheaval in the coming months, but we’ve become old pros at living through upheaval.  And we have an incredible network of friends who are eager and willing to help. 

Having a spouse go through cancer surgery is like single parenthood – plus .  You have the short-term pressures of single-parenthood (the household still has to be run), plus a spouse that needs looking after, along with the added worry of navigating our archaic health insurance system.  It can be a lot of worry.

But, Jesus says “Do not worry”, so, dadgummit, I will not worry.  It’s going to be all right.  It’s going to be better than all right.

Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.  He will turn our sorrow into dance.  The words of my favorite Psalm are always there to comfort.  Soon, I’ll be dancing a jig.

I do not know, specifically, how we will get through all of this, but I know we will get through it.  I don’t *believe* it, I *know* it.

Lintilla, as usual, has a great attitude about all of this.  She prefers to deal with things by diving into distracting activities, so that’s what we’re doing. (My only regret is that we haven’t had time to sit, absorb, and talk about what all of this means) 

Tonight, we take the VBS kids to cook and serve dinner for the folks at the Ronald McDonald house.  Now that they are getting this service thing down, I have faith that it will go well.  I will have my eyes open, looking for God. 

I also have some stuff going on at work that might be very, very good.  Do I dare summon up the courage to switch departments and start all over again at my age?  We’ll see.

I know, I know.  It would be much better if I posted short, one subject posts every day instead on one giant post every couple of weeks.  What can I say?  I’ve been BUSY.

Please Remember My Friend

My good friend Mark Mills (the most talented man I know) is having surgery this morning to treat cancer. Mark comments here as “Warrior”. Please keep him in your prayers, especially today around 11:00. We already know he’ll be all right and that God is in charge – communal prayer is just icing on the cake.

He’s got a great attitude about this – some of the jokes flying around in emails amongst X-Alt members made me laugh so hard I almost got in trouble at work.

Of course, we pray that they will get all of the cancer (the prognosis is VERY good), but also, he’s going to have a rough recovery time. Please keep his wife Barbara in your thoughts as well – she’s got a rough road ahead of her.

God is good – all the time.

Menopause – The Musical Coming To Nashville in April

Menopause, The Musical is coming to Nashville in April.  My wife has already made me promise to buy her tickets.  Looks like fun, but this is one of those things where any men who attend get funny stares.

So, why don’t we get some blogger women to attend together?  Hmmmm?

And, I may still go.  It might be a funny date night.

I Did What?

I used to really ride Patrick Kennedy about his Ambien-induced accident a few years ago. Based on family history, I assumed he was driving drunk and had the Capitol Police cover up for him.

As of this morning, I can tell you I believe his story, 100%.

It all stated a few days ago when Southern Beal posted this cute but annoying post.  My wife overheard the irresistable song, and asked for the link.  I sent it to her, and she came to me later that day and asked me to make it her ringtone.

Now, I just don’t believe in paying that big “V” wireless company everytime I want to change ringtones, so a couple of years ago, I found a work-around which involves sending a message with a sound attachment to your phone.  With the big “V” company, you have to do it a certain way, or it won’t give you the option of making that sound your ringtone.

Anyway, I found a ringtone version of that oh-so-cutesy song, and last night I sent it to her phone.  I knew it would be a while, because I didn’t convert the sound file to a lower bitrate.

So I waited.  And waited.  And then it was time for bed.

I told Lintilla to put the phone by the bed, and if the file arrived before my Ambien kicked in, I’d take care of the technical parts.  I took my Ambien, and went to sleep.

This morning I called her to tell her I’d install the ringtone, and she answered saying that her co-worker really enjoyed her new ringtone.

“It’s installed?”, I asked.

“Of course it is, you did it.”

“Last night?”

“Yes.  I handed you the phone, and you made the song my ringtone.”

Folks, I have absolutely no recollection of doing this.  Not even a sleepy, hazy memory.  I do not remember it at all. 

I don’t know if you know what it’s like to have people tell you about things you did the night before that you don’t remember (no matter how drunk I got in my 20’s, I always remembered it).

This is freaky-deaky.

Praise The Lord!

Lintilla goes back to work Tuesday.  She’s restricted to light office duty, and she can’t do her normal job till March.  But, she’s still recovering well, and right on schedule. 

It’s a good thing, too, and not just for the money.  Lintilla has been going stir crazy, even resorting to watching various “judge” shows.  HGTV and Food Network?  Those are cool.  But, Judge BobJoeFrankWhatsHisName?  What joy can anyone possibly get from watching a faux authority figure dress down an idiot?  Don’t answer that.

Anyway, soon, our long nightmare will be over.  I am so happy for her.