Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Best Laid Plans of Writer Moms--Or Why My Characters Had to Wait Another Day

Living the life of a writer mom is never dull, and often crazed. Why? Our kids inform our lives, providing us with reams of writing ideas. Yet, finding the uninterrupted time to breath life into those stories is damned near impossible some days.

Take yesterday, for example. E had an appointment with a new doctor. The appointment was necessary because we've been limping along without a formal neurologist for quite some time.

To be honest, we probably would have limped along even longer if E's opthomalogist hadn't noticed something odd about E's behavior during a routine visit not too long ago.

"Mom, how long has E been doing that?" Dr. D asked after chatting with E about how sophomore year was going.

"Doing what?" I asked, unable to see what she was driving at.

"Stopping in the middle of a conversation like that?"

To me, the behavior was part of E's lexicon. Ever since the aneurysm rupture, she's routinely stopped in the middle of stories and sentences to find a word or thought or to start over again. Of late, the pauses had become more prolonged, but I chalked them up to E's most recent illness, and the fact that she was still catching up on her sleep.

The doctor suggested that maybe those pauses were something more serious. Seizures.

After getting reassurances that the suspected type of seizures didn't require emergency care, I wasted no time finding a neurologist and making an appointment for the next available time.

As long as the physician didn't order any tests immediately following E's appointment, my plan afterward was to return E to school and zip back home in time to sit butt in chair for a good three hours of writing and work time before meeting the bus.

The universe had other plans.

E's appointment was at 9 with a promised 8:45 arrival to allow enough time fill out all the necessary paperwork. The ride was 40 minutes on a good day. I knew ahead of time that the tollway was under construction, so I took a short cut. Unfortunately, the short cut took twice as long.

An hour and a half after leaving the house, we pulled up to the hospital. It was under construction, and signage was so confusing that I swear--and this is no lie--that at one intersection, the arrows to the entrance we were looking for pointed in opposite directions.

This wouldn't have been an issue if we weren't running so late. By the time we pulled up to the Women's and Children's Pavilion entrance, we had less than five minutes to unload the service dog and our gear, and find the clinic so we'd be on time for the actual appointment.

Locking my keys in the car in my rush to unload E and Jewel was the piece de resistance. I stared at the keys with disbelief.

The doctor's office policy clearly states that anyone later than 15 minutes must reschedule his or her appointment. I've wasted enough time waiting for doctors that I truly appreciate a policy like this one. Unfortunately, here I was, needing to hear if my fears about my daughter were true. And I was about to be turned away and forced to wait another six weeks for a new patient appointment to open up.

The valet took pity on me. Rather than making me wait for hospital security to arrive and attempt to unlock the car, he let me leave it in the unloading zone, and promised to call me on my cell if they ran into problems freeing my keys.

Hospital security worked its magic and moved the car without disrupting our appointment. The physician, like the majority of Children's Hospital specialists we've worked with, was knowledgable, thorough, and willing to spend the time needed to educate me, and calm me down. Yes, he confirmed Dr. D's fear, and mine. E's behavior is consistent with seizures. Further testing must be done before a definite diagnosis can be made, and treatment can be as simple as tweaking her existing medication.

Long story short, by the time we got home yesterday, I had little time or energy left for writing. But I don't consider the day a bust.

Thanks to our journey there and back again, my muse has plenty of fodder to work with for future stories, and I came away with a plan for E, one we hope will provide workable answers and a path forward in the near future.


Carol B. said...

You just can't make this stuff up. Hoping things go smoothly for E.

Kim Winters said...

No kidding. On crazed days like that one it's not unusual for it all to feel a bit surreal. Thanks for the well wishes, by the way. We'll take all the good vibes and prayers we can get.