Tag Archives: wilma

Strep, the “Bug”, Spinal Fusion, Mastectomy, Gallstones… Can we catch a break hear?

Over the weekend I got sick.  Not wanting the hassle of an ER visit I decided to hold off and just try to wait it out until Monday morning.  Well, on waking up I decided to get showered, shave my sideburns into perfect mutton chops (I’m a big Grover Cleveland fan), and gel my hair better than Frankie Valli I all so I could be ready to get into the doctor should they have an opening.  Around the time I was grabbing my towel my wife was talking on the phone.  Her mother, my dear mother-in-law Wilma, had apparently had a bad morning of pain and had – ready for this – driven herself to hospital.  We quickly decided that we would both go to drop the kids at school, then I would drop my wife off to be with her mom while I tried to get into my doctor.  I left her at the ER downtown and headed off to have my strep throat verified and receive a prescription.  I could tell you about it but I think it best at this point to include an email I sent to my dearest friend Dan.  He suggested I reblog it unedited.  The thing is we’re two guys.  We’re from New Jersey.  We’ve known each other a long time.  I’ll redact some parts for the pure of heart.

Dear Dan,
Ever have strep throat, Dan?  Have you ever experienced the disgusting hours of feeling like your throat had just been sliced up by a rusty razor blade – the kind you bought because it sounded like an awesome idea at the time to pay $20 for a razor with 7 blades and then your wife started using it on her legs and you were all “WTF?  Get your own damn razor so it just sits on a shelf in the shower because you won’t touch it anymore and she’s totally done with it after one use…”  Where was I?  This **** is nasty.  I mean, really, really nasty.  Yesterday the nurse said to me “Blood pressure is a little high.”  Actually she said “blood pressure’s a little hahh, sweetie.”  She was speaking a particular dialogue of Texan I refer to as Dixie Belle Bimbo.  Told her about my morning, dropping my wife off at the ER to check on her mom.  “Don’t you ****ing lecture me on blood pressure you ******.” I told her.  She looked at me a little confused.  “I’m sorry.  I confused you with another medical professional I used to know.”  She swabbed my throat and left me sitting there.  I had my choice of a magazines sitting in a basket.  Fourteen copies of Cosmo, one Popular Mechanics, and three of WebMD the Magazine.  Not a terrible magazine I just couldn’t search for fun stuff like strep.

The nurse practitioner came in.  She says “I understand you have high blood pressure.”  I shot her a death stare.  “Don’t even start with me.  I’m here because of my throat.”  “Well, first, let’s check you out.  She proceeded to listen to my lungs and my heart.  I think she was just feeling me up.  Still not sure why she had to check my *****.  When she finally got around to looking in my mouth she just said “Oh my God that’s the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen!”  Why thank you.  “I’m sorry,” she added, “It’s just…  I’ve never seen this many large pus pockets in one place before.”  I looked at her.  “You’ve obviously never been to DC.”  In the distance I could here a rimshot.  Then she sent me off with a prescription for a bottle of pills larger than an old brick phone.
Bottom line.  Don’t ever get this *****.
What am I looking for again?

What am I looking for again?

Now then, Wilma’s problem turned out to be a gallstone.  Do we forget that I recently had a spinal fusion and she recently had a double mastectomy after several months of chemo?  My wife spent last night at the hospital and I had a wonderful time with the kittens.  I woke up this morning already feeling better from those horse pills, got ’em dressed, and drove them off to school.  Well, Sonny Boy requested that “free day” that Mommy had promised him so after walking Baby Girl to the door, Sonny Boy and I headed back home.  We were in the middle of a History Channel show when I suddenly started to feel ill.  No, this wasn’t the strep making a nasty resurgence.  It was something different.  This, my friends was a stomach bug.  Just as I was getting up to head to the bathroom my wife and her mom returned home.  I passed off my son and found my way to my bed where I slept for the next six hours.

Spent the rest of the day just feeling queazy, not myself.  Good news, I didn’t have to take too many pain pills since I wasn’t in too much pain.  Bad news, I couldn’t have kept them down anyway.  Now at 11:22 at night I seem to be feeling a little better and I hope it’s all gone by the morning.
As Wilma was getting ready to leave tonight I went to help her to her car.  “Hun, can you grab that back off the floor for me.”  I grunted as I bent over.  We laughed.  “Oh, I’m sorry.”  “No,” I replied, “It’s OK.  Gotta get back to this sooner or later.  Hey, do you think you could help me change the trash bag so I can take it out to the curb?”  Again, we laughed.  She looked back as we were both struggling with a 13 gallon bag and said “We’re like a couple of broken toys here!”  We laughed some more.  “Except I’m probably more broken than you.”  Well, I’m not competitive but I had to reply “Listen lady, you may have lost your boobs and a gallbladder but I had my spine cut in half.  Twice!  And now I have strep and a damn flu!”
We’ll call it a draw.
Keep praying for us both.  As Wilma would say, “Love to all!”


Still watching Wilma’s doggy, Buddy…  Still having fun.

B-9… BINGO! (Benign)



I left the hospital around 11PM last night so I could relieve the babysitter (my wife’s cousin who had work the next morning).  Around an hour and a half later, my lovely wife, Mrs. Harvey, texted to tell me:

“She’s out of  surgery and doing OK and her lymph nodes are benign!”

Well there’s some happy news, right?  Please continue to pray for her recovery.  The next few weeks will probably be difficult.

Also, please share this post if you like.  Perhaps others will see it and share it and the prayers will spread around.  Thank you!


Celebrating Life

While we’re at it; a very happy birthday to everybody’s favorite cancer warrior, Wilma!  Many happy returns to the world’s greatest mother-in-law!  Please remember to keep her in your prayers.  The chemo’s done.  Surgery is up next.  God has been so good to us.



Sure, I’ll Just Whip Up a Couple of Drafts!

Tonight’s Zero to Hero challenge is a doozy.

Today’s assignment: look back over what you’ve published. What have you been most proud of? What are the common threads? Which have been most popular? Create and save at least two draft posts with ideas that come from those.

And why not?  It’s not like I have nothing else going on.  At least two draft posts…  Sure.  I’d be happy if I could finish the load of laundry I started last Wednesday.

No problem.  Two drafts.  Let me just get my kids to stop tap dancing on top of the piano.

Two drafts did you say?  The girl child just expressed an interest in gymnastics from the top of said piano.  But I’ll get down to those drafts.

When asked for a topic for either of these two drafts, my son just explained that I could write a story about his goldfish, Goldie (or Goldie II, Goldie Jr., Goldie Meir, and/or Goldie-Clone, take your pick).

Have I made my point?  In all seriousness, both of you (my faithful readers) are aware of my ongoing travails involving an actual draft post that has sat in my draft folder since late December 2012.  I’ll get to it.  I promise.  Right after I compose my next post.  It’s called “900 Ironically Metaphorical Simili-tastic Excuses to Block Yourself from Writing”.

In the meantime, here’s a shot of me and our favorite cancer-warrior, Wilma, as we celebrated her birthday a few days early with a trip to the Chickasaw casino up in Oklahoma.




What Family Means to Me, Part I

El Greco's Holy Family Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons (public domain)

El Greco’s Holy Family
Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons (public domain)

With today’s Feast of the Holy Family upon us, I feel compelled to take a moment to reflect on my own family and share my thoughts with you, my loyal and luscious readers.  But where to begin?…  I think the first place to start is by looking around and writing in the moment.

My In-Laws

Yesterday was a busy day.  I have already mentioned that I have the most wonderful mother-in-law a guy can have.  I mean that.  In absolute sincerity I cannot find a negative thing to say about her.  It’s not like I sit around trying to find bad things about the woman; but if I did I’d come up blank.  Regular readers will note that it has been a bumpy ride where Miss Wilma (MIL) is concerned.  Pardon the stream of consciousness but I didn’t sketch out an outline tonight.  I first met Wilma after my wife and I got engaged.  From the moment I encountered her I knew that this was a woman in whom could be found no guile.  We just clicked.  I could tell she knew how to enjoy a good meal with a good drink, good conversation, and good friends.  A few months later I traveled to Texas to visit the family.  My wife’s dad was out of town the whole time.  But when I walked into Wilma’s house, the work she had put into making me feel at once as welcome as the most honored of guests and just like one of her family, I truly felt at home with the woman.  I don’t know that I ever mentioned this to my wife but when I got home to New Jersey I sat down and wrote a letter to Wilma to thank her for her hospitality and to thank her for raising such a wonderful daughter.  I know so many couples who have in-law problems.  I am thankful not to be among them.  Wilma and I truly get along.  Over the past few years living in Texas I have experienced a lot of emotions I haven’t always liked.  But every time I have gotten down about not seeing the people I grew up with or over the lack of seasons, I always knew I could talk with Wilma and it was just like talking with my own Mom.

So when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in September two things happened to me.  The first was a brief twinge of fear and pain that I might lose this wonderful woman.  The second was a recognition that God had programmed me with a gift of being able to take care of the sick.  I don’t know why but I’ve always found it natural to clean up after/run errands for/hold the hand of a sick person.  People tell me I’m calming during these situations.  I’m just happy to do it — especially for the one’s I love.  When her hair fell out I could think of no other option but to shave my own head.  And when she came down with the flu last weekend (and I was recovering from similar symptoms) I was happy to be able to take her to the emergency room on Sunday night.  Needless to say that this Christmas week has been busy.  Wonderfully full, but busy.

Did I mention that I can also count on Wilma to be my daily mass partner?  Even if she’s already been to mass, if I ever wanted someone to come with me, she’d happily go again.  And we’d find some way to laugh at the bad voices of the other congregants’ singing.  This morning, knowing she still wasn’t 100% back to normal, I drove over to pick her up for the 11:15 mass at the local priory.  When I got there she mentioned how sad it was going to be that Vicky wouldn’t get to visit us this year.  Vicky is another reason I’m so glad to be a part of this family.  She’s my wife’s cousin and she lives in North Carolina.  She always visits us at Christmas.  Except, this year, Vicky’s dad is also being treated for cancer and they couldn’t make the trip.  Vicky was flying out today and our Christmas visit just wasn’t going to happen.  …Until Wilma came up with an idea.  I pulled up to her house and she got in the car.  “It’s a shame,” she said, “I was just talking to Vicky on the phone.  Seems like we oughta be able to go get her for our visit and then take her to the airport ourselves, right?”  She didn’t have to say any more.  Before I knew it Wilma, my son, and I were driving an hour north to get Miss Vicky.  You see, she goes out of her way to bring her family together.  That’s just one of the many reasons we all love her.

Be sure to stay tuned for Part II!


Jesus Is Our Shepherd

My three year-old daughter has a way — even more than her older brother — of saying some of the most outrageous and endearing things.

Earlier in the day my mother-in-law, Wilma (please, in your charity, continue to pray for her) and I decided that four days stuck in the house due to ice were four days too many.  Taking advantage of a mid-afternoon thaw we decided to take the kittens out.  Our itinerary included Chick-fil-a to celebrate the solemnity (Immaculate Conception) and then on to Toys-R-Us so the kids could “browse” a few things in preparation for writing their letters to Santa.  This latter activity took the form of creating a “wish list”.  More on that in a bit.  Let’s just say it involves bar code scanners and kids in a toy store.  Can you just imagine?

Random Chick-fil-a.  This one has a playground. Courtsey: Wikimedia Commons (pub. dom.)

Random Chick-fil-a. This one has a playground.
Courtsey: Wikimedia Commons (pub. dom.)

As we were driving to Chick-fil-a, a favorite spot of ours, Baby Girl and Sonny-Boy were chatting in a most grown-up sort of way in the back seat as Granny Wilma and I listened to Rush Limbaugh up front.  “Hey, Daddy?” piped up my daughter.  “Are we going to the Chick-fil-a with a playground?”  I explained to her that Chick-fil-a’s almost universally have playgrounds.  Wilma remarried that she had yet to see one without a playground.  To this bit of folly (and to prove my point) I tapped her on the shoulder and pointed out the passenger side window at the lone Chick-fil-a without a playground.  Amazing when things just pop into view and help prove your point.  We laughed and then resumed our earlier conversation.

A moment later my little princess, talking to her brother, started to raise her voice in frantic excitement, as though she was sharing a piece of life altering news.  “Hey, hey!  One time, I went to a McDonald’s…  [Wait for it.]

And it DIDN’t have a playground!

With that last line she actually exuded thorough disgust and disbelief.  She continued, “and it was a BIG McDonald’s.  Can you believe it?!”

Is it 1975?  No, it's stock photography!  Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons (pub. dom.)

Is it 1975? No, it’s stock photography! Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons (pub. dom.)

At the toy store I approached the service counter to inquire about something my wife had mentioned to me.  “Um, my wife told me that you guys had scanners that we could carry around the store.”  I didn’t have to say another word before they directed me to another service counter (this time actually a desk) to set me up with a wish list.  I only mention this because the lady who walked us over to this desk quickly returned to her position at the first counter leaving us with an older sales associate who resembled Methuselah in his younger years, say, around 500.  Not only was she tech-illiterate but she moved slower than molasses on Xanax.  We eventually got things sorted and proceeded to make our way around the store — my son with me and my daughter with my mother-in-law.  While I tried to steer the boy toward board games and telescopes, Wilma took a more hands-off approach.  When we got back to the car I discovered that my daughter’s wish list included a black Barbie and a Virgin of Guadalupe votive candle.  I wouldn’t have even thought they carried them at Toys-R-Us.

The Good Shepherd as depicted in stained glass, Church of St. Brendan the Navigator, Cork, Ireland Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons (pub. dom.)

The Good Shepherd as depicted in stained glass, Church of St. Brendan the Navigator, Cork, Ireland
Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons (pub. dom.)

After an adventurous drive home that included ice, ice, and more ice, our evening progressed as usual and then came time to put the little tikes to bed.  As I was giving my daughter a kiss and signing a cross on her forehead I asked her to pray for a particular intention of mine.  “Sweetheart, can you ask Jesus” such and such?  Came the reply, “Daddy, Jesus is our Shepherd,” with an ironical sheepish grin and an accompanying bleat for a laugh.  “Yes, baby, and we are His sheep.”  I was just about to leave the darkened room and let her drift off to sleep when she continued, “but sheep live on a farm and we live in houses.”  A round a laughter and we’re through for the day.

Love that little girl!