Monday, July 29, 2013

The long drive home

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Once the decision had been made that Gery needed to come to Pittsburgh (again, something we were both happy about because we got to go home), they moved pretty quickly in releasing him from the hospital, giving me prescriptions to fill and phone numbers to call, and sending us on our way.

The friends who had picked Sarah up from me right after Gery seized came and visited, brought us breakfast and me some sinfully delicious sweet coffee concoction that did a lot to perk me up and restore my sense of balance ("When in doubt, have dessert," is a pretty good description of my life's philosophy), and made me promise to keep them updated.  My brothers brought Sarah to the outside of the hospital with perfect timing to keep her from seeing her daddy in the hospital, because at that point I was still concerned with her not knowing too much.  And we hit the road for a drive I made every other weekend for 3 years, then monthly for the next 5 years, and only recently was able to do again.  Erie to Eighty Four.  We were going directly to Gery's parents' house so that they could see and touch him and know he was okay, and so we could talk about the plans from here.  I knew that of all the things that would come next, I could not do any of it on my own, and that I didn't have to.

But I cried after Gery and Sarah fell asleep.  I cried from Edinboro to the split (and only those of us who have made this drive know what I mean - it's about an hour and a half).  Big silent tears rolling down my face as I thought about the possible outcomes.  None of them were good.  While the neurosurgeon in Erie had said the tumor was "on" Gery's brain and led Gery to believe it was between his dura mater and his skull, I had googled "hemangipericytoma" and the name of the neurosurgeon he'd been referred to. The neurosurgeon was the chief of neuro for all of UPMC, and the tumor was rare and not much was known about it.  And it was in the center of his brain according to the MRI images we'd been shown, not between his skull and dura mater.  But we were in the car, heading home. 

Later I would know that his anti-seizure medication levels were subclinical, meaning he could have had another seizure at any time.  Later I would understand that I had been given just enough information that if he were to have another emergency, I would be able to make the first responders understand that he was medically fragile.  Later I would be angry that I had been put in the position of being responsible for things I didn't understand yet.  But at that moment, I was just sad and scared, and determined that I would do whatever he needed me to do.  I would be whomever he needed me to be. 

And then he woke up and he wanted to know how much longer.  What?  How could he not know this?  He went to college in Erie and he made the drive just as often as I had, and since my family was there and his was in Eighty Four, we'd made this drive together many, many times.  How could he not know we were just 45 minutes from his parents' house?  He was the one who knew every sign and landmark in every place he'd ever been.  He was the one with the map of the world in his head.  I need GPS, but Gery knew every place and how to get home from there. 

I said, "45 minutes," and he went back to sleep, and he didn't wake up until we were on his parents' road. 

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