Friday was my first birthday without Daddy and man,… it started off SO. GOOD.
I opened presents from friends that were thoughtful and perfect. I cried happy tears and laughed all morning. From a special bangle bracelet with an incredibly meaningful symbol, to a set of magnets with photos of me and my Dad, to a bouquet of gorgeous yellow flowers… the gifts I received were unprecedented and perfect.
And the love sent my way – holy crap I FELT it. All morning I practically radiated with the positivity and energy directed at me from friends around the world. It was just unreal.
For the first time in a long time I felt lighthearted. I felt loved and hopeful and optimistic. I felt like the old me. And like the old me, I had plans for my birthday: Spa, Oysters, Mia, Oysters, and a Tattoo. In that order.
So Vince and I started our journey at an amazing spa in Melbourne called The Imperial Salon and Spa. It. was. legit.
We got set into robes and flippies, were given wine, received a 60 minute deep tissue massage that focused on areas we have been really holding our stress, and laughed the ENTIRE time. Our massage therapists were hysterical and we laughed more in that hour that I have in a week.
Afterward we snacked on cookies, drank water, basked in the afterglow of stress and toxin relief, and spent 30 minutes in a hydrotherapy pool. Basically it’s a big whirlpool tub with lots of awesome aromatherapy and bath salts – no clothing required. YAY!
Then we hit a seafood restaurant for lunch and I started to work on my goal of “eating as many oysters as will fit in me.”
So all in all – a pretty perfect birthday morning and afternoon with only a few moments of “holy shit I don’t have a Daddy…” sneaking in.
Then we swung by Kindred to see Mia.
Since Imperial Spa is halfway between Merritt Island and Kindred in Melbourne, and I hadn’t seen Mia in two days because my mere presence appears to stress her out, I wanted to pop in on my birthday and visit.
I had Vince with me so if she looked at all stressed, he could be the one to lie and tell her Daddy was okay. The plan was to get in, say hi, and get out.
But when I walked in, her nurse recognized me and said “Yay! I need you.” I was glowing and replied with “Yay? Oh I love being greeted with yay! YAY back!” (Even that sounded like the old me)
I quickly figured out that the nurse was happy to see me because she needed to give one of the family members some bad news.
Mia took a turn for the worse that morning. Her blood pressure plummeted along with the saturation rate of oxygen making it into her blood stream. Her cO2 levels were really high. They had to put her back up to 100% oxygen (she was down to 30%) and she was breathing so hard that they had to sedate and paralyze her.
Her doctor spoke with me and said she was in critical condition again. Kindred is for people who are ready to be weaned off of a vent. They aren’t equipped or prepared to deal with someone as critical as she has become again, so they were moving her to Holmes Regional in Melbourne within the hour.
So three weeks of progress all snapped back in a morning. And with it, my wonderful birthday snapped back to reality.
- Instead of going to get a tattoo to commemorate my Dad, I went back to the house to take care of the dogs.
- Instead of getting more oysters for dinner, I took a nap and woke up to have a full-on, defcom5 panic attack.
- Instead of spending quality time with Vince on the ONE day out of 11 that I will get to see him, I cried and panicked and freaked out, and he had to hold me together.
Eventually I took the next to the last of my anti-anxiety meds and calmed down enough to stop freaking out… but by that point the night was over and so was my birthday.
Mia was moved safely and is secure at Holmes now. Her oxygen is down to 50%, she’s received a few blood transfusions, and we are back to taking things one day at a time.
As for me, I don’t know what else to say. I’m still here. Taking care of things. Doing what needs to be done. Getting through this as best I can. And still missing Daddy with every breath.
To everyone who thought of me and sent me love – thank you SO much. It really worked for awhile there. I got a wonderful break from reality. Unfortunately I had to come back, and the reality waiting for me was, sadly, worse than the one I left.