Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Visit With Brother

I learned that my brother got off the clinical trial. He wasn't able to stay on it and get radiation or surgery at the same time. He wanted to stay on the trial to keep his tumors from growing as rapidly as they do when he isn't on the clinical trial's pill. But alas, this was not an option if he wanted to do something about the main tumor that is causing him a lot of pain. After I found this information out his GF called the family and encouraged us to make a visit... quickly!

I was on Spring Break from teaching at KD's school, so I had the free time to make the drive up to see him. He is an 8-10 hour drive away up in Northern CA. But JD couldn't go with me and the kids. Although JD was home he was still "on call" for work. They didn't need him for the majority of his rotation due to plane maintenance and co-workers getting surgery or out sick. He didn't have a date for when he was due back, so he had to just sit around at home and wait while I hopped in a car and left to see my dying brother. How sucky is that?! My Dad said he would drive us there, so thankfully I didn't have to do the long haul driving and I had company. My Step-Mother came along too. I get along okay with her, but we aren't very close. KD was cute with her during the trip though. She wanted to sit on her lap or brush her hair for her, or would ask her to take her to the bathroom. Kids are good to have around when making a difficult trip. They keep your mind on happier things.

The drive up was split into two parts, so the first night we stayed at a hotel mid way up and the second night we were at my brother's place. During the drive the kids did fine. In the hotel room I was a bit apprehensive about how things were going to go. KD hadn't been traveling like that since she was 6 months old (and now she is 3 and a half!). And baby AD I have only done over nights with him in a hotel. But I haven't done both kids, and myself, all sleeping in one room. I got a room with two double beds but didn't know if KD would sleep in hers alone in a strange hotel. AD slept just fine in his pack-n-play crib. KD I had to finally just shut all the lights off and get in bed with her to get her to settle down and sleep. She was homesick and didn't want to be alone, but I warned her that after she fell asleep I would be using the other bed to sleep in. She did fine once she was asleep.

When we finally arrived in my brother's town we went over for a visit. He lives in a 5th wheel trailer that belongs to his GF. He was in bed and in pain when we got there. During the 2 day visit he was either in his bed or in a chair in a reclined position. And moving from one spot to the other was painful for him. At one point he cried and then I cried. It was so hard to see him hurting like that.

That second night I was in a hotel room that had two rooms, one for my Dad and his wife and the other had two beds for me and KD, and then of course AD was in that room with us. I was tired from driving all day and then mentally drained after seeing my brother and KD was saying, "I wanna take a shower." I had given her a shower at the first hotel so she didn't need another one, plus it was getting late, and I was very tired, so I said, "NO, not tonight." AD was also ready to be fed and crying his eyes out. My Dad and his wife retired to their bedroom and then all hell broke loose. KD started whining and crying, basically throwing a tantrum about not getting to take a shower, and AD was crying and wanting me to pick him up. I was trying to get KD to get ready for bed and take her clothes off and use the potty while I made a bottle for AD. Anyways, this whole scene started escalating and I tore off KD's clothes while I yelled at her to use the potty and then spanking her twice on her bare bum while she cried and refused to do what I asked. Finally my Dad came out of his room, as I was in the kitchen making a bottle for the crying baby, and asked if everything was alright. I started crying and saying, "NO! It's not alright!" And he then proceeded to get KD to calm down for me. These are the moments that make me realize I need the medication I started taking and the moments that make me think I need my husband home! Thank God my Dad stepped in and helped calm us all down. He even said I was a good Mom and that I am doing better than I think I am. That was nice.

I am sure I was just stressed and tired etc from the travel. But I hate freaking out on my kid and spanking her in anger. I told my Dad that if anything like that starts to happen again to remind me about time-outs. What I should have done is told her she had to get ready for bed or she would get a time-out. There is no reason for her to be in a fit and for me to yell and spank her without any warning. (At this point I wasn't feeling the effects of my new meds and was starting a new dosage. Obviously, it wasn't working for me yet. I started another medication in addition to that new dosage and now seem to be feeling much better. JD left for work a couple days ago and I have been fine with the kids.)

Back to the visit... We were all shocked on the second day when my brother decided he wanted to go out to dinner with all of us! He made it through his meal and then had to go lay down in his GF's camper/ truck. But I am glad he made the effort. I am hoping that he finds something to help him with the main tumor and the pain SOON! Talks of hospice care and plans for cremation were topics of conversation between he and my Dad, not something I wanted to hear. I am so confused as to what I should feel. I feel like I want to mourn but then my brother isn't dead, but then I realize he is in the process of dying. Very strange emotions. I feel like I am about to cry at any moment, just push me a little bit over that line and I am going to be a blubbering fool.

When it was time to leave I wasn't even able to give my brother a hug, it hurts him to even be touched. But we did an "air hug" and said we loved each other. It was good visit, but difficult at the same time. He was sitting or lying down in pain most of the time, but he was able to talk to us and have some conversations with a clear head. That is one thing that I don't look forward to, the day he is in hospice care and he can't even talk because he is so drugged up. I told his GF that if she wanted to move him down near myself and my Dad that I wouldn't object. I don't want her to have to go through those end days by herself. And I don't want to have my brother dying and in a place where I am unable to see him as often as I want. I want to be able to sit by his bed and talk to him and encourage him, even if he isn't able to talk back. I want to be there holding his hand as he journeys from this life to the next. I would want my family to do that for me if the tables were turned.

Of course the morning of the last leg, driving back home, I found out JD had to go back to work. This news was horrible to me. #1 It meant he could have gone on this trip with us! #2 The moment I got back with the kids he was going to be packing and heading out the door! He needed to stay at a hotel by the airport because he had an early flight the next morning. When I got home JD suggested we all stay at the hotel with him. I hated the idea of another night in a hotel, but I didn't want to miss out on seeing my husband before he left. I agreed to go with the kids, but then KD decided she wanted to stay at her Grandma's house (JD's parents live two houses down from us). JD actually let her do that! I was shocked, but I also knew KD was ready to be in familiar surroundings, and the next morning JD would be leaving and I would be in a hotel room alone with both kids to get fed and ready again. So I didn't object to her sleeping over at Grandma's. But this whole leaving right when I get home from seeing my dying brother thing just sucked. And not going with me to be an emotional support while visiting my dying brother when he could have (even though he didn't know that at the time) also sucked.

Sometimes being a pilot's wife sucks! Although the time he was home has been great. And I am blessed to have him home like that, around 24/7 with me and the kids and no job to go to every morning. And he has been kept home from his last two rotations. The last time he only had to work the last week of his rotation. This time he has only one week as well, after that he has to go to recurrent training though. We are still hoping he can quit his job soon. But for now I'm still a pilot's wife. Loving the times he is home and helping out full-time, and hating the weeks he is gone and I'm doing it all alone. Even if I have the in-laws down the street and great neighbors no one can take the place of your husband. No one else can take that role or fill his shoes.


av8r's wife said...

There isn't enough room on here for all i have to say to you.....first, i am so sorry for all of this, and truly wish there was something more i could do for you. I do pray for you and your brother everyday and will continue to. I pray that soon your hubby will be home and that you will no longer be dealing with the pilots wife struggle of living in 2 separate countries, one i understand well! All i can tell you is that it is in Gods hands and he is faithful. Second, you are being far to hard on yourself. Yes, ideally we should not spank in anger...that being said there is nothing wrong with spanking and you need not beat yourself up over the incident, she will be just fine! Third, you my friend are doing an amazing job! You are handling the emotions of saying goodbye to your brother and watching him deal with so much pain while raising 2 children often on your own, and missing your best friend and husband all the while. Seriously, you are doing better than i would be. Being a fellow pilots wife i understand the sacrifices that often come with this job, and having your hubby so far away during such a difficult time is not ideal, but i stand in faith that this will all come together and you can get through this. I love you dear!

Rambling Pilot's wife said...

Thank you SO much Karen for keeping me and my family in your prayers so faithfully. And thank you for the encouraging words. I don't know how I am able to handle everything except to say it must be due to the strength God has given me to be able to do that. He has promised not to give us more than we can handle, and the Bible says "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." I stand on those words and cling to my faith, its what sustains me. I cannot live without going to my church's choir practice and worshiping on Sunday morning. That is my life line! Praise God I found that church!!

God bless you and yours xxoo