Snowpooling

I’ve been waiting two years for someone from our town to go to The Kid’s college. Why, you ask? To ride-share, of course.

I mean, it’s not that I mind the six hour round-trip drive. Typically, I love to drive. I always have. It’s just that that trip can be a bit trying on, well, everything. From my ankles to the ends of my hair.

Ok, so my hair doesn’t really hurt. But you get the picture.

And I pretty much do it alone. Since DH has lost most of the sight in his left eye, he has terrible night vision and really can’t, shouldn’t, drive once the moon comes out. And most of the time I’m coming back from getting her from school when it’s dark.

When I found out a girl from our town — whose mother is a friend of mine — was going to be going to The Kid’s school this year, I jumped up and down for joy so hard I peed my pants a little.

Someone to carpool with. Finally.

I realize it won’t always work out with schedules, etc. But it will work out sometimes. Even if just once or twice. And that is good enough for me.

Luckily, this Thanksgiving is one of the times it worked out. My friend was doing the retrieving, and I am doing the returning.

Except my friend kinda got the short end of the stick. For her retrieval, “they” were predicting a snowstorm. But hey, she’s tough. I knew it wouldn’t ruffle her feathers much. Besides, it wasn’t going to be all that bad. We’ve had worse.

Except this turned out to be one of the craziest snowstorms we’ve had in a long time, this early in the season.

The three-hour drive took exactly twelve. Door-to-door. No lie.

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Smooth sailing at 1.5 hours. Little did they know what lurked just ahead. Makes you want to scream at the screen, “don’t go in there, DON’T GO IN THERE!”

The storm they were predicting came on us strong and fast. No one was really expecting the velocity of which the snow and ice bore down in these parts. I don’t believe anyone, including the highway department, was prepared.

Roads quickly turned to sheets of ice. From what I was hearing, all the highways and byways pretty much from Virginia to Ohio to Connecticut transformed into “Disney on Ice” within minutes. With Cinderella being played by the Snow Miser.

Before she knew it, my poor friend, along with her passengers, were at a standstill.

A more-than-five-hour standstill.

Stuck. With thousands of other commuters. On the roadway to a major bridge. One that had shut down due to multiple accidents.

There was nowhere to go. Nothing to do. But sit. And sit. And sit some more.

As the mom of one of the occupants of this vehicle, I was a little anxious. I trusted my friend whole-heartedly. It wasn’t her driving I was concerned about. I was concerned they would run out of gas, get stuck on a snowy highway, and freeze to death (yes, I watch too much television, read too many books).

I had a daughter who was a bit distressed and sending anxiety-ridden texts to me. “Mom, I’m never getting home,” “It’s freaking me out,” “I feel trapped.” And finally, “I want tacos.”

Twenty-year-old people and their appetites. Ne’er shall an icicle, snowflake, or semi-crisis keep the hunger away. Stomachs on Kriptonite. There should be a superhero named after that.

My friend, who is amazing, kept the mood fun and light, spirits high. They broadcast their adventures via Facebook Live, which, let me tell you, was quite entertaining. Saturday Night Live had nothing on these three and brought a whole new meaning to “Carpool Karaoke.”

If they weren’t already on the road, I would have suggested they take their show on, you know, the road. Ba-dum.

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A clip from their “Live” session…my amazing friend (left) with her gorgeous daughter (right), and mine (back), trying not to lose their minds. I’m guestimating this was around Hour Eight of the total “drive.” Hour Three of the standstill. (Permission was granted to use this photo by the inmates, err, passengers)

They were pretty resourceful on this trip. My friend’s daughter, using the highway to void. Because when you gotta go, you gotta go. Whether that toilet is on the inside of a bathroom, or on asphalt. Nature is nature and does not discriminate.

All of them figuring out how to turn half a bag of chips into a gourmet meal. Rationing water like they were lost on the prairie. Skills that will carry them throughout their lives.

What I found most humorous was the conversation they had with the man in the car next to them who was smoking a “blunt.” I suppose that’s a good way to deal with a situation like that. Although, I wouldn’t recommend it.

Just so you know, in my day it was called a “joint” or a “doobie.” There is nothing else in this world that shows my age more than having to ask what a “blunt” is. All this contemporary lingo got me like, “gag me with a spoon.”

Finally, they made it home. I think there was a little bit of each of us that wasn’t sure when it would happen. They were tired, a little worse for the wear, and totally freaked out. But they were safe. My friend is a rockstar. All of them are rockstars.

And those tacos? Have you ever had them at two-thirty in the morning? Me either. But I’m told they were pretty good. No blunt necessary.

Mama Was a Rolling Stone. Or Just Old.

“Ooh ouch,” I said to myself a little over two Tuesday mornings ago when I opened my eyes. “What the hell now?”

I’m getting accustomed to all that mid-life has thrown at me. All the changes in my body and face. But sometimes it’s just disconcerting. I don’t want to mid-life anymore. I just don’t.

I know. I know. What’s the alternative? Umm, how about being thirty again? Not possible? Well, in this day and age you’d think they’d come up with something to turn back time without all the work that goes into trying to turn back time.

Anyway, the pain seemed to be stemming from my left ovary. The pain was going down my leg and around to my back. It was not that bad as far as pains go. I mean, I child-birthed naturally and collected a few kidney stones in my lifetime so I’m no stranger to it.

It was just uncomfortable. Until it wasn’t. You know, just uncomfortable.

By the time I got to work, my pain went from about a three to a nine.

So, I decided it was time to pay the office nurse a visit. I always wondered if she was bored anyway so I figured I’d just be doing her a favor. So big of me, I know.

I threw back a couple of Advil and headed three flights down. By the time I got there, my face was white and I was fairly certain I was going to pass out. At that point, my pain was at an off-the-charts fifteen. I didn’t have to say a word. One look at me and the nurse knew something was wrong.

“Omg it’s my back holy cow it hurts so bad do you have a heating pad or maybe a knife to kill me with?”

Because she’s a nurse and knows more than I do she brought me an ice pack — not a knife — and within minutes the pain was gone. POOF! Vanished Into thin air.

But I still had pain in my ovary. I started thinking it must be a cyst that burst or something because diagnosing myself is what I do best. And because I am who I am (Hypochondriac Extraordinaire) I made an appointment with my gynecologist for the next morning.

A quick exam and it was determined I had a distended bowel. He couldn’t really see my ovary from all the distention, but he wanted me to come back again the next morning for an ultrasound.

I know. This is getting ridiculous, right? So, the next morning I went in for an ultrasound of the inside of my lady parts, then went right up to an examining room where I was to wait while my doctor read the results.

And wait. And wait. And wait some more.

Like, a really long time wait. Do you know what happens when Hypochondriac Extraordinaire sits in an examining room too long waiting for her doctor to read the results of her ultrasound?

She panics.

“OMG I’m dying. He’s taking a long time because he is consulting with all the other doctors, confirming I have cancer and it’s gotten into my bones because surely that’s why my hips and back have been bothering me lately. I won’t see my child graduate college or even meet my grandchildren. I’m not ready. I want GRAND-BABIES!”

No, seriously. I’m not exaggerating. I had worked myself into such a state, I legitimately frightened myself so much I started to shake.

So embarrassing.

Finally, he returned. *GULP*

“Sorry it took so long.” Seriously? I nearly stroked out waiting to hear what I was dying from, and you’re sorry it “took so long?” Anyway, bottom line was he thought it was my bowels being all distended. You know, like he already said.

“Go see your gastro.”

PHEW. I’m not dying. At least not from ovarian cancer.

I go see my gastro. Who tells me I don’t have a distended bowel.

What now? I’m given something to alleviate the bloating even though I’m not really bloating, and sent home to wonder what’s really killing me.

Over the weekend, I suffered in silence and took stool softeners, all while my symptoms completely changed. I no longer had ovary pain, I no longer had abdominal discomfort. I now had pressure wayyyy downtown. Like the kind that makes you feel like you have to go pee. All.the.time.

As if I don’t already have that problem.

So, once again, Hypochondriac Extraordinaire self-diagnoses herself with a UTI — a Urinary Tract Infection.

What doctor is next? You got it. My urologist.

What’s funny about being mid-life is you have a specialist in practically every specialty and you have all of them on speed dial. Is it a perk? Yeah, maybe. I guess it’s all on how you look at it.

I go to my urologist who figured it out in two seconds. Kidney stones. And the pressure way downtown? Not a UTI. That is called “Tunnel Syndrome.” Which occurs when stones get stuck in the ureter.

Why I am telling all of you this? Does this get ranked under “Too Much Information?” No. No, it does not. I am telling you all this in case it happens to you. This is a public service announcement.

You’re welcome because I may have saved you a future office visit, anxiety, and $250.

Anyway, I was sent for a CT scan and an X-ray. Let’s just say I have enough radiation in me to be Radioactive Man for Halloween. Too bad I’m a two days late thinking of that one. Story of my life.

The diagnosis is right on the money. She was correct about the ureter, but she also discovered a  stone in my right kidney which is weird because my right side was never an issue this entire time.

Prognosis? Wait it out. I’ve gotten good at that. Except now, I know I’m not dying.

So, to make a long story even longer, what was the moral of it all? There are a few. 1) Don’t self diagnose yourself; 2) Don’t panic, you may actually hurt yourself doing that although I didn’t really hurt myself but I’m sure I lost a year; and 3) drink water — lots and lots of water.