Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bad Luck

I have recently come to the conclusion that bad luck is heredity. It is passed down from generation to generation. I have been blessed with the most untimely sort of bad luck. Unfortunately, my mother also has this affliction. When my bad luck and her worse luck join forces, the combined result can be catastrophic. Wednesday was just such a day.

The day began on a sour note when I turned off my alarm clock ten minutes before it was to go off. I was laying there wide awake after a particularly effective skull jab from Sophie. Of course, I didn't get out of bed immediately, as I should have. Rather, I cuddled Sophie for a bit, ultimately fell back to sleep, and ended up oversleeping. I awoke in a panic at 6:15am....fifteen minutes before I needed to leave for work. So much for showering or brushing my teeth. I threw on some clothes, ran a brush quickly through my hair, gargled some mouthwash and ran out the door with greasy hair and those cute little wrinkles from my pillow still imprinted on my face. I am sure I smelled as lovely as I felt.

I won't get too detailed about the work day that followed. I had been having computer problems for two weeks since my boss, in his infinite wisdom, installed a new program on my computer without first installing the necessary requirements to run the program. Suffice it to say that by 12:30, I was ready to toss my computer out the huge two-story window on the front of our building and jump out after it. Of course, since I really can't afford to lose my job at the moment, I had to summon every iota of mental fortitude I possessed to resist that urge.

One o'clock finally rolled around and I came home to find the children had poured an entire bin of Legos all over the living room floor. Not that big a deal. However, after the day I had experienced, it was just one more thing I didn't want to look at. I had been trying to call my mom all day. Her husband was at the hospital having an outpatient procedure done to place stints in his legs to help counteract the Peripheral Artery Disease diagnosis he had recently been given. She didn't answer all day. I assumed she had no cell phone reception in the hospital. At about 4:00pm, I received a phone call. A woman whose voice I did not recognize identified herself as a nurse at the hospital.

"Your mom is in the emergency room and needs you to come here right away."


"Your mom was here because your dad was having a procedure done and she developed a migraine and is the ER. She needs you to get here as soon as possible. She is vomiting and needs someone here with her."

First off, I resisted the urge to correct her and tell her that Marv is not my dad. "Ummmm...ok. Where is she?"

"She's here in the emergency room at St John's Hospital."

"And that is where?"

"It's in Maplewood."


I hung up the phone and immediately googled St. John's Hospital. I had a vague recollection that Maplewood was north of St Paul (I live in Minneapolis), but had never been to St. John's. I quickly got the kids dressed and we all piled into the minivan to drive, during rush hour traffic no less, to Maplewood.

When we arrived at the hospital some time later, I pulled into the parking lot, turned off the van, and turned around to find that Sophie and Nicholas were both asleep in the van. Dammit. I woke them up and practically carried them both into the hospital to find my mom in the emergency room, barely able to talk. She said "Oh, you brought the kids with you?" Huh? Of course I brought the the kids with me. What was I going to do? Leave them home alone? Mom continued, "I thought you would have taken them to Mitch's house (my uncle). I need you to drive Marv and I home. Neither one of us can drive." Oooookaaaaay. I had left my cell phone in the car, so the kids and I trudged back out to the car to call my uncle. As I sat sideways in the passenger seat of the car explaining the situation to Mitch, the kids stood by patiently. Perfect little angels. We decided I would drive the kids back to St. Paul where Mitch lives, stopping to pick up some pizza on the way, and he would feed them and watch them while I took care of mom and Marv. We started to head back into the hospital to let my mom know the plan. When we were a few steps from the minivan, a startling revelation hit me like a ton of bricks. My keys were in the van. I scrambled around the van trying every single door and window, to no avail. My minivan was locked up tight...with my keys Maplewood! At this point, Lucas, who is prone to bouts of anxiety, burst into tears. I could see the terror in his eyes. He thought we would be trapped in Maplewood forever. I was beginning to believe that I would be forever trapped in this hellish day.

We went back into the emergency room to explain to my mother what had happened. I was more than a little frustrated. I could take her car to drive the kids to my uncle's house. However, all three of my carseats were locked in my van. It did not like the idea of driving my kids across the cities in rush hour traffic with no carseats. As a matter of fact, the thought made me sick to my stomach. Only slightly less appealing was the idea of calling Ruanita and telling her she would have to come from Eden Prairie where she works (on the other side of the world) to Maplewood because I had locked my keys in the car. I stood by and listened for ten minutes while mom, in her headachey stupor, tried to explain to the nurse where her car was parked. Apparently, there is no long glass wall with parking spaces up against it at that hospital. She didn't even know what entrance she came in. For all I know, mom parked on the moon. Finally, I decided that the kids and I would just wonder aimlessly around the three hospital parking lots until we found her car. At that point, the nurse had a sudden thought. She called security to see if they could help get me into my car. The kids and I met the security guard in the lobby and walked out to the van. He made me sign a waiver saying that the hospital was not responsible if he destroyed my car. However, after much wrangling with a tool that looked like a glorified clothes hanger, he was able to get my car opened. I debated kissing him right on the lips, but instead thanked him profusely. I followed him back into the hospital, the kids in tow, thanking him and falling all over him the entire way. He finally said his goodbyes and escaped down a narrow hallway, free of the raving madwoman following him. I walked back to the emergency room for about the fifth time and told mom I was taking the kids to Mitch's house and would return later to take them home

As the kids and I approached the van, Lucas quite suddenly developed a bloody nose. He had never had a nosebleed before and was rather concerned about it. I handed him a wad of tissues, showed him the fine art of squeezing his nose and leaning back, and shuffled all the kids into the car. A little blood wasn't going to stop me from getting the hell out of that place! As I drove all the way to St. Paul, I called my sister Amy on the phone to relay the events of the day. She got a good chuckle from my misery. Lucky for her, she was at work and had avoided the whole debacle. If my sister Jennifer had been in the country, this chore would have fallen to her. She got home from a five-week trip to Morocco on Thursday afternoon. Had my mom waited 24 hours, I would have been completely uninvolved. But nooooo....she couldn't wait!

I picked up a couple of pizzas from Little Ceasar's, dropped the kids off at Mitch's house, thanked him for helping out, warned them to be good, then headed back to Maplewood. I stopped at Dairy Queen and got a Buster Bar on the way. The whole situation desperately needed some ice cream, fudge, and peanuts. When I arrived back at the hospital, I found Marv sitting in my mom's ER exam room. He was barely able to walk. Mom was feeling much better and was anxious to go home. After a triple cocktail of strong pain medications, she was practically sliding out of her bed. Suffice it to say that she was feeling no pain. In typical hospital fashion, we sat around for an hour after the nurse had said she was being discharged before anyone came to take her IV out. They then brought her discharge papers and we were out of there. I drove mom and Marv home to Eagan (south of St Paul). I had to stop and get gas after my world tour before driving back to St Paul to pick up the kids and then back home to Minneapolis. It was almost 10:00pm when we arrived home. I quickly put the kids to bed and went about the task of cleaning up the Legos that were still strewn around the living room. I finally fell into bed about 11:30. What a day! As I said before, bad luck is herditary and my family is obviously a recipient of that abhorant gene. I can't blame my mom for the events that preceded. She is a victim of her genetics in much the same way I am. Gray clouds follow us. Bad luck has our backs. I do have one question, however....

Why the hell can no one in my family live in the same city?!


hwibbs said...

Shannon, I'm going to send you a mental hug. It sounds like you need it. I hope today was 1000 times better than yesterday because after that, you need. I supposed the saving grace is that you didn't drive the car forward over a concrete parking block only to get it stuck between two of them like you did at Transy. love you --- hwibbs

Jessica said...

So I'm cracking up b/c I have had several opportunities in my life to tell the story of you driving over the concrete parking block in college. Too funny that I'm not the only one who remembers.

Congrats on surviving your ordeal!

Shannon Ralph said...

OK...apparently, I had blocked that from my memory because I didn't recall that at all until Heather mentioned it. It must have been too traumatic to remain in my consciousness. :)

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