Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ghost Of Birthdays Past

Birthday 27
You know I have this belief that my birthday is surrounded by bad juju, bad luck, is cursed of a sorts.  This year Dr. J is taking step three on my birthday in another town so we had to ship him off to a hotel, a two day test that originally was scheduled for two weeks ago but had to be moved to disrupt his fall vacation time because his Grandma's funeral ended up falling during the two days he had gotten off work to take it.  Last year I was in the hospital 27 weeks pregnant, ruptured water, wondering if my baby was going to be OK   The year before that Dr. J was coming off a 30 hour call and was about to start what would end up being 89 days of nights apart during a marathon of away rotations and residency interviews.  The year before that I was alone for the entire month with my two kids, puking my guts up (preggo with Peach) while Dr. J was in Amman, Jordan.  Two years before that I was in the hospital because my appendix had burst.  Like I said, I sort of feel like my birthday month is when all the crazy stuff happens to me.  Dr. J says it's because I set my expectations to high...I personally think the expectation that you will not be in the hospital on your birthday is a bare minimum.  I made some efforts to counteract the bad juju this year.  First I invited a few friends over Sunday night to mark the occasion with cupcakes, the plan I had last year that Cheetah so rudely disrupted :)  I also am going out to karaoke with some of my closest girlfriends tonight.  When I told Dr. J, he was disappointed but I wanted to take the pressure off.  I knew he'd be rushing home after two days of testing.  I knew he hadn't planned anything but instead was going to try and hurry something together after he got home tonight.  (He says he's spontaneous.  I told him spontaneity and procrastination aren't the same thing :-)  I knew he'd feel horrible after being stuck in a testing center for two days.  So I made plans.  This way I have something really fun to look forward to today and then tomorrow I have something really fun to look forward to with him when we get to hang out on his last day of vacation.  Look at me being all proactive about kicking my cursed birthday in the buns!

Birthday 31
I hope you will forgive me the next few months as I will be  looking back on my experience last year.  As the year mark of my daughter being born is quickly approaching it is difficult for me not to contrast how scared and stressed I was last year to how relatively easy this year is.  I can do hard things.  I know this because I survived last year.  I'm so grateful for this knowledge even as I hope I never have to test it out again :)  I'm grateful for family and friends who have always been my safety net, making up for the places I fail.  I'm thankful for a loving Father in Heaven who has always blessed me with an understanding of my divine worth and helped me to see the purpose in my existence.  I'm thankful for children who fill my life with joy and make my efforts worthwhile.  I'm grateful for Dr. J, the only man on the planet I could ever be with for eleven years and still find interesting :)     

In conclusion I'd like to post this letter I came across while reading the blogs and reliving all the birthdays of the past.  It helped remind me that with every low I've also experienced the miracle of being surrounded be people who love me so much they make the bad times possible.  Dr. J wrote it shortly after my appendix burst and it gave me some wonderful perspective...that being said, may I never spend another birthday in the hospital.  There is nothing about a hospital gown that is flattering 

My Take and My Thanks on My Wife's Appendix Ordeal

I realize that the situation with my wife was painful and even dangerous for her, and that perhaps at least a few of the days of her suffering were unnecessary. However, I feel truly blessed for the experience. Easy for me to say, right? But let me list the reasons I feel the experience to be a blessing.

First, all turned out well, and considering the circumstances (an appendix that had been ruptured for 2 or 3 days before proper medical treatment) things could have been very bad indeed. The rupture self-contained and walled itself off. I believe the hand of God was with her and with us protecting her.

The next, and related reason, has to do with the power of the priesthood and the opportunity to call upon caring friends who truly were angels for us. I was able to page my friend Rafael Ruggieri, a third year medical student who was just about to leave the hospital when I paged him, to assist me to give Crystal a blessing. He came and we layed hands on her head to give her a blessing that the very hand of God would be with her during her surgery, and I fully believe that it was. Again, there were virtually no complications despite the obvious potential for serious problems. Not only did Rafael help to provide a priesthood blessing, but he and his wife, Liz, and family provided another blessing by taking our kids for that night, and a few other times when I had to go to the hospital or take care of my school responsibilities.

They were not the only ones who were angels in our time of need, but my wife contacted her friend Jessica Bybee, who contacted the ward compassionate service coordinator, Merilee Johnson. Merilee arranged for meals and needed child care for the next several days. Special thanks to Jessica and Mike, Merilee, Erica Jones, Denae Carlson, Susan Evans, Michelle Barrus, Brittney Richards, Miriam and Matt McCarter, Jackie Kitchen, Linda Larsen, and Sister Fernandez. My thanks also to those who were willing to help and those who provide the behind the scenes supports. It is wonderful to belong to a Church family that can help when our own family is so far away. I would also like to thank our family and friends who called with concern, sent cards, and offered whatever assistance they could from long distance.... We still may call on you, so thank you for the offers.

Finally, I feel this experience brought us closer together as a family. As my school and professional responsibilities have grown over the years of our marriage, and with the substantial amount of work my wife does to make our house run well and make sure our kids (and me of course) well taken care of, we have taken on different roles and I have come to depend on an perhaps take for granted all she does for us. Well, I had the opportunity to take care of her and the kids the past two weeks. While I cannot sustain this level of home involvement, at least not if I ever want to graduate and get a job, it has been a real blessing for me to give just a little bit back to her and my kids. I overheard her talking on the phone a few days ago and she said "I had forgotten Jason knew how to do all these things and why I initially fell in love with him." I guess it is sad that it takes a family trauma to bring that out, but I am glad that it is there to bring out and I could be of needed service to the love of my life the way she is for me every day. 

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