Character List

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Doctor's Visit

After my 38-week checkup, which thankfully went well, I stopped by Dr. Peter's (our kid's pediatrician) office.  I sat in his office and explained to him the situation with Lukas.  The latest being that the doctors has suggested heart valve replacement surgery.  Instead of full-blown open heart surgery the doctors suggested the least invasive option where they would have a smaller incision by the breastbone.  Even though they made it seem so simple and common, I was terrified that something would go wrong.  Lukas was quite the fighter, reassuring me that everything was fine.  He'd been through worse and this was just a blip on the radar.  

"So you see doctor, I'm not sure if it's a good idea to take the boys and Sophia to see Lukas.....I'm worried that they would be scared seeing their dad like that.  I'm terrified seeing him like that and I'm grown!  And then we all know that hospitals are full of germs.  They're no place for kids" I said trying to rationalize.

After I finished my never ending soliloquy he stared at me, as though studying my face.  Nervously I continued, "It would be such an easy decision but Ethan asked me last night about Lukas.  He wants to see him. I can't deprive my children of that simple right but I don't want to scare them.  Does that make any sense?"

Dr. Peter's nodded, "Like all parents you want the best for your children.  You love them and don't want them to experience pain or unhappiness.  Lukas is their father, and an active father who is very involved in their lives.  Taking them to see him will be reassuring for them, Lukas too. I think he will be uplifted and be in a better state of mind seeing his family.  As much as we want, we can't shield our children from the world.  Trust me I speak from experience."

"But what if it's too much for them?" I countered.

With a small smile he replies, "Children are more resilient than we give them credit for.  All they will see is their dad.  They are too young to realize the severity of his condition.  I think it would be an positive thing for them and Lukas."

"I still haven't had the nerve to tell our families," I confessed quietly.

"Elisabeth, you're a good mom and wife but you cannot do this on our own.  In a couple of weeks you're going to have another baby to take care of.  You need all the support you can get.  I urge you to tell both of your families."

I shrug, "I know, I was thinking of telling them later today."

He smiles, "Don't worry so much my dear.  Let others in and they will lighten the burden you feel.  Take the kids to see their dad and don't worry about germs."

I sighed, " long as you think it's okay, I'll take them."

"Good.  Now listen to day at a time.  You have a baby to think of and three kids at home.  Try to relax a little."

I chuckle, "I'll do my best but that's a large feat when you're husband has to have heart surgery."

Saturday, February 18, 2017

I Got this Figured Out?!?

The subsequent days seemed to drag.  Even though I tried my best to be in the moment with my kids, my mind kept floating to Lukas.  One night after I put the kids to sleep I was laying in bed, trying my best to relax when I heard Ethan's little voice asking where his daddy was.  I had told the kids that daddy wasn't feeling well but will be back soon.  Now I wasn't so sure.

I let Ethan crawl into bed with me and hugged him tightly.  My voice quivering as I replied, "Daddy isn't feeling well but he'll be home soon."

"But you said that yesterday.  Why can't we see him?" Ethan whined.

What was I supposed to say?  That I didn't want them to see their dad in a hospital bed?  That I was scared out of my mind about the future?  That I wanted to shield and protect them?  Lukas and I wanted our children to have happy memories of their childhood.  Before I could even come up with a satisfactory response, I felt a sharp pain.  I gasped and clutched my stomach.  I had my 38-week checkup the following day.  After a few deep breaths, I opened my eyes and noticed Ethan staring at me.

He nervously asked, "Are you okay mommy?"

I nodded, "Yes, my love.  The baby is just moving around."

With a small smile he replied, "I want a brother."

"You have Jacob."

"Yeah but Sophia is always making us play with dolls" he shared.

I wrapped him in my arms, "Deep down you know you love playing with dolls."

We both giggle and my mind is transported to my own childhood.  Me bossing my older brothers, John and Danny around, and getting them to play with dolls and calling me princess Elisabeth.  Those carefree days growing up in Long Island.  At times like these I miss my family.  Moving to Greenwich was a decision Lukas and I made together.  I fell in love with this house and the town but now I missed having my family nearby.  

Lukas' parents used to live not too far away but moved to West Palm Beach a year ago.  His sister, Linda, and her husband were in London.  They tried to live in the United States but it just didn't work out.  We spoke regularly and we visited each other at least twice a year.  

Lauren was still estranged from the family.  As much as everyone tried to help her, she didn't want to change and get better.  Even though we did not have the best relationship....who am I kidding, that woman hated me from jump.....I did want her to get better for her own children.  Her daughter Stephanie, was growing into a very loving, ambitious young woman.  She was stunning, yet so self aware and confident.  The type of girl you knew was destined for great things.  Liam, was a boisterous, adventurous preteen boy who love sports and reading.  He was full of such wonderful innocence.  Both Stephanie and Liam were blessed to have a wonderful dad like Gabe who encouraged them to follow their dreams.  Gabe had remarried Marilyn who treated Liam and Stephanie as her own.  Even though they tried Marilyn was unable to have children of her own.  She dedicated her spare time to Gabe's kids.  Even though she'd never take the place of Lauren, she filled a void and gave those kids genuine love.

I knew I needed to talk to someone....maybe Priya or Britney?  They both had families of their own and I felt terrible burdening them with my own issues.  I sighed loudly and decided that after my checkup tomorrow I was going to call my parents and share with them Lukas' medical issues and then I'd call Lukas' parents.  They had a right to know and we needed all the support we could get.

Ethan had now fallen asleep.  I leaned down and kissed the top of his head.  Our kids needed to see Lukas but I was scared.  I made a mental note to call the pediatrician and get his thoughts before even offering to take them to the hospital  For a brief moment, lying in bed, I thought that I had it all figured out.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Temporary Setback

Oh how life has changed for me through the years.  I went from being that narcissistic, self-centered young woman to a wife and mother with a better perception of what is really important.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think that Lukas and I would be blessed with four children.....twin boys (Jacob and Ethan) who were now almost five, a beautiful and very pretentious two and a half year old daughter - Sophia, and a three month old surprise, baby Dylan.  Some days seemed never ending with work, running around the kids and taking care of Lukas.

The past six months have been extremely difficult and trying.  As I was entering the third trimester of a very easy pregnancy, Lukas started feeling quite ill.  He went from being full of energy to being confined to our bedroom.  He tried his best to get outside and play with the boys but he just couldn't.  At first we thought he was under the weather but after a week he was not getting any better.  Even though he went to the doctor and specialists, all the tests came back negative.

I was exactly thirty-seven weeks pregnant when Lukas was admitted to the hospital.  He felt this numbness on one side of his face and he couldn't get out of bed.  He was smart enough to call the paramedics.  Thankfully he didn't have a stroke. Even though I hated hospitals, I knew needed to be with him.  I called our nanny, who rushed over to stay with the kids while I went to Lukas.

The nurses helped me find Lukas' room.  I was taken aback seeing him hooked up to all types of machines and monitors.  I was immediately terrified but did my best to put a smile on my face and blink away the tears that filled my eyes.  I walked into the room and kissed him on the cheek.

"How are you feeling?" I asked softly.

He shrugged.  "I don't know.  I just don't know what's going on with me Elisabeth."

Before I could even respond two doctors walked in.  They introduced themselves as Dr. Patel, a middle aged doctor with a friendly smile, and Dr. Brown, a older man who appeared to be in his late 50s with a head full of gray hair.  Both men were a part of the Cardiology staff at the hospital.

The two men didn't waste any time telling us that Lukas' heart was not functioning as well as it should.  Oxygen wasn't being pumped throughout his body as efficiently, which could be the cause of his extreme tiredness.

Obviously I was quite upset at the prognosis and in one of my not so fine moments bellowed, "Isn't that something you doctors should have checked first?  I mean you know he had heart surgery in college.....I don't get why you're only now discovering this."

The doctors tried to calm me down and explained that it seemed that Lukas' primary care doctor and the subsequent specialists conducted endless tests that came back normal.  This happens sometimes.  They did their best to reassure me that Lukas was in the best place.  I nodded and did my best not to emotionally breakdown....that would not been good for Lukas or our unborn child.

After the doctors left I glanced at Lukas lying in the hospital worst fears brought to life.  He looked so weak and pale, a far cry from the Lukas I was used to.  All kinds of thoughts swirled through my mind....what if he was taken away from me?  How would I survive and raise our family?  Lukas was our world.  He was such an active dad, always playing with the boys, having tea parties with Sophia and sharing these wonderful, somewhat exaggerated stories about his childhood.  I couldn't bear the thought of losing him, yet I knew I had to be remain strong and positive.

Now it was just Lukas and me, with monitors beeping all around.  I sat on the edge of the bed and took his hand in mine. Looking into his green eyes, still give me butterflies. He squeezed my hand and bravely whispered, "I'm not going anywhere.  This is just a temporary setback."