Today was a long day. A long hard day that ended up with me having a mental breakdown in the middle of Shari’s restaurant. Fun times!
Most of you know that Gracie had her EEG today. A sleep deprived EEG. A sleep-deprived EEG means we were pretty much up all night making sure Gracie does not fall asleep.
We get to the hospital with thirty minutes to kill. While in the waiting room, I sent Joe to find me some sort of caffeine product. He returns with a diet coke for me, a cheese stick for Gracie and some sort of bacon on ciabatta sandwich for Sofia.
Immediately I guzzle my diet coke, Gracie picks at her cheese stick, and Sofia rips into that bacon sandwich as if it is her first meal in weeks. I notice there is lettuce on this sandwich. As you know, “we” have been told to throw away all lettuce because much of it has been contaminated with e-coli. I ask Sofia if it is okay for me to look at her sandwich. I hold it up. I inspect it as if I know what in the hell it is I am looking for. I have no clue what e-coli looks like. Joe, Gracie, and Sofia are looking at me as if I need to be committed to Western State. Seriously, am I the only one who pays attention to the news?
Gently, I explain to them about the lettuce and e-coli thing. Sofia gives me a side glance while pretending she is not rolling her eyes at me, taking the lettuce off of her sandwich. At this point, I am thinking it is too late. If the damn lettuce is contaminated, well, then she is going to get sick. Remember, she tore into the sucker.
The registration nurse comes in and does the usual paperwork. She looks over her notes and realizes that Gracie is now thirteen. While looking at Gracie she says “Well, now it is up to you. Do you want Mom or Dad to come back with you? You are thirteen and can decline anyone to come back with you.” I think it is cute how this registration nurse thinks I am going to send my child back to complete strangers for two hours. Not happening.
Gracie looks at the nurse and as confident as can be says: “I pick both Mom and Dad.”
The registration nurse laughs. “Alright then, I will see what I can do about both Mom and Dad coming back.” She then looks at me, then at Sofia. “Will your younger daughter be okay waiting here for two hours while the EEG is in progress?”
Again, I think it is cute how this registration nurse thinks I would even consider leaving Sofia in the waiting room by herself for two hours. And by “cute” I mean idiotic.
Joe intervenes because he senses I am getting to that point. “No Mam’. I will keep the younger one with me and my wife will go back with Gracie.”
Gracie had the same tech from a year ago. That was pretty cool. What was not so cool was the new student tech. I mean I get it, she is learning, but it took the student tech half an hour to put all twenty-six electrode things on Gracie’s hair. Gracie fell asleep while the tech was working on her hair, and this was not the time to fall asleep!
The EEG is completed, and both Gracie and I fell asleep. I mean it is a dark room and no phones are allowed. What else was I supposed to do?
We leave, with the promise of results in ten days.
Next stop is lunch. This has been out routine every time we have to go to Children’s Hospital. Aside from the fact that usually everyone is hungry, it is a nice little distraction from the “what if’s” that are quietly going through our mind while we await the results.
Everyone decided on Shari’s. They have a great variety of both breakfast and lunch options, all accessible twenty-four hours a day.
The restaurant is pretty empty. We were seated right away. Sofia always gets the same thing. She no longer eats from the kid’s menu. Her “go to” is the chicken fried steak platter, which comes with a chicken fried steak, eggs, hashbrowns, and three pancakes. She loves it, but always bring leftovers home.
Gracie, the one with dietary restrictions, is always the easy one. Hot wings and a salad. Not because her options are limited, only because she truly loves it. Joe decided to follow Sofia’s lead, and I decided to actually follow a low carb diet. I ordered a side of eggs, a side of bacon and a side of sausage. When our waitress asked us what we wanted to drink, Sofia asks “Can I have a smoothie?”
While trying to talk to both the waitress and Sofia, I simply told Sofia, “No, you cannot have a smoothie, you ordered a lot of food, the smoothie will fill you up.” My attention is now back on the waitress, and I tell her the drink orders.
The waitress leaves and Sofia burst into tears. Now, in this moment, after no sleep, the whole EEG thing, I kinda feel I am at my limit and I will not give in to tears. Just because I said “no” does not mean it is the end of the world, nor is there any reason to be sitting in a restaurant, head on the table crying. (Says the girl who would literally fall asleep on the restaurant table when I was Sofia’s age.)
So I sit there. Sofia is across from me. Gracie is next to Sofia, and Joe is next to me. I almost feel this is some sort of weird battle. About three minutes pass and no one says a word. Sofia is still crying, head down on the table.
“Sofia, what is wrong? Why are you crying?”
I need her to tell me it is because she wanted the smoothie. I need to look for some sort of teachable moment before I lose my shit.
Joe pipes up. “She is crying because you…” I quickly turn my head to him reminiscent of the cult classic “Exorcist” my eyes must have been full of daggers. I know where he was going with it. He was going to say something along the lines of “She is crying because you came down on her.”
I did not want to hear it. He can disagree with me all he wants, and we will work it out, but in front of the kids, we both need to have a united front. I am not sure if he realized this on his own, or if my look scared him, but he did not finish the sentence.
No one is talking. Sofia still has her head down on the table crying, Gracie probably wishes she was still laying on the hospital table with twenty-something electrodes glued to her scalp.
The food finally comes. Everything looks good. Sofia sits up and starts eating, but she is still crying. Eating and crying. I dig into my food and notice that the eggs whites are not cooked all the way. You know how when you crack an egg, and the egg whites are this slimy consistency? Well, that is how my eggs looked. I took my finger and placed it on the yolk. The yolk was room temperature. I told Joe I did not think my eggs were cooked all the way? He looks at the eggs. “Naw, I think that is how they are supposed…….”
Again, I give him my look of daggers. “Oh never mind you are right, they are not cooked.”
Sofia is still crying. Her hair is all over her face, in her food. The waitress comes over. “How is everything?”
And, here we go.
“Well, actually, everything is not okay. I do not feel my eggs are cooked all the way. There is a fine line between a runny yolk and raw eggs and I think mine is more on the raw side.”
The waitress looks at me, she looks at my eggs as I point out the slimy white part.
“Well actually, when eggs are cooked sunny side up they tend to be more on the raw side, do you want us to get you some more?”
Joe and Gracie look at me wide-eyed. Sofia is still crying and eating.
“No thank you, I am good. Can you please just take these back and not charge me for the eggs?”
The waitress takes the slimy eggs back. Everyone continues to eat. Sofia is still crying.
Something just snapped in me. I felt if I did not excuse my self from the table I was going to lose it. I turned to Joe. “I cannot do this. I want you guys to take your time, finish eating, but I cannot do this right now. Just give me the keys, I will be in the car, and you guys finish eating.”
And with that, I got up from the table and left.
I went to the car, unlocked the doors, closed the doors and sat on the curb and called Christin.
“Hi! What are you doing?”
“Just eating a salad, what are you doing?”
“Oh, just having a breakdown in the Shari’s parking lot.”
“You win. Go!”
And with that, I gave Christin a very quick rundown of the events, and then before I knew it Joe and the kids were making their way out to the car, leftovers boxed up. Christin and I quickly hang up. I tell Joe that they could have taken their time to eat.
“No, it’s fine, I told them I would take them to the gas station though for a treat. You just have to remember Sofia is sensitive.”
Yeah, no shit. I know she is sensitive. I also know her eyes are bigger than her stomach. I knew that if I allowed her to order a smoothie with her food then she would soon be complaining of a stomach ache.
We pull into the gas station. I politely tell Joe and the girls I will wait in the car. At this point, I am thinking I should have allowed Sofia to have the blasted smoothie because what she is going to sucker Joe into at the gas station will be ten times worse.
I am in the car, trying. I am just trying to be. I do not know if it is because of the stress of Gracie’s EEG and not knowing the results, or because during all this crap I had a PTA mom call me with a PTA “emergency” or maybe it was the other mother who texted me and called me a liar, but, right now, I am just trying to be still.
The car windows are rolled down. Joe and the girls are inside, picking out chips, chocolate and trail mix.
“Hey! Excuse me!”
I look out the driver’s side window. There is a man. An older man. Possibly homeless, possibly an addict. I cannot decide.
“Do you have a dime? I need a dime.”
Great. He needs a dime. Does he mean a dime bag of weed or a legit dime? I can’t. I have nothing left in me. I need to be by myself and regroup.
“A dime? I do not have a dime, sorry. My husband is in the store, ask him if he has a dime.”
Great. So I just sent a potential drug addict in the direction of my husband and daughters. What the hell is wrong with me? I need help. I need my family. I need to have someone I can call and be like “Yeah, your granddaughter is driving me crazy. Can I drop her off at your house?”
It sucks to not have family around.
Joe and girls come out of the gas station, with bags full of goodies. Again, I should have just allowed her to have the blasted smoothie.
We come home. Sofia grabs her leftovers and takes them to her room. Gracie is working on her makeup, Joe washes the few dishes that were in the sink. I go out to my balcony and call Christin.
We have a nice talk. Christin is going through her own personal issues now, which allowed me to have a nice distraction. However, she was not going to let me off that easily. She asked me what I was going to do about Sofia and gently suggested that I needed to go in and fix it. She was right.
I hang up with Christin, go inside, and make my way to Sofia’s room. Joe and Sofia are playing the x-box, Gracie is already asleep.
“Hi Sofia. So, should we talk now or later?”
“Okay, let’s get this over with, we can talk now.”
And we did. We had a good talk. I tried to explain to her where I was coming from, she explained to me how her feelings were hurt.
Everything was as back to normal as they could be. As the night progressed, I went in to Sofia’s room to check on her..
“How ya doing? Everything okay?”
“Mom, I do not feel good, my stomach hurts.”
So, I mothered. I took away her bag of “hot cheetos” I picked up her leftover styrofoam container of chicken fried steak and pancakes. I told her “just try to rest, you probably overdid it with the food, Be still.”
I went to the kitchen, poured myself a drink, and realized that this moment that happened today, I kinda broke my daughters heart, and because of that, my heart is now broken.