After my meltdown, I knew I had to pull myself together. I was on my way to see The Princess.
Jason had been communicating with Lacey, who was at the house with the kids. Lacey had gently told The Princess the facts that she needed to know without the heavy stuff that would scare her. I cannot imagine how difficult that must have been for Lacey. To have to explain something that overwhelming to a child that's not your own....I'm forever grateful to her.
She had also gathered overnight stuff for everyone...all 9 of us...in about 30 minutes. That is some kind of skill.
On the drive to the house, I called The King's dad. I had another tiny meltdown, but I needed to talk to him. He was very concerned, but very calm. It was just the conversation I needed to get myself under control.
As I turned toward the house, my eye caught something tiny glimmering in the sky.
It was The King's helicopter.
I may or may not have fallen apart again.
I got out of the truck and made my way into the garage. The Princess came running out with the biggest and sweetest smile on her face.
She was totally faking it, but it worked.
We shared a humongous hug and I felt so connected with her. I really felt that she & I were in this together. My mind quickly went to it's-just-going-to-be-the-2-of-us-now and I had to force myself to stop that direction of thinking.
We loaded up in their suburban and began the 2 1/2 hour drive to Farmington, New Mexico. Jason was driving and I was in the front passenger seat. He was in full scout mode...the wildlife warning, and all.
Not long into the trip, he told us to look ahead. There were dozens of deer and elk standing in the middle of the road. For the next 2 hours, we saw hundreds of animals. Seriously.
Once we thought we saw an alpaca, but it was only a big electrical box with reflectors.
At some point, my phone rang and I thought it was probably the helicopter paramedic. I couldn't answer the phone. I handed it to Jason. The spoke for a minute and then Jason reported that they'd landed safely and his condition hadn't changed.
After that, Jason called the New Mexico hospital about every 20 minutes for an update. There was no change until the last call. They reported that he was awake and alert.
That was strange.
I had talked to 2 doctor friends while on the road and both had mentioned that there is a possibility that altitude sickness can cause hydrocephalus. If that were the cause, then it would take care of itself. The fluid would increase, level off and then decrease.
By the time we arrived in New Mexico, I had pretty much convinced myself that was the case. The fact that he was awake and alert meant the fluid was decreasing.
As we pulled into the hospital parking lot, all but one of the kids were asleep, so we left him with a phone and locked them in the car. The three of us ran into the ER and were quickly directed down a hall. The King was lying on a gurney with an older gentleman standing by him, preparing to roll out of the room.
I ran to his side and he was looking at me.
Such relief. I was so thrilled to see him. I can't even put it in words.
He smiled at me and told me something was wrong with his head.
Oh really. I hadn't been made aware of that.
The older gentleman standing with him began speaking in a soft and gentle voice. He introduced himself as a neurosurgeon, and told us that they were on their way to put a temporary shunt in The King's brain to relieve the pressure. He said they needed to move quickly, that his life was in danger, but The King insisted on waiting for me.
Sweet and all, but let's not risk our life, King. GET THE DANG SHUNT.
The doctor said that a MRI had shown that there was cyst in the middle of his brain and he would need brain surgery within the week.
Hold up, doc...What???
I had already diagnosed him with hydrocephalus caused by altitude sickness. NOT A CYST IN THE BRAIN.
He said we'd talk more about it after the shunt was placed and then began to wheel him away.
I asked if I could run and grab The Princess and the doctor said there wasn't time. Lacey took off running to get her anyway. In a few minutes, they both came sprinting down the hall and The Princess got to see him as he was rolling to get a shunt placed in his brain.
To be continued....