My pandemic has a first name….

My pandemic has a first name, it's S-W-I-N-E
My pandemic has a second name, it's P-A-N-I-C
I read about it everyday, it's pretty freaky I have to saaaaayyy
Cause porcine panic has a way with mu-tay-tee-ing R-N-A.

In other news, the effed up tooth full of effing trolls throwing ninja stars at my sinuses? Dentist finds nothing. Acts like he's never heard, in the whole wide world, of anyone ever having heat sensitivity in a tooth with no nerves left in it. I was like, "Uh, doc, the interwebs say that my face is going to rot off." He was all, "Probably not. Would you like a z-pack just to be safe?" And I was all, "I guess so." And he was all, "Let me know if it keeps hurting, and we'll send you to an endodontist." And I was all, "A what? Like for my uterine lining?" And he was all, "No."

Then, the lady working at front desk said maybe I have squirrely roots.

So, all in all, a very successful trip to the dentist!

Now it's time for the swine flu zombies to have a look. Bastards are booked through June, though. That's what I get for waiting.

Swine Flu Zombies or the Dentist?

will be a showdown
the dueling monstrosities
eating at my face

I was sitting here the other day, creating my Swine Flu Emergency Preparedness Kit (hand sanitizer, duct tape, whiskey, a wooden stake, 30 Rock DVDs), and I thought, "What the what? Did lightning just strike my face? 'Cause ouch." My hair was not on fire, though, so I decided this couldn't be right.

Then, for a second time, "What the WHAT?"

My effing tooth felt like it was filled with little tooth effers shooting effing ninja stars up the side of my effing skull. (My internal monologue and I are working on my language.)

It was soon determined that upon drinking hot liquid, or eating hot food, or thinking about hot things (say, Logan from Veronica Mars), my tooth – the tooth that has already HAD a root canal and crown – fills with excruciating pain.

When you consult Dr. Google about this problem (hint, do not consult Dr. Google about this problem), you see things like "OH MY SWEET TINY BABY JESUS WITH TEH (sic) BALLED UP FISTS YOUR TOOTH IS GOING TO ROT THROUGH YOUR FACE IT TOTALLY IS IT HAPPENED TO MY COUSIN."

And so I have two choices. Call the dentist, or wait for the inevitable hordes of Swine Flu zombies to shamble down my street, climb in through my windows, and extract the tooth for me.

Option A has some appealing sanitary certainties about it, option B is way cheaper.

My husband thinks I should go with A. But then I explained to him that we don't have any money and besides, the last time I went with A, I had a raging panic attack thanks to some epinephrine-laced anesthetic (note to dentists: TELL people about that shit before you do it. DAMN.). Also, something obviously got fucked up because of the aforementioned ninja stars whenever I try to eat a warmed up frito pie.

(Editor's note: I haven't actually eaten a frito pie in a long time, but I was talking about them the other day with my friend, and I totally want one, and it would totally kill my stupid fucking tooth.)

So if I'm going to have a panic attack anyway, and the dental work isn't going to be up to par, why not go with the Swine Flu zombies? I'm sure it will be fast. I know it will be free (well, they may want to keep the tooth, but that's cool), thus I'm having a hard time seeing the downside.

However, just in case a night of googling Swine Flu zombies returns information even scarier than last night's googling of dental strategies to fix heat sensitive teeth THAT SUPPOSEDLY HAVE NO NERVES ANYMORE, I have made an appointment at 3:20 tomorrow to see the dentist.

Maybe I will get lucky and the zombies will get me before then.

I will let you know.

If the tiny baby Jesus with his balled up fists doesn't make my face rot off tonight.   

Dear Swine Flu, You Asshole,

First of all, up yours. Haven't you even heard it's not flu season anymore? Duh. What are you trying to prove, anyway? Your hemagglutinin is is longer and thicker than regular flu's hemagglutinin? Well, shut up. Nobody cares. Go get a giant belt buckle and leave us all alone.

Second of all, I realize that just the other day Governor Perry made a remark about seceding Texas from the union. He's a complete dumbass with a penchant for teabagging parties. I know that. You know that. Whatever. So what I'm saying is, sure we want him to recognize that Texas is indeed part of the USA, and that that's not a bad thing. Sure. But there are ways to make him fall to his knees and fellate the federal government, without infecting his state with a virulent disease requiring help from the CDC. I mean, I appreciate your patriotism, Swine Flu, but your methods are a little Twelve Monkeys, no?

Third of all, If the Twelve Monkeys thing goes the opposite way and Texas actually has to be cut off from the rest of the US so that we don't infect all of the intellectuals and adorable Midwesterners, you are going to be accused of being in cahoots with The Idiot Governor. The US will start calling Texas the Perryneal Colony and everyone will think of us as some kind of illegal country version of a MRSA-laced boil nestled on the country's taint. Plus, they will tsk-tsk at us while we die.

Fourth of all, If Texas gets quarantined and I can't get my trach baby out to Ohio to get his airway fixed, I am so going to be so fucking pissed, you do not even know. YOU DO NOT EVEN KNOW.

Fifth of all, If the swine flu gets into my house, it will be strung up by its aforementioned hemagluggtinin(s) and "legally questioned" until Jack Bauer has to come over and say, "Wow, that's a lot of questions, maybe you should stop it."

Sixth of all, I won't stop it.

Seventh of all, I have installed an overhead blower by all the exterior-facing doors in my house. These blowers shoot down a gaseous version of Tamiflu on everyone who enters. I'm not bluffing.

Eighth of all, there is no eighth of all.

Ninth of all, up yours. that's right. I said it again.

Tenth of all, You made me say "taint" and "fellate" in a blog post my mom will read, and also my friend's mom will read, so don't you feel ashamed of yourself.

I'm sorry, Swine Flu, if this letter has seemed harsh or rude. I know we don't know each other. But, also, you are acting like a real asshole, thinking you're all stealthily infiltrating the US via Texas. You know what? That is so not an original idea. So not. Did you hear about the wall down there? It's anti-viral. Did you know that? Totally made of Microban, that wall. Again, not bluffing. Don't test me.

I hope this letter gives you something to think about, Swine Flu. There's that saying, you know: Don't Mess With Texas. Well, it has an addendum now: Don't Mess With Moms From Texas Who Have a Trach Baby.

Concerned Mother

She’s at it again

logic is not sound
or maybe it is to her
my mystery girl

Tonight, the wee-er one got a gigantic lollipop for dessert. It was totally like one those things that girls with ringlets and pantaloons used to eat in old movies.

She was very excited, of course.

Then, mere minutes after she started eating it, she went into some kind of toddler frenzy and she threw in onto the kitchen floor as hard as she could. It shattered into exactly one billion pieces.

"Why did you do that?" my husband shouted. "Why would you throw your lollipop on the floor like that?"

"I didn't throw it on the floor," the wee-er one answered, and we were flabbergasted. How could she lie just like that? We SAW her throw it on the floor. Which is exactly what my husband said to her.

"We saw you throw it on the floor!"

"I didn't throw it on the floor!"

"We saw you. This means no dessert tomorrow."

"I didn't throw it on the floor! I didn't throw it on the floor!" Then she paused ever so slightly. "I threw it at Sam."

So there you go. She wasn't lying after all.

But she still doesn't get dessert tomorrow.

Pre- La Perla Scully

member of the club
maybe not the club you'd choose
it has chosen you

I'm going to get all X-Files dorky on you for a minute (don't worry, it has a point). This might be a good time to daydream about the vacation you're planning, or Tim Riggins from Friday Night Lights or both. Combined. Unless you, too, are an X-Files dork, and if that's the case… enjoy.

OK. So you know how Scully was all uptight and dressed in dark pantsuits and compartmentalizing the fact that she had been abducted? She was just like, "Nope, not going to acknowledge it, let's just move on." And then, she and Mulder were working on this case. She went to a house and knocked on the door like she always did, and she identified herself like she always did, and the ladies in the house were all, "Hey! We know you!"

Scully was like, "Uh-huh. No you don't." And they were all, "Yep. Yep, we sure do. From the place where the dudes stabbed a little metal doodad into all of our necks. Remember that?" So, completely freaked out, Scully scurried back to the strong arms of Agent Mulder.

But she knew.

She knew she was part of their club. She knew she had the scar on the back of her neck. She knew there was a metal doodad. And she also knew the women with the metal doodads were dying.

As I'm sure we can all understand – this is fucked up news. And when you are working very hard to move yourself forward from the trauma of being abducted by government agents or possible aliens, you don't really want a room full of smiling women dragging you back to that freaked out place.

Except that, the more she resisted their club, the more she knew she needed it.

This is just like me!

When government agents abducted Ike and narrowed his airway, that was a pretty shitty thing to happen. I have mourned the need for the trach. I have to not think about how things were before, compared to how things are now. I have to not think about what would have happened without the trach. There are a lot of things to compartmentalize.

One of the big things I haven't wanted to think about, or embrace, is the new club we're in. The however-you-want-to-put-it club. Special needs, medically dependent, whatever. I have avoided the message boards. I have read the emails, read the comments, and until now, I have been telling myself I will just file those away. I've been rationalizing that we're not part of that club yet. Maybe we won't have to be part of it. Maybe, somehow, we can avoid it altogether. It doesn't apply. We are not that. There is no metal doodad in the back of my neck. I do not recognize those women.

But then I look around. I have to sleep on the sofa so that my baby can sleep in his bouncy chair all night. Only I don't sleep, because I have to be able to use the suction pump to clear out his trach so that he can keep breathing. There is an oxygen concentrator two feet away from me. An air compressor powering a humidifier, attached to tubing, attached to my baby. There are so many cords and wires it is not just chancy that I will get up one day to check the oximeter and break my ankle, it is inevitable.

I look around me and the realization takes my breath away like ice water to the face. Just like Scully had that little scar on her neck – a mysterious metal doodad removed and in a vial in her purse – I see the reality and have failed to keep it tucked away. I know this is our life now. I know I am part of the club I don't want to be part of. I see the virtual smiling faces on the tracheostomy boards. On the special needs boards. I don't want them to smile at me. I don't want them to welcome me. I don't want them to recognize me. I want them to say, "Move along, there's nothing for you here."

But that's not how the story goes.

We are trying to get Dr. Cotton's assistant to call us back so we can start planning our first trip to Cincinnati. We are researching how you fly with oxygen and food thickener and extra carry-ons with life-saving and life-sustaining equipment in them. We are knocking down the door of the GI doc to try to get in to see her as soon as possible. We do trach care everyday, cleaning Ike's stoma, inspecting the trach. We obsess over oxygen saturation levels and weight gain. We are part of the club.

So now I try to embrace it? I guess I join the boards and look for advice. I begrudgingly sit down in front of a regression hypnotist so that I can remember the abduction. No wait… that one is Scully.

I really hope that things get better one day. I mean, five season later, Scully had a smart haircut, tailored suits and La Perla peeking out from her fitted blouses. She had not aged one bit from her neck doodad incident. And her belief was stronger in the world around her because of the club she was in.

So I will be like Scully. I will be forced into the club. It will make me a better person. And it will earn me some really expensive underwear.

Or something like that.

We’re home

Tomorrow we call the GI doc to get some new reflux meds, and probably schedule a thousand tests. (Hello, pH probe.)

We'll also call the people in the Cincinnati and get that ball rolling. Ike will have to have yet another bronch up there. And then probably another trip out there for reconstruction. (Hello, a month in the PICU in Ohio.) However, we don't know if the reconstruction can be done while he's still so little, or if we are now looking at years more with the trach.

Not an excellent day, but at least we have a bit of a plan now. A scary plan. But a plan.

More later. Going to take a nap.


Looks like we are Cincy bound. Need to control the reflux first. More details later, reception is crap here in recovery.

Ike-a-saurus is sleeping and his o2 is not awesome, but that’s not a surprise.

Lots of screaming barfing kids here in recovery. Poor kiddos. It’s unpleasant. 😦

Not sure if we’re staying the night, but it kind of looks that way.

Thanks so much for all the well wishes. We have a hell of a summer ahead of us.

It’s underway, the sequel

They’ve taken him back to the OR.

We should hear something in 30 or 45 minutes. They warned us he may briefly need the vent again, but that it shouldn’t be a big deal. Uh-huh.

I’m eating a zbar and trying to stay calm. It’s scary, but not like last time.

Any wagers on whether we’ll have to spend the night?

Heartstrings? Yanked.

Tonight, before bed, the wee one handed me a piece of paper. It was folded in thirds and when I opened it, it said "$1000 savings bond for Ike." There were wavy lines to look like extra writing – to make it official looking, you know? And on the back he wrote, "Love, Sam."

He told me it was a savings bond to help Ike and that I had better hang on to it.

And the crash you hear is my heart breaking into millions of pieces. But kind of in a good way.