May we never do that again

For those of you who weren't on Facebook or Twitter (or just hearing my screams on the wind), here are the highlights from our road trip to Cincinnati:

Third-degree ankle sprain and boot
Lice
Terrible car accident (NOT involving us, but terrifying)
Tornadoes
Hospital
Wheelchair use at the zoo
Food poisoning
Home

HOWEVER, Ike-a-saurus made it through his procedure with such flying colors we don't have to go back for two years! His airway is the same size as a typical child his age (if not even a smidge larger). He made it out of anesthesia without needed supplemental oxygen – for the first time EVER. We were out of the hospital and back at the hotel in record time. Dr. Fancypants was in a charming mood and made a joke about the boot on my foot (How did you fall down? Were you drunk?). We ate donuts, we played firefighter with the anesthesia mask – the hospital part was OK.

It was the rest of the trip that nearly killed us. It was so bad, in fact, that when we made it back to Texas we left the kids with the grandparents for a week so they could have an *actual* vacation filled with swimming and pizza. This way, my husband and I could go home and sleep and sit in the quiet and look at each other and be all, "Um, WTF just happened?"

So. That happened. We did have fun visiting the zoo. And we had an exciting train ride across the Ohio countryside. There was a bit of vacation mixed in with the drama, and the long car ride was fairly nice in the fancy new minivan. But, really, we are all still recovering.

Whew.

I'm not sure what the rest of the summer will bring. But as long as it doesn't include tiny bugs in people's hair, tornado sirens, or projectile vomiting in a hotel room with only one bathroom and five people, I'm good.

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Returning to the scene

We've made it to Cincinnati for Ike-a-saurus' annual follow-up with Doctor Fancypants. It was a heckuva drive to get here. A week and a half before we left, I re-injured my ankle resulting in a third degree sprain on the outside of it and a different sprain on the inner ankle. That means a boot and crutches for the next few weeks. Fun for a roadtrip. Then, the night before we left we discovered The Girlchild had lice (!). Once on the road we were accosted with bad traffic, a flipped over SUV, tornado sirens, and hunkering down for safety from the storm in the hotel lobby during our half-way stop in Tennessee. There were countless other weirdities, too. It was a long, strange trip.

But we're here now! And we're staying at the great old hotel we've stayed at during several of our other trips up here, including the month long stay for the reconstruction surgery. I was a little hesitant to stay here again just because I knew as soon as I walked in the suite (I say suite because it has a living room and two bedrooms, but lest you think we're living like kings, it is very cheap and decorated in Early Barton Fink) and tasted the chicken sandwich from room service I'd be immediately transported back to those terrifying and exciting and exhausting days.

I always feel a bit bad at how scary it all was when we were here then – I mean, we were here for a *good* reason; we were here to get the trach out and to have a new new normal. And, yet, it really was scary. Really scary. Super scary. And really, super, extra exhausting.

But I made the reservations anyway. We've been back since that month long stay and it was fine, and now we're back again. We're back to own this place. To own those scary memories. To say, "Here we are now – everything we could have ever wished for then is happening RIGHT FUCKING NOW." And that kind of empowerment is incredibly healing. It's Early Barton Fink Healing Empowerment Time, and that's just what I need.

Wednesday morning is Ike-a-saurus' procedure. We check into day surgery at 9:15. He's old enough now, and has been through enough, that he is not excited about it. He's worried and kind of freaked out, and I don't blame him one bit. So we're taking things easy, running through visualizations of the day, and talking about how much fun we're going to have on all the other days (and hopefully by Wednesday afternoon, too). We really want to turn this trip into a vacation – that's why we brought the whole family and drove up. It seems too clinical and scary to just fly up, go to the hospital, and fly home. I'm sure we'll have to do that sometimes (and have done it in the past), but for this trip, it just felt right to bring everyone and make something out of it.

For the first time, we're in an Early Barton Fink room with a lovely view of the public library. The library pipes out loud classical music to keep people from loitering, I guess, so right now, I'm sitting on the balcony, listening to Bach amongst the shouting and laughing and posturing at the bus stop, and amongst the beeping of the crosswalk, and amongst the church bells singing out the time, and amongst the rushing of the water through the fountain made of giant books. I am up here, in the middle of the city, but in a way where I can just watch and not be thrown straight into it. Sitting out here, with a soundtrack built in, I feel like I'm in a movie – or in some redemption scene from an HBO made-for-TV miniseries. I feel like I'm sitting in a huge metaphor. And it's only 78 degrees, so I'm sitting in a hugely, very comfortable metaphor.

So.

Here we are.

Again.

In the back of my mind I'm terrified that Dr. Fancypants might find new narrowing in Ike's airway, or evidence of some other malicious thing sneaking up on us, but in the front of my mind I'm enjoying the breeze and the music and the balcony and the kids running around, so happy to be out of the car.

Cincinnati, we are in you.