It was hard to pack up my beloved treasures. I carefully wrapped every single memory as best I could, hopefully preventing any breakage during this move. Some of the items could be retrieved as soon as we moved to the farm, I consoled myself. Others though, I knew, would be packed away for years until we were able to build a real home.
Our rental was not ideal, but we were thankful to get it considering the very few options we seemed to have. It was a duplex home about 15 minutes from my work. The neighborhood consisted mostly of renters which made for no welcoming party…to say the least! There were 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a kitchen and den. Both our daughters, Emily and Joy lived there with us until they returned to college. To be quite honest, the place gave me the creeps. I knew most of my neighbors by name though. I could easily read it from their tattooed backs! I found myself constantly checking the doors and windows, making sure all was secure and I stayed inside after dark. Other than that, it was clean and it was the one place that would rent to us for only 6 months. It had a fenced in back yard and other than the Pit Bull next door, who dug under the fence and tried to eat our Corgi KC, everything was fine…just FINE…. I vowed not to stay 1 hour past our 6 month contract, even if it meant pitching a tent at the farm!
Once a well was erected, I spent most afternoons at the farm for a few hours every day. It not only allowed me to watch the progress of the building, but when I was there, I worked on the back pasture fence. I had a goal of completing 4 sections of fence a day. I tried to time it so that I arrived back at the duplex right before sunset. Upon arriving home one day, I entered the house and heard a strange noise. My heart started to race. I stood perfectly still waiting to hear another noise. I searched for our indoor dog Chrissy with my eyes but did not see her. Again, I heard the strange sound. It was a moan. I raced to the back bedroom frantically looking around. Nothing. I leapt forward into the bathroom. There was Chrissy standing next to Joy, our youngest daughter. She was curled up around the toilet in obvious pain.
“What’s wrong?” I questioned as I knelt down beside her.
She tried to focus on me while answering. “Momma, my stomach hurts really badly.”
Joy was ghost white and there was a veil of sweat over her face. She had her left arm curled under her body and around her abdomen. The toilet was full of vomit and she continued to gag.
I ran into the kitchen, grabbing a towel and dousing it in cold water. I took it back to her, trying to sit her up to wipe her face. She threw her head back and cried an agonizing wail. A sound no Mother ever wants to hear come from her child. I grabbed her arm and pulled it around my neck, picking her up. We went straight out to my car. I tried as gently and quickly as I could to get her situated into the car. We sped off on our way to the Emergency room.
“Joy. I have to ask you a question and you MUST answer me honestly! I mean it Joy, I will not be angry with you. You just have to be honest so we can figure out what is going on!” My voice was shaking as she nodded yes.
“Have you done any drugs?” I asked as I turned my head from the road to her.
She nodded no.
“Any drugs, means anything from taking anything the doctor prescribed to anything legal or illegal…ANYTHING?” Again she shook her head no. Her big brown eyes filled with tears as she started to get ill again and we sped down the road.
We arrived at the hospital and wheeled her into the Emergency room. Her cries and dry heaves would have brought a grown man to his knees. Everyone who saw her had a look of either sympathy or terror on their face. Once on the gurney she could not stay still. She rolled and flipped and cried. It was hard for the nurse to get an IV started. When they did, they proceeded to give her syringe after syringe full of pain medications, a veritable cocktail that would have put an elephant to sleep and yet she was still crying and begging for more. They did blood tests and physical exams. They took her away to do x-rays only returning to ask me to come and hold her down. She could not even be still long enough for the few seconds it took to get a clear picture!
I followed the tech into the lab. Joy lay on the cold hard table crying. She reached for me when our eyes met. I leaned over the upper part of her body while they x-rayed her abdomen whispering calming words to her. She laid still just long enough for them to get the shots they needed. We returned to the emergency room. I asked the doctor to give her more pain medication while he looked over her chart. He agreed as he glanced up at her. I watched as they had now given her what I estimated to be over 10 times what I had been given to calm me down during natural childbirth! It was as though they had injected her with water. I have never witnessed so much pain and agony and all I could do to offer comfort was to hold on to her.
A few moments later the Emergency Room doctor came back into the room. He had reviewed her x-rays which confirmed Joy had a large kidney stone!
“Kidney Stone?” I questioned. “Old men have kidney stones, not young women!”
He nodded and agreed with me saying, “Yes, that is usually the case. We are calling in a Urologist for her. This stone is fairly large and seems to be stuck in her ureter.”
“Hurry! Just make it go away!” Joy responded.
Don arrived shortly after her diagnosis was given. I gave him the updates as he went over to offer her some comfort while I went outside to call my Father. She was still rocking back and forth and moaning. Moments later the Urologist arrived. He told us that he had reviewed her lab work and x-rays advising that the stone had a barb which had hooked itself to the side of her ureter. She was in as much pain as a patient with a gun shot wound to the stomach! Surgery was needed to free her from the anguish.
“Yes! Do it! Please get it out of me!” Joy begged as she overheard the doctor’s diagnosis. I ran outside to again call my Father with the updates.
Within moments a nurse came into the room with a gown. She instructed us to help Joy get undressed and ready for surgery. All of a sudden Joy was completely still. She did not move except to raise her head and ask if she could keep her socks on.
“No Hon,” the nurse replied, “you need to take your socks off too.”
I turned my head slowly looking at Joy while squinting my eyes in suspicion. The nurse reached for her sock. Joy jerked her foot away and tucked it all the way under her left hip. My mouth dropped open. Not 10 seconds ago, this child of mine was crying and flipping all over the bed like a fish out of water and now she lay in a yoga like position not uttering a sound! I reached under her and grabbed her foot by the ankle ripping off the sock.
“Oh my God!...When did you do that? Oh my God!” I screeched as I pointed to a tattoo on her toe.
Sheepishly she looked up at me, still not moving a muscle.
“A couple of weeks ago.” She mumbled.
Still holding her foot, my grip tightened. Through clenched teeth I asked, “Is there ANY THING ELSE you would like to confess to me BEFORE you go into SURGERY Joy?”