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February 03, 2011

A week ago today

(pretend it's Wednesday, when I actually started this post) was my first post-op visit after the implant exchange (on the right side) and nip/tuck/fill (on the left side).  If you remember, as much as I want to tackle this as all naturally as possible, I also want to have a semblance of equality, if you will.

Thinking that it could hurt to even things out a bit, I went with Dr. X's above recommendations. Three days after the surgery, I had my first look.  It didn't seem to bad, in fact, in some respect the parts involved seemed years younger or one might say (Dad, stop reading right now...) perky.  I can't say I enjoyed the stitched-up look, but at least it seemed a like step in the right direction.

Four days later, we headed to Dr. X's office for a quick post-op check.  Anticipating that we would only be gone for an hour or so, we left Cait in charge of the crew and headed towards McLean.  Dr. X had thoughtfully moved up the appointment by 30 minutes due to the impending storm (as if we were actually to have a decent snowstorm at long last...) and it was a fairly short visit.

We arrived, waited only a few minutes and then we were led back to the exam room.  After I changed, Dr.X stepped in, examined everything and seemed happy with his work.  He asked if I had any problems, and Peter decided it was an ideal time to mention the hospital issues.  Dr. X hasn't ever raised his voice and rarely seems to change his tone at all.  However, once Peter started describing the issues and I filled in any blanks, Dr. X just looked at us with a hardened gaze, not as though he was mad at us, just as though he couldn't understand either event could have happened.  He questioned as to why we didn't call (well, at the time I was choking on saltines and/or randomly falling into wheelchairs while Peter was retrieving the car...not the optimal moment).  

We both explained that it was all over so quickly and we just honestly didn't even think to do that, due to being otherwise occupied.  He did not say much more than "None of that should have happened and I am very sorry.", but Peter and I left the office that day satisfied that the hospital would be getting phone calls from him about both issues.   I felt better, all seemed fine with me physically and we decided a quick snack and then trip to the grocery store was in order.

We noticed a bit of sleet while having our late afternoon lunch, but figured as with all of the other storms this year, it would amount to next to nothing.  Nevertheless, we didn't dawdle and quickly left for Whole Foods to stock up on a few necessities on the off-chance it snowed enough for school to be canceled (again).   As we walked into the store, nothing but that tiny bit of ice pellets.  Twenty minutes later as we walked out through the doors, thick, wet snowflakes were swirling around and beginning to stick.

Ha!  At long last, the storm we had desired might be on it's way (yes, my children are snow-starved).  We stowed the groceries, got into the car, turned onto the nearest main road and had no problems for several miles.  However, by the time we reached a major intersection about 3 miles from our house, it occurred to us that traffic had become severely backed up.  It took us not one, but four light cycles to cross Route 50.  Apparently, not only had everyone heeded the warning to leave the office early, they had managed to do so exactly at the same time and  when the snow was really starting to pile up.

Once across Route 50, we were sure we were golden for our journey to end soon. After all, it was now well after 5 p.m., the kids were likely getting hungry and while Cait indicated all was well, we didn't want to be out all night.  Sadly, traffic had come to nearly a standstill.   We were inching our way up Annandale Road when I noticed something even more ominous than never-ending traffic:  the gas indicator.  It had just flipped from three bars to two and not 20 minutes (and about 20 feet) later, we were down to one bar.  Despite the fact that we were in the Hybrid, no way we could hope that one bar would magically last the ride home, especially now that it was guaranteed to be at least an hour.

Peter, courtesy of his mad driving skillz (growing up in snowy western Massachusetts & work-related driving courses), made a quick u-turn in the road and we back-tracked to a gas station a mile away.  Half an hour later, we had gas and headed back home, opting this time for a side street...until we noticed that it was a rather hilly road and at least one car was already stuck.  Had we had a bit more clearance, we would have risked it, but we didn't want to end up trying to pass and ending up sitting right next to the other car.  The snow had now been coming down furiously for two hours, there was no end in sight, and we turned around and headed back  to our original route....and sat..inched ahead...and sat...inched ahead...and sat.  We did the inch/sit, inch/sit for the next 3 hours.  I might have worried more, but with Peter driving (I'm fine in the snow, but he is outstanding driver in any weather) , my only concern was that the kids would eventually be freaking out at home.  

Well, no.  Cait* texted frequently and let us know that all was well.  Unlike parts of northern VA (including the neighborhoods we traversed), DC and MD, our little neighborhood never lost power.  Cait thought ahead and "just in case" turned off appliances not in use (not sure this really did much, but made her feel like she was doing something), kept her cell phone plugged in, made the kids dinner, settled them down with a movie and then put Nicholas to bed.  When we finally arrived home at 10 p.m. (yes, 6 hours later), Kelsey was in bed reading, Nicholas was sound asleep and we had to bang on the door for 10 minutes as Cait had even thought to lock the storm door.

It was not the storm of the century, but did provide the kids with a few days off and sledding at long last.  While I can't say I enjoyed those 6 hours, I was extremely grateful to have spent them in a warm and toasty (and well-driven) car with Peter.  Yes, we were tired and cranky, but it could have been much worse.  In fact, our drive was actually shortened by a good samaritan.

We knew people (spefically, those in trucks & SUVs with higher clearance) were trying to pass on the left.  Not only were they contributing to many near accidents, but it was the reason that traffic was going so slowly.  Few people, if any, were truly stuck in the snow, most just couldn't move because of those drivers who felt their journey home was more important.  Finally, as we were nearing our turn-off, we were stopped entirely.

A gentleman, whose name we never learned, had taken it upon himself to direct traffic.  He had noticed that the trucks and SUVs were trying to create a third lane on the right (it's only a two lane road to begin with) and with cars parked along the sides, no one could go in either direction.  When we drove up, he blocked all of the passing cars and our lane (once a wayward van slipped through).  He then blocked the left lane, the passing lane on the right and allowed our lane to go.  Once we were through 'his' intersection, we were home in no fewer than 15 minutes.  Our neighborhood had been plowed an hour before, so while not fabulous, it was not difficult to navigate the roads.  In fact, we didn't get stuck once, the entire night...until we pulled into our driveway and that was resolved within minutes (yes, Peter also has mad shoveling skillz).

Oh, and the totals?

Distance for our route:  7.5 miles

Time to go above distance:  5 hours, 45 minutes


*I suppose some might think us a bit Free Range (well, we are...it works for us) leaving Cait in charge even for a few hours.  However, she's 12, she has had quite a bit of babysitting experience and we knew (ha!) we wouldn't be gone for long.  Would I do the same thing again, had we known what would happen?  You bet.  The kids were safe, warm, happy, able to use the bathroom if necessary, fed and well-rested upon our return.  I'll take that over them being stuck for six hours in a car any day and I think Cait was thrilled as her efforts earned her the extra money she needed for her chorus field trip to Hershey Park in May.





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Wow- that bites... glad you got home safe and sound though and it sounds like your oldest daughter had a chance to feel responsible. That's a pretty cool by-product from a crappy incident. Hope today is better!

Good lord! I'm so thankful that wasn't me!

It sounds like you handled the day's challenges with grace. Glad you got back safely. Kudos to your oldest!

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