Empty Nest Disaster

I need to finish the last bits of my empowering road trip, but first must share sad, sad news.

When I woke up this morning, the first thing I did (as always) was to check on the baby hummingbirds.

They have grown so much and by my calculations, would be fledging the nest next week.

I took this picture on Sunday.

HummyMay303

When I didn’t see two little heads bobbing up and down and squirming around, I opened the back door and saw this empty nest.

Hummyemptynestjune1

The chimes upon which the nest was built was in disarray and a feeling of dread washed over me.

I knew something bad had happened, but couldn’t find any clues to suggest who or what had attacked the nest.

I had one last hope; that the two babies were in the mulberry tree that shades the deck, and were only trying out their new wings.

But then mom flew by and sat on the nest looking all around.

She was as confused as I was.

Calling out to her babies, I could feel her distress.

Over the course of the morning, she’s flown back no less than a dozen times, looking everywhere for her children, which confirms my worst fear that they were abducted by a raccoon or a crow or even a hawk.

But this story gets worse.

As I climbed on the bench to peer inside the empty nest and to snap a pic, I positioned the nest/chimes with my hand to get a better angle.

When I went back in the house to sit down and email tugboat man the tragic news, I saw tiny little creatures crawling on my hand.

I HAD BIRD MITES ON ME.

After washing my hands and arms more times than Lady Macbeth and dousing my entire upper body with rubbing alcohol, I took a boiling hot shower and scrubbed myself and my hair three times.

The mere thought of a creature in my hair and I knew my life would be OVER. Thick, long, curly hair is hard enough to deal with, but the thought of mites nesting up there provokes extreme mental anxiety.

I threw away the shirt I was wearing and washed the other clothes twice in bleach and hot water, so much bleach that they’re now completely devoid of color at this point.

Then I freaked out that the mites were going to invade the house and with gloves on, cut down the nest and chimes and put them into a sealed bag to put in the trash or somehow keep the chimes if I can sterilize them to my satisfaction.

After that, I found ant spray (the only chemicals around) and sprayed every possible surface on the deck and the eaves where the chimes/nest had been.

Bird mite infestations from nests is a real thing. There are horror stories on the internet about it.

Crap.

I wonder how long the feeling that things are crawling on me is going to last?

I’m a clean freak ANYWAY, but this is pushing me over the edge, and hub is out of cell range and not available to calm me down and/or offer his sage advice.

An empty nest is bad enough. To be violently snatched from a warm bed in the middle of the night is every mother’s nightmare.

I don’t know what to say to the hummy mom.

Even now, she’s desperately searching for her babies and there’s no way I can tell her that they’re gone forever.

Her heartache is palpable. I can FEEL her pain.

Hub and I fell in love with the whole process, from watching mom build the nest to laying the jellybean sized eggs to watching them hatch and grow.

This is not the ending I could have predicted.

Poor mom.

She’s extremely distraught; even as I’m typing this, I still hear her calling to them.

Who said animals don’t feel things?

Because of course they do.

A mother’s love has no equal.

I feel like I let down mom down, that she trusted me to help her take care of her precious kids, and I failed miserably.

One of my favorite photos…

Property of enchantedseashells.com

Property of enchantedseashells.com

Sometimes Mother Nature sucks.

June 1 SUCKS.

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What Does a Cosmo, the Trauma Unit, and Mother’s Day Have In Common?

For this #MothersDay, I’m honored to welcome a special guest poster on Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife…my very own daughter-in-law, or as we fondly refer to her, DIL. I know you’ll love this post as much as I do. Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!
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What Does a Cosmo, the Trauma Unit, and Mother’s Day Have In Common?

As we sit 20,000 feet up in seats 1C, 1D, & 1E, our little team can almost exhale as we head home from Boston to San Diego.

Rewind ten days.

What would you do at 4:00 a.m. when you’re terrified in the Emergency Room. Your husband is in agony. The surgeons’ don’t know what’s up and the pain meds aren’t working?

You call family.

Nobody wants to make that call. I knew that waking up MIL in the middle of the night to tell her that her Angel Boy was in the Emergency Room hooked up to morphine 3000 miles away would put the ice-cold, fear-of-God in her.

I took a deep breath and dialed. When she did not pick up I knew the panic she would feel when I called again right after.

No one wants to see their DIL’s number twice in a row in the middle of the night.

When I got through I told her calmly what was happening. I could hear the panic in her voice but she responded exactly as a mother should. She said that she was on her way. Not just hopping in the car or on the bus. She was booking tickets to fly across the country without a moment’s thought. I knew that I had opened them to that sick pain and fear I was feeling – but it had made me feel better. I knew whatever was coming I did not have to face it alone. And that’s what good mothers do. They take on your pain, so you can feel better.

From then on, I counted the hours until they arrived. Literally. I did not leave AB’s side until they got there and I knew another loved one could watch over him.

It had been fifteen hours in the hospital without even a cuppa. I had screamed, cried, fought, and begged every RN, CRN, resident, consultant, physician, surgeon, radiologist, you name it. But now I knew I had some people on my team.

Team AB.

The next ten days after the surgery went by on auto-pilot. I’m convinced Team AB drove the whole floor nuts. We were on their ass 24/7 – from wash clothes, to walks, to IV, to test, results, more CTs — we did not stop for a moment to breathe.

But me and MIL were on the same team, working together, side by side, to make sure our AB got better.

It’s true when they say you have to laugh or you’ll cry. Too true! In amongst all of the drama and fear we belly laughed. I mean really laughed. Even when Jason’s roommate “One Tooth Tommy’s” girlfriend overdosed him on her street Xanex. Or or when I got some sympathy gas in the canteen in front of a table of young cute residents.

The day AB was getting discharged, I woke up and I looked over in our hotel room to see MIL sleeping and next to her an empty glass of wine, vodka tonic, and the remains of my Cosmo. What can I say? It had been one of those weeks.

And now as we head home to San Diego, it could not be more perfect that tomorrow is Mother’s Day.

Because it’s definitely time to celebrate MIL.

When an emergency hits – it comes out of nowhere and the whole world stops.

Everything is stripped back and you see people for who they really are.

Raw.

What we saw this week was the purest and selfless love of a mother.

AB, you are lucky to have such a mom.

And I am lucky to have a friend, a partner in crime, and the best MIL you could wish for!

Happy Mother’s Day!

 

 

 

 

A mom is a mom forever

I’m an A to B kind of Princess, black and white like the colors of a Chanel Boutique.  Ziggy zaggy paths or gray areas…not so much. I had a clear-cut idea about how I was going to approach my topic du jour but like an annoying kid pulling at my shirt while I’m on the telephone, other ideas were poking at my consciously unconscious subconscious and I had to put aside my wonderfully witty post about vacuuming (!) and take a detour.

Listen up, moms!

Our children are ours to love and protect no matter how old they are — newborn, two years, sixteen, twenty-one, or even in their thirties, like my own Angel Boy.

The fragility of life smacked me in the head a few days ago. You just NEVER know when that call will come that stops you in your tracks.

I wrote a post last week about getting Botox and Juvederm with a couple of my girlfriends.
On Friday, my friend C and I stopped by the Chanel boutique inside Macy’s so she could get her makeup done. She’s doesn’t wear a lot of makeup but she’s going to the Dominican Republic with her boyfriend  for a couple weeks and would be attending a formal event and wanted to be glammed up.

While she’s being pampered and beautified, her iPhone rings. It’s her son, thirty years old, a really sweet boy, her only child. He was sick and didn’t know what was wrong with him. He sent her some pictures. His left eye was completely swollen shut and it looked very puffy and angry. He was in a lot of pain and had a headache. He told his mom (I’m having her repeat everything to me) that he woke up that way a few days before, had gone to an urgent care facility, and they sent him away with some antibiotics (I don’t know what kind) thinking perhaps it was a spider bite. The alternative diagnosis was herpes zoster (more commonly known as “shingles”). The headache was becoming unbearable.

My mom was a Registererd Nurse, and I have a pretty fair medical background because I listened to her a lot and I worked for my doctor cousin back when I thought I wanted to be a doctor myself, but I was no brainiac in math and science. I’m the one people call when they have a medical issue and want advice, and I always tell them to go to a doctor, but try to help them become educated patients or caregivers or parents.

I asked her to ask her son if he had a fever. Of course, he didn’t have a thermometer, (come one, everyone needs a digital thermometer!!) but he was having chills and his girlfriend said he felt warm.

I told my friend to tell her son to go back to the doctor immediately. If it was a spider bite, I was concerned that the location of the bite was near his eye and brain and needed more aggressive treatment. If it was shingles, he needed a more educated diagnosis and a different approach.

At this point, my friend was becoming really freaked out. We’re sitting in two makeup chairs and she’s worrying about her only child, her baby boy. She asked me what I would do if it were my son. I didn’t hesitate. I told her I would be on a flight to him right that instant. Sometimes the most random medical things can deteriorate at an alarming rate and she needed to be with him in a worst case scenario. I would. In a heartbeat.

We left the store and she promised to keep in touch.  He went back to the doctor, had a temp of 101 and a persistent headache. They told him it looked like he had shingles, gave him a steroid injection, and sent him home.

He had a bad night with a severe heachache that kept him awake.

My friend drove to the next state where he lives, a six-hour drive.

She emailed me that he had suffered a seizure and was in intensive care. They were doing tests to try and figure out what was wrong. Along with his other symptoms, a grand mal seizure in an otherwise completely healthy young man is very troublesome.

My last email from her was that the doctors had no clear answers, but he seemed to be feeling better and might be released in a couple days.

Did you think this was going to end with a story about every parent’s nightmare? I really thought it was going in that direction. I’m hopeful he will have a diagnosis and he doesn’t have any more seizures and this was simply a random, aberrant episode in his otherwise happy life. I haven’t heard from her today. Fingers crossed.

But it made me sit back and think. Being a mom is immutable, enduring, never-ending — and that’s the way it should be. The days of changing diapers and nursing them to sleep might be over, but they will always need us to be the one constant in their lives–the one person they can turn to who will run like the wind to wherever they are.

That’s what a good mom should do. That’s a mom’s job.

You never know when it’s going to be the last time you see them. The last I love you. This is a reminder for us all to treasure all of their precious moments, no matter how old they are.

(Before I hear from any dads out there, this is MY perspective and MY opinion as a mom.)