Room 506A

As sudden as an earthquake, I ended up in the emergency room several years ago because of severe abdominal pain. It turned out to be pancreatitis. I didn’t know anything about this condition but later learned it could be life-threatening. Pancreatitis is often caused by excessive alcohol consumption, but since I rarely drink alcohol, this wasn’t possible. The culprit turned out to be a gallstone found in the bile duct and the pain felt like a million knives doing the twist. Since my gallbladder was removed decades ago, gallstones never again entered my mind. Apparently though, if the gallbladder is gone, the gallstones have nowhere else to go.

It was an autumn Friday morning and I had just enjoyed a good cup of coffee with my husband when those knives started dancing. My husband comforted me as I laid down, but he felt helpless unable to take away the pain. After a couple of hours, I knew I wouldn’t be going into work. Maybe stubbornness played a role in my decision to ride it out. I didn’t want to go to the hospital. I wanted to enjoy my morning routine and have a productive day at work. Later I’d celebrate that it was Friday and the weekend was just around the corner.

However, things don’t always work out like we plan. That afternoon, I took in the sight of the emergency room where an IV was started, blood was drawn, and questions asked such as, “Are you allergic to any medications?” and “How would you rate your pain?” In full agony, I barely whispered, “It’s a ten.” The nurse gave me medication through the IV; soon the dancing knives ended their performance, although I wondered why it began in the first place.

While I waited for results, I couldn’t help think about the auto-immune liver disease my daughter was diagnosed with several years back – Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC). So far, my symptoms were parallel to hers. Could it be that I’ve had PSC all these years? As hard as I resisted, tears welled up. I kept thinking I had passed this horrible disease on to my daughter which made my heart ache. I was letting my darkest thoughts grab the reins and spiral me into a deep emotional funk. I fought back though, sliding these thoughts under the hospital bed. I had to remain calm and continue to breathe deeply, otherwise, I’d turn into a big mess.

If anyone has ever spent the night in a hospital, they’re aware of the constant nightly interruptions. Just when I fell into a soothing sleep, the nurse would come in and cheerily say, “Hi Lauren, time for labs,” or, “Hi Lauren, I need to check your vitals.” I know they’re only doing their jobs, but when I’ve fallen into a wonderful, deep sleep and woken up abruptly, it’s like entering an alternate universe. I’d roll over, hold out my arm with eyes closed while they poked and prodded. Then I’d fall back into my much-needed slumber.

By Sunday, I was raring to go home. The noise had taken its toll; a headache was coming on like a tidal wave from the high-pitched beeping. That deep longing for my own bed would not vanish. I woke up early and walked a few laps around the hospital floor. I had to prove to the doctor I was in good enough shape to be discharged, so I took each step slowly in a forward fashion. I was decked out in my blue hospital gown, tied securely so as not to put on a show. The red, traction hospital socks were the final touch to the classy ensemble. The venture was successful.

When I returned to my room, the nurse came in to share some bad news – that I was slightly jaundiced. This fed my anxiety because I thought jaundice was an end-of-liver-disease symptom. I’m right; it is, but it’s also a common indicator for other causes. Regardless, I was still well enough to go home, but since we still had no answers, I had to endure more tests. The most logical was an Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio Pancreatography (ERCP). This procedure is risky since I’ve had pancreatitis, but it was the only method that could detect different causes, including cancer. Even though I was hesitant because of the risks, I agreed to the ERCP. On a stormy day in October, I walked through the hospital doors for the 1:00 pm procedure.

One memory that remains vivid from this procedure was the seconds of sedation consciousness. One of the medications slowed down my heart rate which concerned my doctor enough to halt what he was doing. It was during this time that I felt something down my throat, thought I was going to choke, and tried to get my doctor’s attention. In my mind, I tried to lift my hand but it wouldn’t budge. Just when panic was setting in…so did the sedation. Next thing I knew, I was waking up in recovery. I was happy to see my husband, who was relieved the procedure was over, and then my doctor walked in to share the results.

“Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get the camera all the way down, Lauren…your bile duct was heavily scarred…I’m so sorry,” he said.

What? I felt my shoulders drop. The bottom line was to repeat this procedure, but I had to wait until the end of November, a six-week wait. I wasn’t about to tempt fate, so I dealt with the anticipation as best I could. The nameless cause morphed into an elephant in the room. Everywhere I looked, there it was. I had to maneuver around it in order to live life.

The clocks on the hand seemed to move at a slower speed, but the day of the procedure finally arrived. I felt relieved, but as I sat in the cold hospital room, surrounded by machines and medical staff, nervousness overpowered my relief. To calm myself, I said a silent prayer – that the doctors would have steady hands and sharp eyes to bring solid answers, for strength on my part, and for a “third time’s a charm” not to be necessary.

Once again, my thoughts returned to the days of numerous tests my daughter underwent when the doctors remained dumbfounded as they were unable to come up with a diagnosis for her. It took three years for one doctor, who was head of the Gastroenterology department, to finally give it a name. During those years, my husband and I lived in a cloud of disbelief that our daughter could be very sick; everyone has that invincible thought at some time “it won’t happen to us.” And while sitting in the office listening to the doctor speak, I felt time stop on the spot. The world may have kept spinning, but our family’s world became suspended.

When I waited for my diagnosis, was I afraid I could have cancer? Was I scared of having PSC? Sure, but mainly, I wasn’t concerned about myself. I simply didn’t want to be a burden; I wanted to be healthy so when my daughter needs me in the future, I’ll be able to comfort her. That has been my primary wish – that nothing happens to my husband, my son, or to me, so that when her disease progresses and becomes life-threatening, she knows her family is right beside her. Although bile duct gallstones can be serious, this is the primary reason I was grateful that neither cancer or PSC weren’t found.

Because of this painful experience, I’m reminded of just how fragile life is and that no day is guaranteed. I was fully aware before, but this fact became even clearer. It’s so easy to take even the simplest of tasks for granted. I even had moments when I could’ve easily lost sight of optimism and hope if it weren’t for the support circle of family and friends. I admit to still getting annoyed at little things, but my moments of annoyance don’t linger as long. My perspective is changed because I’ve tiptoed on the other side. Moving forward, I am grateful for the blessing of these positive results and hope for many tomorrows ahead.

Lauren Scott (c) 2020

A Turning of the Page

June 9, 2020

This past Tuesday, my husband and I
watched our daughter and fiance
exchange personally written vows
before saying, “I do.”
Their words were eloquent
and brought tears to our eyes.
The uniqueness of this ceremony
was the Zoom factor!
They have been together for 9 years
and engaged for almost 2.
Then came Covid-19 to disrupt everything.
Original plans had to be canceled,
and they decided to wait
for when large gatherings
could resume again.

After 3 months and many conversations,
they reached the same conclusion:
they just wanted to be married.
So, pressing pause for months
or even another year seemed senseless.

With the blessings of family and friends,
they pulled off a Zoom wedding
from Tennessee!
The ceremony was beautiful
and we joined in
from California
with no technological glitches.
We couldn’t be happier.
Was it ideal?
No, but they are now Mr. & Mrs.
and that’s what matters most.

When we get the green light
to throw a party, there will be
a big reception and replay
of their wedding vows.
So we can’t wait for that
exciting event!

It was refreshing to celebrate such a joyful occasion that gave us reason to “clink our glasses” and something positive to smile about.

Congratulations,
Steph and Ryan!
We love you!

To be fully seen by somebody and be loved anyhow –
this is a human offering that can border on miraculous.”
Elizabeth Gilbert

JUST MARRIED!
❤❤❤

Wishing you all something bright and sunshiny to celebrate in these times of uncertainty.
~Lauren 💗💗💗

Time Well Spent

Recently, my daughter and I spent some time together, and I’ll always
cherish our mom/daughter 
moments. On this day, the weather
cooperated as the sun warmed us with its rays, instead of raindrops
raining on our parade. We walked around, browsing in stores, while
talking and acting a little silly, too…
After all, what’s life without smiles and laughter? 

happiness

happiness

the mallards

The Mallard’s house (so cute) and pretty Koi fish

turtles

turtles, too

fun photo booth

silly faces – of course, anytime a photo booth is near, we jump in!
You know the quality isn’t good when you’re only paying a $1, but
the fun and faces are worth so much more! 

“Silliness is sweet syrup that helps us swallow the bitter pills of life.” 
~ Richelle E. Goodrich

happiness is mother daughter time

Lauren Scott © 2018
“Cherish those precious times with
loved ones and find time to add silliness
into your serious schedules.” ❤ 💜🧡💚💙💛 ❤

Renewing

new yamaha guitar for Lauren Oct 2017

Recently, I’ve been inspired to renew an old passion of mine, playing the guitar. I used to play a little when I was younger – late teens, early twenties, along with my ultimate passion for singing. But then life happened, and I chose a different path, which, just so you know, I don’t regret.

Those earlier years, though, instilled the love of music in me, which then was passed onto my daughter, who also loves to sing. My husband and son don’t sing or play an instrument, but they love listening to music. This form of art has always been a big part of our family.

So, a few days ago, I spontaneously went to “just look” at guitars. Bananas at Large is the go-to place for musical instruments and lessons. Well, so much for looking because I came home with a brand new Yamaha acoustic guitar. Since many years have passed, I’m a beginner again, so it’s a great start, not to mention that it’s beautiful. Since then, my daughter and I have been doing 30-minute sessions each night, starting with the basics. My excitement immediately inspired her, so it’s also turned out to be a fun mother/daughter time. I’m also currently looking into lessons, perusing all the teachers at Bananas to find the best fit for both of us.

I am so excited that I feel like a little kid! Seriously! My singing voice has changed, but maybe I can even get it back into gear as I learn the guitar. Now of course, the worst part is conditioning the fingers. Some of those chords, OUCH!

Thus, do any of you play guitar? Do you have stories to tell of when you first learned and your fingers were screaming at you? Any wise words of wisdom or gentle advice? Have any of you renewed an old passion, lately?

Here’s to Renewing Old Passions, and knowing that You’re Never Too Old!

Lauren Scott 2017

(p.s. wish me luck!)

 

Windy Fog & Duck Faces :)

Happy Friday, Everyone! I’m grateful for every day, but I can’t deny how glad I am when Friday rolls around. Anyway, for some “end of week” smiles, I’m sharing just a few photos taken yesterday at the Marin Headlands with my daughter and our dog, Copper…It was real foggy and super windy, but we still had a fun time. Although, I think Copper had had enough of the wind. 🙂 Gorgeous views even in the fog, which adds mystery to the photo, I think..you’ll see the Golden Gate bridge is trying to push through and make itself known and the sky couldn’t have been bluer. The last photo is Copper and I making duck faces, while my daughter looks beautiful. 🙂golden gate in the fog

view of bay and bridge

blue sky above fog

lauren and copper duck facesWishing you all a Fabulous Friday and Wonderful Weekend ahead! Thanks for all your visits and a big Thanks to all my new followers, as well! ♥

Cookie card

 

Love and Blessings to you all, Lauren ♥

Happy 21st Birthday to My Daughter ♥♥♥

You were a bundle of baby powder
so sweet smelling and cuddly
with rosy lips curved
into the perfect infant smile

that was only the beginning
of our hearts melting

Your beauty became more apparent,
not only on the outside, but on the inside, too
Your heart grew big enough
to share love around the world
You were an adorable little girl
Then within days,
You became a gorgeous young lady
ready to take on the world

You are the moon at it’s fullest,
pouring light over us
on the darkest night
and a country melody
just right for line dancing

You are the brightest sunflower
adding color to the garden of life
or the white stallion
prepared for any challenge that greets you

You are a dolphin,
gliding gently through life with grace
or shimmering sterling silver
Your soul never to tarnish

Our daughter, our creation from love
Now Twenty-one
“You’ve got the world by the tail,
Your Grandpa used to say
So move forward with passion
and make your own way

Our love for you is larger than life,
Mom and Dad

♥ ♥ ♥