Husband: “Let’s go to dinner.”
Me: “I’m too tired.”
Husband: “You’re always too tired.”
Me: “Watch it, mister.”
Husband: “This isn’t normal. I think there’s something wrong with you.”
Me: “There’s nothing wrong with me.”
Husband: “People aren’t normally always so tired.”
That was pretty much a weekly exchange in my household last fall. My husband would suggest something insane like leaving the house after 5pm and I would flip out. I was too tired to even conceive of braving the big, bad world after a day of working, parenting, cooking and household dutying. When he suggested that perhaps, just perhaps my exhaustion level wasn’t normal, I would blow a gasket. Of course it’s normal! I’m a working mom of two. If you look up “Working Mom of Two” in the dictionary you’ll see a picture of a haggard bitch with frizzy hair bending down to pick up a Lego screaming, “AHHHHHHHHHHHH!” Or, er, maybe that’s just the portrait my 6-year-old daughter made of me at school, (mortifying!) but it should be the definition in the dictionary.
“I’m tired” has been my mantra since I gave birth 7 years ago. Exhaustion is a way of life for me. So when my energy level went from “I can’t pick my face up off of the kitchen table” to “I can’t freakin' pick my face up off the kitchen table and if you even suggest it I am going to kill you” I barely noticed. But my husband sure did.
It was only when my hair began falling out in clumps, my muscles twitched all over, my arms started going numb, my brain was so foggy I couldn’t remember ANYTHING, I was dizzy and lightheaded more often than not and my heart fluttered like a crazy, caged moth every night that I agreed. There was something wrong with me. Of course I decided there was something wrong on Thanksgiving while driving from San Francisco to Los Angeles with two kids in the car. You know, when there was no way on earth I could get to a doctor.
Me: “There’s something wrong with me.”
DH: “What’s wrong?”
Me: “I don’t know. I can’t feel the right side of my body.”
DH: “Let’s call a doctor.”
Me: “I think my lips are going numb. And I’m dizzy.”
DH: “Are you sure?”
Me: “I don’t know. My arm is numb. Is it a stroke?”
DH: “I don’t know. Google it.”
Me: “OK … OK … My internet isn’t working. Freakin' T-Mobile!”
DD: “You guys are talking too loud, I can’t hear my LeapPad.”
DH: “Just call your doctor.”
Me: “I don’t want to bother anyone. It’s Thanksgiving.”
DH: “You’re not bothering anyone.”
Me: “Oh my god, my face is going numb. Is it a stroke?”
DH: “Call 911!”
Me: “I’m sure they have more important—“
DH: “Give me the phone!”
DD: “Shhhh! Dad! I can’t hear my LeapPad!”
DH: “Call 911 or give me the phone.”
Me: “OK, I’ll call 911.”
DD: “Great, now you made me lose the game I was playing. Thanks a lot.”
Me: “Yes, hi. I might be having a stroke. We’re stuck in traffic on the 405 heading south …”
DD: “Mom, you’re so annoying.”
And that’s when I saw the ambulance in the lane next to us. I rolled down the window and leaned out. “Pull over! Pull over!” I waved them to the shoulder. The EMT was eating a sandwich. He looked at me like I was crazy. But he pulled over. I hung up on 911 and ran out of the car.
The verdict was I would live until we got to LA. DH dropped me off at the emergency room in Santa Monica. Or somewhere near an emergency room in Santa Monica. I wandered a few blocks until I found it. The kids didn’t notice I’d left the car until 20 minutes had passed. The power of the LeapPad.
Turns out it wasn’t a stroke. Didn’t look like MS. Doctor said I had a “good looking brain” (at least something on me is still good looking!). He suggested I follow up when I got home. Because there was something wrong with me, we just weren’t sure exactly what. Turns out not all working moms of two are crazy, exhausted frizzy-haired bitches.