Part one can be found here.
"Yes," answered Dr. BeatAroundtheBush. "He does."
"Is he dying?"
"Yes, he has pneumocystis pneumonia, and he's terminal."
I was stunned into silence. Oh my God. I'm going to die. I was still nursing my little girl. Not often, not much. But if I'm going to die, SHE'S going to die.
Oh my God oh my God oh my God oh my God.
The voice from the phone cut through my rising panic.
"Um. Is there someone there you trust ... someone I can talk to?"
I mentally scanned the backyard, searching for someone who was maybe more than just a neighbor.
The neighborhood doctor's wife?
I put her on the phone and watched her face as my husband's doctor talked to her.
Suddenly, I was surrounded. All the neighborhood wives were there, and they were talking and making phone calls and trying to feed me and seeking information -- not so easy to do 10 years ago on a holiday weekend.
It was not so easy to get tested on a holiday weekend either. None of us had any idea of how to go about this. Through a series of hotlines and referrals, we found a guy.
Just some guy.
Some guy who would come to ME on a holiday weekend and draw blood and tell me my future.
Just some guy.
Today, I shake my head at what I had to do to get the answer I craved and feared. It's so simple now. It was so NOT then.
Just some guy came to my house on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.
Pulled out a kit of syringes and needles and alcohol wipes and little tubes.
I gave him my arm and my hopes, and he pulled the answer to my nightmare out of my vein.
And then he went away, with the promise of results in 48 hours.
Let me repeat that.
Forty-eight hours while I hugged my baby and cried.
Forty-eight hours while I tried to refuse her the comfort she sought from my breast.
And could not.
Forty-eight hours while I plotted out a frightening future that had an end point, filled with pills and regimen and pain and illness and death.
And 48 hours during which Dr. BeatAroundtheBush decided I now needed frequent updates on he-who-shall-not-be-named's condition.
"We've increased his oxygen ... he's on no room air at all."
"His lung collapsed. We reinflated it."
"The morphine drip has been upped to the maximum."
Oh my God stop stop stop oh my God oh my God stop stop stop stop stop oh my God.
How did I live through those horrible 48 hours? I honestly don't know.
My usual support system was gone -- my BFF had left for an anniversary cruise with her husband the morning of the fateful barbecue. I had a tenuous relationship with my parents after my tumultuous marriage.
I had only my neighborhood acquaintances and my boss. Not today's boss, but a woman who was my friend, who shared her divorce attorney, her home, her heart and her help during the months after my separation.
I clung to Sue and her phone calls. She knew that results were due Tuesday at about 10 a.m., and she got in her car that morning and drove like a bat out of hell so she could hold my hand when it did.
She didn't get there in time, though.
At 9:30, my phone rang, and I picked it up, uncertain.
"Janet," said the deep, soothing voice of just some guy.
I couldn't breathe.
"I got your results early, and I wanted to share them as soon as possible."
I closed my eyes.
"You're fine. You're negative."
To be continued.