On this day in 1934, the staff of the Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire recorded the highest surface wind ever measured, which was officially recorded at 231 miles per hour. In honor of this crazy big wind, the ‘powers that be’ created “Big Wind Day” to celebrate what probably would have blown Dorothy and Toto way past OZ. Probably even past Hogwarts.
Wait, though. Hold the phone. This record was toppled by Typhoon Olivia as she barreled through Barrow Island, Australia in 1996. Olivia was caught speeding at 253 mph, breaking the record held by the “Wind with No Name” from New Hampshire by 22 mph. I’m sure the “Wind with No Name” was seriously bummed.
So, when these records are broken, does the holiday still exist? Is it mandatory to move “Big Wind” day to whichever day Olivia blew Barrow Island to bits and pieces? I don’t have that answer. It seems I don’t have many answers these days. You think you know what’s coming next and then “BAM!” It all changes in an instant.
And over the past few years I’ve learned to accept the wind of change as it blows through our lives. Here lately, however, it’s been coming at us faster and without any sort of pattern, hellbent on breaking its prior record. Good thing I don’t put a lot of effort into my hairstyle because it’s getting blown to bits.
Usually I’d have something familiar to grab onto. A familiar city. A familiar person. A familiar hospital. But all of this is new. New doctors with new ideas. They don’t know Ben. They don’t know me. We don’t know them. Interestingly enough, I don’t feel lost. I’m not sure exactly what it is that I’m feeling. At least I’m still feeling, right? I’m not completely numb. That’s good, right? Sure it is.Â But it seems like I’m always waiting. And then once a “plan” is in place, I rush furiously to keep up with the gust, hopefully landing where I’m supposed to.
Ben had surgery on Friday. He was in the pediatric observation unit (AKA: the POU) with plans to be discharged to the main oncology floor yesterday. Seeing how it was Sunday, there weren’t any new kiddos scheduled to need the POU, so they allowed Ben to stay. Until 3 AM this morning. The nurse woke me with a shake and said “You need to move out of this room.” My first instinct was “this is a weird dream”. Then I realized that most of my waking moments are some weird dream. I shook off sleep as quick as I could, packed all of our stuff, and carried Ben to our new room. We’ve never been “inpatient” on the oncology floor at MSKCC before so it was all new to us. I laid Ben on the bed and unpacked to some degree, just so I would know where my essential items were. I located the nearest bathroom before either of us had an emergency. I tried to make a new plan based on our new surroundings. I tried to figure out how the bed worked. Â Three AM is not the best time to introduce me to a new program.
Even the nurses didn’t know we had moved in. One nurse came in to what she must have thought was an empty room only to be surprised by our “squatting”. She yelped in surprise and used her “stern voice” to ask ‘what are you doing in here?’ Duh. What are we doing in here, indeed. All right, the gig is up. You guessed it. I shave my kid’s head and crash oncology units in the middle of the night just so we can have a place to sleep. I guess I’m just glad she didn’t lay down on top of us, or eat her lunch, or start smoking a cigarette before she realized we were there. She changed her tune quickly enough but I have to admit it takes someone with some special skills to make an outsider feel even more like an outsider. Guess what? I don’t wanna be a part of your club. But while we’re here, at least you can be cordial. Oh wait. I forgot. This is New York City. I forgot that this is where the wind has blown us for the time being.
So, I’m sitting here typing my little heart out, getting as aggravated as I get, wondering when the next gust of “big wind” will come bursting forth. Waiting. Knowing it’s gonna happen. Trying to be prepared but not knowing what I’m preparing for. I know it’s going to happen today. Will it be discharge? Will it be chemo? Will it be something altogether different? Maybe it’s not treatment related? Maybe it’ll be divorce papers? Maybe terrorists will infiltrate MSKCC? Maybe an asteroid will fall out of the sky or we’ll all be abducted by aliens? Who knows? Certainly not me.
But bring it. I’m ready.