Don’t F*%& With the Pancreas-The Maine Edition (Blogisode Twelve)

Happy Wednesday!  I’m writing (quickly) during the Tuesday evening show, and this starts our final week of performances of A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum because we close on Saturday.  Tuesday nights are fun because it’s “Vermont night” which means the tickets are usually discounted for Vermont residents.  It seems to always be a great house (meaning they laugh a lot).  I think my cast thinks I’m the most anti-social person in the world because all I do is come off stage and bang away on this computer, trying to get this blog out!  Or, they don’t care because they are all playing games on their iPhones….

Here we go!  This blogisode is brought to you by

Us playing spades and not on a computer.

spades and moose.  Spades (the card game, not little shovels) because we’ve played it every night…with actual cards, not virtual cards… since my parents arrived.  We taught Charlotte how to play it:  her first “trump” game.  Because she’s been on the winning team both nights–she’s obsessed.  She even turned down a sleep over with her Vermont bestie just so she could come home at 9:00 (when Beaz goes to bed) to play four handed spades with Rob and my parents.  I made a dip for them to enjoy with chips during the game and made my way to work.  It’s refreshing to sit around a table without a screen in sight for hours.  Circa 1952 wholesomeness.

This blogisode is also brought to you by Vermont moose because all we’ve done in the rain–when we aren’t playing spades–is look for moose.  My father is obsessed with wildlife, and has actually been on safari in Africa twice (another clue to our next story!).  Rob realized today that the search is as fun as actually seeing a moose (which is rarer than you might think despite all the ‘moose crossing’ signs), so he loaded Beatrix and my dad into the car and drove them all over Vermont on a moose hunt.  Nothing was found, but my dad did buy this moose statue for $20 and Beatrix keeps kissing it.  Somehow she thinks a moose is small and cute like a kitty cat.  She’ll be traumatized for life is she sees a real one.

Beatrix and her boyfriend.

But now…let’s climb on a moose and lumber back to Maine.  We left off with Beatrix and Charlotte heading to kid’s dinner at Quisisana, me full of gas and a 6″ Subway sub zooming back to see them before they go to sleep, and Rob doing orchestrations in his hospital bed waiting to get word about his pending bile duct vacuum surgery.

Let’s take a quick moment to discuss Rob’s hospital roommate, who also had pancreatitis. He was about 32, and apparently had already been hospitalized a couple of times with pancreatitis brought on by alcoholism.  Rob told me that he was getting phone calls all night from his friends who were planning a keg party for his release from the hospital, and not to worry, they’d scored some weed.  He was also begging the nurse for a cigarette.  All this from his hospital bed.  When Nurse Meredith came back on duty she told us about the severe addiction problem in Maine (this was her theory) because “MaineCare” (a type of medicare for Maine residents…that is a really basic explanation…but it has to do with free or low cost health benefits) attracts a

Rob's roommate

lot of junkies who come to the state for the medical care, for things like pancreatitis and addiction.  She said they also have had to really lock down the pain management medication distribution because so many people were faking illnesses in the ER to get drugs.  Crazy and sad.  Let’s not get all political about whether free health care is right or wrong–that is not the point I’m trying to make, I’m just saying that the addiction situation is sad.  We can all agree with Nurse Meredith about that.

I made it back to Quisisana Wednesday night in time to see the 2nd half of the opera, catch Jane and others up on Rob’s condition and spend a little time with Charlotte.  Beatrix was so excited and exhausted from all the attention that she crashed at 8:30, long before I drove in.  We slept reasonably well, and made it up to an early breakfast in the dining room.

I knew if Rob knew his surgery time he would leave me a message during breakfast (remember….no phones in the cabin or cell service…only messages through the

This was not on my breakfast table.

Quisisana office).  I was surprised and pretty relieved that there wasn’t a note on our table–I had convinced myself that I would arrive at breakfast to find a note that said “You slept through it again, idiot–I’m in surgery without you here.”  But…no note.  No phone calls during breakfast, nothing.  I ran into the lodge after ordering for me and the kids, and called Rob’s cell.  No answer.  Nervous, I called the hospital and was connected to the nurses station in maternity, and they told me he was still in his room and sleeping like a baby, no surgery scheduled yet.  Perfect.  I would make it!

After breakfast and looking at the babysitting schedule (which Sister Wife Amy had already handled beautifully), I headed out to the hospital.  A ways into the drive I managed to cobble together a little cell service and called Rob.  He answered sounding bright and cheery, saying they were working on a surgery schedule, but he didn’t know when.  He also said he’d finished his arrangements overnight.  I’m sure he was upset to be in the hospital and relapsing, but I gotta say, the guy can make the most of his time.

Driving along through one beautiful town after another, I started seeing signs.  “Tent sale 15 miles.”  Then another “Tent sale 5 miles.”  Tent sale?  Of what?  Kayaks?  No, the next

The tent sale I saw was much bigger and the tents were a tempting orange

sign told me:  “New Balance Tent Sale 1 mile.”  Uh oh.  I can avoid a kayak, but a New Balance tent sale?  Tempting…I could get in and out quickly….I could bring Rob a “congratulations on getting your bile duct vacuumed out” present.  And maybe get some new shoes so I could travel through that big hospital faster more efficiently.  As I got closer, I saw the huge orange tent and it was just STOCKED with shoes for a 4 day long tent sale that started at 10am TODAY.  I looked at the clock on my phone. 9:59am.  Oh–I could get first dibs!  Rows and rows of shoes!  I slowed down and started to turn in…and my phone rang.  It was Rob.

“Honey, they’re taking me downstairs for surgery.  How far away are you?”

Crap shit damn.  I was going to miss the surgery AND miss the shoes.  Maybe.

To read the next blogisode, go here:


About Sharon Wheatley

I'm a mother, an actress and a writer. I'm glad you're here.
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2 Responses to Don’t F*%& With the Pancreas-The Maine Edition (Blogisode Twelve)

  1. mia says:

    I heard there was a huge addition problem in Maine. Have to be careful about those sums next time I am there.

  2. Mark says:

    “Crap shit damn” happened to be my reaction when i realized we’d reached yet another cliffhanger.

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