When Life Happens All at Once – Part 3

When Life Happens All at OnceThis is the third in a series of blog posts about “When Life Happens All at Once.” It’s a long story, and the only way I know how to process everything is to write about what happened one day at a time.

Wednesday 10/26/16

I had my first appointment with Dr. Keenen, the surgeon who will fix my back on the morning of October 4th. He said it will be a simple surgery, and there is a 90% chance that I will be happy I had it. I told him I had my toothbrush in my purse and I could just stay. He chuckled and said, “I would get in serious trouble with my staff if I started doing the scheduling.”

I knew from Alex’s experience that it would probably be three to four weeks before we got through all the pre-op authorization process. Alex encouraged me to wait patiently, which is something I have never been capable of doing.

We had some fun things on the calendar that we could look forward to, including a visit with my nephew Dan and his wife Adie.  My kids hadn’t seen their cousin in nearly twenty years. Since my back and leg pain wouldn’t allow me to cook a family feast, I made reservations at the same restaurant where we had celebrated Jean’s 90th birthday.

Jean was excited about another family get-together. She had gone to her doctor on Tuesday for her annual exam. When I asked how it went, she said, “The doctor told me my blood is perfect and my lungs are clear. She thinks I’m a tough old gal, and she said she’d see me next year.”

I wasn’t surprised. It was the same report she’d given me for the last ten years following her annual checkup.

I had arranged to pick her up at 6:00. For once in my life, I was running early, so I called at  5:00 to see if she’d like to have a glass of wine before we went to the restaurant. She asked if it would be okay if she brought her walker.

I said, “Yes, of course!” But I have to admit I was surprised. She uses her walker to get to the dining room at her facility, but she has stubbornly refused to use it when she goes out.

When I got to her apartment, I was shocked at her appearance. She was extremely pale, and her hair was uncombed. She told me that her legs weren’t working well. Then she added, “I did a big genuflect this afternoon.”

I said, “What do you mean?”

She said, “When I stood up earlier, my legs went out from under me, and I went down to my knees.”

I said, “Are you hurt?”

She waved me off. “No! I just think I should probably use the walker tonight.”

I was trying to figure out how I was going to get her into the restaurant. Alex was at a board meeting. It was raining outside. The parking lot would be full. I didn’t want to drop her off at the entrance and have her wait while I parked the car.  I said, “I’m going to call Eric and Robert and see if they will meet us at the entrance. They can help you get inside and to the table while I park.”

She said, “No. That’s too much trouble. I think I won’t go tonight.”

I felt sad about her missing the party, but I also felt relieved. She looked terrible. At her age and stage of life, a fall could be disastrous.

I told her I would bring Dan and Adie to her place in the morning.

The “cousins’ reunion” was great fun. We had a delightful evening of reminiscing and catching up. My heart was full and happy. Before we went to bed, we agreed to get up and have an early breakfast so we could go see Jean before Dan and Adie had to leave for the airport. I went to sleep looking forward to our visit the next morning.