1999 was also the year my parents came to Michigan. They planned to stay for a while, due to the impending birth of my nephew. They stayed much longer.
My father spent 90 days in the hospital with a broken back he acquired before he ever got in the car to travel. My mother stayed with me in my new-ish 2 bedroom apartment, leaving in the morning when I went to work, and coming home about the same time as I did.
Our nights varied. Every other week night, I’d accompany Mom back to the hospital so she could have dinner with Dad. Friday nights and weekends, I’d visit, and help him devise mischief.
At his request, I paint his toenails (truth), hung blinking lights, gave him fake tattoos,and added glitter to the baseball cap he liked to wear, all for the reactions of doctors, nurses, aides and physical therapist.
The situation changed Jeff and my weekend routine. There were no stay-overs, and a lot more phone- talking, ICQ, email and day-planning.
Still, for those three months plus some, a week never went by without at least one day together. Jeff would come on a Saturday morning or a Sunday morning, and we’d head out for the day.
We’d go shopping, exploring, find a nice little place to have a bite or coffee for a few hours. He’d drop me off at late afternoon, wait to say “hi” to my mom. Occasionally, he would be able convince her to go out and have dinner with us, before heading home.
I also spent a few one-night weekends with him in Tecumseh. I’d drive down Saturday and come home Sunday, giving mom some alone time and me more Jeff-time.
We were getting to know each other’s mothers better.
My father refused most well-wishers and specifically did not want Jeff to visit. I assumed it was a pride thing. After a while, I mentioned how ridiculous I thought that was.
Dad admitted that at first, it was pain and then it was pride, and now it was because he didn’t want Jeff and I wasting our time together ‘baby-sitting’ him in the hospital.
Mostly, when I asked if this was a good weekend for us to come us and say “hi,” he’d say no. Jeff made it up to see my father only twice, at his allowance. Both times, we were dismissed after only 15-20 minutes, but that gave Jeff plenty of time to tell him a story or make him laugh. Jeff cared; if it was important to me, it was important to him.
One Saturday morning, Jeff was late, again. Later than usual. By the time my mother had left for the hospital, I was concerned.
So, I paged him, again, and more than a few times. An answer never came, so I called his home to see if he had overslept. His mom told me he’d had a late delivery call the night before, but got up and left home early that morning to come see me.
I was about to panic when call waiting beeped. Jeff had woken up from a “nap” in a closed gas station parking lot in a not very nice area, but was now on his way.
When he got to me, I got a little feisty and explained why I thought that was a stupid move.
He should never sleep in his truck and definitely not in unsafe neighborhoods.
He replied that it was better decision than falling asleep at the wheel.
“True,” I answered. “At least find an open-all-night joint, market or restaurant, or maybe just sleep in and come later.”
He didn’t like the ‘come later’ part, he said, because it meant less time together.
Of course, I melted.
Quote for the Week:
Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:
Make it easy: http://www.healthcentral.com/diabetes/cf/slideshows/10-ways-to-make-a-loved-one-s-hospital-stay-more-comfortable#slide=1 (except # 10 – no smelly stuff!)