Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I'm trying not to let this blog post sound like one of the letters I used to write to my grandmother. You know, the ones when I was a little girl and I spent the first part of the letter (after the how-are-you-I-am-fine) apologizing for not having written recently.

Well, Dear Readers, I haven't written to you lately, have I? Well, here's what's been going on...

First of all, I need to tell you about a problem I have. I can't drive on the freeway. I have panic attacks. Especially if it's an elevated freeway with lots of other cars, everybody going fast and merging. For years, I used to force myself to do it. But it didn't get better. I felt like I was re-traumatizing myself.

I'm usually okay if I'm not driving. I can close my eyes and pretend I'm sitting on the sofa at home if it gets too scary. I prefer to ride with a relatively sane driver.

Meanwhile, my dear husband is scheduled to have hip replacement surgery next week. In San Francisco. A hundred miles away.

One day last week, my sister Kathy stayed with Momma so I could go to San Francisco with John for his preliminaries. We left before seven o'clock in the morning. We grabbed a drive-through breakfast from McDonald's.

We got to the VA hospital about nine. Our first appointment was scheduled for 10:30, so we thought we had a lot of time. But we checked in just to find where the first appointment was, and they told us to go to another building. From there, we had to go to get an EKG and blood test before going back to the first appointment.

And so went the whole day. X-rays, physical therapists, urine sample, surgeons. Several of the people we saw looked at the paperwork and thought it said knee replacement. That didn't give John much confidence.

We talked about the transportation problem. I was hoping that somehow I could stay at a nearby handicap-accessible motel with Momma and we could visit John every day. Of course, we would have to stay there until John was recovered enough that HE could drive home. Of course, I'd have to wheel Mom in her chair everywhere I'd go and I'd have to somehow puree her meals. It just wouldn't work.

Mom needs to sleep A LOT. And she needs her adjustable bed with the air baffle thing that prevents bedsores. She's incontinent, so I have to do a lot of laundry. I have to add thickener to her beverages and spoon-feed her everything she can't suck through a straw.

John is going to take a shuttle bus from our local VA hospital to the one in San Francisco. I am going to have to stay here and take care of Momma. If I'm lucky, I will be able to get someone to stay with Momma one day when someone else drives me to San Francisco for a visit.

We don't know how long John will be in the hospital.

I imagine when he comes back, I'll have to get a double wheelchair kind of like those strollers they have for twins. Then I'll have to push them both around together.

Oh, and how are you? I am fine.