July 11, 2011
I wanted this blog to be a new adventure for me; one that explored my ability to write and to share the drama which dances in my head. My dream of writing thrillers so gripping that James Rollins, Steve Berry and William Bernhardt felt compelled to contact me and say: “Just how do you do it?” toyed with my imagination way too often. I pictured myself sitting around a table playing poker (guess I better learn how first) with Brad Thor, Vince Flynn and Clive Cussler while discussing Tom Clancy’s latest book. The sound of uninhibited laughter, the rubbing of poker chips together became a symphony of possibilities as I created a blog to set the world on fire.
Then my mother fell.
I’m not sure if that is the beginning or the end, maybe just variations of the same thing. Sitting in the hospital for hours on end, trying to evaluate the nonstop flow of information from doctors and nurses mingled with the memories of what she used to be paralyzed my ability to create. All I could see was a strange woman lying in bed trying to carry on a conversation with me that sometimes said irrational things or remembered moments that were totally disconnected to reality, or at least the reality I knew.
It was strange to be in the position of care giver, disciplinarian, bad guy and parent. Both Mom and Dad were in their mid-eighties. They appeared to give me looks that said “what do I do next?” In the age of IPhones, DVRs, Facebook, Garmens, emails and satellite TV, this defiantly ranked up there with one more modern mystery for them.
The villain in this story became her heart valve. A procedure made the necessary adjustments, even saved her life, but the compressed fracture obtained from the fall forced her into a skilled nursing facility for a few weeks. The physical and occupational therapy helped her gain strength. The other issues at the facility became fuzzy and unacceptable which forced us to bring Mom home.
My dad, Mr. Macho, former army M.P., carpenter and practical joker, resisted bravely the thought of not being able to care for my mom. I watched him at the hospital. He walked quickly, although quickly to an 84 year old was equivalent to a 1965 four cylinder, Chevelle pitted against a monster super car ready for the Indianapolis 500. The shoulders hunched a bit. His body, although slim, showed little old man pooches of fat from eating Moose Tracks ice cream and potato chips. His pants fit normally, not like some comic character that wore them under his rib cage. In spite of the white socks, khaki pants and blue striped shirt, he was stylish enough. However, some days he did rather fancy shirts with a cowboy theme, topped off with a stringed tie and a belt buckle the size of Texas. A few speckles of hot chili might embellish the white background. He thought nothing of wearing it twice. After all “it was still clean.” The hair was thinner now; the color of day old snow. Light wispy strands were kept trimmed. His hands and arms, once muscled with the hard work of a carpenter now carried black bruises that resulted from laborious blood thinning medications. The gold wedding band glistened above the folds of skin that looked like ripples on a pond instead of a finger that had once pointed out interesting life knowledge when camping, fishing or teaching me to drive.
So here I am; back at the home of my parents, trying to figure out what to do, praying that any minute a profound solution will magically appear setting my brother and I free of worry. No message scrolled across the bottom of the TV along with the current severe thunderstorm warning. I waited for it, but nothing appeared. An angel did not appear on the doorstep with some decree of “everything will be alright.” Fortune cookies were a waste of time and Dr. Phil’s message each day didn’t seem to apply to us. However, the calls from Mom’s lady friends made her smile and laugh. Encouraging. The church signing up to bring meals drew a sigh from somewhere deep inside me. The very caring doctor promising to bring my mother back to her old self made my heart not so heavy. Neighbors and friends signed up for Life Alert so my being three hours away did not have to be an issue. Although the solution to my problems, had not been delivered by an angel resembling Cary Grant, many other heavenly people in my parents’ lives materialized when the occasion presented itself.