Sunday, September 25, 2011

It ends with a parade

We've had quite the weekend with the elders. Again. Yesterday morning before either Beve or I were out of bed--which tells you how early, since he's a notoriously early-riser--Grampie called. When I answered, he said, "I'm going home today." Hmmm. Knowing full well he has not yet been able to even dress himself, let alone walk unaided to the bathroom (two important prerequisites to a discharge), I did what any loving, sensible daughter-in-law would do.  I passed the buck phone to his son.  Beve tried to explain to Grampie that he was not able to simply check out of the Rehabilitation Center like it was the Holiday Inn, but it was no easy conversation.  When he got off the phone with Grampie, I called Thyrza, who said, rather excitedly, "I suppose you've heard the good news!"  And though I wanted to pass the buck on that one as well, I didn't.  Thyrza, being of sounder mind than Grampie, said, "I kept wondering how we'd manage, though I figured we could just set up a hospital bed in our living room. But we need a second commode and a second wheelchair."

Then Beve and I raced across town to Grampie's (why we thought it'd be more convenient to have him near Thyrza rather than near us, I can no longer remember, since we're the ones doing the driving several times a day!), where we found him sound asleep half on his bed, his legs crossed with a pile of his belongings on the bed beside him.  Raise your hand if you can name something wrong with this picture.  1. He was lying on a flat bed, which meant he'd transferred (medical jargon for moved) himself from his wheelchair by himself. 2. His legs were crossed, a HUGE no-no for someone with a hip-replacement. 3. The pile of belongings meant he'd been walking without aid.  Needless to say, warning bells were going off all over the place for both Beve and me.  We asked, "Did you get up by yourself?" and he answered, "Yep, but I had a heck of a time.  Could hardly walk."  Hmmm, wonder why.

We tried to explain why he couldn't do any of those things, why he couldn't leave, why everything, and he just got more and more agitated. So Beve went to get a nurse to help with the explanations.  By the time the three of us finished, he'd calmed down some, though he kept saying, "That's the first I've heard of that."  Which I suppose is true for him. Every time he hears about something these days, it's the first time.   He finally agreed he'd stay, "but I'm going home every night to spend with my bride."  (That's what he calls Thyrza most of the time these days, which is a good thing, because when he doesn't, he's usually calling her Barb)  He was disappointed all over again to discover he couldn't even go home at night. This is a rough and rocky road, I'm telling you.

 But fortunately, it was Saturday, and that means football on television so once Beve got the right channel on, Grampie was a little happier.  Happier still when we told him we'd bring him dinner from his favorite restaurant. That's right, folks.  Take out from Olive Garden.

I spent the rest of the day waiting for Thyrza to decide when she needed a ride over to him. And by waiting, I mean, getting a dozen or so phone calls from her as she changed her plan.  First it was, "In about an hour." Then, "Could you make it about a half-an-hour later?" Then, at 12:30, "I think I'll eat lunch here, first. So how about 2?" Then, "I really need to take a nap, so maybe about 3:00?" About twenty minutes later, "I need to finish a letter so what about 3:30 instead?" Then at 3:10, "I'm just now going down for my nap, so maybe about 4?" "Thyrza," I said then, "Just call me when you want to go, and I'll be ten minutes away." I kept being nice and flexible, and doing this little job here, and that little 45 minute task, without doing much of anything the whole dang day, because there was always only so much time until I had to go get her.  She called at 4:15 to say, "I'm sitting downstairs waiting for you. Where are you?" Really? Really? Sigh.
I know I shouldn't be impatient.  But sometimes it's hard, and I struggle.

But we had a wonderful Olive Garden dinner right there in the dining room at Grampie's Rehab Center, with Thyrza mothering him, and Beve making jokes only I understood. It was a feast at the end of a long day. You should have seen us marching through the hall, Beve pushing his dad in the giant wheelchair, me pushing Thyrza in her smaller one.  Holding water bottles, sacks of bread sticks, Grampie's favorite soup (he calls it "Chicken with that noodle dough), Chicken Alfredo.  Why, we were like another parade.  And somehow, as we marched, I saw our immediate future like a road before us. Beve and I pushing their wheelchairs into the foreseeable distance.  Not for long, but for a while.  Sometimes it's a parade, and sometimes it's merely hard.

  We do work hard around here.  This is winter with the elders and they just can't do for themselves.  Most of the time I am so thankful to have been allotted this winter season with them, even when it's hard, that I can bear the hard.  I get to do it with Beve--and there's no one I'd rather do it all with.  But some days the hard is harder than the good is good.  If that makes sense.

Thankfully, I know how this ends.  I know the story ends with a parade.  No, with a feast first and then with a parade.  No matter how hard the getting there, there's a feast at the end.  And then a parade.  I believe that.  The Resurrection tells me so. Read Acts 1.  The Ascension of Jesus into heaven?  That's one pretty amazing parade.

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