IN MY OPINION
Books Read in 2006
"The Long, Long Day"
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THERE'S A LONG, LONG TRAIL A-WINDING
7 January 2007
(Actually it's not really winding; it's really pretty straight.)
I drove to Los Angeles today. Actually I didn't really drive to Los Angeles, but by the time I got home and added up the miles, I very easily could have at least driven to Santa Barbara.
Man, it's been a very long day. To get the suspense over with, she'll probably be fine, eventually, which is a relief. But I'll put the whole story in context.
It was 2 a.m. by the time I finished posting the journal entry and writing my review. I set the clock to get up at 5:15 and went to sleep. 2½ hrs later, the puppies were awake and ready to poop. I got them all taken care of, fed, and back to bed but it was so late I just stayed up. Starting a day like today on only 2½ hrs of sleep is not recommended.
I was in the car by 6:15 and decided I'd drive until 7 a.m., when I'd stop for breakfast and to call Ed, my mother's stepson, who had been with her at the hospital the night before.
The story is that she had gone to the hospital to pick up her friend, who has been in the hospital for a serious intestinal problem and who was going to need some help when released. My mother was going to take Paula home with her and take care of her for awhile. She went to the pharmacy to refill Paula's prescriptions and, because there were too many people waiting for the elevator, she decided to take the stairs. She missed the last step and fell, breaking the three bones in her ankle.
(My mother is so organized that when she decides to have an accident she arranges it so she's already in the hospital! Now that's taking Virgo qualities to the n'th degree!)
Ed promised to call when he had more news; I told him that I would be heading to San Rafael around 10 a.m. and I continued down the road for San Francisco, fielding calls from Jeri, Ned, Tom, and my editor en route. Sometimes it seemed like I had to pull off at every offramp to answer the phone or return a call, but I was very grateful for a cell phone and the ability to keep everybody in the loop.
I arrived, as scheduled, to get Lemrel just as I was talking to Jeri about what I knew about my mother's condition, so Lemrel found out what was going on and felt guilty for all the driving I had to do.
We got back on the road and made it to the hotel where her meeting was to take place with a whole 5 minutes to spare. Now that's timing.
I stopped in Old Sacramento to start a video and check in with Walt to let him know that the first leg of the trip had gone all right. Then back on the road and off to San Rafael. I was feeling a little weird by this time. The 2+ hours of sleep and 3 hours of driving were starting to get to me. I also was aware that I had left my morning's coffee on the counter at home and hadn't had any caffeine.
Finally, I arrived at the hospital at about noon and found my mother's room...but her bed was gone. They said she was still in surgery and sent me down to the surgery floor "where they can give you more information."
The elevator lets you out in a tiny corridor with two doors--the "family and friends waiting room" and the door into the surgical unit, which is locked. The waiting room was dark and there was no light switch to be found. The personnel who were supposed to be there were not.
Fortunately, I had the video iPod, so I sat there for half an hour watching videos. Then I decided to go back upstairs to see if the nurses there could tell me anything. I ran into a woman who had been looking for me to let me know that my mother was back in her room.
"We all just love her," she gushed, and then added that the procedure had gone well and that "she handled it like a 40 year old." Obviously my mother's charm and charisma works even when she is in pain!
It was strange to see her in a hospital bed. She was feeling very tired and her foot was hurting her a lot. I'm not used to my mother not being in charge. But in no time she was making everyone around her feel good, her expertise. She knew about the nurse's new grandchild and the background stories of her two roommates. The nurse brought her some pain medication and she began to perk up a bit. In no time she was sitting up, eating lunch, and taking phone calls from friends.
Ed and his son dropped by for a bit, but left to go duck hunting, promising to return tomorrow. I stayed until about 3, but she was obviously very sleepy and refusing to go to sleep while I was there "because you've driven all this way and it wouldn't be right for me to sleep while you're here." (Ever the gracious hostess, even when in the hospital!) So I decided to go home and return tomorrow.
By now I had a splitting headache, presumably because I had not had any caffeine yet, so I stopped at Jack in the Box on the way home and got some coffee and a cheeseburger (because I also had not had lunch).
It was about 4 when I pulled into the driveway, followed about 5 minutes later by Ashley with more puppy food. (And I forgot to give her the gift I have for her, darn it!) Walt and the puppies had gotten along just fine through the day.
I was so exhausted, I collapsed in the recliner and slept for about 2½ hrs.
There is no word from the doctor yet about how long my mother is going to be in the hospital. The nurse said they won't let her go until she's started on a physical therapy program and they have determined that she can perform her activities of daily living. I'm planning on going back down tomorrow afternoon (visiting hours start at noon) and hopefully by then we'll have a bit more idea how long she will be in the hospital.
It seems that Walt has picked the perfect time to retire. I think I found his first "honey-do" list...taking care of the house and the puppies while I help my mother!
PHOTO OF THE DAY
This is entry #2474