Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The meat in the middle

I just knocked back a couple of stiff Jamaican rum and diet cokes, so let me say right now at the outset that I am not responsible for anything here that may offend. For the past 24 hrs I have had to juggle my usual work and family responsibilities with the added pressure of being "helpful daughter" to my out-of-town parents who had to make the trip to the big smoke for arterial unclogging surgery for my dad. The plans had been in place for several weeks leading up to the scheduled date and just when I thought I had it all under control, the surgery got post-poned for the following week. The wrench had been thrown into the "best-laid-plans" and I was helpless to re-arrange the even busier week now ahead of me. I like to think I am still pretty good at "going with the flow" and can handle anything with finesse and calm. Now I'm not so sure. Not wanting to upset the already anxious parents, I assured them I would be available to them. "Don't worry I said, I'll be able to drive you wherever you like, any time day or night." I had no idea at the time it would mean getting up before the sun comes up to deposit them at a downtown hospital, having watered and fed them the night before, giving up my much cherished queen-sized pillow top mattress for their comfort, and choosing which "too small bed" to bunk in for the night. My daughter's double or the double in the guest room with my husband. Since he is much larger and snores, I picked my daughter, thinking it would be easier, but she is not exactly keen to have mom hanging with her in her cave, so that didn't exactly go as planned either. She didn't want to go to bed as early as me since she didn't need to arise at the break of day, so she grabbed the best pillow and headed for the family room and the sofa. I didn't complain. Before long (about 1 hour) she stumbled back into her (for one night - our) room and as I insisted she get on the inside (knowing I had to escape early) caused enough of a stir, assuring I was now fully awake again, unable to fall back to sleep. About 30 minutes after that disruption, I finally started to drift off (on my bad side) only to be awakened again by the sound of the parents getting up for the day a good two hours before the planned departure time. (as though they had a plane to catch) The door was ajar, so in addition to the sounds of family, unfamiliar with the lay of the land, stumbling around, the light from the adjacent room (mine) came pouring in like the sun coming up over the horizon. At that point, I stumbled out of my daughter's bed, tripping over the piles of crap on her floor and closed the door, hoping for a few more precious moments of shut-eye before it was time to put on my chauffeur's cap to head downtown. Once the parents were safely deposited at the hospital, I made the traffic-free return trip (it was 5:45 am) thinking I might see if I could crawl back into bed for a little more beauty sleep, but that was wishful thinking. By now, the sun was up and the day was dawning and driving around town at that hour had sort of invigorated me. Starbucks was not even open yet, much to my surprise, so I slummed it and wheeled into a Tim Horton's for some mediocre java, drove home and collected the paper off the front porch and the day was underway. That was the first of three trips I was going to have to make to the hospital. I waited until after rush-hour to collect my weary mother who had been there all day, brought her home, fed her and watered her again and that's when I decided on the second Jamaican Rum (Mt. Gay - it's the best) and diet coke. I think I get some of my best blog ideas when I am a tad tipsy and now that I am sitting here rambling on and on about my dreary day, I can relate to the greats, like Hemingway and Hunter S. Thompson who wrote some of their best material while under the influence of all things fermented or grown under very large lights. Now, as I sit here, the house is quiet once again, the daughter quietly reading across the room, exhausted mother folded into my 800 thread count sheets and perfect blend goose down pillows from the Four Seasons collection, husband tucked into the cosy guest room and me, mildly buzzed, thinking it's almost time to call it a day. One more trip to the hospital in the morning to retrieve the patient and bring him home to St. Catharines to recuperate in the comfort of his own home, and that should just about do it. My life will return to normal, everyone will retreat to their own beds and one more bump in the road of life will have been smoothed over. The surgery was successful, mom got a decent night's sleep with out him, the nurses at the hospital will earn their wages tonight and I will get my much needed night in the land of nod. Whoever came up with the descriptive "sandwich generation" must have had me in mind. Now I get it.

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