Monday, November 28, 2011

Finally A Plan

Is Thanksgiving over?  The weekend just went on and on.  It seemed like we got caught up in a whirlwind and couldn’t get out.  Finally, today, we’re regaining control.

This all started with the news, or maybe it was a bombshell, my mother dropped at the Thanksgiving dinner table.  She announced that my father had to have hip replacement.    At his age, that’s not uncommon so it wasn’t too much of a surprise.  They’re both getting up there in years and we sorta expect a health emergency at any moment.  At the dinner table on Thursday, she explained that he had been on a regular visit to one of his many other doctors who had noticed him limping, ordered a CAT scan, and sent him to an orthopedic surgeon.  The appointment with the surgeon was today.

That news sent Gene and I into emergency elderly care-giving mode and we have spent the rest of the weekend trying to decide what to do and make plans accordingly.  Our original plan was to leave Nashville heading south on Saturday or Sunday following Thanksgiving depending on how long my brother stayed in town.  Our travel plans included a stop for several days of hiking at Bankshead National Forest between Huntsville and Birmingham, Alabama before continuing south to Summerdale.

As it turned out my brother was leaving on Saturday so we would have been on our way, as well.  Mother said they wanted to have the surgery as soon as possible, but we knew that would depend on several factors.  My dad would have to be weaned off blood thinners before surgery could be done, and then there was the matter of the surgeon’s schedule as well as availability of operating room space.   After much deliberation, Gene and I decided to hang around Nashville until today to get the latest information from the surgeon before leaving town. We didn’t want to get to Birmingham only to have to come back at the end of the week assuming they were able to get surgery scheduled that quickly.  May I say this has been the longest weekend in the world?
The old farmhouse after years of neglect.

Friday, we were totally engaged and had almost more to do than we had time for.  Gene went for a hike at Warner Park and I went with my brother, my mother, and her two brothers down to “the country”.  I think this little trip is turning into a regular Thanksgiving tradition.  My mother is from the tiny community of Coble in Hickman County, about 60 miles south of Nashville.  Her line of the Lancaster family moved to this area in the early 1800s and her father owned a farm in Coble until late in his life.  My brother and I spent many, many summers on that farm and have a head full of memories of those times.  The farm is no longer intact, having been divided and sold to various people.  A new road has taken part of the land.  The old farm house was torn down and moved to some place in Georgia some 20-25 years ago.  The barn has collapsed on itself and there’s nothing but a pile of rotting wood in its place.  The only thing that remains the same is the springhouse.  It actually makes me a little sad to go down there, but I do enjoy hearing the stories that my uncles always tell on these trips.  And, I enjoy going to the cemeteries.

So Friday was our annual sojourn to the country, but much of the talk and all of my thoughts was centered around how much help my mother was going to need during the weeks my father was recovering from hip surgery.  We all agreed she was going to need around-the-clock help.  At 87 she just doesn’t have the physical stamina to run a household and care for the sick.  We also felt like she didn’t need to be there alone at night while he was in the hospital or a rehab facility.
The springhouse still looks like this today.

Saturday, Gene and I tried to get all our own household chores done.  With the cooking and visiting, things had sorta piled up around our home.  At the end of a busy day, Gene was relaxing a bit, minding his own business, surfing on the computer.  All of a sudden, he got an alert from McAfee and his computer went down.  His computer is like his lifeblood, so it wasn’t a happy moment.  It being Saturday didn’t help.  He had to suffer all through Sunday before he cold call for help.

Late Saturday afternoon the rains came.  Remember that leak I mentioned last week that we put on the back burner.  Rain brought that to the forefront.  And, boy, has it ever rained--nonstop since Saturday evening and is predicted to continue into tomorrow.  The flood advisories started Sunday afternoon.  Since we knew the rain was coming, at least that’s what the forecasters said, Gene went out on Saturday morning and did a little caulking on the roof where he noticed old caulking was peeling some.  That didn’t solve the problem.  We have kept towels on the floor to catch the water as it runs down the wall.  That has been a pain to do, but at least the carpet is not very wet.

We struggled through Sunday.  Worship was good, but the leak and elder-care were our constant companions as the rain continued to fall.  I think it was that helpless feeling that was the worst--no RV service centers open, no computer, and just waiting on a doctor’s appointment.  We were anxious for Monday morning.

We got up this morning, drank that coffee and watched the clock as it slowly crept toward 8 AM.  At the magic hour, Gene got on the phone to get his computer fixed.  He was encouraged to learn that it could be fixed for just $109.  We loaded up in the car and headed over to Donelson and the computer fix-it store.  Just so happened, the computer store was next door to a donut store.  Well, now, how convenient.  Gene had decided to leave the computer, even if that meant not getting it back before we left town.

We had some banking to take care of, so that was next on our list.  On the way home, we stopped by Camping World to set up our service appointment.  Gene had already called our RV dealer and they’re pretty booked with service until next week.  When he called Camping World, they could take us tomorrow.

We were feeling pretty good.  We were getting things done.  We were in control again, but we were still waiting for a report from the doctor.  Then mother calls about lunch time.  X-rays revealed nothing wrong with my father’s hip.  He has some back issues, but that’s not new.  No surgery needed.  That’s really good news and we’re thrilled, but who started this rumor?

Anyway, this afternoon we sat down to reevaluate.  We’ve decided to hang around town until the computer is fixed which should be in a couple of days, three at the most.  We have an appointment to get the leak fixed, hopefully, tomorrow.  Whew, glad that’s settled.  By the way, there’s snow in tonight’s forecast.

That’s plenty for today.  Thanks for tagging along.


  1. my goodness that is quite the whirlwind weekend you both had!!..glad to hear that things are coming together and your dad doesn't need the hip surgery!!..tough to see parents get older!!..have a good day and good luck with the repair!!!

  2. Certainly was a busy weekend with lots of worries. Glad to hear your Dad doesn't need surgery - no one does at that age!! Good luck with your computer repair and the leak repair too!

  3. Whew - wore me out just reading that! What a weekend!! I've got my fingers crossed - wishing for a leak proof rig, a computer that works the way it's supposed to, and good health for mon and dad!