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~Thursday~  I got up at 7:30, showered, and packed, and headed over to the Jiffy Lube by my house on Western Boulevard, where I had them change my oil, since it's been forever since I've had that done, and then I asked them to run diagnostics on my "Check Engine" light.

The "Emission-Related Powertrain Diagnostic Trouble Code status" and the "On-Board Monitoring Test Results for Continuously Monitored Systems" both indicated the same thing: "P1150 - P11XX Manufacturer Controlled Fuel and Air Meeting." I'm sure that means something to someone, but it didn't to me, and evidently the technician wasn't worried about it, because he said, "I just reset it for you." Alrighty then.

While I waited for all that to get done, I logged into work, and did a review of a form for Leslie, both from an editing perspective and from a usability perspective, and I sent her an e-mail with my feedback.

When my car was ready,I showed my NC State ID card, and they took $8.00 off my bill. I'll take it.



Heading out to Jacksonville, on I-40, I did something "we" aren't supposed to do—and something I've actually never done before—I stopped at Cracker Barrel to eat. It seems that back in 1991, there was an issue with an alleged policy of discrimination against LGBT employees.

I had this incredibly delicious, so ridiculously caloric—I'm sure—dish:

Apple Streusel French Toast Breakfast


Apple Streusel French Toast
Three slices of our sweet apple streusel bread made with bits of real apple, dipped in eggs then grilled to a golden brown. Topped with our cinnamon apple dumplin syrup and real butter. Served with two farm-fresh Grade A eggs* cooked to order, plus your choice of our thick-sliced hickory-smoked bacon or smoked sausage patties.

When I started up my car to leave there, my check engine light came back on. Can I please have a break?

About halfway to Jacksonville, my odometer rolled over, but thankfully didn't play dead:

Odometer reading of 100,002

Don't worry. That "Brake" light's been on for about a year.



I arrived at Dad's at just after noon, and we set out to New Bern to Carolina East Medical Center, which used to be Craven County Memorial Hospital, or Craven County Community Hospital—something like that.

We parked in a handicapped spot, since my parents have a placard, and once inside the door of the hospital, dad pointed to what looked like a wheelchair to me, but it didn't have those big round wheels like wheelchairs do, and it had this clamp for a handle that you have to squeeze in order for it to roll. "Get me one of those," he said.

"A wheelchair?" I confirmed.

"No, it's not a wheelchair," he said.

"Okay, well hop in the chair with wheels that I'm going to push you around in, then."

Mom was not in a good place when we arrived, and mentally, she didn't get better the entire time we were there. She nodded off now and again, and whenever she did, my dad would say, "It's better if she sleeps," which we both knew meant that it was better for us if she sleeps, because while she did we didn't have to witness what I'm about to describe.

She kept fiddling with her gown and the blanket on her, reaching into the air for imaginary things, and saying totally incoherent things, some of which I'm going to capture here, not to make fun of her, but in order to capture the experience:

Sudden request with no utensils or food in the room, "Give me the knife and the butter."

. . .

"Get me the shoes," she said to me.

"You can't wear shoes, mom, you're in the hospital."

"They're not for me! They're for the little girl over there."

. . .

Looking at my dad: "That guy took $500 from me. Not $100, but $500."

. . .

With her eyes closed, and out of the blue, she screamed, "CALL VIVIAN!"

. . .

To me: "Get me my jacket out of the closet."

"What closet mom?"

"Over there in the corner!" she yelled pointing to the corner of the room where there was no closet, of course.

. . .

I asked her, "Do you want something for lunch?"

"I want some soup."

Later, "I don't want soup!"

And later, when it came, "It's too salty."

Trying to give her an orange, and after one bite, "It's burning my throat."

. . .

Angrily too my dad, "Show me your ID card!"

My dad, "Huh?"

Angrier, "Show my your ID card! You always say I have to have my ID card with me! Show my your ID card!"

. . .

"I'm going home."

"You can't go home now, mom, you're in the hospital."

"Oh no! I'm not going back there! You're not going to get me back to that hospital!

There was a very brief moment of lucidity when I was telling her about my visit up north this weekend. When I told her about Rene's (her brother's) kids having made moonshine, she pointed at my dad, and said, "His dad used to make moonshine." Which is very true.

She also teared up when I mentioned her baby sister, Annette, who passed away in February, when I was telling her that I saw her daughter, Lisa, over the weekend.



I spoke with what I think was a lead nurse, who did everything she could to allay my fears and answer my questions. She took my phone number to make sure the doctor who is administering my mom's meds would call me later.

She also went and got the physical therapist for me, as the nurse and nursing assistant tending to my mom couldn't tell me exactly what my mom had done today in terms of trying to get up and around. When Kelly arrived, she took a lot of time explaining the exercises that my mom needs to do, as well as the restrictions on her in terms of certain movements that should couldn't do, because they could be detrimental to the healing of her hip.

She also called in a colleague of hers to help move my mom back to her bed from the chair she'd gotten into earlier in the day. The therapist kept referring to her as being at a "Max 2" level, I think it was, meaning my mom was pretty much doing the absolute minimum to help herself.

I asked her if there was certain criteria my mom had to meet in terms of exercising before she could be discharged. It being obvious that, unless things changed drastically, she wasn't going to get to that place over the next day or two, I asked her what would happen then.

"I'm recommending that she be transferred to a skilled nursing facility, where they will help her do these exercises, and where she can continue to be monitored for her mental and medical state," the physical therapist said.



Once mom was back in the bed, I went up to her and said, "We're going to go now. We'll be back tomorrow, okay?"

I bent over to kiss her, on the lips—my mom does that—and I said, "I love you, mom."

She sort of melted for a moment into the lady I know, and she started crying. "I'm so sorry," she said.

"Oh, mom. It's okay," I said starting to cry myself. "You're going to get better, and it's going to be okay. I know it's hard now, but it's okay."

She nodded crying, and I said, "I love you," again and kissed her again.

My dad took my place, and he kissed her, and she said so tenderly to him, "Take care of yourself," and he started crying, too.

We were a blubbering family mess when the nurse came in, and then dad and I left.



I pushed him back to the elevator in that chair with the wheels that wasn't a wheelchair, and I was glad he couldn't see the tears streaming down my face as I did.

While we waited for the elevator, I said, "This getting old stuff sucks, doesn't it." He didn't disagree.

Once back in Jacksonville, we stopped at Applebee's for dinner. He complained about how cold it was in there, and then about how long it was taking to get our food. The thing was, it was, and it did.

We stopped at the "package store" after that, as it was on the way home, and I wanted some bourbon. There were four people working in the ABC store, two at the registers and two standing in the aisles between the booze. There was no way they needed four employees in there. They were talking amongst themselves about Thanksgiving.

Once we were home, and dad got settled in his chair, I searched on my phone for some free wi-fi hot spots in Jacksonville, and much to my surprise, the Starbucks by the Jacksonville Mall was one of them, and bonus, it's just a couple of miles from my parents' house.

Driving there, I checked in with Robert by phone.

I got to the Starbucks at about 6:30, and I ordered a Pumpkin Spice Latte in exchange for the free wi-fi I was going to use for the next couple of hours. I thought for sure the place was going to close at 8PM, but when it got to be 8:05 and no sign of closing, I Googled the hours to find out they were open until 11:00 today, and midnight tomorrow night. That's good news.

While I was there, my mom's doctor, Dr. Petererson, who's the one controlling the meds called me, and shortly after that Meagan called. I had also been in touch with my sister (or rather, her with me) several times during the day.



I left there at about 9:05, and I stopped at a Rite Aid on the way home, where I got a 100-count bottle of Advil for my knee that is still giving me excruciating pain, throughout the day, but particularly during the night. I also nabbed a 12-pack of Diet Coke there, as my dad thought there was some at the house, but there wasn't, and bourbon with (very sweet) Lipton Brisk Lemon Ice Tea just doesn't cut it.

Back at the house, I was glad my dad was still in his chair in the living room (who I could see through the picture window), because despite checking my (very old) key I have before I left, and which worked, it didn't work then. It turned out, it only works when the door is unlocked. Not too helpful.

My dad was watching a major league baseball game on TV, I believe it was the Yankees and they were winning something like 13-6, which he called "ridiculous," and later he yelled, "Get 'em out of there," after the pitcher walked four or five batters in a row.

I went in my room and called (on the phone, shock, I know!) Joe to chat about what was going on here, since he's been an orthopedic ward nurse for a long time. That has to have been the longest telephone conversation I have ever had. I did feel better after talking to him, though. Thank you, my friend.

In a surprise move, right before my dad went to bed, he came back from down the hallway, and said, "I've pulled the blankets back on your bed," and "I put a towel out in Mom's bathroom for you." He's not exactly, usually, what I would describe as a "host."

As soon as he went to bed, I tried to change the channel on the TV, and I found myself in some kind of loop, or so it seemed, of a bunch of MLB stations. There were so many of them that I couldn't tell if I was looping around in a network of stations or if they were going to end.

Eventually it changed to some movies, and a message came up that for $5.95 I could press select and watch one, and then it went to some other group of pay channels that indicated I could pay $15.95 to watch the ones in that section. Basically, with it coming up on ten years since I've owned a television, I have no idea how they work any more.

Then, I noticed I was on channel five-hundred-and-something, and I thought, "OMG." I keyed in 5-6, and it took me to channel 56, which were TV stations that I've heard of, such as VH-1. I down-channeled all the way to 1, where toward the very low numbers I came upon the movie, Becoming Jane, which I figured was about Jane Austen, and I actually recognized Anne Hathaway in it.

Later, I channeled down to one and then down-channeled on more station, and it went to something like 1118. OMG. Really??? What can anyone do with that many stations? I don't understand.

At about midnight, I grabbed the crossword puzzle out of the Jacksonville Daily News, and took it into my boyhood bedroom, into my boyhood bed, and fell asleep after doing half of it.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Sep. 24th, 2011 07:40 pm (UTC)
Your "check engine light"
... could be related to your hitting 100K. Some auto manufacturers have it set to come on at 5K, or 20K, so you'll bring it into the dealership for a look-see. It could also be an oxygen sensor (that has a finite life, and unfortunately, is not inexpensive). It could also be a fuel filter. (rob shook)
dailyafirmation
Sep. 25th, 2011 12:46 am (UTC)
Re: Your "check engine light"
Hey, Rob. Thanks for reading and particularly for your comment about the 100K turnover. Coincidentally, when I got back in my car and was driving away from the breakfast place, that's precicely when the odometer flipped, so it probably was that. That's comforting.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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