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~Saturday~  I got up at 8:30 and dad was already up. I showered and got dressed, and when I went out into the living room, dad announced the he was running to the base to pick up the other half of a partial refill he received on some pills last week. I see where I get my propensity to want to check things off my list. Twice I've mentioned to him that he's already going on the base on Monday for his monthly prostate cancer shot, and it would save time and energy (both physical and natural resources) if he just did both of those things in one trip to the base. But, no. He has to check this off his list today.

I made myself some toast, so that when he got back I could say I'd already eaten, to avoid his wanting to stop some place on the way to the hospital to eat, which I don't want to do for two reasons: 1) It takes too long (the restaurants in Jacksonville seem to always be packed, and I know any breakfast place on a Saturday morning is going to be), and 2) I really didn't want another huge breakfast.

Finishing my toast, Vivian called to let me know she was with mom, and I told her about dad's errand, meaning we probably wouldn't be able to get there before she left. Lo and behold, as we were talking dad returned. It turned out the front gate to the base was closed, and he didn't want to go to the alternate one to get in, so he just came right back.

I told my sister we'd leave right away then, and she said she'd stick around to see mom walk, and that hopefully our time there would overlap some.

I drove the thirty-five miles from Jacksonville to New Bern, and for the third day in a row, when we approached this tiny little stretch of street in downtown Maysville—really it can't be more than 1000 feet—where there are not one, but two—count 'em, 25MPH signs that drive my dad absolutely batshit, he exclaimed, "Jesus Christopher. Why? There's nothing here. This little stretch of road with nothing here and there's two 25MPH signs." Yes dad, there are. And they'll be there tomorrow, and the next day and the day after that. Oh yeah, they'll be there on the way home tonight, too.

Vivian had had a good couple of hours with my mom by the time we arrived, and it was nice to all be there together for a while. Viv got to see mom "show off":

Mom climbing exercise stairs at the hospital

After that great success, they came in and talked about her discharge, which they said they'd be able to process to depart around 1:00 or 2:00. Mom got pretty excited about that!

Vivian headed back to Greenville to attend a tailgating party and then attend the 3:30 ECU Pirates football game with Jeff and their tailgating crowd.

I started gathering all of mom's stuff, and she got dressed with a little help from one of the nurse's aids to get her underwear on, which I was not about to help with, and we ended up getting out of there closer to 3:00 than 1:00 or 2:00.

I went to get the car while mom and dad waited under the drive-up area, which fortunately was covered as it was raining, just to make getting in and out of the car just a little more dramatic.

As I was getting into the car myself, the left lens of my eyeglasses popped out again, and I put it aside to take care of later, driving the 35-mile trip back to Jacksonville a little more focused with my right eye than my left. Fortunately my eyesight is not that bad, so I wasn't exactly putting us in danger or anything.

That 25MPH speed zone was indeed still there on the way home, and we did indeed hear about it again. Jesus Christopher...

We got mom out of the car and into the house okay, and the first thing I did was pick up 11 throw rugs that she had in her house, between the laundry room, the kitchen, the hallway bathroom, and the master bathroom.

Next, since none of us had had lunch, I made cheese omelets and toast for all of us. Mom got out of her big easy chair, because it wasn't comfortable to eat from, and she sat in the "captain's chair" from their dining room set, because it had arms, which is one of her "hip precautions" that she has to follow.

Once everyone had eaten, and mom was fairly settled, I looked through her discharge documentation, where I found her Coumadin prescription, but no prescription for thrush. I called back to the hospital and asked to be connected to Lowell on the fifth floor if he was still there. He was, and he apologized profusely for not including the prescription, and he took the number of the Walmart pharmacy and my cell number, and he called me back about ten minutes later to say he'd called the prescription in for us and it would be ready in about 15 minutes.

We found the ECU football game on TV, and while mom and dad got into that, I headed over to Walmart with their car, stopped in the Vision Center inside, where not only did I get my eyeglasses fixed for free, but where I witnessed this artifact from the last century:

Printed patient folders and files!
Shelves of folders filled with patient paperwork

I could see the lady who took my glasses to an area enclosed in glass, and she along with the two guys also working back there kept looking out at me. When she came back out with them fixed, she grabbed a pamphlet from the counter, and pointing at a small picture of a doctor in the upper corner of one of the pages of it, she asked, "Do you know him?"

I had no idea why she was asking me this. I didn't recognize his face or his name, and I said as much.

"You don't know him? You look just like him. We thought maybe you were related to him." Nope. Sorry. He was sort of hot, though, so I took it as an affirmation.

At the pharmacy, I turned in the Coumadin prescription and I checked to make sure they were working on the one for the mouth rinse for the thrush, too, and during my 15-minute wait, I watched Marines shopping trying desperately to discern ones that might be considering being their authentic selves now that Don't Ask, Don't Tell has been repealed. Read that: I was looking for gay people.

When the prescriptions were ready, I asked to speak to a pharmacist, whom I asked about mom taking Aleve for pain while she was on the Coumadin. Joe had told me that Aleve is also a blood thinner and not generally recommended with Coumadin, and he'd suggested that I talk to the pharmacist about it.

Basically, she echoed what Joe said: "My advice is to get Tylenol and have her take that while she's taking the Coumadin (which she has to do for a month), and if it doesn't seem to be relieving her pain, then have her call her doctor directly to ask him if it's okay to switch to the Aleve." So, I bought some Tylenol Extra Strength for her.

I asked if they had some mouth swabs that my mom wanted to go along with the prescription mouth rinse that I picked up for her thrush, but the pharmacist said she thought I'd have to get those at a medical supply company. "If we have them, they'd be on the oral care aisle," she offered. And with the mention of oral care, my thoughts drifted back to Don't Ask, Don't Tell for some queer reason.

On the way home, I stopped and filled up their car, putting it on my credit card, and taking their cash. Might as well get the frequent flyer points.

Back at the house, I gave mom her thrush mouth rinse, and then I waited until 6:00 to give her her first Coumadin pill, which the nurse had stressed how important it was to take it exactly at 6:00 every day.

I hit the road back to Raleigh at about 6:15, and I called my niece, Meagan, shortly after leaving to confirm arrangements we'd made earlier in the day for her to go over and see my parents between 8:00 and 8:30 and help get my mom in her bed before leaving. I also told her that my parents said they'd love to see the kids (their great-grandsons) if she was up to bringing them.

I had an uneventful two-hour trip back to Raleigh and at one point thought, "Oh look at all the pretty, colorful lights on my dash." There was the red BREAK light, the yellow CHECK ENGINE light, and the green CRUISE light all on at once.

Before I left Raleigh on Thursday, I'd put my trash can and my recycle bin out for its Thursday collection, and I was surprised to find them both still within the confines of my two parking spaces, since it was two days later. I live on quite a hill, and it's not uncommon for the can and bin to slide down the hill some when the trash and recycle people virtually throw them back on the ground after emptying them.

One thing that this weekend did, particularly with my knee still absolutely killing me, is to give me a glimpse into my future, specifically with regards to my potential health. And it didn't look good.

I have got to go get this knee checked out, and the one thing that I have total control of is getting some of the weight off that puts pressure on it every single day. To that end, I resisted stopping for fast food all the way home, and I had a healthy dinner once I got there. Baby steps.

I met Joe at Flex between 10 and 10:30, where it was absolutely jam-packed. It was Pride Day here in the Triangle area, and the gays were out in droves. It was ridiculously hot in the place, and they had a porn star there, which I don't like.

We left before the "entertainment" started, and went over to Legends where the line was out the door and up the street. Joe and I passed all of them, "Excuse me, excuse me," where we went to the front of the line, I waved my VIP card, indicated Joe as my guest, and we were ushered in immediately and free. Sweet.

It was way too hot in the Spotlight Theater, where the show was going on, so Joe and I stood in the pool table area just outside that room for a little while doing some people-watching, and then we left.

We stopped back in Flex, since that's where we were parked, and there was still a fair number of people there, considering the time. But Joe left shortly after that, and I left shortly after him.



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