Friday, February 09, 2007

The Big Five O

Yesterday was my 50th birthday. It was nothing like I expected it to be.

My mother had surgery on her right foot on January 17th. It was a miserable day. James was going to take her, but when we got up at four that morning it was sleeting heavily and the roads were sheets of ice. Neither of us has gotten the knack of driving on icy roads down, so to be safe we woke up my brother Bruce to drive her to the surgery center. The roads were bad even for him, and he drives on ice fairly easily. My mother’s surgery went well and he brought her and my father back to their home later that day. As Bruce was getting my mother settled, my father insisted on getting the newspaper from the end of the driveway. Bruce told him to just wait a minute and he’d go get it. Minutes later he hears yelling and finds that my father had fallen on the ice. Of course my father insisted it was just a sprain. He refused to go to the doctor until a week later. This was when I got the call from the doctor’s office telling me that my father couldn’t understand them. He’s very hard of hearing. His ankle was broken and we needed to pick up his x-rays and take him to another doctor. At this point my father still thought it was a sprain and was walking on the foot. He ended up with a metal plate on the bone to keep it from shifting, which it had been doing, and he has to stay off it for six weeks. For the past two weeks I have been taking care of both of them during the weekdays, and Bruce takes care of them on the weekend. On February 8th, my birthday, my parents had three doctor's appointments. James took my dad to his and before they got back I took my mother to her first appointment. Of course both of those doctors had emergency surgery that morning and the appointments had backed up. I barely had time to get my mother home and both of them fed so she could get to her next appointment.

The day ended on a much more pleasant note. My oldest daughter, Shayna, brought my younger daughter, Joanna, home from college for the weekend. The four of us went for a nice Italian dinner and had a very pleasant evening. These days it's hard to find time for the four of us to sit at a table and relax, so as it turned out, I’d say it was a very nice birthday. One of my best.

This wasn’t the first birthday I’d spent with doctors. James and I were supposed to go out and celebrate my 18th birthday. This would have been our second date. I had to cancel the date for emergency surgery. At first James thought I was just brushing him off. Of course when you cancel the second date the first thing you think is that they don’t really want to go out with you. Thankfully, he understood that I was going to the hospital and we had the date after I had recovered. We’ve been together for the 32 years since. Lucky me.