My father was discharged from the hospital.  All is well.  During his brief stasy, I caught up with a nurse that cared for him during his open heart surgery last November.  Next to the night that my mother died, that night when my Dad was entered into the 'step-down' unit the 2nd day after his surgery was the worst night of my life. It was the night that my father was tied to more tubes than the nascent computers.  And the noise....there was a water vacuum (suck out excess blood/fluid from the chest cavity) that bubbled loudly--too loudly to sleep.  Had any wanted to sleep, my father's demands to get out of bed would have nipped that.  To his credit he was uncomfortable; however getting out of bed was only going to take matters up a notch in Emerliesque speak.

Tammy, the night nurse, was my compatriot/  We had to firmly exercise our will over my Dad's.  Not an easy task.  She remembered that night well.  However she said that Saturday night, the night of Irene's howling and yowling, was the worst of her career.  Why?  No air conditioning in the hospital.  Already patients are grappling with the huge discomfort of life threatening malaises and to add insult to injury, there was no air conditioning.

Today, upon leaving my home to check on my Dad, now discharged, I see a highway message board telling me that there will be free water and ice at the Bloom's.  I'm good, and I would not take such a giveaway as so many more are in need.   I talk to my in-laws who have phone service now.  So if my FIL, who is almost 80, mis-wields his chain saw, they can call help. I suggest that they wait until their 2 sons can help out.

Today is the day that all of the wires and trees have been cleared from the roads (that I travel on).  Two unfettered lanes.  Such a luxury.  I read news reports of the flooding in the nothern states.  Tragedy. Terror.

There is a flyer in the mail.  Apparently New Kent is one of the hardest hit counties in the Commonwealth.  As I explained to you earlier, I thought that the case.  We are fortunate to have a generator, so if you hear me complain, smack me. 

I visit an elderly neighbor.  She is a widow and has no generator.  She has family nearby.  I stopped by after visiting my dad and my SIL.  Her cousin ("like a sister to me," she exclaims) was visiting.  Though she had some dinner, it was not much.  No ice.  No cooler.  I tell her I will go home and bring her some chicken salad. I ask her if she drinks--and if so, I will bring her a cold beverage (beer).  She says no, and I demur hoping that I have not offended her.  She says no.

  I fix up a cooler with some cold canned pears, peaches, homemade chicken salad, Greek yogurt/fruit and some ginger ale. I fix a water bottle with ice cubes and water.  As I am putting this together I wonder if she is diabetic, as I did not think to ask. (I find out that she is).

I take her this little package. It is now dark, and her cousin is gone.  By the light of the flashlights, I show her what I have brought.  Her diabetes will not allow some of the stuff. She then gives me a tour of her house.  Every room perfectly clean and beautifully arranged.  Why my DNA did not have some of that order hardwired I will never know and will forever lament. 

Her husband has been gone 5 years.  I ask her, "Are you lonely?"  She acknowledges that she is. 

Her home is warm inside.  I suggest she open some windows. She tells me that someone tried to break in.   They rattled the screen door, which was locked.  Three doors down, someone broke in and stole money.  I'm thankful that my raucous dogs bark at every unfamiliar vehicle.  No one would bother wrestling that gang of three yappers--particularly my Macy (American Bulldog mix).

It meant much to her that I stopped by.  It was a very small thing to do for me.  A very big thing to her.  I should be more mindful how small outreaches to people who are older and whose family has slipped away to the great beyond means much to them.  Keeping them connected to the here and now.  Loneliness can become a very big barrier that disconnects people from the rhythm of life around them.  Best to be mindful how the small gesture of outreach means much.  We would not so much wish to slip away from a world in which we feel vitally connected.

Why not consider who in your own life and in your own sphere of influence would benefit from your outreach?


Post a Comment