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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Road Trip

By Jody Worsham
All rights reserved for a Mother Lode jack.

Thought you might enjoy a break from the "Cruise News". Here's a different kind of cruisin'.

I made my trip to check on Mother today...six hour round trip for a two hour visit. My sister was away for a couple of weeks so I told her I would come and check on Mother and make sure she had a good supply of strawberry malted milkshakes until she got back into town.

I took the five-year-old and the eight-year-old with me, both a good idea and a bad idea. They handle her better than I do. The eight-year-old painted my ninety-year-old mother's fingernails. The five-year-old just talked non-stop. Both seemed to please her. Good idea. Eight-year-old and five-year-old bickering, fighting, fussing with ever increasing volume over who's DS Nintendo was the coolest during the six hour round trip, bad idea.

Our suburban high step-up is too much for Mother so I had my husband build an 18x36x7 inch platform. I insisted he make it sturdy and stable. He even added a handle on the side so I could get it in and out of the back easily. Mother always wants to go somewhere when we come to visit.

As soon as we arrived, she was ready for Dollar Tree, the ice cream store, and Wal-Mart (I think it is genetic). I hauled out the 2x6 reinforced with 2x4 two ton platform. It worked great. She got in. I put the three ton platform back in the car.

First stop Dollar Tree. I moved the four ton platform from the back to the front door so she could get out. We shopped; I got her back in. I drug the five ton platform to the back of the car. I heaved and ho'ed till I got it back in the car. I staggered to the driver's side gasping for air. "Ice cream next," she commanded. "But you can go through the drive-through." Silently I said a prayer of thanks.

After her strawberry malted milkshake my muscles began screaming in anticipation of the next 6 ton-platform-weight-lifting-event at the local Wal-Mart. However, before we made it out of the drive-thru she said she was ready to go home. She said getting in and out of the car tired her out. It was tiring me out, too.

When we returned to the assisted living facility, I looked for a loading dock that was level with the step of my car. Then my blood pressure returned to normal and I remembered there wasn't one which is why I had the platform for ascending Mt. Everest built in the first place.

I got out of the car, held onto the car roof line until I reached the back door. Lacking an oxygen tank for immediate revival, I paused. I thought of Mother carrying me through two feet of snow as she made her way to Grandma's house on Christmas day when I was fifteen days old ...walking uphill both ways as she had told me many times. "Ok, one more time and then we are even", I said to no one in particular and all the time knowing that was a lie; you never get even.

I pulled out the seven ton platform and drug it around to the passenger side. She managed to get out and the eight-year-old guided her to the entrance of her apartment. I began singing Tennessee Ernie Ford's classic, "You load 16 tons and what do you get, another day older and deeper in sweat" as I re-drug the now eight ton platform made heavier since it was now soaked with my sweat back to the car and loaded it. I don't know how. I think I may have blacked out.

Inside the apartment, I listened to my mother alternately complain and gripe over doctors constantly interfering with her life, weekly doctor visits, and being held "prisoner" in her assisted care facility and never getting to go anywhere and then over that same doctor's indifference, infrequent visits, and the fact that the assisted living facility made her get out and go places.

All the time I was looking at her high school basketball pictures on the wall. Change the year, and I could have been looking at myself at fourteen.

Oh, dear. I better get in a good supply of fingernail polish and a set of weights for the eight-year-old now. At least she won't be in her sixties when I am in my nineties.

1 comment:

Sharon said...

So funny, Jody. I can totally relate.
Hint: Rubbermaid step stools at Wally World are much lighter and very strong. Mine has hoisted my weight for several years and still keeps on ticking.