The Traveling Steve's

Christmas Day in Roanoke 2019

I was discharged from Roanoke Memorial Hospital on Christmas Eve around 3:30pm, after spending the last two days there in the hospital. While it’s never fun to be in the hospital, (especially at Christmas-time) I had outstanding care and the nurses, doctors, aides, PT’s, OT’s and entire staff really did their best to ensure I was well looked after.

I almost wish I could have stayed another day to feel more comfortable with the neck brace, new OT procedures, and generally getting up and around. But as it was Christmas Eve, and I was doing better, it was time to check out and head home to my parent’s house in Roanoke. I received my discharge papers and prescriptions for additional pain and other antibiotic, along with follow-up appointment reminders. Here is DOS waiting for the transportation assistant to wheel me down to the car.

Shortly before I was released from the hospital, I had a surprise visit from my former boss and a co-worker from way back in the BellSouth days of the early 1990’s. They had seen my post on Facebook and came by to visit. I was still pretty medicated then and didn’t get a photo but we had a nice visit. I think we all felt a bit older when my former co-worker Cindy said it had been 28 years since we last worked together! Yikes! Cindy lives in Atlanta now, while Martha is in Roanoke. I credit my former boss Martha for getting me started with this whole travel thing as it was she who had hired me back in 1986 as one of the traveling trainers in Special Projects, thus fixating my love of travel.

After leaving the hospital, I went back to my parent’s house and rested some more. It was a bit difficult getting comfortable, as compared to the hospital bed which was adjustable, although at least I wasn’t poked and prodded for IV’s, blood tests, X-rays, and other checks every few hours. I was still highly medicated for the pain, and I went to bed early at night, with just a snack to eat. I was pretty out of it and tired from the hospital stay, and wasn’t sure if I would feel up to seeing my family the next day for Christmas. My parents now live an hour away in the English Meadows (former Elk’s Home) assisted living facility, and as they haven’t listed their home for sale, DOS and I have been staying there when we come to Roanoke.

When I awoke, it was Christmas Day. I actually slept ok, most likely due to the medications I was on. While I was a bit slow getting up, Steve (DOS) assisted me, and even got out a special Christmas ‘outfit’ I could wear, which would minimize the showing of the neck and body brace. I didn’t want Mom and Dad to be concerned, or rather ‘freak out’ when they saw me in the brace, so DOS did as good a job as he could covering it up. I must say, I actually looked much better than I felt, with the large Aloha shirt covering much of the body brace, and a light-up scarf covering much of the neck brace, with a happy Santa hat for the season. I looked a bit ridiculous, but, and more like a prop to show my 87 year old parents Steve was alive and well, but with the pain killers I was still on, I looked happy at least!

As I can’t drive for the foreseeable future (even after I quit taking the pain killers, I can’t turn my head right now), so DOS drove us down to English Meadow’s in Bedford on Christmas morning. The traffic was very light, and we took the Blue Ridge Parkway for part of the hour journey.

Once at English Meadows, we pulled around the front of the massive complex and parked there as we were going to the dining room right away instead of Mom and Dad’s apartment there. We were greeted at the entranceway with the yard Christmas decorations I’ve posted before on previous trips this year.

We arrived a little late for lunch around 12:15pm, but the dining staff had sat us in a private back room which was nice. My parents, brother Andy and Art, sister Jenni and her husband Lawrence, and college-aged daughter Nikki where already at the table and greeted us.

And as a nice surprise, Andy had brought their puppy Barnabas as well!

I was still medicated on Percocet pain killers, and would be for another couple days until I got home, so Christmas day was a bit of a blur, but I was glad I could see make it there to see the family. We had a nice lunch in the dining room together.

After lunch we went upstairs to the 2nd floor living area and exchanged presents there. I had 4 photo jigsaw puzzles made for Dad which I gave him, as he likes doing puzzles, and I figured this was a personalized way for him to remember us. Each one came in a tin photo box, and the photos were some winter pics I had taken in Finland and Canada. While he hasn’t been to Finland, I figured he would recognize DOS and I on the ski mobiles, and he and Mom had both been to Lake Louise and Banff in Canada years ago.

I also had a large canvas print made at Costco of Mom and Dad I had taken last summer while visiting Mom and Dad at English Meadows.

We had other gifts for Mom and Dad as well, including the traditional last season’s Christmas bear, a couple souvenirs we got on this year’s trip to China (such as this fan) some clothing etc, and things for their apartment.

Everyone else also exchanged gifts with Mom and Dad, and we had an enjoyable Christmas afternoon with my parents, before we headed back to Roanoke in late afternoon.

Before leaving English Meadow’s, we stopped by the Activity Room on the first floor to have a cookie, punch and coffee for the road. We also wanted to take one last look at the two large Christmas 12 foot trees we had decorated this year, using Andy’s international-themed ornaments.

For Christmas night, DOS and I, and Jenni, Lawrence, and Nikki met at Andy and Art’s house for dinner and to exchange gifts amongst ourselves. We had an enjoyable time, although I was getting quite tired out by 9pm and headed back down the street to my parent’s house for the night, under the escort of DOS walking me there.

This Christmas, while not a typical Christmas for us as in year’s passed, was wonderful and a blessing spending time with family. I was fortunate this year to have visited Mom and Dad monthly prior to my retirement, so even though our time together at Christmas was shorter than usual, we had some great times visiting throughout the year, such as this visit over Thanksgiving when DOS and I put the trees up at Elk’s Home.

So another Christmas has come to pass, but as always will be full of memories to cherish for years to come. I was most fortunate to be out of the hospital, and we were all able to get together as family once again. Merry Christmas, and God Bless You!

Love UNO and DOS! An actual set of gifts we got, both card games. LOL!

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