As I’ve written in the last few posts, December 2019 was quite a busy month for us, as well as a rite of passage on a couple fronts for DOS and myself. In mid December, I (Steve UNO) retired from work, and within the same week had a freak accident where I fractured my neck at the C2 vertebrae, requiring me to wear a neck and body brace for the next three months.
In addition, Steve (DOS’s) Dad passed away on New Year’s Day in Sarasota, living into his 100th year as he was born in 1920, peacefully passing away in his sleep at the ripe old age of 99.
We celebrated Christmas in Roanoke, Virginia with my family, and if I had not had the pre-Christmas fall, would probably have stayed longer than we planned to. Instead, we flew back to Orlando on Friday, December 27th.
I had a follow-up visit in Roanoke with a neurosurgeon scheduled in a couple weeks, but we both thought it best to get home to Florida and do the follow-up visits and care from there.
We were both a bit apprehensive about the flight home with me wearing this neck brace. Although we love taking American Airlines, on this trip we much would have preferred taking Allegiant Airlines as it was nonstop, vs American requiring a change of planes in Charlotte. Only plus for this is we’re both Executive Platinum members on American, so we could each check 3 bags free of charge.
The only issue we had was the lack of wheel chairs ad Skycaps in Charlotte, and it was quite a long walk from Terminal E to D for our connecting flight to Orlando. DOS found a wheel chair in the E concourse, and pushed me in the wheelchair up to the D gate boarding area. As it was a short connection, and long distance between the gate areas, it was nearly time to board when when got to the D gate. Fortunately we were able to pre-board the flight as well.
When we landed in Orlando, DOS also got a wheelchair for me and pushed me all the way from the gate, to the airport tram, to our car parked out by the Hyatt.
We spent the rest of the week and weekend at my house in Orlando, and caught up on sleep. We had planned to stay at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress by Disney Springs (where we’ve stayed the last 3 New Year’s Eve’s) but we were both too tired out to do this this year. Instead we stayed at home and watched a movie, and later the midnight festivities in Times Square.
DOS got a call from his Father in Sarasota around 11:58pm, (just before the New Year), who was uncomfortable with swallowing . His Dad had been bed-ridden for a few weeks, and was currently under Hospice Care, as well as assisted by a home health care aide, who was off this night. DOS called the Hospice nurse on call who went by his house and checked Steve’s Dad out, and ruled out taking him to the Emergency Room. Eventually the nurse gave him a sedative and pain killer to relax, and his Dad rested after that.
While not exactly the way we would like a new decade and year to start out, we did take our photos a bit after midnight.
I also posed with my shirt unbuttoned, showing off the body and neck brace I’ll be wearing for the next three months. Hopefully next New Year’s Eve I can show a happier, brace-free celebration!
Meanwhile, sometime over the New Year’s early morning hours, DOS’s Dad peacefully passed on. We found out the next day when the morning care-taker called him with the sad news. Steve’s Dad had told both him and his caretaker the previous day that “it was time to go”, so I think he hung on for the new decade, and fortunately went in peace. Here’s a fairly recent photo of Steve’s Dad, taken prior to the Christmas holidays.
While it was very sad, in a way it was a relief for DOS, as DOS had been caring for his Father (and previously his Mother) for the last 15 years at his house in Sarasota, in between his work as a Pilot, and weekend visits to see me in Orlando. While he had caretakers overseeing his parents last few years, his parents were living in his house, which had become a make-shift nursing home for them. DOS never complained of the care or inconvenience of them living at his home, and he stopped by weekly for a couple days a week, in between his flights to Tokyo for work, and seeing me in Orlando on the weekends. He was truly the most dedicated care-taker I can ever imagine, and definitely exemplifies the Biblical commandment of “Honoring thy parents”.
DOS made arrangements with Hospice for his Dad to be sent to the funeral home in Sarasota, and the Hospice staff took care of all of the details. His Dad did not want a service, but rather a simple cremation. As DOS said, the Hospice staff have been Angels on Earth throughout this stage of his Dad’s life.
So as there was not a lot we could do on New Year’s or even the day after, we stayed at my house in Orlando, and agreed to go to Sarasota at the beginning of the week. We didn’t do a whole lot New Year’s weekend as we were both quite tired from my recent hospital stay and visit to Roanoke. I’m not sleeping well wearing this brace, so I tend to take naps periodically throughout the day. We did go out over the weekend for the traditional, and this year much abbreviated annual ‘after Christmas sale’ shopping adventures.
While we didn’t go crazy as in past years, we did go to 3 stores where the sales were already marked down to 90% off, buying up a few of the things left, thinking ahead to Jekyll Island next December and our annual tacky gift exchange!
We also went to “Rooms to Go”, and purchased this lounge chair that has a full electronic recline, which hopefully will help me to sleep better now that I have to wear this neck brace.
Unfortunately even with expedited delivery, due to the New Year’s Holiday weekend, we wouldn’t get it delivered until 3 days later. Jumping ahead, this chair is wonderful!
Anyway, so yes, I’m still recovering from my fall, yes DOS is grieving for his Father, and yes this is a new decade, and yes we will both get thru this. “This too shall pass”. It seems like such a long time ago since “Y2K”; ie. December 31, 1999 going into a new millennium, but at the same time not so long ago. “Time waits for no man”, so ready or not, here comes 2020. May God bless you and your families as we go thru a new decade, and all of the joys and sorrows it will ultimately bring. Godspeed!