After another side trip last week to Tampa and Sarasota, on Monday I went back to the neurosurgeon for what I hoped was a good report about my broken neck.
Steve (DOS) and I have been doing these weekday nearby trips (stay-cations) now that I’m retired, as well as to make the time go by quicker while I’m wearing this brace in between doctor’s visits. On our last trip we had dinner with our former neighbor Kenny who was in Sarasota on business.
We had a nice dinner at Columbia Restaurant on fashionable St. Armands Circle, which features an extensive Cuban cuisine.
We also spent one night in Tampa, which was more or less a repeat of our Bern’s wine tasting event from a couple weeks ago. This wine pairing however was a nice sit down affair, which was more comfortable and classier. This tasting featured wines from the Faust Winery.
Like our last trip, we went back to the nearby Italian restaurant for dinner, followed by the bar at Bern’s for dessert, since the dessert dining room was full.
Now, back to my doctor’s visit on Monday. Unfortunately my neck has not healed as quickly as I had hoped, although fortunately it’s no worse. The doctor said it was only slightly better than the last scan, and wanted to see me again in 8 weeks! Eight weeks I said? Almost falling out of the chair as I said that!!!
I guess I was hoping to have shed the neck brace at this appointment, but now he’s telling me to wear this another 2 months before he checks on it! That certainly wasn’t the news I wanted to hear, but he said it takes time to heal, and this is certainly a better wait-and-see approach than surgery.
On the way out I had DOS take two photos. The first is how I really felt (sad about wearing this brace for two more months, so a big thumbs down),
while the second photo is a happier Steve as DOS always tries to keep me positive; noting that I requested to come back in six weeks (instead of 8) and the doctor said ok. Not that that will speed up the healing, but in my mind I can at least see how it’s going quicker (so a thumbs up and a thumbs down as a compromise!)
Two days later, (Wednesday) DOS and I flew up to Roanoke to visit and care for my parents. We booked a one-way ticket on American Airlines as we don’t know how long we will need to be up here. While the flight was over two hours late leaving Orlando, at least our first segment was on an Airbus 330-200 with international sleeper seats for the short hour and a half flight up to Charlotte.
Our short connecting flight from Charlotte to Roanoke wasn’t as luxurious in the all Coach-equipped Embraer 145 small jet, but it was a quick 45 minute flight.
Here are some photos coming into Roanoke, shortly before nightfall, showcasing the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance, with the clouds adding color to the evening scenery.
My parents live in English Meadow’s (formerly and still interchangeably called the Elk’s Home), a 100 plus year old facility in Bedford, VA, which is now a large and spread out retirement and assisted living community. My parents have lived here the last two years, while DOS and I are staying at their former home in Roanoke when we visit.
It’s now Sunday, and since we’ve been here in Roanoke, my brother Andy and partner Art, sister Jenni, myself and DOS have all been visiting and assisting my parents in different ‘shifts’ at the Elk’s Home, as my Dad is now in hospice care.
The head nurse had called us on Wednesday morning asking us to get there as soon as we could (it’s an hour’s drive from where we are staying in Roanoke), thinking my Dad would pass at any moment. Dad was on oxygen and in bed, so weak we could hardly hear him speak, and even then it was difficult to understand what he was trying to say. Mom was in a bit of shock I think; stoic-like but we consoled her while sitting with Dad. After 65 year of marriage to Dad, they have been inseparable for decades. Jenni stayed overnight with them, while the rest of us guys came back in the morning.
In what was nothing short of a miracle, the next day my Dad was out of the bed, in his wheelchair having breakfast! When DOS and I arrived, he even wanted us to wheel him around the complex!
It seems the entire English Meadows facility (both residents and staff) know my parents and have been asking about them every time we see them. Most were surprised and happy to see Dad up and about again, after such a dire forecast from the day before. My thoughtful sister Jenni even went out and bought some smiley cupcakes and cookies for the nursing and other staff, and filled a gift basket full of goodies for them.
I’ll finish up this post by saying the rest of this week has had it’s ups and downs with Dad. He seems much more alert in the daytime, but by evening he gets very forgetful and sometimes doesn’t remember us by name; no doubt affected by some of the nighttime medicines.
We siblings are quite busy looking after my parents, and the days are long, but each day is another gift from God – one that we weren’t expecting to have with him, so we truly treasure every minute.
In the next post I will continue from Elk’s Home (English Meadow’s) where they had a wonderful Valentine’s Day Tea Party for the residents.