Monday, April 18, 2016

Blessed Be the Tie That Binds and Other Awkward Situations

Emma and I on Easter Sunday

Last Sunday in Whole Foods, Emma and I were side by side, shopping for produce.  I was wearing one of my favorite skirts that has a lace overlay.  As I was reaching for a bag of avocados, Emma decided to depart for fruits unknown, and suddenly, I felt a tug and saw the left side of my skirt lift . To our surprise, we discovered that some hardware on her purse had developed an attachment for my lace, and it did not want to let go.  So I stood there smiling at all the customers who passed by as Emma worked carefully to separate us without ruining my skirt.  I was ready to slip her purse strap over my shoulder and close the curtain on our embarrassing scene, when Emma's nimble fingers finally worked the purse free from my hip.

"Thank God almighty, free at last!"

Then on Friday, I took my Dad to a specialty surgical hospital to have his third toe on his right foot straightened.  Over the last few years it has curled up, causing him to have to walk on the tip of it.  This caused an ulcer to form that we were constantly having to have cut open and cleaned out.  Plus, walking on that toe was really painful.

On Thursday, a nurse from the hospital called me to give me pre-surgery instructions--nothing to eat or drink after midnight, etc.  I explained all this to Dad.  One of the things she said was that I needed to wash Dad's leg and foot with anti-bacterial soap the night before and also the morning of the surgery.  She also said that Dad should wear shorts.  That night as I was trying to wash his leg and foot, his dog, Cherokee, came nosing around.  I told Cherokee firmly, "No, go away.  You can't lick his leg now."  My Dad looked at me surprised and said, "Why did you tell him that?  He doesn't have any germs."

Sometimes my Dad just makes me burst out laughing.

Dad hasn't worn shorts in years, but I found a pair in his closet, and he was able to put them on himself the morning of the surgery--mostly.  He said they were falling off and asked me to tie the drawstring that was located inside the waistband.  He has arthritis and can't do such things for himself.   So I tied the drawstring into a knot, because I figured a bow wouldn't hold.  I assumed that once he was lying on the hospital bed, it would be an easy matter to undo the knot to get him into a hospital gown.  Then I spotted his 16 ounce coffee cup in the drink holder of his walker.

"Dad, did you drink coffee this morning?"
"But I told you nothing to eat or drink before surgery."
"I know.  I always drink it anyway."
"How much did you drink?"
"The whole cup."
Then my mom piped in, "That's right.  He always drinks his coffee before surgery."
I sighed.
"Let's go," Dad said.

So we took off for the hospital, which is an hour away.  Dad slept most of the time.  He woke up as we were pulling into the parking lot.  His brow furrowed as he looked at the hospital.  "That seems like an awfully big hospital for such a little operation," he observed.

We got inside, and before I could finish the paperwork the receptionist had handed me, Dad said he had to go to the bathroom.  Of course!  The 16 ounces of coffee had kicked in.

Then I remembered the knot.  "Oh, no," I thought to myself.  "How can I get that knot undone discreetly in a public place!"  But before I could think further about it, Dad said, "Grab my shorts.  They're falling off."

Due to the ravages of age on my Dad's anatomy, the part of him that used to serve as a rear brake for slipping waistbands is in full retreat.  So there we were in a busy waiting room, side by side, heading for the bathroom with Dad pushing his walker and me holding up the back of his shorts.

"I am the way and the suspenders," I mused.

We finally got to the bathroom only to discover that the maid was cleaning it.  Dad asked me to get the knot out of the drawstring.  I told him that since the shorts were coming down in the back, he should be able to pull them down without untying the knot.  He insisted that I try anyway.  Between him not being able to stand up straight, his lack of balance, and the limitations imposed by his big tummy, I made little progress.

I cringed every time somebody walked past us.

Dad grew increasingly frustrated.  I was growing a little frustrated myself, as I still needed to fill out all the forms, and we were only minutes away from his appointment time.

Finally the maid came out, and Dad went in with the knot still in place.  A few minutes later he re-appeared and said that I had to get the knot out.  I tried again, all the while conscious of the stares of passersby.  I was again unsuccessful, and he returned to the bathroom, looking like a rapper from the rear view.  Snoop Dog got nothing on him.

During Dad's lengthy sojourn on the throne, he managed by some miracle to get the knot out himself.  When he exited the bathroom, we re-assumed our strange arrangement of me holding up his britches till we could get him seated in the lobby.  When the nurse came to get him, I explained our situation, and she brought a modesty-preserving wheelchair to get him back to the surgery suite.

I was never so glad to see him go!

The surgery was a great success, and on the way home, Dad requested that I stop and get him chocolate ice cream, as is his wont after all medical appointments.  So I got him his ice cream, and I ducked into Chipotle to pick up lunch for myself, as it was after 1:00.  When I returned I found him contentedly spooning in the ice cream while showing off his fashionable post-surgery boot.

The evil shorts had one last hurrah.  When we got back in the house, there wasn't room for me to walk beside him through the dining room, so just as he greeted my mom, the shorts dropped dramatically to the floor, at which point I had him step out of the wretched things and flung them far from me.

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