1,680 Miles

I think the hardest thing about being 1,680 miles away from my parents is knowing when … when is it right to drop everything and go to them? My mother had a UTI, I was told. She’s had quite a few of them lately, so my parents weren’t too concerned when they stopped in the emergency room in Charlotte, NC, on the drive home from New Jersey. They’ll just pick up some antibiotics for her and all will be fine.

Following up with her urologist, though, revealed a more complicated problem. There was a reason she kept getting infections of her bladder … And it was going to require surgery. A few more tests and a visit with the surgeon revealed a little more … The infection was not only in the bladder but lodged in her abdominal cavity. She was hospitalized immediately.

As I told my co-workers … I know what a good daughter does if mom lives around the corner or a town over, but what does a good daughter do who is 1680 miles, and a 4 hour flight away? I prayed that God would help me know when I needed to go …

Friends … I should know better … How many times have I told myself and others, “be careful what you pray for!” The next morning my mom called from the hospital … Dad had had a heart attack. Evidently, after he dropped off mom at the hospital and got her settled into her room, he went home to relax. As he made himself some supper, he felt the familiar angina pains. Thinking, though, that it was just due to the anxiety of mom being in the hospital he decided to drive himself to Urgent Care to see if a doctor could give him something to relieve his nerves. Urgent Care recognized the symptoms and rushed him to the hospital where he met his cardiologist and had three stents put in his arteries to open up the blockage. That’s when mom called me … to tell me he was okay … and not to worry.

I think there’s a point in our lives, though, when it’s our JOB to worry. We tend to think of “worrying” as dysfunctional … but there is an appropriateness of concern that is normal, natural, and a consequence of love. It’s not a “bother” to worry about my parents … It’s right.

Well, it was clear now … No more subtleties … I dropped everything and planned a flight as soon as I could to Austin. My brother and I decided to fly together. That was almost two weeks ago. It’s been a full two weeks. Dad had another episode after his angioplasty causing his doctor to install a pacemaker in him that afternoon. He was released from the hospital the next day. Mom has had her surgery, but is still in terrible pain. It will be a long recovery.

Now I’m flying back to Long Island to pick up my car at Michael and Terrie’s. I left mom feeling as good as can be expected, but it will be a long haul. She’ll probably move to a extended care nursing facility by the weekend … When she’s able, they’ll move her to rehab for physical therapy …

So what can a daughter do to help from 1,680 miles away? Pray, of course … Arrange for housekeeping, sure … Knit a gratitude/prayer shawl to keep me busy and feeling like I’m doing something …

I think I’ll start a prayer group on Facebook for her … That will be something … We can share prayers, memories, hopes, etc. And I’ll call every day ..

Dwayne and I have another trip to Texas scheduled for Holy Week … I’m officiating at the wedding of Maegan and Jonathan on March 31 …. A couple days with friends in Houston and Baytown, then a drive to Denton to see Kate and Ben, and finally Good Friday and Easter with Mom and Dad. Hopefully, by then, we’ll be celebrating our ow resurrection of sorts as well.