Families and Frequent Flying

FullSizeRenderI certainly have become a frequent traveler of late. My trips to St. Louis and on to Cape Girardeau are becoming routine. I’ve set a personal goal: to become a Southwest A-Lister, which requires a particular number of trips within a 12-month period. I imagine once that happens, Southwest will hire a marching band to escort me to my gate with each subsequent flight. I have to hand it to Southwest; they’ve made the flights as unmiserable as flights these days can be. I always pay the extra for Early Bird Check-in. It means I’m always in the A Group of boarders. I’m not so interested in boarding early as I am de-boarding early. I am always anxious to get off the plane. I also like getting an aisle seat for the same reason — a fast getaway. I’ve learned to pack a whole week’s worth of clothes in one carry on, though Southwest, unlike other airlines, doesn’t charge for checked bags. Again, I choose to carry on so I can make a quick getaway. I suck at standing and waiting. I hate elevators, escalators, and moving sidewalks for the same reason. I can’t tolerate the standing. I want to move.

This visit, I failed to make my Drury Lodge reservation in time to get a non-smoking room, so, on Friday I will have to check out of the very nice room I’m in and check into a smoking room. On Sunday I will check out of the stinky room, and back into a non-smoking room. Dennis says it would be easier if I just took up smoking. I disagree.

I’ve lined up dinner and drink dates, more-or-less, for the week. I’m grateful I still know some people in Cape. Then I have a list of to-do’s for Dad. Tomorrow morning he has a follow-up visit with the surgeon who did his amputation. I’m supposed to try to get a feel for when he might be able to tolerate the surgery to save his remaining leg. He has the same kind of aneurysm in it. It’s a ticking bomb. If blood clots break loose, as they did in his ex right leg, he’ll lose the left one too. That would really be over-the-top torture. He is still fighting pneumonia and he may have an infection in his urinary tract. I didn’t get the verdict on that lab test yet.

Then I need to determine when he’ll be able to travel. We are hoping to move him to Traverse City, MI, where he will be close to family. Both sisters live there year-round now, and nearly everyone shows up there at some point during the summer, including Daddy’s little brother Richmond, aged 90. I think he’d be much happier having the opportunity to talk with people who still have reasonable intellectual capabilities, and of course, being with his family.

The move is a tricky thing. When will a place open up? How should he travel? There’s an exorbitant long-distance ambulance service, nearly $4000, but I’m really not sure that’ll be necessary. Sarah and I have talked about renting a U-Haul and just driving him and his belongings up there. It’s an eleven-hour drive from Cape, but if we broke it into two days, maybe it wouldn’t be too hard on him. He’s pretty much relegated to sitting now anyway, at least he’d have someone to talk to and something to look at.

So much depends on him — how far can he take his rehab? How much strength can he recover at his age? What about this damn pneumonia? He’s had fluid in his lungs for a month now, I think. Then there’s timing. Will a desirable place in Traverse City open up at a time which coincides with his ability to make the trip? Or will he ever be able to make it?

Then there’s my sister Melinda’s major spine surgery in July — her second one, as the first one failed. She’ll need support too, and probably months of rehab.

And my job. I still have one, you know. The aneurysm and amputation couldn’t have come at a worse time for my job. Among other things, I am the test coordinator for our school. I had to miss all the AP testing. A good person took over for me, but just how much can I miss and still maintain? I like my job and the people with whom I work. I’m not ready to quit.

Oh yeah, and it’s my birthday Sunday. Whoopee! Celebration at The Drury Lodge!!

So many things to think about. So much to consider. It’s a tough deal all the way around. Thank God for my supportive husband — who completely understands what I’m going through because he’s going through a quite similar situation with his dad — and for my wonderful children. I am grateful to have my two sisters and my niece and nephews to weigh in on the decisions.

My advice? Have two children. They’ll need each other when you get older. Families are good — even in dysfunction — families are good. Frequent flying . . . meh.

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