Tuesday morning the phone rang at 7:30 am in the hotel where we were asleep. It took me a long time to find it, but I already knew it was Catherine calling from the hospital. Panic set in; would she be having surgery to open her hand to drain the infection? When I finally found the phone, Catherine's wan voice informed me no surgery today, but it was still a possibility, and that she couldn't sleep in a hospital.
I could have told her that! One year ago I was entering into The Hospitalization From Hell, so I also understood why she had called. She needed comisseration and stuff from the cabin. I offered as much comisseration as possible after 5 hours sleep, then hauled my aching bod out of bed and fell into the shower. Soon I was on my way back to the cabin ( leaving Rene sleeping in the motel, lucky woman)
My parents were still asleep, so I wrote them a note explaining what was going on, gathered the things Catherine needed (mostly reading material because she is, after all, a librarian). Then I hit the road again, heading off on the 40 minute drive to the hospital. On the way I pondered the night before in the ER. She had been in terrible pain as the doc took the stitches out, pressed and moved the finger to get the gunk out, but she didn't want me to hold her other hand or touch her, or say anything. She responded best to wry or ironic comments about her situation, the kind she can whip off without any thought.(I am always amazed at her quick wit, which was one way we all got attention from our father during childhood. She was and is fast and funny, even drugged with painkillers barely able to keep her eyes open!)
I am the opposite, I want to have my hand held. I want to have someone reminding me to breath slowly and deeply, and muttering reassurances in my ear. But I have terrible trouble asking for what I need-we are a family of well trained stoics. Family patterns are indeed amazing.
I found her still drugged, still in pain, with her hand still the size of a soft ball, dozing, but definitely not sleeping. She was really glad to see me- I had books and her cell phone charger! To be honest, I know she was glad to see me too. I hung out with her for a couple of hours while she struggled to cancel her plane tickets home to Michigan with my cell phone, giving me ascerbic asides when I made suggestions on what to do or say. In between she thanked me over and over for all I'd done, while I assured her it was really no problem.
I would like to say that since I see it as such a pattern, I will no longer apologize for asking for help, or over-thank anyone who has helped me, because I now see this so strongly in mysister, my mother and myself. I would like to say it, but I can't, because the words fly out of my mouth before I have time to think about them! I will, however, meditate on ways to stop sooner, because it is a change I want to make in my life. And Rene will no doubt help, by pointing out the error of my ways!
I realized with Catherine that it truly was no problem- though exhausted and hurting, I was-and am- thankful for the opportunity to spend time with her, much more time than I would have spent sans infection! I left her there early afternoon, drove back to the motel and crashed, while Rene escaped the confines of the room for a dollar store down the road a bit.
That night I went back to the cabin to cook dinner for Mom, Dad, Luke, Mary and Rene, and there was no need for an after dinner hospital run! Someday(maybe) I'll write about spending time with Luke, but probably not until my parents die-we see very little of each other, and live very different kind of live.
The next day we came home to CT, but Catherine did get out on of the hospital on Thursday, and flew home Saturday. She is mostly online at work, so I may hear from her briefly this week.
Once home, I spent two days sleeping, and I'm still exhausted, and taking it easy. I am very glad we went for the reunion, and look forward to our next trip, when we will get to hang out with my parents, walk in the woods a little, and enjoy looking at the lake, things we didn't get to do this time.
PS. Picture looks like the road to the encampment