Will Someone Please Turn Off The Damn Alarm


Welcome to the 404.

I’m at Gate C16, Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. The alarm at the nearby emergency exit is wailing. If it’s supposed to be loud enough that it can’t be disregarded, mission accomplished. Painful!

My return to Irvine has begun. I left my folks condo five hours ago. I won’t be home before five or six Pacific time.  So, thirteen to fourteen hours door-to-door.

It’s a long trip, but not terrible.  The ability to easily (and reasonably) move thousands of miles in a day is a very recent occurrence in human history. I’m happy to take advantage.

The alarm was just silenced.

I flew here from Fort Lauderdale in a middle seat, a consequence of changing my reservation the day before the flight. Flying nonstop was prohibitively expensive.

Why does it cost less to change planes, a process more costly to the airlines? I wish I knew, though the answer is probably, “Because we can.”

I slept most of the way, interrupted a few times as my head flopped to the side and pain briefly woke me. Airplane sleep isn’t as refreshing as bed sleep, but it is beneficial and the flight goes faster.

The young woman next to me never turned off her phone. When the flight attendant asked her to shut it down, she removed the one earplug visible from the aisle and threw the phone in a pocket. Sneaky.

We did not crash.

I’ll take a window seat on this next flight. With an “A” boarding pass, it’s guaranteed.

Back in Florida, my dad will be transferred to a rehab facility today.  It will be a valuable stay.

He (proudly) walked to the bathroom yesterday. Big accomplishment. It also makes it clear he can become strong enough to help my mom and be more responsible for his own well being and hers.

His sciatica pain has diminished, though he still lets out a yelp every once on a while. With physical therapy he might be able to dial back the pain even more.

His intake of pain pills is down.  He’s thinking more clearly.  He’s the master of his own fate. With that comes optimism. That’s a huge advantage moving forward.

My mom’s situation is more difficult. Maintaining her status quo as long as possible is the best we can expect. With a walker, wheelchair and lots of physical assistance she’ll get by.

This probably won’t be my last visit before we’re able to reposition them to an assisted living facility near my sister in Milwaukee. Their bonus is three grandchildren and two great grandchildren close by. Living on their own in Florida is no longer a safe option.

This entry has rambled a bit. I hope you’ll excuse me. Lots to think about. Lots to do.

Back in my bed tonight. Back in SoCal. Back with Helaine.


7 thoughts on “Will Someone Please Turn Off The Damn Alarm”

  1. Glad to hear your dad is getting stronger. I am not surprised to hear you have discussing moving them closer to either you or your sister. That should give you some peace of mind!!!!
    Hope the trip home is uneventful and peaceful!!!
    Keep us posted on your dad and mom!!!

  2. Nice to hear your Dad’s recovery is progressing positively. Also glad to hear you will be moving them closer to family. It will make the world of difference knowing family is close at hand. Even if they aren’t happy about moving they will know it is the best decision. This is the time when the role of parent/child reverses.

  3. Geoff, Good that your Dad is doing better. It’s not easy when parents get to this stage of life. But, you will do what you have too, and you won’t think twice about it either. And, believe me you will never regret it. Take care and have a safe trip home.

  4. Was just there yesterday at gate C20 traveling back to PVD! Nice airport, but hard to leave the grand babies there & head back to CT. Love that SW airlines now goes through ATL! Still miss you… 🙁

  5. August 18, 2013

    I hope you have a safe trip back home so you can be with your wife and pets. I am also glad that your dad seems to be in better spirits. I think that is an awesome idea about your dad and mom living in assisted housing next to your sister. Safe and well being. god bless the love for your parents.

    (Waterbury, ct)

  6. Glad to hear about your dad’s improvement. As you said, growing old is not for wimps (my mother used to say “sissies”). Many changes and adjustments along the way for everyone. The lucky ones of us who were raised by parents who loved and nutured us consider ourselves lucky/happy/blessed to be able to be there for them when they needed us. I suspect you are one of those. There are many ways of helping, supporting and loving. Caregiving is no easy task and being able to share your thoughts, concerns, hopes and fears with others provides much needed support and reassurance.

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