Friday, July 02, 2010

On the road with the old guy

We're old but not so old to tackle a long road trip.  I do the driving as DH doesn't see or hear very well and he can't remember shit. He's in the early stages of Alzheimer's and sometimes he seems altogether and right on but then there are times when he gets a little off the wall.  The plan was to go first to Birmingham, spend a night or two with our son and get up early and head to Charlotte.  And so far that part has worked, sorta. And I sometimes forget that he doesn't remember anything short term.  No remarks about that, okay?
So when I tell him something and expect him to follow through and nothing happens, I get frustrated.  When I get frustrated, he gets frustrated so picture hours in the car together.

I was super busy the weekend before our departure...two days of workshop, a critique group, church, arranging to be gone stuff, etc.  Saturday was filled with workshop and the movers at our friends, the Pannetts.  Ken volunteered to take Bob out of the house and off to lunch while the movers were going through the house.  Bob has Parkinson's and just isn't very mobile at this point. 
I made sure we were both got up on medications and clean clothes.  DH's clothes were selected...shirts hanging in the closet, pants, socks, underwear shoes piled on the floor next to his suitcase, his usual habit preparing for a trip.  My suitcase was filling up.  We were leaving about 7 in the morning and facing a 10 hour drive.  Ken announced the night before he was ready and loaded his suitcase in the car.  I waited until the next morning.  We loaded up suitcases, computers, and some iced down drinks.  Daughter had agreed to feed the cats and off we went.

The drive was totally uneventful.  I 10 to 59 and headed north. Clouds were rolling in the sky as we rolled along the countryside through lush green forest.  But about 30 miles south of Birmingham it started raining...I mean, pouring.  That is when I came to realize that my passenger was not going to function well as a navigator.  Duh!  So white-knuckled I made it and managed to call my son whom we managed to find in the traffic and followed him to his apartment.  I was exhausted.  Before dark Chris took us on a tour to some of the houses they had been looking at...gorgeous neighborhoods in Birmingham and then to dinner at The Fish Market...fried green tomatoes...yummm. We hadn't stopped for lunch and two glasses of wine later I was getting a bit tipsy.  But the clencher of the evening was when DH said he couldn't find his clothes.  A search of his suitcase and the car revealed no pants, no shirts.  What in the hell did he do with them between the time they were on the floor to go in his suitcase and when we got in the car?  Another big realization for me that the Alz is progressing.  Yikes!  But he shrugged it off saying, "I needed some new jeans anyway."  So after dinner I bought him some jeans and a shirt.

But wait, the story gets funnier.  While searching for his clothes in the car, DH found a bag of prescription drugs under the front passenger seat.  Not his, not mine but Bob Pannett's.  Oh geez, his wife must be frantic trying to figure out what happened to them in the move.  I called her as we drove out of Birm toward Charlotte  and agreed to ship them overnight at the first opportunity.

The first opportunity was some little town in Alabama where they had a Cracker Barrel.  We stopped for breakfast and asked the waitress if there was a postoffice nearby.  "Well, sure, honey, there's one just down the road on the left."  Yay!  So next stop the little bitty Post Office.  We walked in and started looking at boxes and a voice from behind called "I can do that for you, mam."  I could have kissed him...actually he was tall, very good looking with multiple interesting tatoos and an earring.  He was soooo nice....took the bag of drugs, created a box, taped it up and handed me a form to fill in.  About $30 bucks later, mission completed and we traveled on feeling good that we had taken care of that.  Small town America is still just so fine!

We stopped in Spartanburg for lunch with dear friend, DeAnne.  God but it was so good to see her again and catch up if even for an hour.  We went to high school together and lived next door to each other while starting UT.  She is doing well and still trying to sell her Colorado Springs house.  Dang, wish we could buy it for a summer is darling and in a great location close to downtown.

As we approached Charlotte on 85 the radio said there had been a terrible wreck on the Catawba River bridge between a tour bus and an 18 wheeler...all four lanes were shut down.  Holy shit again.  DH took out what maps we had to search for an alternative.  Clueless.  I'm white knuckled and stressed.  Traffic was at a stand still for miles and the radio said it would be hours before it would be cleared...multiple injuries, Life Flight, etc.  We inched and inched and finally made it to exit 22 where I saw the 18 wheelers headed.  I thought...FOLLOW THE TRUCKS! and I did and found an alternate route.  After several wrong turns we finally managed to find another route across the river and get back onto 85.  It had taken us 4 hours to go about 30 miles.  We missed the kids swim meet but found a beer, unloaded the car and collapsed.  What a trip so far!  Today we are just chilling!


Babs said...

Well, hre are two things to say. (1) I did the same thing in my early 40's when going to Corpus with the kids. Left ALL the clothes hanging in the closet - we went to Dillards in CC and laughed about the whole thing.
(2) Pretend you're driving alone then you're NOT dependent on him. Since I am USUALLY driving alone, if lost, I pull into a parking lot until I get my bearings or stop someone and figure out my path.
Go ahead, I KNOW you can do it! Make an adventure out of it and LAUGH. That's what I try to do. It doesn't always work, but it does sometimes..........

Kay Cox said...

I think it all was pretty funny and have laughed and laughed. It will be interesting to get home and find out what did happen to the clothes.

DeAnne said...

I left a closet full of clothes in Reno. The motel actually mailed them to us,(circa 1963), 2 weeks worth of clothes incl. hubbie's leather coat. Took them out of the car so they wouldn't be stolen! Duh.
Considering all you'd been thru when you got to me you were in good shape. Too bad we didn't "see ahead" and know your delay; we could have talked longer!
I noticed all your events ended in beer. Sounds like a winner!

Knitting Painter Woman said...

Impressive courage and attitude. I have a friend whose phone has a talking GPS and driving instructor... and I've rented Garmins that kept me from getting lost.
Laughing does help, doesn't it.