Saturday, July 28, 2012

On the Road Again...Or is it the end of the road?

So my road trip, or lack thereof, took a huge detour.

As you can see from my previous post, I was looking forward to getting on the ferry with my bug and cat. I was looking forward to the solitude of being alone with my thoughts to either write, edit or just sit and watch the beautiful scenery of the Inside Passage go by. I'm also a photographer, so the opporunity to have taken a lot of pictures didn't happen either.

I ended up having to fly out of Sitka a week earlier than planned.  You see, my mother has a home on a secluded, very remote isolated island in SE Alaska with a population of about 40 to 50 year round residents, and the only way there is by float plane or boat.  She has been living alone for the past seven years since my father passed away in 2005.  And I could not get her to move from there no matter how hard I tried.

Her life style ended up being quite sedentary (I might write a post about how bad this is for her and me another time), more so than mine. Around May 2nd she fell at night, couldn't get up and laid there through the night until the next morning when she was so luckily found by the lady who cleans house for her.  My mother had to be medivaced to a hospital in Bellingham from Ketchikan and had surgery early that same morning to unclog arteries in her right leg.  I couldn't get there for a couple more days.  My sister drove over from Idaho with her daughter to be with our mom until I could get there.

The day I left Sitka, a friend helped me deliver my car to the ferry early because another friend was going to drive it on for me who was also driving his vehicle on. That made it so I didn't have to wait for the time to drive it and I could get ready for my flight to leave at 6pm.  After packing, the friend took me to the Moose Lodge for drinks before I had to catch my flight.  But myself and my car almost didn't make either mode of transportation do to a stupid mistake by none other than moi.

When I had checked the car in for the ferry, and drove it into the correct boarding lane, I took the ticket with me when I left the car there and drove back into town.  After about an hour or so, I got a call from the ferry boarding personnel who wondered what happened to the ticket.  So I found out the sticker they give you for the window wasn't enough.  I had to borrow the friends truck to run the ticket back out about the seven miles to the ferry with the ticket and make it back in time to finish my drink and get a ride to the airport.  Made it in time to also see my grandson before I left.  I miss that little guy.

So I get to Seattle where a friend picks me up.  I spend the night at her house in Kent and the next day she drives me over two hours to Bellingham where my mother is in the hospital.  Things with my mom were touch and go for a few days as she ended up in ICU because her lungs were full of fluids from the docs giving her way too much because she was dehydrated when she got there.  While she was in ICU, my sister and niece had to leave to go back to work, leaving me there with no place to stay but in the in hospital with mom.  I switched cars with my sister because she has a SUV and when mom would be released, I would have to drive her to Idaho and she needed a place to lay down.  But after another two weeks of being there, she was finally released with a lot of memory loss and disorientation and not able to walk without a walker.  So even though she was able to go home to my sister's house, an eight hour ride in a car was totally out of the question.  I put her on a plane with a wheelchair and flight attendant help and I drove by myself across Washington.

Driving by yourself for long hours helps you get your mind back to where it needs to be sometimes.  I found out, after listening to some of Cher's greatest hits, there are a couple of her songs I could listen to while writing and it wouldn't disturb me.  See, I don't normally listen to music when I'm writing.  I usually have the tv on in the background because I'm usually writing while hubby is watching tv, and now I'm doing it while taking care of my mother in my sister's house.

Having been living in Sitka, Alaska for the past ten years where there is only about 14 miles of road was strange, having moved there from Idaho in the first place.  When I first got there, I remember how sad it was going to be that I couldn't just jump in my car and drive somewhere further than seven miles in one direction (N to S) and maybe only one mile at the city's widest point (E to W), and the speed limit at most was 45 out of the city limits.  Now I am back in the lower 48, driving over 400 miles to get to my sister's house and I remember thinking how nice it was to be able to drive long distances again, and I easily fall back into driving fast.  I love to drive fast.  I really think I should have been a race car driver.  And this is where perhaps my end of the road could very easily happen.  I've driven in some places and so fast that I've even scared myself, so even though I don't like to talk about death and dying (scared to death to talk about it actually -- could be another blog post, but I seriously doubt it), I still can't seem to keep from driving fast and that is how I will probably end up leaving this world.  

I have ended up setting a very bad example for both my kids, because they like to drive fast. Like most kids who believe they know more than you do, I can't even give them advice about a particular road and how they need to be careful driving on it, especially in the winter season, because they won't listen to me.  I'm the one with more driving experience, but because they see me try to get away with the way I drive, they believe they can, too.

Now that I am kind of settled in at my sister's house, my son brought me the two pallets of my household goods I shipped from Alaska. I have been slowly going through the boxes (something I should have been doing all along while I was in Sitka) of junk, old papers, receipts, and my very old writing stuff. I found my notebook from the creative writing class I attended back in 1991 and the next few blog posts you will see will be from a few writing exercises. I hope you enjoy them. I hope to be adding some new ones like what it is like to be living with someone who is in the early stages of Alzheimer's, what its like to be living with your sister instead of your husband, and hopefully some more cheerful things.

(UPDATE 11*19*2012 - It is amazing, when you go back over something you wrote months ago, to see what you did not get accomplished in your writing.)

So tell me readers and writers. 
Do you like to drive fast? 
Do you like to go on road trips to clear your head? 
Do you learn anything new about yourself when you take a road trip? 
Readers - are your 'to be read' lists so long that you forgot ones you wanted to read but still have not gotten around to it?
Does life get in the way of the things you love to do or want to do?

1 comment:

  1. Oh wow! What an adventure/ordeal. I'm so sorry you and your family are going through this. I'll keep you all in my prayers.

    Even though we aren't related, we so could be. I have the need for speed too. I often thought I could be a race car driver. My dad raced when he was young. I really don't speed now though, of course with the traffic it would be too treacherous here. But I love driving and love to spend time driving by myself. It centers me.

    Remember to take care of yourself and allow some time to get away when you need it. {{{hugs}}}