In reading the title of my last entry, it occurs to me that I must have know all along something was coming. Yesterday I hit an all time low – I mean it was pretty bad.
I mentioned earlier that Nick came home on Monday. I hesitate to discuss his health issues specifically as they are very personal, but I can share that they are serious and his rehabilitation will take some time.
But let me start the story with Wednesday night. I came home from work around 6pm – and Nick’s car was not in the garage. Not room for alarm, as I thought he would be home soon. I made myself some diiner as Nick and I had discussed earlier that we should fend for ourselves for the evening.
At 8:40pm I got a call from Nick – he was lost – he was in WYOMING and he wanted directions on how to get back. He said he was off of I80, but I had no idea where I80 was. I asked him if the people at the place he was at could give him directions to I25. He said that they could, and so I gave him directions on how to get home from I25 South.
At 1am in the morning when he was not home, I did a search on the internet to locate the number from which he had called. The number was listed to Rawlins, Wyoming. Just for a point of reference, the Wyoming state line is not all that far from here, about an hour and fifteen minutes. But Rawlins, Wyoming was 340 miles from Erie and estimated on mapquest to be a 3 hr. and 40 minute drive from Erie.
By 5 am (being up all night and pacing) when he had not arrived home, I called the Erie police, the Wyoming state troopers and the Colorado state troopers. I gave them the information about Nick and his car, and they told me they would do a BOLO on him (be on the look out).
At 6am I got a call from Nick. He as at a Wendy’s off of exit 7 on I25. When I asked him where exit 7 was, he asked the staff and they told him Cheyenne – he was still in Wyoming. I told him to sit tight and I would drive up there and get him back home.
When I got up there he looked awful – very drawn and very tired and I think very scared and he did not have his car. When I asked him where his car was, he said that it was in a ditch. When I asked him how that happened, he said that he was turning off the road to get some gas and since it was dark and the road was unfamiliar, he went off the road into the ditch. I look around the area at the exit, but could not see his car. When I suggested that we locate his car, he did not want to – all he wanted was to go home and go to bed.
So, I took him home. The Erie police had called me right after Nick called me to tell me that the Wyoming state troopers had found him and asked that once I picked him up to call them back and confirm that I had him so that they could close the case file. When I called back, I mentioned the missing car and they said they would note that and that I should let the Wyoming state police know as well. When I called the Wyoming state police they said that the officer that found him made no mention of the car – that when the found Nick he was "crawling" along the side of the highway.
When I questioned Nick about that, he said yes, he was crawling as he hurt is ankle and it was sore and it hurt to walk. I asked the Wyoming state troopers to be on the look out for his car and they said they would. Later that day, some of my friends drove me back to Wyoming to see if we could locate the car, but we could not. That night, Trooper Page called and said they located the car, but that he was going to impound it because there were some questions that needed to be answered. He talked to Nick and then to me. Apparently the rut in the ravine by Nick’s car was 127 feet long, but it appeared that the breaks had not been applied. When we asked Nick why he did not apply the breaks he said he did not remember and he did not know.
So, I made arrangements to bring Nick to meet with Trooper Page on Friday at 3pm. Needless to say, Nick slept most of the day on Thursday and after my friends and I returned from our fruitless journey of trying to find the car, Nick and I went out to get a sandwich.
That night, Nick said his ankle was really hurting him and he asked me to take him to urgent care the next day. He complained of pain in his ankle and his side. We went to urgent care and they did x-rays and sure enough, he had a broken ankle and two cracked ribs. We were there for so long that I had to cancel the meeting with Trooper Page as we never would have gotten to Wyoming on time.
When I found out the news about Nick’s ankle, I lost it. I am really beginning to wonder when this will all settle down and how much more I can take. Now I have two completely dependent people relying on me, plus I need to start the moving out process for my mom’s apartment, I need to get Nick to an orthopedic specialist next week as well as his primary care physician, work a full time job and deal with getting his car back from Wyoming. And this is just Nick – when my aunt leaves on Thursday, I will have to resume the responsbility for my mother as well.
One bright spot in all of this – Trooper Page called last night and said he was releasing our car so that we would not have to pay the daily storage fee until we could get up to Wyoming to finalize the paperwork. Getting Nick’s car back to Erie will cost us $440 in towing fees
So, after I got the news about Nick’s ankle, of course I had to research how to assit him with being mobile. Being that he is still weak, crutches would not do. So I found this device called a "rollabout" – it is designed so that you can put your knee on it and slide around (like a scooter) with your good leg. I had to go and pick that up and he is using it and it has been good for him.
The place that had the rollabout was in Longmont (where my mom is) and I remembered that she got a rolling walker with a seat right before she went into the hospital. She had never used it. So I called my aunt on the way to Longmont and told her that I would stop by the nursing home, get my mom’s keys and go pick up that walker so that Nick could use it as well. She said ok.
A few minutes later she calls me and says, "Oh honey, I am so sorry, but I forgot the keys in your mother’s apartment when we left to come here, today and I do not have them." Well, for me, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. She told me that I could try to building maintenance man and see if he could let me in. I hung up and began to cry histerically. Couldn’t I just have some time where I did not have to solve everyone’s problems?
My job demands that I problem solve literally the whole time. Now I am consumed with my mother, Nick and then I have to solve my aunt’s problems as well? Please let up on my a little, will you?
I was so angry I could not see straight. I cried, and cried and cried for about 10 minutes and then I got to my mom’s place, reached the maintenance man and he let me in, and I got the walker and the keys.
Then I went to the nursing home and dropped the keys off to my aunt. For two days my mom did not know what was going on, but I felt I should tell her. I told my mom and my aunt that I was angry, not at them but at what was happening. Then I get the answer that I get from so many people – "Oh dear, we’re so sorry, we wish there was something we could do". But the truth is, there is nothing anyone can do – I am in the midst of this incredible mess and I have to play the hand that was dealt to me.
What I have learned is that it is so helpful to get my feelings out – not to couch them but to tell it like it is. Hence this blog – which is not mincing any words regarding the situation and how I felt about it at the time.
Last night, things calmed down and I got to bed early and slept for 10 hours and so I am feeling a litttle better this morning. It frightens me that somehow I knew I was experiencing the calm before the storm – and when the storm came, I was certainly not prepared for its intensity.
Today I am going to do things around the house – the car is being towed back here today and I have paperwork (two household to be in charge of) and day-to-day stuff that needs attention. You can see I am still a little angry and bitter, but I think once I get my butt in gear, I will at least have a sense of accomplishment getting some things done.
Thank God the people at work have been so supportive. I cannot say enough how much FMLA is such a gift, especially to those of us in the sancwhich generation who are or will be facing these incredibly difficult situations.
And thanks to all of your for listening to my ramblings. It helps.