Jan. 4th, 2017

luscious_purple: Baby blasting milk carton with death-ray vision (death-ray baby)
Forgot to mention yesterday: The NBC commercials celebrating Matt Lauer's 20th anniversary as co-anchor of the Today show remind me of how much of a fan of Bryant Gumbel my mother was. In fact, on Gumbel's last day on Today (20 years ago yesterday), I left my VCR recording when I went to work so that I would have a tape of that tribute episode in case my mother missed it due to her knee procedure. I never showed it to her....

Twenty years ago today ... my Saturday started with a call from my cousin Janet, saying that my mother was in a lot of pain and couldn't move her legs and was being transferred from Leominster Hospital to St. Vincent's Hospital in Worcester. Obviously I was upset over the complications, and I wanted to fly up to Massachusetts, but I had the additional complication that I was the only member of my four-person work group who was supposed to be in the office for the coming week. My boss and his wife were incommunicado, somewhere in Paraguay on vacation; the second person was on a ski trip in Vermont; the third person was flying (with my boss's boss) to a conference on the West Coast.

I remember the afternoon as a tangle of phone conversations. I couldn't call Janet back directly because she had called from a pay phone -- remember that technology? So I was trying to find out what was going on from the Leominster staff, plus I was trying to convince US Airways that I needed a "family emergency fare" or whatever it was called, so that I could fly to Boston right away, plus I was trying to find somebody from my then-workplace to notify about the situation. I finally tracked down the wife of my boss's boss, who promised to tell her husband once he reached his destination.

Around dinnertime I flew up to Boston. (I wasn't worried about how I was going to get around in Massachusetts, because my mother's car was sitting, unused, at her house.) Janet and her husband, Kevin, picked me up at Logan Airport. By that time, my mother was in surgery (for 4.5 hours, as it turned out), so there was no point in my trying to see her that night.

On the way back to my childhood home, we stopped at Leominster Hospital to pick up my mother's personal effects, which for some reason weren't transported in the ambulance along with her. Once alone at home, I looked through her purse just to see what was in it (you know how people always say stuff gets stolen in hospitals). At the bottom of the purse I found a baggie with two diamond rings in it. My mother's and my grandmother's. The ones that my mother had reported stolen to the local police a couple of months earlier, because she was sure that the visiting nurses and home health aides that I'd arranged for her were stealing her blind. With her mild confusion, Mom had robbed herself.

July 2017

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