Take The Train to Charlotte

So, it’s Sunday morning when I’m writing this. I note it because, usually, I allow the magic of posting ahead of time give you the (false) impression that I get up every morning and write some purple prose. Actually, some days I write nothing, and others, such as this past Saturday, I might compose three.

I mention this because I may be offline for a while, not responding to comments, not visiting other blogs. Or not – I don’t know yet.

Friday, my sister Marcia called me at work. She said that our mom seemed fine that morning, took a shower and started getting dressed. Suddenly, she started complaining about a severe headache. She was screaming, like she did when she was in a car accident a few months ago. Marcia decided to take her to the doctor, but by the time they were trying to get ready, my mother had become listless. So my sister called an ambulance, and Mom went to the hospital.

It turned out Mom has a brain bleed. Apparently, this layman has discovered, there are two types of strokes: one in which the blood vessels are constricted and one in which a vessel can burst; my mother has the latter.

Some factors: my mom is 83 years old, with high blood pressure plus other medical issues, and possibly most significantly, does amazingly poorly with the various anesthesia she’s had in the past. So calling Dr. Derek Shepherd of Grey’s Anatomy to do some sort of surgery is not a high percentage option.

Marcia called me Saturday. Mom has developed a full-blown case of pneumonia, from a little spot on her lungs to much worse merely hours later. My sister Leslie flew into Charlotte, NC from San Diego, CA on Sunday, for an extended visit she had been anticipating doing for a while anyway.

I’ve decided to go to Charlotte, too. But taking the plane is not only expensive, it becomes more so because I don’t know when I can come back. I can book it for a week, but then I might need to change it and incur a $150 change fee; no, Southwest doesn’t fly to Charlotte. Moreover, the best deal on a flight from Albany, NY to Charlotte, NC goes through Detroit, MI, an airport I HATE, HATE, HATE. Going through Atlanta, GA is not much better. The one direct flight is way more expensive.

Most of all, I really have come to despise what now passes for air travel in America, where I get to toss my four-ounce bottle of shampoo because I could be a terrorist. (More ranting at another time.) It’s become a flying bus, and I’m just not fond.

That leaves taking the train. It’s 15 hours, and I’ll either have to leave Albany or get to Charlotte in the middle of the night. Still, I like the train. I like walking around on the train, going to the dining car and meeting people on the train. The train is civilized; the plane is a meat market. At some point, quite probably by the time you read this, I’ll be in Charlotte, and I don’t know for how long. Since there is no real round-trip ticket, the return is more flexible.

All of this to say that I’ll probably be posting every day for the next week or so, stuff already written, or perhaps not. I’m sure I’ll be blogging from Charlotte once I figure out what the situation is.

Fiddlin John Carson And His Virginia Reelers-Take The Train To Charlotte

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

67 thoughts on “Take The Train to Charlotte”

  1. I think that was a wise decision when you have time. I like taking trains and as you say now taking an airplane has become very complicated and it takes more time to check in than the flight itself (often)
    Hope your mom gets better and recovers, at that age you never know !
    Wish you all the best !

  2. Roger, I agree with the decision to travel by train – the mere rhythm of the train brings about a soothing regularity which I find comforting. I will be following your blog to see how your mum is doing. Take Care. Love to all your family, Denise x

  3. I hope that all works out for the best for your mom and your family. Be well. Have a comfortable journey. We need more and better rail transportation in this backward nation, too.

  4. Dear Roger, I can so identify with your troubles. My husband passed away unexpectedly at the age of 61 from a massive stroke, the latter one you describe. I feel for you and wish you the best in your time of need and hope that your mom will recover.

  5. Dear Roger, I am so sorry that you and your family have to go through this troublesome period. It’s difficult to make decisions when there is inner turmoil and so much at stake. May you find satisfactory solutions to your travel issues, and may your Mother rest easy and recover well. Take care of yourself, too. Best, Kate Mura

  6. Dear Roger,
    I am so sorry to hear the news about your mother, I hope she is feeling better. Age and illness is something we all face at sometime or another in our lives, but it still doesn’t make it any easier when one of our loved ones becomes ill. I hope your mother has a speedy recovery.

  7. I am sorry to read about your mother and hope that she will be much better soon. I’m sorry you’ve also had to deal with the travel issues. Take care and best regards, Carver

  8. Our prayers are with you, your family and your Mom. I hope that you have a safe trip and that your Mom recovers, back to her usual self. A lot of people care about you Roger.

  9. You certainly don’t need the added aggravation of flights and airports at a time like this.
    I hope your mother is comfortable and can enjoy having her family around her.

  10. Roger, I trust by now you have arrived by your mother’s side and that she has the best care possible. These are not easy times for your mother, for you and for your siblings. Sending you positive energy. Stay strong. (And I can relate to your travel woes; air travel – especially in the USA – long ago lost its charm for me although I fly more than most.)

  11. Hang in there, Rog. Sorry to read about your mother’s situation and your ordeal on so many levels. I’ll be praying and look forward to your return.
    Take good care!
    Mary Ann

  12. My thoughts and prayers are with you Roger, and with your mother and your family. A hard and difficult time for you, – take care. All the best…Hildred

  13. Roger, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this time. I hope your mom pulls through okay. Travel stress is awful and not what you need to be dealing with at this time. here’s hoping it goes smoothly for you.

  14. It’s good you thought of the train, especially at a time like this – maybe you’ll be able to get some rest in order to deal with whatever you’ll have to once you get to Charlotte. I hope your Mom is OK by the time you get this message.
    All the best to you and yours,

  15. Sending good wishes for a safe and tolerable trip to visit your mom. Distance from our elderly parents can make things quite complicated. My own mother lives across the Atlantic. The not knowing how long you’ll be away is an added stressor. Good luck!

  16. Dear Roger! I am so sorry to read that your mum has suffered such a severe stroke. I hope you will all find comfort and support of all your friends and relatives. I hope your journey to Charlotte will be not too stressful. Good luck, Roger and God bless.

  17. So sorry about your mother’s stroke. A friend’s husband is in rehab from at this time and there certainly are a lot of things to consider. I hope she is doing well, and that you and your family are coping. Enjoy the train ride–despite the reason.

  18. Roger, I was so sorry to hear of your mom’s recent stroke, and all the inconvenience in getting you back to see her. Saying a prayer for her complete recovery, and a prayer for you that your travel plans work out well, and you can make the trip with the least amount of stress.

    Love and Hugs
    Wanda…one of your ABC Wednesday friends.

  19. I can relate to your difficulties very well, as my mum now 85yrs has similar complaints besides Parkinson’s.
    I surely will wish the very best for your mum and the entire family.

    You and the family will remain in my prayers.

  20. My heart goes out to you Roger – thoughts and prayers are youirs too. My Mom had a stroke as well and you feel helpless.
    Travelling by train sounds a very v\civilized way to go. I did it across Canada (a long time ago mind you!) but I met so many interesting people and heard some fascinating stories.
    Just like I enjoy reading your stories. Do take care of yourself in the days ahead.
    God Bless.

  21. Oh, Roger, I’m so sorry about your mother, and so sorry you had to go through the whole train/plane worry thing. You are so right about plane travel, it is awful these days. I also prefer trains, which aren’t an option for me since one of Canada’s two railways stopped carrying passengers.
    I am praying for your mother, and for you. I spent three years traveling back and forth to the west coast when my parents were in a care facility in our home town. My brothers and sister were right there but I felt I should be there, too, and so went every six or eight weeks. I was able to be with both of them when they died, but would have much preferred that they live.
    Please know I understand, and that I care.
    — K

  22. Dear Roger, I will be praying for your Mom today. I am so sorry that you have had this scary thing happen. I pray they can help her heal quickly. So glad you are able to be by her side. Much love, Becky

  23. Hi Sir Roger, Sorry to hear about your Mom. I’ll will include your Mom in my prayers everyday. Hope a miracle will come and she will be alright. You take care and hugs for you Mom. God bless

  24. Roger, I am very sorry to hear about your Mom. She is so very young. It is amazing what they can do these days so try and keep hope. I understand your worry as my dad passed away in December from a brain bleed from a fall. He was much older at 85 and on a blood thinner as well which only made the bleeding worse. I am sure it helps knowing you and your sisters are there to help her through. Remain strong and hopeful. Good luck to your family, I will keep you in my prayers.

  25. Heard about the loss of your dear Mum. My heartfelt condolences are with you and your family in this hour of grief. May the Lord give your family courage and strength and keep you going through this tough time.

  26. Oh Roger, I wanted to wish your Mum all the best and found I was already late! I am so sorry. I hope you were able to make it in time to still see her. I wish you and your family strength for all this.

  27. Hello Roger, I’m sorry to hear about your mom. Best wishes to you and your family. And may your train trip back home be a peaceful and rested one.

  28. I’m sure the entire ABC Wednesday community is with you during this difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers go out to you and yours.

  29. Oh Roger, I just got a update from Mrs. Nesbitt that your mom had passed away. I’m so saddened to hear this. Praying comfort and codolences to you and your family.

  30. I am so sorry for your loss of your Mom. I completely understand how you are feeling and my heart goes out to you. Take strength in your family and your wonderful memories of her.

  31. Heard from Denise about your Mum. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. I always enjoy your comments on my blog, so this is just a very little thing for me to do for you. I’ll be praying that the weather doesn’t cause any problems in your travels also. The Lord bless you and your family in the midst of this crisis.

  32. Oh Roger! I just heard from Denise that your mother passed away! I am so sorry and thought I’d pop back in to give you my sympathies. My heart is there with you as I know what it’s like to lose your parent(s) – she will live on in your hearts and memories. Take care.


  33. Oh my God, I’m so sorry about your mom! I just kicked off my February iteration of “Ask Me Anything” and you hadn’t chimed in yet…and then I realized you haven’t chimed in on any of my posts in several days. I hate that this is the reason.

  34. Roger,

    I learned the hard news from Denise that your mom has died. It’s one thing to know that such a time will come. It is another thing all together to feel the loss. I’m glad your sisters are with you. And wish you all the support that families can offer one another as they draw together to mourn. May you all recall with pleasure the many great and small, endearing experiences you shared with her over your lives. They are the gifts you will treasure and will keep her close to you.


  35. Rog,

    I’m sorry to hear about your mom. Our family’s sympathies are with you.


  36. Baruch dayan emet.
    It is tough to lose a mother, at any age, dear Roger. May her memory be a blessing. God comfort you and all the mourners.
    Blessings to you from Jerusalem.

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