To travel, or not to travel

Coming from California

travelI’m writing this more than two weeks after the fact, which is suboptimal. This continuation: To travel, or not to travel.

Tuesday, October 4: My usual Bible guys meeting at 9 a.m. I believe I’m the youngest member of the group, which used to meet in person before COVID. But once we started on ZOOM, we stayed on ZOOM. Unlike most meetings, a Bible study with four to seven guys is manageable.

Conversely, the weekly book review at the Washington Avenue branch always wants to be in person. There were some furtive attempts at offering it online, but it’s just better face-to-face.

I went home, and my wife and I started a largely futile attempt to clean the house.

Wednesday, October 5: My wife and I drove to the Albany International Airport. It’s “international” because it services trips to and from a few Canadian cities. I went to the luggage area and met my sister Leslie, who had flown in from SoCal. She was going to go to her high school reunion that weekend. I had agreed to be her Plus One.

My wife suggested going to the Iron Gate Cafe, where we had eaten only a few weeks earlier. But her ankle was now extremely sore, and she begged off but dropped us off there. My sister loved it, as my wife knew she would.

My wife drove Leslie to the Avis/Budget car rental in Colonie Center, near the former Sears; I had no idea it was there. We all went home, with me navigating for my sister; she could have used her phone, but why when she had me?


My wife was on the phone with her doctor’s office, but from my end of the conversation, it didn’t sound as though her pain or possible infection was being taken seriously. Moreover, the redness of her ankle and above was very concerning to me.

This was because, in 1979, two days before I started my first attempt at grad school, I got a little cut on my baby toe. Increasingly, it hurt tremendously. I hobbled through registration, then limped to the infirmary. The doctor immediately put me on bed rest AT THE INFIRMARY for six days. He feared that the infection, traveling up a blood vessel in my leg, would head for my heart and kill me. I started classes late and never did catch up.

My wife and I put Leslie up in a hotel so she wouldn’t have to put up with our demented cat.

Thursday, October 5: I called my wife’s doctor’s office at 6:10 a.m. Of course, I got the service, but I gave the person great detail about the swelling and what appeared to be spreading infection. To my amazement, her doctor called back at 6:30 and promised a slot as soon as the scheduler came in. At 7:40, the office called, and my wife had a 10:30 appointment, which my sister drove her to. My wife got doses of antibiotics. After lunch, Leslie drove us so my wife could get an ultrasound. The good news: no blood clots.

The reserves

Leslie and I were going to Binghamton that afternoon in her rental vehicle. To travel, or not to travel, that was the question. I would have felt uncomfortable leaving my wife but for one thing. Unrelated to the medical issues, my daughter had decided to come home from college for the long weekend. SHE would take care of her mother! This was a bit of serendipity

And from the reporting of the patient, when Leslie and I came back on Monday, she had done a fabulous job. This is not a surprise, based on a story my daughter told my wife. Someone at college had accidentally cut themselves, and another student tried to patch them up, but they didn’t do it correctly. Clean the wound, pat it dry, and then put the ointment on the bandage, not the wound. My wife had shown this method to my daughter, and the message took. Can you hear the maternal beam of joy?

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