October 23, 2007

Tuesday with Ma and Pa Kettle

It was cold this morning when I was due to leave for the YMCA for my arthritis pool class. Okay, cold is bad and any old excuse will do when you hate exercise as much as I do. I debated in my head: "Go and be good or stay home and be bad." Logic won out but only because I had a burrito for dinner last night and I didn't want it to go straight to my hip. So I talked myself into a compromise. I'd go but I'd walk the treadmill instead of getting in the pool. Everything was fine until I got home with a hot cup of coffee in my hand. The coffee was calling for cranberry scones so I ate enough scone calories to replace the ones I burned up at the Y. I could teach a class called, Fat, How Not to Lose It.

Don got up---for the second time---after I'd scuffed down those English biscuits. Good. I figured if no one saw me eat them, then they don't count. Right?

Back to Don. Instead of getting ready for his shower, as he was suppose to be doing, the gods of aphasic insisted that we have a "conversation." For fifteen minutes Don made zoom, zoom and car brake noises to accompany his hand gestures while I played twenty-one questions trying to figure out what was so damned important that he'd chance running our shower times so close to the wire that I'd get cheated out of mine. But I'm a genius at decoding aphasia/apraxia talk---if I do say so myself---and I finally figured out that Don wanted to buy gift certificates at a gas station to give to the guys he hunted with last Saturday. Sunday I had been saying we should stop at Applebee's on the way home from speech today to get a couple of gift certificates. I figured if his two hunt guides took their wives out to dinner on Don then the wives would feel better about letting them go again next week. Gas money won out. When it takes a stroke survivor fifteen minutes to convey a simple thought, it's hard to argue with the guy.

We took off for speech therapy and I drove the thirteen miles through town traffic with a Starbuck's caramel macchiato in hand. Glory hallelujah, I made it with nearly no red lights to slow me down and no other drivers that made we want to flash them my middle finger. Not that I would do that but I'm old and you never know when that common sense and good taste filler in your brain quits working for you.

We pulled up to a nearly empty parking lot that should have given me a clue that something was amiss, but it didn't. I unloaded Don's wheelchair, parked him inside it and took them both up to the speech clinic. That's when it hit me that this was a 'reading day' for the students and there would be no therapy. Crap! We could have been relaxing at home after a killer run of days that all kept us busy from morning to night.

On the way home, we'd planned to stop at the gas station to get the gift certificates and as I was about to pull into Meijer when Don wanted to talk. Oh, God, his aphasia and my driving don't mix well. Thankfully, it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that his pulling on the steering wheel meant he'd changed his mind about where to get the gift certificates for his hunting guides. After briefly decoding Don's aphasia speak, I figured out we needed to continue on down the road to Applebee's. And they say women are the ones who can't make up their minds.

Thus ends another Tuesday adventure in the life of Ma and Pa Kettle down on the urban farm.

Jean Riva ©

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