S. Worthen (owlfish) wrote,
S. Worthen

A voyage to a grandmother

My taxi to the airport picked me up in Toronto at 12:30 yesterday for a 3 o'clock flight. That flight was delayed an hour and a half due to the threat of lightning striking the baggage handlers. Eventually, we arrived in Chicago, landing at the time my connecting flight was due to depart. Luckily, my connecting flight had been delayed. Not so luckily, my connecting flight was eventually cancelled, at around 5:30 pm Central time. We stood in line, were rebooked onto flights the following day, were given food and hotel vouchers. I went to bed early after falling asleep in the bathtub, and slept in the next morning. It being a civilized airport hotel, it served breakfast from 6 am - 2 pm. After a leisurely morning, I caught a 10:30 shuttle to the airport for my 12:30 scheduled departure. Thus far, you could pretty much figure all that out from what I posted yesterday.

My 12:30 flight was delayed. It was delayed for forty-five minutes or so before they boarded us expeditiously. Then they found a problem with the undercarriage, a poorly aligned gap. A mechanic was called, and he tried out "step 1" of a solution. It didn't work, and to do "step 2", it was necessary for him to go away and do more research. Eventually - an hour? - later, we were deplaned, a good chance to grab a bite to eat, and put on a different airplane. We waited further, of course. Our luggage needed transferring, and we had to lose some fuel, as elsewise the plane would have been overweight. Eventually we left - and arrived - three hours later, about 23 hours after my initially scheduled arrival time in Little Rock. Happily, I had pleasant fellow passengers and entertaining reading to keep me occupied.

The heat and haze of Little Rock wasn't nearly as bad as the Toronto I left. The temperatures were as high, but with lower humidity, it felt almost pleasant by comparison. And then we were back into air-conditioning at the hospital, where, at long, long last, after a week and a half of waiting, I could visit my grandmother in the aftermath of her car crash.

Of course, I'd had updates all along. For a long time, there'd been effectively no news, but in the past few days, she's come off her ventilator and is able to speak again. And we did! She's just as thoughtful, intelligent, and articulate as always, and just as hard-of-hearing as always. Her voice is heavy with congestion, the aftermath of the ventilator, and she coughs frequently because of it. But still - I could update her on my life, my travels, and - most importantly for her - my dissertation progress. Impatient with the oxygen mask, she discarded it to talk to us for a while before needing it again. One eye is still largely swollen and hard for her to open, but the other was fine. She has odd, dark bruises here and there, and is miserable from lack of hair-washing, but is otherwise doing reasonably well - under the circumstances, of course. One of her fingers glows red, just like E.T.'s.

She's still in intensive care, and visiting hours are limited. We have a family member on duty twenty-four hours a day, just in case we're needed. I'll be doing my first shift tomorrow morning. (I missed my first scheduled shift by loitering around Chicago instead.) I've seen my two uncles, both at the hospital, and one of my cousins as well, if not the one whose birthday is today. My sister comes to visit over the weekend, so I'll be able to see her too, a particular treat for me, since I haven't seen her in months. It's good to be here, at long last.

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