Tuesday, June 21, 2016


A phone call at 5:58 am.  I know it can’t be good news.  I think of scenarios as I stumble half asleep to pick up the phone.  It’s probably another bout with a bowel blockage.    A call from the Lifeline because she’s fallen?   
Our home phone is in the kitchen.  The first ring wakes me up.  The second makes me get up.  If my arthritis isn’t a problem I can make the 27 steps before the answering machine picks up on the fourth ring. Usually it screens calls from political parties and a persistent credit card offers.   My friends and our children question why we still have a home phone.  We rarely use it.  The reason is 92 years old.  My mother in law knows the phone number and she doesn’t need any changes to befuddle her. 
She’s hung up by the time I get to the phone.   No message!  I tried to call her back.  Busy.  I force myself to count to fifteen.  I redial.  Deep breath, trying to be calm.  “Hi, this is Lori.” 
“I’ve been awake all night.”  Her voice is so soft, with those odd little cracks.
Oh dear!  My husband is leaving on a business trip at 7:15.  He’s got a nine hour drive.  I know I’m on my own for this emergency room visit and hospital stay.
“What do you need?”  A ride to the hospital, or maybe I should just call an ambulance.  Possibly help cleaning up from the nausea?  Gosh!  I hope she hasn’t fallen!
“I forgot to tell Wayne my water softener is out of salt”  “You know how the water gets dark when it’s out.”  “Will you tell him please?”
I force a smile onto my face, hopefully in my voice too.  “Sure, I’ll stop over later and check it out for you.” 

As I stumble back down the hall to the bedroom I check my cell.  6:02 a.m.