Mac Davis wrote a song called “Texas in My Rear View Mirror” with a line that says, “…I thought happiness was Lubbock, Texas in my rear view mirror…” That is how I felt leaving Lubbock. Lubbock is still the Hub of the Plains and not a bad place, but it is not home. Everything went fairly well in Lubbock. I was able to get Lee out of the hospital and home, but I was ready to get home myself. Toby’s oldest sister was headed to Lubbock as I left. It was like the changing of the guards. I really enjoyed my time with Toby’s mom - she is great. Dealing with hospitals and the lack of a laptop made me a bit crazy. Although the hospital had computers for public use, I could not email or post a blog - security reasons. If I had had a laptop, I could have used their wireless network. One day, my cousin brought me his laptop so that I could email Toby, but it was too late in the day to chat with Toby. It never worked out to get the laptop again. Although Covenant Hospital was very nice with lots of nice people and my step-father-in-law was well taken care of, there were still the communication problems. You just feel like you are at the mercy of nurses and doctors who are busy. A team of “hospitalists” took care of Lee, but we never knew when they were going to make rounds and there did not seem to be anyway to reach them.
When I arrived on Sunday evening, Lee had been moved from ICU to a room. I discovered that no one seemed to know who the doctor-in-charge was. No one had actually spoken to a doctor to even know what all was going on with Lee. Monday morning we got to the hospital at 7 am to try to connect with a doctor. Dr. Palacio came to Lee’s room about noon. He was a young man from Columbia with such a thick accent that we had difficulty understanding him, and he had difficulty understanding us - great. My sweet mother-in-law was good and mad by the time he showed up, and she was ready to attack with questions. The really bad part was that Toby’s aunt was visiting in the room along with her husband. She began telling the doc about her husband’s heart problems referring to her husband as “he” and confusing the heck out of the young doctor. He did not know who he should be talking to or what was going on. I could see trouble brewing and see fear in his eyes. Toby’s sister had stepped out of the room for a minute, so I made a dash to find her and get her to come keep the peace. She came quickly, but was not much help. We managed to get the doctor out of trouble and over to see Lee. Then Lee began telling the doctor about a rash on his ankle - the one he had back in November - and how his grand-daughter had the same rash. If the non-English speaking doctor was not confused before, he was now. Good grief - would the madness never stop? Although it was not funny at the time, it all turned out okay and was actually comical. The young Columbian diagnosed the pneumonia and was a big help. He continued to take good care of Lee, but we were still not sure when he would show up and had no way of getting in touch with him unless the nurses did so. It was just a lot of sitting around the room taking care of Lee.
Lee has been a good grandfather to my children since Toby’s dad died 25 years ago. I love him for that. But he is an odd duck and a bit obnoxious at times. He has an odd relationship with my mother-in-law that I cannot explain. He is not my father - nor is he Toby’s father. His own two sons showed up on Saturday and left Sunday before noon. I will let that speak for itself. I was willing to help Lee as much as possible, but foremost, I was there to take care of my mother-in-law. Nuff said.
While in Lubbock I did get to see my cousin and have lunch with her and her son. I also got to see my old friends Bear and Anny who came by the hospital. It was great to see them - I have blogged many B & A stories in the past because we were such close friends at one time. They are still like family, but we just do not see them very often anymore.
I stayed up late last night to try to chat with Toby, and sure enough, he was in office. Yeha, I got to chat for a while before I was too sleepy to think. The city he is in is called Atyrau. He said that the hotel has an Italian influence due to the Italian oil company, AGIP, in the area. He does get out, although not much - he mentioned going for ice-cream, beer, and a Fanta. Apparently there is a river running through the city which he said looks like lots of fun with kids swimming in it and kayaks on it. He had thought it would be fun to rent a kayak and tour the city from the river. Then he saw a dead cow floating in the river and changed his mind about going for a dip. Toby says being in KZ is about like being under house arrest - I told him being in the hospital was about the same. He said the area reminded him of Las Cruces - desert with poor soil. He said the airport reminded him of the old Hobbs, NM airport. They are discouraged from going out after dark in the city, and he seems to be working long hours to meet deadlines anyway. Same old Halliburton. He hopes to get out and about some this weekend.