After a lazy morning of reading and laying by the pool, I discovered that my Uncle Eli and Aunt Daphne were still here in Houston. As Uncle Eli puts it, "We came to MD Anderson for a two hour procedure and ended up staying four weeks." Apparently, Uncle E had an appointment to do some sort of test on his heart. Doctors thought the test he had had was not extensive enough and that his heart valves were leaking. Turns out that his heart was perfectly healthy for an 85 year old man. While at the hospital for the extra test, Aunt Daphne took a tumble and broke her left arm - severely - needing surgery. Well, surgery and recovery on an 85 year old is major. Hence, they were still in Houston at the hospital, but the good news was that they go home today.
It was very good to get to see them yesterday, and yet hard on me in a way. Seeing Uncle E was wonderful. He was full of stories and just the same old Uncle E. But in him, I saw my dad, and it made me sad. When Uncle E would move his hands, I saw Dad's hands, although Dad's hands were always a bit rougher than Uncle E's. Looking at Uncle E, I also saw my Uncle Bob, my cousin Fred - something in the eyes and mouth (not to mention hairline), and my brother Craig - such a nerd. It was fun talking to Uncle E - he is as spry as ever. He told the therapist that he and my dad only had one bicycle when he was a boy, but could still beat all the kids in the neighborhood riding together. When Dad and Uncle E were at A&M, they would hitchhike home from College Station - that a long line of Aggies would form waiting on a ride home. As cars stopped, someone would find out where they were going and how many they could haul. I can just see the Aggies lined up for rides and the cars lined up to give rides. Times have changed!
Aunt Daphne was glad to see me, but being in a hospital for four weeks is not good for anybody. The physical therapist was working with her and had her walking and moving her arm. Uncle E says she has improved greatly especially in the last few days, and that it was good that she was up walking. To me, it was hard to see Aunt Daphne so fragile and yes, weak. I've always seen her dressed to the nines and doing well. It is hard to see loved ones growing old.
While I was there, a young therapist came in and gave Uncle E paperwork on how to care for someone who has short-term memory loss as Aunt D has - common sense things like: be organized, have a routine, watch her carefully especially when cooking, use post-it notes and calendars, make lists, etc. Did this woman go to college to learn these things? Uncle E and I all but rolled our eyes at the woman.
It was a nice visit. Today my Uncle Bob and Aunt Caroline may be coming to help drive his big brother home. That means I may get to see both my uncles again.
Speaking of short-term memory loss, well I think it is something that happens to most people as they get older - including me. While we were in RR, my friend Joy and I went into a store called the Knot Hole, which is located in the old post office. The front room of the store still has all the old mailboxes and mail window. When Joy and I went in, memories flooded us. The post office in RR was the place where you went every day - a place to see everyone else in town. As a kid, I loved to go check the mail. Mr and Mrs. Prunty were the postmasters. Mr. Prunty was a quiet man who knew lots of RR history. Mrs. Prunty was grouchy and scared us kids with her gruff ways. Part of the post office had a gift store. Mrs. Russel of Russel's gifts would buy me candy bars there - after I rescued kittens from under the old cabins between her shop and the post office. Mrs Russel had a big yellow tomcat named, Nugget, who fathered lots of kittens in RR and was my main source for kittens. Anyway, when Joy and I began looking for our old mailboxes. I walked over to Box 306 and turned the dial first one way and then the other - automatically remembering the combination - and opened our old box. Incredulously, Joy said, "Did you just open that? You remembered the combination?!" Equally incredulous, I answered, "Yes. I can't remember what we did last week, but I did remember how to open our old mailbox!" The mind is a funny thang.