Saturday, January 2, 2010

home and thanks

I got to Alexandria, Virginia by 3PM, but instead of going straight home, I had a late lunch with my brother David, who very graciously paid for his big brother. Dad and Mom arrived at Walter Reed in DC not long afterward. I got home from lunch around 4PM, and managed to unload the van and even begin unpacking before Dad called from the hospital to say he was ready to be picked up. I drove to Walter Reed and picked Dad up at the facility's Georgia Avenue gate (the regular 16th Street gate is closed on weekends); I didn't go in to see Mom. According to Dad, her new berth is tiny.

Dad told me that Mom had endured the trip about was well as could have been expected. Her vital signs suggested some agitation during the move, but once she was settled into her new ICU berth, she began to calm down. I was a bit worried to hear that her diastolic pressure was, at one point, over 90, but I'd seen her blood pressure climb even higher while she was in New York.

Pastor Jeri had coordinated with Mr. and Mrs. Morrison from church, as well as with Mrs. Burns, and all three fellow congregants arrived at our doorstep with dinner. My brother Sean had stopped over and, Atkins disciple that he is, he was delighted to see that part of the dinner consisted of rotisserie chicken, which is about as Atkins-friendly as can be. Dad, Sean, and I offer our thanks to Mrs. Burns* and to the Morrisons for their food, and we thank Pastor Jeri for coordinating the drop-off.

Dad's been going through the pile of mail we've received in our absence. While we were in New York, we had had to request that the letter carriers stop delivery and hold our mail at the local post office; David, who had originally come back to northern Virginia with the intention of returning to New York (all this was before we found out that Walter Reed had a bed for Mom), picked up the mail and even sorted it all for us. We've received a bundle of Christmas cards and a few gifts for Mom. Dad wants to read the cards to Mom tomorrow. Mom received a scarf from one of her long-time friends... it's a shame she'll never be able to wear it. Perhaps we can brush it over her fingers.

Tonight, we had a bunch of unpacking to do. I took care of the kitchen items, my own clothing and toiletries, and the "media centers," i.e., my two computers. Dad took care of his and Mom's suitcases and bags; he also combed through the mail, throwing away junk, keeping cards and gifts. We've got some "Sorry we missed you; you have a package" postcards from the post office; we'll have to retrieve those parcels on Monday.

As I worried would happen given all the precipitation in the DC area, my downstairs "dungeon" bedroom suffered some serious leakage. The room smelled dank and musty when I entered it, and I'm running a dehumidifier in there right now (it's right behind me as I type this). The dehumidifier will need a few days to take care of the problem-- a problem that has occurred many times before over the course of our residence here, despite our best efforts at sealing and drainage. The cause of the problem may lie in a cracked foundation: as Dad has noted in the past, the leaking often occurs right through the walls. Years ago, it also happened through the windows (the dungeon's windows are at ground level, slightly above eye level for me), but our new windows have taken care of ground-level leakage and seepage.

We're not done settling back into the house, but we're too tired to do any more tonight. We'll start again tomorrow.

*We've learned that Mrs. Burns's wonderful children aren't really children anymore: they celebrated their 14th birthdays today. Their actual birthdays are on Sunday, but Saturday was party day. Congratulations, Beth and Brian, on turning 14!


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