Sunday, August 19, 2012

Flow Chart for Traveling with My Mother

My mother has smoked since she was 14. She's 88 now, and quitting is a tired subject. In addition, she's somewhat frail and needs a walk-in or roll-in shower with a shower seat. She walks very slowly, and really can't walk very far unassisted. I tried sleeping in her room (non-smoking) the first night on the road. I would get up when she got up and walk her down the hall and around the corner to the smoking courtyard, I thought. At 3:30 a.m. she stood up and shouted and waved her arms around. I think she was asleep. She shouted again a couple of times an hour later--still asleep and dreaming, no doubt. My daughter M, who has traveled with her grandmother prior to this this trip, said, "Yes, she does that every night around 3:00 or 4:00." Thus, my enthusiasm for sharing a room with my mother waned.

The second night we got my mom a room with a door that opened to the outside. I slept in the other room with my daughter. My mom could then quite ably walk herself outside for a smoke without much risk of taking a fall. In the morning I was a new person.

The third night was more difficult. The door to the outside in my mom's room was heavy and hard for her to open. Utah state law required that she smoke 30 feet away which meant a stumbly path into the parking lot. M borrowed a plastic chair from our balcony and set it around the far corner of the motel just a few feet away from my mom's door where she could light up out of sight. Still the doorway had an awkward sill that we worried about. Hence the flow chart.

And so tonight, our last on the road, with thanks to the fact that Las Vegas is apparently a mecca for smokers, my mom has a smoking room on the first floor with a roll-in shower. I won't tell you about the crazy part. About how I accidentally made the reservation through Expedia instead of directly with the hotel. Or how Expedia fucked it up. I will just say that a wonderful desk clerk named David fixed everything that Expedia botched.

Now, on a less mundane note, the west is full of wonders.

Rivers crossed today: Green River, San Rafael, Virgin (several times,) Muddy

Most disconcerting sign: CAUTION! BRIDGE DECKS AHEAD!
Ensuing dialogue: "Google that for me, M."
                              "Sorry, Mom, no 3G."


Elizabeth said...

Good lord -- this trip is getting LOOOOOOONG!

I'm thinking you should assemble some sort of poem with all the names of the rivers you've crossed.

Ms. Moon said...

You are a freakin' saint.

Anonymous said...

You're a brave woman. I quit traveling with my mum four years ago.

Wrinkling Daily said...

It does try one's patience, I suppose, but what a gift, what an absolute gift to be able to spend these times with your mom. I had to laugh about the 3:30 AM shout out. My mom and dad are the same age as yours, we are lucky to have had them for so long, and hopefully our kids will want to travel or even live with us someday, if we don't drive them too crazy.

Puanani said...

I am exhausted just reading about it! Good on you. Who knew Las Vegas would be your savior...Xo.