Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Duchess And The Streetwalker

The Duchess
My Mother The Dowager Duchess seems to have turned the corner in her recovery. Saturday was a much better day. Sunday, better still. And today, Monday, the best yet. She's making huge strides in physical therapy. She's got just a little discomfort from the beautifully healing surgical wound. She looks great. And she's smiling a lot more. I'm hoping to arrive at the hospital one of these days to be told it's time for her to head to rehab and get completely back on her feet.

The Streetwalker
As I've mentioned, I've been spending quite a bit of time walking the streets of Brooklyn. Sadly, I haven't been showing any profit. (Well, unless you consider my health and well-being). The walk to the hospital and back is about 1.5 miles (more than 2 km). I usually add another 3 to 5 miles of walking to each day. I love to share photos that demonstrate the eclectic look of Brooklyn's neighborhoods. It's not just three-story buildings with fire escapes, as you can see in these photos of the residential neighborhoods I passed through last week on my way to Jay and Lloyd's Deli (click here).

Come to think of it, maybe I'd have more luck walking the commercial areas!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Getting Back On The Horse

My Mother The Dowager Duchess had a miserable day Friday. She was weak and tired. Although the surgery successfully solved her back and nerve problems, the slower-than-she-would-like recovery made even slower by a collection of complications had really taken its toll. As a result of some of those not-unusual complications, she's grown weaker, less active, and more depressed. Due to some tests that had to be done and her lack of strength, she wasn't allowed to get physical therapy Friday and that really sent her crashing. She looked at me and said sadly, "This isn't me." I continue to be the sunshine committee, but it does take its toll.

What a Difference a Day Makes
The Kid Brother arrived at 9 this morning (Saturday). I ran over to the hospital at 10:30 for an intended quick pre-lunch visit with my mother. I was elated to find her in the physical therapy room just beginning her workout. She was doing leg-lifts.

I went to lunch with The Kid Brother (and, of course, skee-ball) and returned to the hospital around 2:15. My mother said she had a great workout and even walked a bit in the hall. She ate (and actually enjoyed) lunch sitting in the chair in her room (a first) and remained in the chair until just before I arrived.


We spent two hours talking on a variety of subjects, few of which had anything to do with her health. Even she could appreciate how much better she was today. (And... San Geraldo will be back from South Dakota Sunday afternoon!!!)

We're here to handle things together...

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Here's To The Waitresses Who Serve

I was going to call this post "Here's To The Ladies Who Lunch," (from Sondheim's musical "Company"). But, given the lunch in question, I thought I would instead toast the waitresses who have to serve the ladies who lunch.

But First, The Dowager Duchess
My Mother The Dowager Duchess continues to improve dramatically as a result of the surgery. Unfortunately, she's very weak and very tired and unable to appreciate the other improvements. The only pain she currently feels is from the surgical healing. The nerve pain and back pain are gone. Amazing. The splint came off her hand yesterday afternoon and she's been exercising that arm and hand ever since. She couldn't close her hand yesterday. When I arrived this morning, she was holding a pen and signing her name to something. Stunning. She has physical therapy and has actually been able to sit in a wheelchair, take a few steps, and do some other things -- with no pain. Exhaustion, however, doesn't allow her to do much. So, she tells me she's miserable and I tell her it will get better.

The Ladies Who Lunch Eat
To maintain my sanity, I've been taking long (and fast-paced) walks every day during my afternoon break from the hospital. Today, I walked more than 4 miles round-trip (6.5 km) just so I could have a meal at Jay and Lloyd's Deli on Avenue U in Brooklyn.

When I arrived at the deli, after my 2-mile walk in the sweltering heat, I was greeted by the stares of a group of 16 women.

All were in their 70s and 80s... except for one, as I later told my mother, who was I thought between 112 and 117. She, however, had some new parts -- nose, lips and cheekbones, at minimum, topped off with a platinum wig that would make Dolly Parton proud.

Since they were all staring (well, glaring) at me when I entered, I smiled and said, "Hi." No one responded. They just stared/glared a bit longer and then turned back to their conversations, punctuated with very loud complaints about the food, the waitress, the chairs, the water, the air-conditioning, the busboy, and each other. All in stage whispers.


I learned it was a birthday party when the woman next to the platinum blonde roared, "Well, is anybody going to bring out the birthday cake?!? Some of us want to leave!" And then in her stage whisper, "My God! These people are idiots." She then continued,  "You know, we're going to have to pay for Betty too. She likes to pretend, but she never has any money." Betty called across the table, "That's not necessary. I can pay for myself." "Shut up, Betty," her dear friend snapped. "I'll tell you when you have to pay." And then the stage whisper, "My God, that woman hears everything!"

The waitress brought out the cake (that the group had brought to the restaurant themselves) with one candle. They (the staff) sang the birthday song to the honoree, while the 15 other women continued their conversations.

My pastrami sandwich (on rye), square potato knish, Dr. Brown's Cream Soda, and cole slaw? Delicious!

The floor show? At least there was no cover charge.