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I think. At least my participation will be if Lynnie and Dr O have their way. I saw Dr O this morning and she said she and my sister had spoken the night before. She wanted to make an appointment to talk with Joe and me at her hospital office next week, but that cannot be arranged. She is concerned about my state of mind and Joe's state of bodily decline and does not think the trip is a good idea for either one of us. She was particularly concerned about Joe's respiratory status and my ability to tolerate five days away. She even offered to see us at my apartment on the 18th, a few days before the trip on her way through Hartford, if she couldn't see us at any other time, though it would be cutting things close. I told her I'd see what I could do but I didn't think Joe had the energy to drive all the way to N Hospital an hour away. Nor could he stand riding with the friend/homemaker who drives me because of her loud voice and constant talking (she adores Joe nonetheless and would do ANYthing for him). The last arrangement I made was that we would be available for a phone call on Friday afternoon, if she was able to call, though we understood it was her day away from the office. I did all this arranging without telling Joe that she was going to call, or might, because I didn't want to worry or upset him. I figured, it would be better that he simply get the call cold, with me there with him to talk all three of us on speaker-phone, than to have to anticipate the three-way.
However, later on tonight, I spoke with Lynnie herself, and she made it clear that she was 100% against my going, especially since she didn't think I really wanted to, and knew that the one time I went up to the Clinic with the two of them I nearly had a breakdown, it was that stressful. She said, "Who is taking care of whom?" I answered, " I'll be taking care of Joe, and so will Karen." She paused. "Really? I mean, Really? Pammy, who will be taking care of you? I mean it. I don't want to offend you but I'm being blunt here. You need taking care of when you travel. How long is that flight? Do you know how long you have to wait at the airport? What about the crowds, the new rules of security, what happens if by chance you get separated from Joe and Karen? Karen may be looking out for Joe, but she is also looking out for herself. She will not be looking out for you, and I don't think you are able to handle everything that happens on a trip of this kind. Not yet, not with Joe so ill."
I thought and thought. Did I want to go? The threesome business was certainly troubling, as was Karen's constant pushiness, her near bullying to go and go and do this and that, especially around food and restaurants.
"You know," added Lynnie. "I don't think you will be going anyway. I think you will be in the hospital."
"WHAT?! Of course I won't! There is no reason for that." I was upset by the very suggestion.
"It would be a good excuse not to go, wouldn't it? And you need it, you aren't in control, your thinking is out of touch, you've lost way too much weight and won't gain it back. Don't you remember all my speeches, and what I go through at night? Go back and reread what I said about my anguish and...Oh, I shouldn't even bother to talk about it. You won't listen. You never do. It is useless! I'm talking to a brick wall. I don't even want to continue about this...By the way, I love the necklace and bracelet you made for me. I wear them all the time."
I knew the non sequitor was meant to soften the impact of her venting but now I was upset. "I wouldn't go into the hospital. That's unnecessry. I don't weigh that little. Besides, what do they know? They couldn't help me..."
"You do weigh too little. You are doing yourself permanent damage. You could have spinal fractures and...Yes, I suppose you could refuse. Unless Dr O could hospitalize you involuntarily, the commitment laws in this country would probably permit you to leave. But you would be only doing yourself a disservice, harming yourself irreparably, and torturing me. But go ahead. Do what you want. You always do, and to hell with me!"
I can't remember everything else she said. I'm amazed I can recall this much in fact, though the conversation took place only 10-30 minutes ago. She did say that she worried Joe could have a pulmonary embolism, sitting for 3 hours on a plane, immobile, because of muscle atrophy in his legs. She also thought it was insane, the three of us, all disabled, only one of us truly competent to travel, going away to someplace we don't know, for 5 days. What would they do for me if I decompensated? Would they do anything at all? (I can think of other big questions: Where would Karen and I go if Joe got sick and needed to be hospitalized? It was Joe who was paying for the trip. I don't even have a credit card and Karen never spends her own money. What would we do? Where would we go? How would I cope? How would Joe get home? All good questions that even Karen has not prepared for, good travel executive though she is.)
Finally, Lynnie offered to speak with Joe alone, that is, without Karen and we arranged for her to call this Friday instead of Dr O, at the same time that Joe and I arranged some time to be together without Karen. She is planning to explain to Joe why I can't go, and I imagine she will say a few words about the inadvisability of Joe's going. But we are hoping that as soon as I decide not to go, Joe will lose his nerve and also decide he does not want to go without me, or that Karen will (I doubt that...). I think Karen needs me to come with her, for company when Joe is too pooped to see the sights, as much as Joe wants me for his own reasons. But maybe they will both be okay with just the two of them going. After all, Karen may reason, they spent 2-3 days in Montreal (when he was in much better shape) last year and did fine. Why not Disney World now? I hope I can muster up some words for Joe to consider in opposition, not too strong, but just to think about. But that will be useless in any event, because as I have lamented so many times here, he never does pay any attention to what I say, and won't do so in this case either. Karen is so much more persuasive, he listens to her. And if she intends to get to Epcot Center and Disney World, she will talk it up so well that Joe will believe he can do it without the slightest trouble!
Posted by pamwagg at May 3, 2007 11:01 PM
Thanks to all who commented on the post "Difficulty Connecting"-- you were all right on, as they used to say in the late 60s-early 70s about someone hitting the nail on the head. I was simply too adamant about going for Joe's sake to hear it at the time. I am, however, certain of Joe's love for me, despite our differences and difficulties at the present moment, some of which we discussed yesterday and seem to have resolved. At any rate, I hope to have a good talk with him on Friday and find some of the old spark still there that used to animate our conversations. The topic may be different, now that he is ill, as well as the medium of his communication but he is still Joe, the inveterate engineer, and I am still Pam, his poet.