Harriet and I just tried to make it from home to the library to write this. We made it to the library earlier this week — with a short pit stop in my favourite optical store to give Harriet a much needed sit down. So we figured we could repeat the five block trek on this Sunday afternoon. After all, I kept her iced and raised all the time the Tough-No-Nonsense Trainer was there for her weekly visit. (I have to say, I am very touched that she’s come every week of my recovery. Maybe she just wants to make sure I don’t blow my year and a half of work with her by not doing what I’m supposed to be doing now.) But, alas, today, we just couldn’t do it. I tried to keep a good pep talk going all the way down Major Street to get Harriet to bend the knee, bend the knee, bend the knee, but half way down the block she told me politely where I could take my “bend the knee”. It’s not a good idea right now to get on the wrong side of Harriet. So we compromised by going to the closest coffee shop to write this. It’s not a great coffee shop, and not nearly as conducive to creativity as the Fantasy and Science Fiction Room of my local library, but it will have to do for today. We are at least out of the house, have managed to have a little walk — and have another little walk home — and we can watch people walking normally down the street. Actually, Harriet has noted that most people don’t bend their knees as much as I — and the physio therapists and the excellent trainer — are insisting that she do. Shuffling is much easier she insists. This recovery is hard on her — and thus on me.
We’ve been home for one week and three days. We were a little teary eyed leaving Margaret’s after our three week stay. It was cozy there and she is wonderful company
with good stories, great food and enough pillows to ease even a very cranky Harriet. I think Harriet was concerned that she would not get the care across the street that she had been getting there. Then Margaret started packing up some of those pillows to take across the street and Harriet was momentarily calmed.
It was definitely time to go home and give Margaret back her lovely living room that had among the beaufitul rugs and couches and lamps, a Buffalo named Buffalo from Buffalo. You can’t do better than that.
The day before the move, I had told the physio that I was going to be facing all my stairs the following day. “Well,” she said in an officious manner, “You’ll have to climb some stairs today.” So off we went to the stairwell and she pointed up and Harriet and I followed her finger up 24 steps and down again. “You’re strong enough to go home.” And that was that.
Margaret, of course, was right there for the move. I felt bad because the amount of stuff I had in my little room there had multiplied by the number of weeks I stayed. When I moved in, straight from the hospital, I had my one little backpack, a walker (Margaret’s) and flowers that folks had brought to me. But, dribble by dribble, the volume of clothes and books and shampoo and pills and little treats had grown exponentially. So that now, the move was a little more daunting than before. But Margaret was more concerned about me getting up the stairs than about how many times she’d have to go up and down carrying bags. When she opened the door, Harriet gave me a little twinge that she wasn’t sure about this move after all. But there those stairs were — all 18 of them — and there was nothing to do but start climbing. I had walked up and down the four to the porch several times just to feel like I was sort of home, but this would be my maiden trip back up all the rest.
Cane — good leg — operated leg. Cane — good leg — operated leg. Up we went those 18 stairs. “We,” meaning me and the physio therapists, never call Harriet the “bad” knee. No, we never make those kind of moral judgments on a knee just because it went through surgery and is not, at the moment, shall we say, up to its usual perky self. Harriet shall always be the operated knee in my house.
There was, of course, not a cat to be seen when we finally made it to the top. I wasn’t surprised since Margaret was there and then Mexican Hilda arrived to help with the unpacking. After depositing me and Harriet on the couch with enough pillows to satisfy even Harriet, those two ladies took charge of all my stuff and with the minimal of direction got things put away where they needed to go. Then Margaret pointed to the 13 steps going upstairs and said, “Shower!” She swears I didn’t smell but just wanted me to have my first shower in three weeks while she and Hilda were there to pick me up off the bathroom floor should that occur. It didn’t. I think that was perhaps the best shower I have ever had. Meanwhile, while I was splishing and splashing, Jenny Aquafit arrived with my shopping and hugs. And Margaret finally went home and Hilda fixed some supper and then she left and still no cats.
Abandoning cats for three weeks is not easily forgiven — even if they did have the best possible care with their “Uncle Len” and Brock next door. Treats abounded in that house, I am sure. Len even had turned on lights for them and closed windows when he thought it was too chilly for them at night. It didn’t matter that I had sent Good Mornings to them each day from across the street and asked Len to send pictures and to give them my love hugs. No, they were not in a forgiving mood. A few hours later, Nick wandered down and smelled my hand and decided I was who he thought I was and meowed for some Temptations. Ms. Rose was not to be so easily seduced. She came down, totally ignored me and climbed up on her perch on the couch with her back to me. Every once in a while, just enough for effect, she’d turn her head towards me and let out an angry sounding, “MEOW!” to let me know that she, unlike her brother who was now curled beside me, was not about to forgive me the sin of abandonment quite so easily.