Coming to Wesley Homes, Part 4

A Few Bumps Before the Finish Line, Part 4 by Pat King, Wesley Homes Des Moines resident Katy, my daughter, and my granddaughter, Ashira, arrived from California. First item on the agenda was for them to see my new home. Katy stepped inside the plush lobby. “Wow, Mom. You’ll be living in an old world hotel.” “Honey, I don’t think they want you to say that; it’s supposed to look welcoming, not old,” I corrected Katy. “It’s the grandeur that caught my eye,” said Katy.  She loved the whole tour as well as the new apartment. The reason Katy had come was to help me sort out what I would need from the kitchen. I had no idea this would be the hardest part. I thought it was simply a matter of “this stays” and “that goes”, but everything I said no to was a part of my 58-year marriage to Bill. Dishes from thousands of meals must stay behind because the life Bill and I had led together was the past. “Mom,” Katy said, “let’s take a break here, have some tea and a gluten-free treat and catch our breath.” I was grateful for my daughter who guessed how I felt. It would have been too painful to do this hardest part alone. Together, we got it done. Somehow in all the angst, decisions and indecisions, I lost the extra keys to my car. For three weeks, I rummaged through all the packed boxes and looked in the most unlikely places. I must have thrown them out in some kind of sorting frenzy. I had no idea how to get new keys and by now this small-problem-turned-gigantic seemed grim. I went online and found a dealership that could replicate the keys but it was way out in the farthest reaches of the county. I hate driving where I’ve never been before, but I didn’t ask for driving help from anyone. I said to myself, what’s so hard about getting in the car and driving twenty miles? Not hard at all – except this was one more thing to do by myself. It seemed scary and difficult and sad. Tense all the way, I made it to the dealership, sat scared in the waiting room and ended up paying $132 for new keys. The money hardly mattered. I cried silent, grateful tears that it was done. Driving home, I prayed, “Dear God, why are all these decisions making me such a wreck?” A missive from Wesley informed me that Smokey had to see a vet and get a rabies vaccination. One more thing to do. I’d heard about a place a few miles away that was reasonable. No appointment necessary; just come in and wait. I put Smokey in his carrier and popped him in the front seat of the car. He growled at me and started to pace. Mom, you know I hate this carrier, and I know we are going to the vet and I am not happy. Once more I was driving in unfamiliar territory, and I couldn’t find the vet. Finally I pulled into a Park and Ride to figure out where I was. Looking at the signs, I figured out that I only had to leave the Park and Ride, turn left and drive a half a block. I could do that. I pulled out and turned left. Whoa! I was on a one way road and three cars were coming straight at me. I screeched, “Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!” The hair on Smokey’s back stood straight up. All three cars coming towards me stopped. No one honked. I careened back into the next Park and Ride entrance and caught my breath. “It’s okay, Smokey. It’s okay.” Who was I talking to, him or myself?  I thought he might at least say meow, but he looked too scared to speak. All I had to do was drive around the block, the most endless block in the county. It took forever before we found the vet. Inside, huge growling dogs also waited. Smokey hunkered in the corner of the carrier and watched. Mom, where have you taken me? These massive, furry things could finish me in one bite. One dog had a cough that shook the waiting room. Finally it was Smokey’s turn. The techie reached into the carrier. “I need to take his temperature and weigh him before I can give him a shot,” he said. Smokey’s hair bristled. He hissed and bared his teeth, ready to sink his incisors. The techie backed away. “Just a minute. I’ll get the vet.” Stay away from me. Smokey on the attack is formidable even for me. In the face of his fury, the vet also backed down. She threw a towel over his head in the carrier, and without a weigh-in or a temperature, the two of them held him down and poked a needle in his backside. “You can pay at the desk,” she said. Back in the car finally. Just me and Mom here. That’s better. He curled up and slept like an angel all the way home. “Well, Smokey, you just passed the test that will bring you to Wesley,” I told him. “And thank you, God, for the angels that stopped three cars coming straight at me!” Next Thursday, I Need a Friend

Share this post