I had planned to write about an old girlfriend of mine, but too much has happened today. Let me tell you about my adventure with Flo. My mother-in-law, Flo, needed to have someone drive her to the cardiologist today. Since Cindy and Trina both were busy, I was nominated. That’s OK, I’m seldom asked to help out with her. But let me say upfront that Flo is very high maintenance.
The doctor’s office is about fifteen minute’s drive from Flo’s apartment. I arrived a little over a half hour before her appointment. Cindy had told me that all I had to be sure of was that she took all of her medications with her and that I had her use her walker. That was simple enough. When I got to the apartment Flo told me that she need to have me get one of her portable oxygen bottles ready for her. I had never done anything with the bottles before, but I was willing to try since Flo, who has been using oxygen for quite a while, had no clue how to get the tank ready. She also told me that I needed to get her sunglasses for her. They were in her bedroom and she didn’t feel like getting up and going to pick them up.
I started working on the oxygen bottle when Flo mentioned that Cindy and Trina usually pulled their vehicles onto the grass so she wouldn’t have to walk down to the street. Seeing as how the street is about twelve feet from her door, I told her that walking to the car would probably be good exercise for her. I could tell that I went down a notch in her estimation. It took me about five minutes to get the oxygen bottle ready for use. I carried it to the car after helping Flo to her feet and she started hobbling to the car.
When she got to the car she said she didn’t know how she was going to get from the grass to the car. I told her she would have to step off the curb one foot after the other, and that I would help her. Together we got her into the car, but only after she asked me to lift her right foot and put it in the car because her knee was sore. Evidently it didn’t hurt as much if I made her bend it.
I put the walker in the back seat and got in to drive away. But, before starting the car I asked if she had her medications with her. “No,” she said, “they are on the table beside my chair.” So, I got out of the car, went to the apartment, unlocked the door, went in and got the medication. I locked up the apartment and went back to the car. Flo said, “There is no oxygen coming out of this tank.” OK. I took the tank back to the apartment, unlocked the door, went in and got a different tank, locked up the apartment and went back to the car. “Did you turn this tank on?” Flo asked.
“How do I do that?” I asked.
“I don’t know, they do something with that green plastic thing.”
“What green plastic thing?”
“There is one hanging on one of the other tanks,” she said.
I went back to the apartment, unlocked the door, went in and found the green plastic thing, locked the apartment door, went back to the car and immediately saw how to turn on the oxygen. “It’s really hot in your car.” Flo said. I told I would turn on the air after I started the car. I felt myself drop another notch.
We drove to the Doctor’s office. At one point Flo told me she liked the music I was playing. It was mellow jazz. When that song ended, Little Feat started performing Oh, Atlanta which got no comment from Flo. When we got to the office I pulled to the front door to let Flo out. I took her walker out of the back seat and helped her get out of the car. She went ahead while I parked the car and brought her the oxygen and medicine.
When I went in I found Flo sitting in the lobby. I asked her if she had checked in, and she said no, that Cindy always did that for her. So I went up to the counter to get her checked in. The nurse said, “Has she been home? I have been trying to call to reschedule the appointment. The doctor is out this afternoon. I left a message on Jill’s phone.”
I told the nurse that Jill no longer had anything to do with Flo’s care and that they should take Jill’s name off their list. I gave them Trina’s number as an alternative to Cindy. I went back to Flo, collected her and the oxygen, helped her to her feet and went ahead to get the car. As we were leaving the building she said to me, “I think I can wait to pee pee ’til I get home.” I just nodded and went to get the car. On the drive home she mentioned how good the air conditioning was in Cindy’s car, her car was nice and cool. Another notch down for me.
When we got back to the apartment I decided that rather than drop another notch I would pull the car up onto the grass like Cindy and Trina. I got the walker out of the car, unlocked the door and got out of her way as she rushed, in slow motion, to the bathroom. I brought in the oxygen tank and made sure it was turned off.
Just then there was a knock on the door. I opened it and found a disheveled man wearing a yellowish baseball cap. “You can’t park on the grass.” he said.
“Yeah, I’ll move it in a couple minutes, I need to make sure this is turned off.”
“Move your car now. You can’t park on the grass.”
“I said I’ll move it in a couple of minutes.”
“Look, this is at least the third time this week you people have parked on the grass. Now move it!”
“Hey, this woman has a heart condition. I’ll move the car when I’m finished here.”
“Don’t give me that attitude.” He took out his cell phone and said. “I’m the property manager here. I’m calling 911 to have the police take care of you.”
“Go for it,” I said.
He slowly looked down at the cell phone in his hand, stared at it for a few seconds, and put it back in his pocket. “I could have you banned from the property,” he told me. He then went back to the sidewalk, collected his grocery shopping cart, walked down the street and disappeared between two buildings.
I went home and contemplated my afternoon.