Wednesday, January 13, 2010



Well, I planned to be back in my own bed at home after a quick trip to B'ham for the last surgery on Alex's eyes. Those were MY plans. I am...still in Birmingham.

Alex went in for surgery this morning, but he had some trouble with his breathing, and it took much longer than predicted. When we finally were able to leave the was almost dark. Alex was in terrific pain, Joy and I had not had anything to eat since early morning, all 3 of us were cold, and none of us were looking forward to riding 4 hours to get home.

So we didn't. We got another motel, loaded up on drinks and chips...OK, and a little chocolate...and checked in, unloaded the car again, and made our way to the room. Alex was walking only with assistance since he couldn't open his eyes...because there are stitches sticking out of his EYEBALLS! [Bear in mind that Alex has very little balance due to his he uses a cane all the time...if he is not in a wheelchair.] He's wobbling all over the place...and now, he can't open his eyes! So, here we go...Alex and I weaving around like we'd had a few too many...Alex, near tears due to pain...My feet screaming loudly, "STOP! Do not take another step!" Joy, trying to push our luggage cart inside-suitcases on the bottom...and plastic bags from C*S full of yummy snacks swinging crazily from the hooks on top. We were a parade of strange!

My family should be the poster children for 'having the unexpected happen'! We know that what we PLAN very rarely is the way it goes! So, we should not have been surprised when today unfolded. And, we weren't. We just rolled with it...and did what had to be done. So, why can't other folks play along when things happen unexpectedly?

I had failed to bring any extra of the medication I take on a regular basis. I NEVER go off overnight without at least 2 or 3 days worth with me. HOWEVER...the prescriptions had run out, and were waiting to be filled. I had enough for the 1 night I intended to be gone, and Don was going to refill them while I was gone. The reason I had no leeway in getting them filled is because my ______insurance company insists they be filled exactly on the day they lapse. So, here I am...out of town...none of my medication...and a mean insurance company. This is medicine I have to take daily, and if I miss even 1 dose, I can get very ill. We found a C*S (thanks, Ian)...and I go in and explain my plight to the pharmacist. Kindly, she called the______ insurance company...who NOT so kindly refused to OK the purchase of 1 pill from each prescription. Thank goodness for kind pharmacists.....I got my 4 pills.

We made it to the room...ordered take-out from O'Ch*rleys...ate...listened to Alex snore...and NOW...we're going to sleep! Good-night!


OOPS! didn't post this last night...imagine that!!! Oh, well...I can give you the update.

We made it through the night, and Alex slept fairly well. He and Joy are still asleep, so I am quietly sitting on the floor blogging away...because...PRIORITIES, people!!

I'll tell you one more funny and then I'll go get dressed...and try to head these sleepyheads towards home!

Outside the Eye Foundation Hospital, there are 3 driveways....very close together. Unless you have been previously, it is very easy to get confused as to which is the entrance to parking deck...or entrance to valet parking...or entrance to patient pick up. I explained all this to Joy as we went in, since I knew she would be going to get the car from the deck to pick us up to leave. She nodded her head in agreement as if if she understood exactly what I meant. And, I felt sure I had done my part to keep us all on the same page for a quick getaway back to Dothan!

When we realized that Alex was having some trouble, we called Ian to make him aware, and he came over to lend a younger and much stronger hand. We packed our belongings and the Aide from the floor began to push us to the patient pickup. "Go Joy!" we said...and she went to get the car. Ian, the Aide, myself, and Alex proceed ed to the waiting area to wait on 'Sister with the new Volvo' to retrieve us. And, we waited. Let me set the scene...Alex was in the wheelchair, cloth to eyes, moaning with much agitation, since the Aide parked his wheelchair right in the window that the bright sunlight was streaming through, "so he will stay toasty." She then proceeded over to the bench to take a load off. The bright yellow piece of gum she had been smacking for over an hour, is joined by a bright purple piece of gum that is pulled from the pocket of her scrubs top. The gums mix to become a dirty green color. I know this because she had perfected a method of chewing her gum half inside her mouth and half outside her mouth. You could easily watch it change shades as she worked that stuff half to death. Another lady was sitting beside her. She asked, as a very thin runner in black leggings, sweatshirt, and earmuffs, zipped by the big picture window on University Blvd. "You much of a runner?" And, I wondered who among us she could possibly be talking about. She was looking at ME! For all the things in the world I may look like...a runner is most certainly not one of them! "Well, no, I can't say that I am, actually," I replied to she who obviously wasn't either. "I didn't think so," she replied. And, then she added these words of wisdom.. "Some folks is just born thin like 'at and they runs all the time." Not wanting to be left out, Aide piped up with this interesting tidbit, "Me and my brother used to run lots when we was young'uns. But, he ain't got but one foot now, so we don't no more....but I would win ever' time!" She turned her head and pointed her gum at me, "What is the car that's comin' fer y'all gonna look like?" I shook my head to clear the dust off my brain, and said, "It is a silver Volvo." "No", she shook her head, "I ain't never heard of that...I don't think we got those around here." Her gum had gotten to a nice dirty shade of brown by now. "'ll see one when she gets here," I answered...cause I know 'Sister with the new Volvo' will be happy to explain the intricacies of a car that can stop itself if it gets too close to another car. So they say. "Well, I think she got lost", Aide said. I called Ian on his phone, as he stood under the awning for patient pick up...watching for his Aunt Joy. He went closer to the road, so she would be sure to see him. And, she did. But, 'Sister with the New Volvo' STILL turned into the wrong driveway! Then, I heard runner lady say, "I think that little car yonder is coming right on in here. It's headed this way and it ain't on the street." She spoke in a perfect monotone with about the same sort of inflection you may hear if she had said. "This is a brown floor." You would just have to have been there, in the midst of the situation for these words to have sounded perfectly plausible. But I digress. Aide said, "I don't think she's supposed to be driving down the sidewalk like that." Alex, astute and clever young man that he is...though reduced to blindness and pain at the moment, asked to no one in particular, "Do I need to move?" Aide said, "No, Shug, you'll be warmer to stay right there." Never mind that his 'Aunt Joy with the new Volvo' had left the roadway and was now driving down the sidewalks of downtown Birmingham...being led by her young nephew, Ian, who assured her it was perfectly OK...just follow him...and the entire waiting room at patient pick up was having a coronary of epic proportions...while Alex sat warmly in the sunlight...and Aide chewed her gum...and I wished to be any where else on earth other than where I was at that moment.

But, it would not be this interesting.

And, on a side she finally pulled into the patient pick up lane, a van with bars on the
windows and sporting green letters that say Jefferson Country Jail pulled in right behind her.

Alex the Blind Man, Joy the Daredevil, and Tonja the Bewildered got into the car and attempted to enter the traffic out on University Blvd. We were stopped when someone knocked on our window. We were hopeful it was not the patrons of the prison van that was in line behind 'Sister with the New Volvo 'and her crew. No, it was the Valet Parking man. "Will y'all jest mind backing up a little?, he said with a smile. "This lady over here wants to go over there like you did." And, he was pointing towards the sidewalk. Oh! No! We had started a trend of madness and mayhem in downtown Birmingham! A total disregard for law and order and proper traffic regulations. We backed up and sure enough, the Valet Parking Man' led her right down the paths of unrighteousness 'Sister with the new Volvo' had just travelled. We were trying to wait on Ian to come around the block so that he could lead us on to the C*S, as I told you last night.

Do you think this pleased the Valet Parking Man, and the Prison Van Driver?

Do you think they were willing to show just a little kindness and understanding toward visitors from out of town who were obviously in a sad state of mental anguish and obvious extreme agitation? On top of being frozen half to death in the 10 degree weather.

WHY! NO! No, the prison van started honking its horn...anxious to get its riders back to the safety of the bars they came from.

And, I was wondering if I might have been safer there myself.

FYI: This is a true story. No names were changed to protect the innocent. The only innocent was Alex, who, still being under the influence of a double dose of anesthesia, remembers nothing. 'Sister with the New Volvo' will be happy to confirm any facts you find hard to believe.

I am back in Dothan. And, now, I am going to take a nap that I hope lasts until tomorrow morning!


And, just in case you think this trip could not get any crazier...when we checked into our first hotel, there was a sign in the lobby that said the hotel had ladybugs residing there. Some sort of scientific experiment. But, the note said IT IS AGAINST THE LAW TO KILL LADYBUGS! We were sharing our room with a swarm of ladybugs! TRUE! And, they did not even chip in on the bill!


Alex is feeling better this evening. He thinks he can tell some improvement in his vision. God is good, friends! He is always good!


Musicaljean said...

Unbelievable. And absolutely hilarious, especially when told by you!! I'm so glad you're finally back home and that Alex is already experiencing some improvement. Thank you, Lord!!

Jewel said...

Wow! What a story! You were cracking me up! I'm glad that you can find humor in it and glad that Alex seems to be improving! PTL!

Just Breathe said...

I can't believe this post and all that happened. I am so happy that he is doing better. I will continue to pray for him. You really had me laughing, you can't make that kind of stuff up. I love the question/answer about running and of course the car stuff is way too funny. What I love is the pharmacist who helped you out. We need more people like that. Sometimes shit happens and sometimes rules have to be broken, it would be nice if insurance companies could come with hearts.

Southern Lady said...

Tonja, what a hilarious story, told as only you could tell it. I could just picture all of you as the story unfolded -- even the gum-chewing aide, unfortunately ... lol.

You evermore have a way with words, my friend ... and your never-waivering strength and faith, no matter what the situation, never cease to amaze and inspire me.

I'm so glad to hear that Alex can tell there is some improvement in his sight. That makes the whole nightmarish experience worth going through, doesn't it.

Leah Belle said...

as usual, i am in stitches! i literally laughed out loud when Alex said, 'to i need to move'!

Melissa said...

Oh. My. Goodness!!!! First off, so very thankful that Alex has already experienced some improvement! The story is just hilarious, and I can totally picture all of it! I even read it out loud to my husband, and we both were laughing!

And yes, I do imagine we'll run into each other somewhere, sometime! I'll keep my eyes peeled for you!

racheld said...

Oh, Tonja!

What times you DO have!! I'm sitting here chuckling and Chris may be in any minute to see what's wrong with me.

I hope your dear Alex is MUCH better, and that you are all home, safe and warm.

I just love hearing all about your adventures, and will be sniggering to myself for a while, "Do I need to move?" That just cracked me up---poor Dearie---at the mercy of Evel Knievel, a brother egging her on to break traffic laws, a mother out seeking drugs, and a gum-smacking, non-running hospital employee with time on her hands.

Heaven help the poor guy---he'd have been better off hitching with the paddywagon.

I'd better notify Cousin Maggie down there, to let her know the traffic may be crazy for a while.

love to all a Y'all---when's your next trip?

June Bug said...

I NEVER! Laugh...I did! Laugh...I am still...but I also said a prayer of thanks to our Lord for the three of you returning to your own warm beds, as well as for the good news that Alex felt his sight was better this morning. Get some rest now.

Kat said...

Girlfriend, you sure know how to tell a story. And sometimes truth is funnier than fiction! What a trip you all had.

I'm so happy that Alex is feeling some improvment.

I've been a terrible blog friend lately, but I think of you often.

Hugs from the beach!

RosieJo said...

Having worked at a hospital for many years, I do believe every word you have said. ...And every one of those words were hilarious!

LivingTheLife said...

WHAT a story...and made all the better as told through have such a way of telling stories...I love them!

So thankful that Alex is experiencing some improvement, I will continue prayers that he stay on the path of improvement and that his pain subsides, quickly!

That gum smacking Aide...oh my! how many times have I seen someone just like drives me insane...more so than I currently am. I absolutely detest gum "smackers" or gum "poppers"! (even though I am probably guilty of this infraction myself) For some reason that just wears on my last nerve. Seriously, there have been times when out in public I will encountersomeone in a store that is standing in "my space" and they just start smacking, clacking and popping away! It literally takes everything I have to keep from saying or actually "screaming"..."Will you PLEASE stop smacking, popping and clacking your gum?" I mean it...I have to either walk away or just bite my lip. I can't for the life of me understand WHY that gets under my skin so...but it does! I don't know if I would have been able to keep my composure as well as you did, I think I would have gone outside and left Ian inside to attend to the madness there. Sweet Alex had the best line..."do I need to move?"...I love it!!

Awww...and as for the honking prison van driver...not to stir things up...but if I were driving a van with prisoners in it...I might honk, too...wouldn't want to be stuck inside with criminals any longer than necessary..."they mighta skert me!"...LOL! However, I would have NEVER honked at "sister in the new volvo"...never ever!!!

Hugs all around my friend...I look forward to more updates.


Jennifer said...

I'm speechless. LOL!
I just love reading your writing!

Bonnie said...

Happy to have you back home and to know that Alex had a better day! Praying for continued improvement for his eyes. Those birds on your header are WAY cute!!!

Dianne said...

Great post, Tonja...and NO ONE can tell a story like you! Keep us posted on Alex, and glad you're back home, safe and sound.

nancygrayce said...

Poor Alex....I can just imagine him sitting there just miserably thinking how he just wanted to go home! I'm glad you got your meds and got home! Poor Joy was probably traumatized trying not to scratch her new car!