Friday, February 7, 2014

Being Far From Family

2014 Feb 7

Today my #3 baby brother is having cervical spinal surgery. It is killing me to be 1000 miles away. But, he is not alone. In addition to two of our other brothers being at the hospital, our dear friend, Laura, is there as well. I am praying from the laundry room at Nature Coast Landing, that all goes smoothly and that his recovery is glitch free and healing is rapid.

Vinny is the third of the siblings to have this type of surgery. Bobby was first, and thankfully only had one cervical vertebrae  involved. I was the second, and had, as does Vinny, three areas of involvement. 

The differences between my surgery and Vinny's are in the areas of degeneration. His are from C-4, to C-7. Mine were from C-3 to C-6. Amazing how that little distinction can make a huge variation in symptoms, as well as, in the surgical approach. It also marks whether an Ear, Nose and Throat doc needs to be present.

Vinny has the same surgeon that I had. I had complete confidence in him when he did my surgery. I still have confidence in him, as a surgeon, but because it's my brother, I am more protective. I have asked my Facebook friends to pray for both Vinny and Dr Smith.

In order to make this applicable to our RVing blog, and not just my personal sharing stuff blog, I will say that this is one of the challenges of being on the road. It is hard when events come up and there is no way to be present in the city where things are happening. I don't know how other RVers handle it. For me, it means I drive my family crazy with phone calls, and wrangle friends into being at the hospital. Everyone present at the hospital has had to promise me multiple updates, so I can feel as if I am getting as much information as possible.

It is not an easy thing, to be the eldest siblings and be far away from family. Especially, when you so often have found yourself in the role of caretaker. It was hard for me to leave after Thanksgiving when I knew it would be my Daddy's last holiday season on this earth. But, I left because it was what he wanted for me, and because it was what my husband wanted. Yet, when I returned for Daddy's last days, I promised him I would do my best to "hold the family together" in his absence. Part of me feels like, I should be where the family is, in order to honor that promise.

It is difficult being away when Vinny is having surgery and I know all too well the limitations that the next few weeks will bring. But, when I asked him if he wanted me to come back to Pittsburgh, his response was, "I don't think so." And he sounded a bit incredulous that I was asking. Truth be told, as things turned out, I couldn't leave Florida right now because of the subsequent health issues with which my husband has been dealing.

Still, as we all age, and face various challenges, it becomes harder to be at a distance from family.  Raymond has been saying for over a year that he needs a home base. Perhaps, our days as full time travelers are limited.

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