I'm just back from a whirlwind week in London, where I was regularly asked how my father's doing as he approaches the five-month mark since going into hospital. I don't know quite how to answer that question. Is he making progress? Yes, but very, very slowly--sitting up for an hour at a time in a wheelchair is one of his greatest accomplishments to date. He's completely himself, making bad jokes being the most prominent sign, but of course he's frustrated, I'm frustrated, we're all frustrated that six or seven months ago he was cycling across the prairie, miles and miles at a time, and now he can't stand, even with assistance.
Usually when I call the time is limited by his schedule of meals, medicines, bed turning, physical therapy, doctors' visits, etc., but tonight I found him on his own. We talked for forty-five minutes. That certainly hasn't happened since before his illness. It was such a pleasure to talk to him, to talk straightforwardly and ask questions about his health and mood and days as well as divert him with my bits of news. I don't mean TLS--I don't think he quite understands what that is. I tell him about the London weather and pace, about my week "babysitting" Francesca (if one can really babysit a fourteen-year-old), about the new long distance deal I have, that I mention when he worries about the cost of our lengthening conversation.
He mentioned the possibility of my visiting again before Christmas, and I fantasize about a windfall that could make that real. I felt so useful when I was last home--not useful so much in helping his recovery, but giving much needed support and solace to my mother, talking over the situation with my sisters, helping with the bills, the taxes, etc., anything I can do that he used to do. I think it's time for another random check of airline prices, on the off-chance I find a brilliant deal.