It has been a while since I mentioned my pal Shannon. She had her surgery in May, but the recovery process hasn’t been as smooth as everyone thought it would be. She seems to have suffered a small stroke while still in the hospital and has some issues with her right side. She stayed in the hospital a few extra days but has been home for a while now. We’ve talked a few times, and then she texted me last week to let me know she had fluid in her lungs and was having it drained out.
I called her last Thursday because she suddenly stopped answering texts. She told me that she’s having issues with her right hand and couldn’t text that well. I could tell that she wasn’t feeling great and that she was a little depressed. I did the only thing a friend of 30 years could do: I bullied her. I poked at her and cornered her. I begged her to let me come out and help her. At first she put up a good fight, like she has since she first mentioned the surgery. Then I pulled the gloves off and said, “What would you do if it was me in your shoes?” I knew I won when there was silence on the phone for a second.
We started talking about dates and said that in two weeks there would be no one with her during the day. Since we have so much going on, I told her I thought I could probably make it in July. She said that was fine and she was looking forward to my visit. I started pricing tickets immediately and found the best prices and reminded myself to call her with options this week.
Last week I had also emailed her mother to see how things were going. I knew
Shannon was likely glossing over a few things. Her mom had been out of work taking care of Shannon last week and didn’t respond until Monday. She said that it was probably a great idea for me to come out as Shannon wasn’t in a very good place at the moment, and was also starting rehab soon.
Just for kicks, I looked up airline tickets for next week, knowing she’d need help then. I found some for the same price as my trip in July. The only issue was that I would miss my niece’s high school graduation. Had her graduation been something that she worked hard for and was proud of, I might have had a harder time not being there. I texted my niece and she said she didn’t mind if I wasn’t there. Of course not, I already gave her a gift!
Traveling on the 15th meant that I had a week and a half to clear my plan with EN and the girls, ask for time off, find someone to sit with the girls while EN was at work, beg my mother not to be pissed at me for missing the graduation, and on it went. EN was on board immediately and told me to do what I needed to do. My mother-in-law said she’d stay with the girls, and as I thought, my mother was pissed. Because that was something that needed to be ok, I pretty much decided to wait until July. She called me back an hour later and apologized (holy shit, there may be an apocalypse) and told me to go. My boss answered my email immediately and gave me the requested time off. All that was left to do was discuss it with the girls and book the travel.
On my way home I called
Shannon and asked if next week was still good. She sounded so very excited when she heard I might be coming that soon. I picked the girls up and we discussed the trip. Both knew it was on the horizon, and were a little shocked that I would go so soon, but they were both behind me going.
After the girls went to bed, I texted a friend that works at the local airport and asked if she would be working next Wednesday. It had been months since I have seen her and I wanted to visit while I was at the airport. She asked me where I was going and I told her. She texted me back and asked me not to buy a ticket as she gets “buddy passes” as an employee of Southwest Airlines.
I try to do nice things for people as often as possible. It honestly shocks the shit out of me when something like that happens to me. I bawled like a baby. I cried so hard the tears fell off my face and landed on my boobs. Not a pretty sight. For the life of me, I couldn’t stop crying. I kept thanking my friend and she told me that she likes to “pay it forward” when she can.
Other than the mundane tasks of packing and making sure the house is in order before I leave, everything is in place for me to leave in a week. I told
Shannon I would cook for her, clean for her, drive her around, basically whatever she needed. I’m picturing something halfway between “Driving Miss Daisy” and “Thelma and Louise” and I can’t wait.
Spice probably said it best when she told me that I needed to “put a little love in her heart.” Yes, definitely, that’s my number one priority next week.