Rich and I are slowly moving boxes and furniture from our Mount Vernon house to our Kirkland house. Yesterday, Rich found his suede coat in a wardrobe box along with his summer clothes.
Before hanging up the coat, I reached in the pockets. Along with finding the obligatory toothpick and pen, I found a handful of receipts. They were all dated Friday, February 16, 2007. One was for Ross Dress for Less. The other two were for Lowe’s and U-Haul.
Seeing the receipts took my breath away.
On that day, I was getting ready to go home from HealthSouth after a week of rehabilitation for a fracture pelvis and broken ribs following a horrific car accident a week earlier. I had mixed feeling about leaving. On one hand, I was happy that Rich didn’t have to worry about taking care of me. I had gotten into a routine of getting up at 7 a.m., struggling into my wheelchair, finding a nurse to give me my pain medications, waiting until they kicked in before I changed into fresh pajamas (I refused to wear clothes) then wheeling myself into the common room for breakfast and the start of my physical therapy.
In the evenings, I enjoyed lying in bed, reading and seeing the lights of downtown Austin from my second story window, especially the stunning Frost Bank Tower.
On the other hand, I’d spent four days at the Brackenridge Trauma Center and five days at HealthSouth. I was anxious to go home and resume a more normal life with Rich and the cats. Getting poked and prodded by nurses and doctors wasn’t much fun. And I’d grown weary of having no privacy.
On that Friday, while I was blissfully doped up on Hydrocodone (codeine), Rich was anxiously driving around town, gathering what he needed to care for me. Because I’d have to stay downstairs, Rich scrambled to buy a bed. He found a queen-size set at Costco. However, it wouldn’t fit in his truck, so he rented a trailer from U-Haul.
Once he got it home, he realized that we had no queen-sized sheets so he zipped to Ross Dress for Less for a mattress cover, sheets, comforter, pillows, and blankets. He also bought a very cute Easter-themed decorative pillow with perky yellow chicks and pink tulips.
Having met with my social worker, he went to Lowe’s to get a shower chair, hand-held shower nozzle, and other necessities.
Seeing those receipts, reminded me how much Rich cares about my well-being. The next morning, Saturday, he nervously picked me up at HealthSouth. I clung to the seat the entire trip and winced every time he went over a bump. When we got home, I screamed as he awkwardly lifted and pulled the wheelchair, with me in it, over the ledge leading into the house.
Exhausted from the trip and in lots of pain from the car ride, I wanted to immediately go to bed so Rich wheeled me into the family where he’d set up the new bed. I cried seeing how much work he’d gone through. When I stood up and turned around to plunk my bottom on the bed, however, we realized that the bed was at least 6-8 inches too high. There was no way that I could get into it using only one leg and one arm. My other arm was okay, but using it aggravated my cracked ribs. Poor Rich had to remove the bed frame and place the mattress on the floor.
For the next 10 weeks, Rich not only worked from home, but ran up-and-down the stairs throughout the day and sometime at night to get me in-and-out of bed, remind me to take my pills, prepare my food, drive me to therapy and doctor appointments, and much more.
It’s amazing how many memories a few receipts can generate!