Today I talked to my dad for a while, and realized what a truly ridiculous predicament he's in, with the broken neck and all. From everywhere, he gets conflicting advice. His neurosurgeon tells him to remain immobile and wait for surgery; a friend who is an orthopedic surgeon tells him he'll never heal wearing the brace, and to avoid surgery at all costs. One person tells him it's important to exercise, while another warns him to take it easy. Everyone has an opinion on diet, naturally.
Can you imagine having a broken vertabra, one of the important ones up at the top, one that if you move your head the wrong way might shift and damage your spinal column? Every time I think about this I get sick to my stomach and try to go to my happy place, but my father doesn't have that luxury. So he compromises, wearing some version of a neck brace all the time, continuing to take Max (the main dog) for daily walks to help slow his canine arthritis, all the while quietly freaking out because the Hood Canal Bridge is scheduled to close right around his next visit to Seattle — which means a long, windy drive all the way down to Olympia and back up the other side of Puget Sound. I wish I could pay to airlift him from one place to another, or at least guarantee a safe car ride. But there's not much I can do and it's really not about me. Except that I would gladly trade places with him, because I live in a city with lots of hospitals. Why do people choose to retire to places without adequate medical care? Maybe I'll broach that subject with my parents once my dad can eat without loosening his brace.
I don't drink as much as I used to (mostly because of last summer's unprovoked attack on my digestive system), but tonight I made an exception because I like red wine with my spaghetti and I felt like relaxing. Tomorrow I will pay. But I'll be able to twist my aching head in whatever direction I choose, and make my way to the bathroom without worrying about falling. So right now I'm feeling pretty lucky.