Saturday, August 6, 2005

"Missing Time" in Mall City

We just got back from six days and six nights in....Burlington, Massachusetts! Land of office complexes and industrial parks and a really great mall, actually. Vacation? No, not exactly, but yes in some strange ways. My husband had to have a procedure at the Lahey Clinic and I, his doting wife, checked into the Marriott up the road. When not at his bedside, I was at the Burlington Mall (well, only for a few hours out of the whole week and the first several with my husband--we hit Crate & Barrel and I'll detail that in another blog!) or wrapped up at the hotel with laptop, pay-per-view, and the occasional room service order (it does get tiring eating out alone). Our children were nestled at home with a veritable Mary Poppins, our friend Judy [see "Judy's House (and Pantry)" entry in my blog archives: May 5, 2005], so I never worried for a moment about them. I soon became a part of this strange world where I didn't have to be a wife, a mother, to cook meals or even manage any more than my own little hotel room. Not only was the world strange but the time, too--"missing time" we always call it when someone is in the hospital (I have only experienced that three times before, when each of my children was born).

On Wednesday the Marriott informed me there was no room in the inn. Oh dear, what to do! I'd gotten rather used to my eighth floor eyrie (while I don't like heights, I do like to be on a higher hotel floor) with its perfectly attuned airconditioner and bottles of Evian water and king-sized bed complete with Euro-style puff. So, I slogged over to the Homestead Suites and decided to stay there for the last three or four nights--the place was like a glorified Super 8, but with a small kitchen en suite. I found the nearest Trader Joe's and did my best at meal preparation (the one time I was glad to have and use a microwave). I decided to boycott the Marriott, despite their offer for me to return on Thursday--how dare they kick me out knowing that I'd been there for three nights and needed several more (but had neglected, initially, to make that extensive a reservation)! Both places had "Lahey" discounts which were substantial and appreciated.

I had no right to complain at all--here I was without husband and children for six days and nights while my poor husband was on five days of mandatory bed rest, post surgery. The time went far more quickly for me than I imagined it would. Between hospital trips twice a day (or in one long stretch of hours), I didn't seem to have much time. So I emailed friends and family with progress reports to fill in the gaps...and watched weird things on Cable TV (we don't have Cable at home so it is always a treat). I also had a lot of "alone" time, something I used to take for granted. Time with myself and with my thoughts, I never get lonely. I can miss my children and husband's company, sure, but I am also comfortable with my own time and space.

In that sense the stay was beneficial. I could not have gone down and back every day (90 minutes each way), fought traffic, and then balanced kids at home while worrying about leaving Temple behind at the hospital. This way I could focus on visiting him and getting rested for the home stretch to come. And fortunately we are still in August and have relatively unstructured days as it is.

T. is doing beautifully but we laughed that both times we've had Judy come for a week it has always been for dire reasons. NEXT time, we vow, we'll book that cruise or take a second honeymoon on "Judy time". But we are so blessed to have someone whom we can trust with all three of our children and know they are having a good time: so much so that Eli said tonight when I was tucking him in, "sometimes I didn't want you to come home!" I know exactly what he meant.

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