Two Farewells

Posted on June 11, 2018


Life in the Boomer Lane’s travel to Turkey, Bahrain, and Dubai actually began in Brooklyn.  There, she engaged in her usual pastime of enjoying the company of her daughter, son-in-law and three grandsons, as well as testing the limits of her back by hoisting her youngest grandson, almost two-years-old, into and out of his crib and high chair.

From Brooklyn, LBL took a train to Philly, in order to visit her friend Janice, on hospice care in a hospital. On the train, LBL experienced the first twinge of discomfort, as though a tiny knife were being repeatedly inserted into her back. By the time she reached Philly, the knife had achieved steak knife size. By the time she arrived at the hospital, the knife was hovering at butcher knife status.

LBL lasted for about an hour, completely obsessed with the pain, and then had to admit to her three friends there that the pain was becoming alarming and she had to get on a train go home. Janice, in a wheelchair and on oxygen and about to be moved to the hospice wing of the hospital, used her ever-diminishing breath to loudly declare “Get her out of here!  She needs medical attention immediately!”  The three left the hospital, as a very concerned Janice waved good-bye.

Back at Phyllis’ house, LBL considered her options. Go home on the next train or take pain meds that Phyllis offered that LBL had never heard of. She opted for the meds. She opted again throughout the night, and again at 5:30 AM, until she developed a massive reaction to the meds. It felt like an extreme version of the flu, while being stabbed repeatedly in the back by a large sword.  It was now three days before she was due to leave on her trip.

LBL can’t tell you how she got back to DC, only that it was a miracle that she didn’t keel over onto the person seated next to her.  She made an emergency trip to the internist, who pronounced that she had pulled a muscle in her back and put her on pain meds that she had tolerated in the past. It was now two days before she was due to leave on her trip.

The next morning, she awoke with a sore throat and cough. She called the pulmonologist and asked for a prescription of antibiotics. As she is a loyal client of the pulmonologist, he consented. She promised not to take the antibiotics unless she “really, really” needed them, while on her trip. It was now one day before she was due to leave.

On the day she was to leave, the back pain became manageable. LBL packed, bringing an extra-large cosmetics bag for all the meds she might need while away.  She wrapped up last-minute details and headed for the airport.

By the time she arrived at the airport, all memories of the past few days dissolved. They were replaced by a giddy excitement of what lay ahead.  LBL, Now Husband, and LBL’s friends had wine at the airport and toasted to the adventure upon which they were about to embark.  LBL boarded the plane, pain-free and stress-free.  It was as if the last few days never occurred.

As it would transpire, Janice wouldn’t make it until LBL would return home to see her again.  LBL’s last memory of Janice would be Janice’s concern for LBL’s back pain, completely overriding her own pain and discomfort and terror, and her words, “Get her out of here! She needs medical attention immediately!” and the last frail, fierce hug she would give LBL.

Rest in peace, dear friend.  That final hug and those final words will stay with LBL forever.