It was late October, 2001.Through the intense pain, my DIL was trying to tell me the shortest route to the hospital with the fewest red lights. I protested this wasn’t the time for me to be driving in unfamiliar territory. What if she should pass out? I’d be stuck not knowing which way to go. I exercised my right as the designated driver and said we would go the way I knew best. Resigned, she sat back against the seat and groaned with the ever-increasing twisting in her gut.
I always made it a habit to pray before I set out and this was no time to stop. Rather than have my DIL bow her head and having a formal prayer, I sent up a silent petition for safe travel. Pulling out of the long driveway, I didn’t stop. Ever hear of praying without ceasing? That’s what I was doing. Eyes open and on the road, my mind was praying, “Dear Lord, please keep us safe. Help us to get there before anything really serious happens. Please let all the traffic lights be green.”
My DIL was weakly protesting about the last part of my silent prayer. There are SO MANY traffic lights the way we are going. Please try the other way. The position I was coming from was that I wasn’t being stubborn. I was being realistic. It wouldn’t help to get lost and have to backtrack. I was going the way I knew and that was that.
One by one, the traffic lights loomed and one by one, they stayed green.
As I drove, I was questioning her. Was she okay? How was she feeling? Did she suppose it was a kink in her bowel? It was obvious she would prefer not to talk but to moan and groan instead. “Please hurry!” I was hurrying as fast as I could. We didn’t need to add an accident.
When we arrived at the hospital, it was without having to stop at a single light. DIL was flabbergasted. She didn’t know I had been praying the whole way.
Looking back, I probably should have dropped her off at the elevator and then parked the car but I parked as close to the elevator as I could. She was dressed in a gown, housecoat and slippers and her hair was tangled and matted. I hadn’t had a shower and looked like something the cat drug in. We were an attractive pair, I’m sure. At the moment, I didn’t care what we looked like and I’m sure she didn’t, either.
She walked bent over and I was helping her along as much as I could. As soon as we stepped off the elevator into the long glass-lined corridor, a fellow driving a courtesy cart spied us and zoomed to our rescue. He probably thought I should have taken her to the emergency room but it was her choice to go to the doctor’s office. I don’t know if she’d called ahead or not.
The nice courtesy cart driver took us to the elevator that led to our destination and dropped us off. The other people trapped with us gave us a wide berth.
Going into the office, my DIL went up to the desk and gasped that she needed to be seen right away. The receptionist looked alarmed and said it would be a few minutes. The doctor was with a patient but she would make sure he worked her in next.
We sat down to wait. As we were sitting there, DIL announced that she wasn’t hurting any more and we should go. Nope. Not going. We had come all this way to see the doctor and she was going to see the doctor. “But I feel so stupid! I’m really not hurting any more.” Don’t care. We’re waiting. You WILL see the doctor.
About that time, her name was called and she gave me a despairing look. She padded along in her slippers and followed the nurse. I watched until she disappeared from view.
People were eying me and I stared back. I wasn’t embarrassed. I had gone to DIL’s rescue. I was on a mission of mercy and it didn’t matter how I was dressed. I was modest. Nothing untoward was showing.
Not more than 15 minutes passed until she was back in the waiting room. As we left, I asked her what the doctor’s diagnosis was. She grinned and said it was probably a kinked bowel. Just what I had thought. Guess I should have gone to medical school. Not bad for an amateur diagnostician.
Our trip home was much more relaxed. We had to stop at our share of red lights but that was okay. The crisis was over.
She apologized over and over. I kept telling her it was okay. I would rather take her when it turned out to be unnecessary than to refuse and have something serious happen. After all, she was the mother of my grandchild and married to my son so that made her one of my children.
Back at the house, we went inside. I made sure she would be all right until DS2 got home from work and then I went back to DS1’s place.