It’s 8:21 am, and I’m sitting in the Delta terminal of the Minneapolis/St. Paul International airport, waiting to fly out to south Georgia to visit my grandmother, who is dying. This must be the summer of the dying grandmothers or something, because I have like 5 or 6 friends with terminal grannies. Mine, my Mimi, is suffering from (among other things) rapid-onset dementia. In the past three months, she’s gone from a little absent but basically competent to seriously confused and unable to be cared for at home. My dad and stepmom went down there for their annual visit about a month ago, and ended up changing their tickets to stay until she could be stabilized and moved to a nursing home. (My blessed aunt had been taking care of her, but it had gotten to be simply too much for one person to handle.) Mimi has always been something of a personality – a spitfire, sharp-witted (and sometimes sharp-tongued), deeply religious, deeply conservative, steel magnolia. She loves (loved?) to dance and sing and is (was?) hands-down the best storyteller I ever heard – especially when she was cracking herself up so much she could hardly speak for laughing. It is, frankly, going to suck major rocks to go and see her as a shadow of her former self. She’s hardly eating now, and sometimes barely speaks above a whisper. Her short-term memory is rapidly vanishing, to the point where you can visit her in the morning and she’ll more often than not forget that you were ever there by the afternoon. We don’t know how much longer she’ll last – though I honestly hope not much longer, because who wants to live like that? – so I thought I’d better get down and see her while the seeing is good. Also, I can say without undue immodesty that I’m good in hospital/nursing home situations. The atmosphere doesn’t freak me out the way it does some folks, and I can let people be as crazy or in pain as they need to be and just be there with them, or rub their feet and hands, or sing, or whatever. So I thought maybe I could help out with the exhausting schedule of twice-daily visits that my parents and aunt have been keeping for the last month.
So anyway, it’s not going to be a fun or relaxing trip, but that’s actually not what’s pissing me off right now. What’s pissing me off is that it’s now 8:38 am and my flight was supposed to leave at 7:45. Due to yesterday’s, um, activities, I neglected to check the flight stats before I left (though I did sign up for mobile phone alerts THAT NEVER CAME) so I got to the airport at an ungodly hour of the morning only to find out that my 7:45 am flight will not be leaving until 11:06 am. The reason? CREW REST. For real. Now, I get that crews need to rest and all, and I don’t want a tired pilot flying my plane, but is this not something they could have worked out in such a way that I don’t have a THREE HOUR DELAY? Seriously? Of course, this also means I miss my connecting flight out of Atlanta, so instead of getting into Jacksonville at 1:46 pm I will now be getting in sometime after 5. There goes my whole “get an early flight and have some visiting time today” strategy. Also, this means that I made my BFF and her kid get up at a crazy hour to drive me to the airport FOR NO REASON. Grrrr.
Seriously, I don’t know what I did in a former life to merit this run of bad karma, but whatever it was, I’m SORRY already! Can we just call it even? Please?