The Unexpected Present


The Unexpected Present

flat lay photo of alternative medicines

Necessity is the mother of invention and aside from everything else going on, we needed a really good mousetrap. Fortunately, our seventeen-year-old cat, Nell shows no signs of slowing down. Her hunting abilities are as sharp as ever during nocturnal guard duty. Amplified cries of success woke me from a deep slumber at dawn as she proudly sits with the mouse laying in a prominent spot for me to see.

Sleepy-eyed, I praise her mouse-catching mastery. Unexpected. A present. It must have been quite the hunt, chase, and capture seeing her upturned food dish sent across the floor. I didn’t hear a thing of the ruckus. Yuri and I both needed the rest. A new challenge is ahead of us. Travel.

A long convoluted story about the maze and sometimes mayhem of the medical system we are experiencing continues with Necessities. While we were lucky not to get sucked into the hospital “system,” we had to wrangle our way to make sure we have Home Care, an indispensable necessity for Yuri’s proper recovery and my sanity. In a nutshell, it wasn’t until the Monday before his discharge that I actually knew it was going to happen.

Before we could get a Home Care Visiting nurse to come, he had to be seen by his primary care physician. Because of Covid, he couldn’t get an appointment because of the various lockdowns and CDC recommendations. The earliest he could get was April 12, during his hospital stay #1. On the rescheduled date, April 27, he was already on a ventilator in ICU hospital #3. We finally got an appointment to get him in today.

Challenge No.#1 Getting Yuri out the door. Who would think the two steps from the foyer onto the stairway would be such a geometrically ergonomic obstacle that cannot be overcome by force. The portable 3-foot ramp was a bit steep with just enough room to maneuver the wheelchair with Yuri in it. Luckily, the Physical Therapist rescheduled appointments to assess him and then help us with the rest.

Challenge No.#2 Crossing the threshold. There are various tips and tricks for maneuvering the stairs, crossing the threshold, transfer onto the stairlift, transfer to a folding travel wheelchair, transfer into the car, all taking time before we were on our way to the medical center, and then do everything in reverse. After the appointment, we were ready to transfer when a strapping young man came along and offered assistance. Grateful, we accepted. One less hurdle makes our day.

Challenge No. #3 How to get Yuri back inside. Fortunately, the Physical Therapist offered to return after seeing his other clients. More tips and training on the how-tos of safe wheelchair maneuvering. It’s like First Experience Behind the Wheel: 6 Vital Things to Remember When Driving for the First Time…

  1. Adjust the vehicle so that you are comfortable. …
  2. Do not overthink the situation. …
  3. Calm your nerves. …
  4. Rid yourself of distractions. …
  5. Stay on familiar roads the first time you drive …
  6. Stay away from interstates and major highways.

We’re in the Unexpected Present at this moment in our lives. We know how lucky we’ve been from the training and care at Rehab, the current Home Care and now formally seen by his Primary Care Physician. Since then, Yuri as “the Professor” has piqued the curiosity of Kessler Aides and Therapist’s young minds with his musical knowledge and philosophies; he offered his expertise in assessing a person’s musical range; found a keyboard online for the Visiting Nurse’s desire to learn how to play piano for her own edification and delight, and he’s writing. A necessity.

The Unexpected Present
by Yuri Turchyn
How shall I live in the unexpected present?
Did I hear the songs she played for me?
Did I do the Poldark frown on demand while asleep?
We danced unbeknownst to me the rhythms of life.
Held my hand, talked, reminisced our adventures:
Orvieto, Rejkyavik, Warsaw, Lviv.
The Jazz and Cinema in Hrushevskiy Square beckoned to
Feasts with music singing from the night’s pianist.
The menu and wines were rich in tastes of life.  
I want to return to those tastes that were ravaged by
Tubes, wires, invasive procedures so needed but resisted.
Not a muscle left on my body. My mind was intact.
Forty pounds were shed. I am my high school weight again.
A new wardrobe may be in the works.
At this unexpected present, when so many said I may not be
In the present nor the future, Christina was the one 
That gave me the present to live yet again.

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