I’m Okay (Trust Me)

I wrote a little over a month ago about visiting my father in Pennsylvania. Since then, so much has happened . . .

I suppose I’ll start with the little things and then build up. Foreshadowing.


Back in early September, while I was visiting my folks in PA, my phone started to show signs that it’s time for a new one. So, as I’ve done many times before, I went online and ordered two new phones through our phone service. No big deal, right?

wrong – so very wrong

Somehow, despite getting our monthly phone bill, the company left off the apartment number on the shipping label. I didn’t notice this until several days into the shipping process, and despite both talking to the phone company and the shipping company, no one seemed able to make the address change.

So the package made it all the way to our building, but because there was no number on the package, it was returned as undeliverable. I then had to wait for the package to be accepted by the phone company, then an additional forty-eight hours for our account to be credited the return funds. Then I could re-place the order.

Except now the phones weren’t available online or over the phone. I ended up placing an in-store pickup 45 minutes away for Krystal’s phone, and changing the color on mine to ensure it would be shipped that day.

or so I thought

I received an email the next day that, due to “unforeseen delays” my phone won’t be shipped until October 15th. So I’m trying to keep my phone working until then, though there’s a fifty-fifty chance it won’t charge even if it says it is.


While this was a going on, my parents called to tell me that dad decided to cancel his future doctor visits and call in-home hospice.


With all this going on, I knew I was under some amount of increased stress, and thought I was developing a stress canker (which I’ve had before).

it was not

In the space of a day, my gums had swollen, filling my upper mouth on the left side of my face. I am not one for doctors or dentists, but even I started thinking, “I need to get this looked at.”

I was trying some home relief remedies to mitigate the pain while I researched my options, when things decided to advance of their own accord. What I thought was a stress canker revealed itself to be an abscess by rupturing as I returned from lunch.

It is the most vile thing I have experienced to-date.

I had difficulty being seen in the emergency room/urgent care/dentist – – but they all warned me of the dangers of toxic shock. Fun Times.

I finally got the thing cleaned and sterilized, and then set up a telehealth appointment to get antibiotics. I must say it was unusual to take a video and pictures of my mouth for a dentist. But in under an hour I had my appointment and a prescription was called in.

Somewhere along the line the prescription was altered, and they tried giving me a penicillin-based antibiotic – which would send me into anaphylaxis if I took it.

yes, we got it straightened out.


That was one Monday-Friday stretch.

The following Sunday night/Monday morning I could not sleep. I kept seeing Smokey in one of our doorways. It’s not a surprise to us that he haunts our apartment, but he tends to stick to the upstairs.

Monday morning, at 5:54 am, my mother called. My gut told me what it was before I even picked up.

Dad had passed.

Monday was filled with texts and calls as we all figured out what we would do and when we would arrive. A few of us collaborated to submit the obituary in a timely manner. Others looked for rooms in town so as not to inundate my mother with a dozen or more adults in a house with one bathroom. My brother Chris was there for my mom for three days while the rest of us traveled/arrived. We cannot sufficiently express our gratitude to him.

Tuesday was spent getting ready for the trip: cleaning and packing and making sure the car we were taking was in good working order.

Wednesday was spent traveling. The GPS insists on taking me from North Carolina to Pennsylvania via Richmond-Washington, D.C-Frederick. Having now driven that corridor four times in as many weeks, I am going to go out of my way to avoid it in the future. What should be a 9ish hour trip have not taken less than 11.

We shared a suite with my brother Leroy and his wife Julia in the Hotel Wayne. It looked haunted. It is haunted, as we experienced unexplained creaking floors and opening doors. Nothing too scary.

The Hotel Wayne was on an episode of Ghost Detectives, but watching it is not worth your time in any way. Leroy talked to one of the long-time workers there, who said many of the employees refused to talk to the show because they didn’t want to anger anything in the hotel after being in a relatively amicable “existence” for years.

Take it for what it’s worth.

Thursday and Friday were spent with family. And taking breaks from family as necessary. we did the things people do after someone passes. I learned a bit more about my siblings, who are all older than I am by 8+ years. I appreciate them even more, now.

Saturday was the service, and all the things that come with such things. We made it through and then began driving back.

With a couple hours under our belt, we’d made arrangements to stay with friends. We talked into the night and then slept soundly. In the morning we went our for breakfast (they all had crepes, I had a bacon, egg, and cheese everything bagel) before getting on the road again.

We had lots of traffic and stopped for supper to give my eyes and brain a rest, finally arrived back home around 10:00 last night.


Today, I’m decompressing as best I can before returning to work tomorrow. And part of that decompression was writing this. There’s a lot I haven’t written because it’s personal or because I simply forgot or because . . . just because.

I talk to you again anon.

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