If you’ve been reading my blog with any regularity, you know I’ve had my share of adventures with handsome son #3 because of his knee injury in November. Thanksgiving – 10 Reasons to Give Thanks and Tracks in the Snow Yes, this is the same son to whom I recently repented for selling his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in a garage sale. A Little Ninja Repentance
He finally had surgery two weeks ago, receiving a donor ACL. Week of Extremes For me, each day immediately after that ran into the other in a blur of post-op care. I was both proud of him, and skeptical, when he decided he absolutely had to get back to college classes. He is no wuss, but balancing a backpack bulging with books (how’s that for alliteration?), and trying to traverse, on crutches, a humongous campus parking lot packed with ice and snow, and filling ice bags between classes to treat his swollen leg during lectures, and…there was just no way. So I offered to go along.
Day 1 – While he was in class, I sat in a commons area, occupying myself people watching and working on a project I’d brought. The significant number of older adults walking the halls, also obviously students, excited me. With my nest nearly empty, I daydreamed, I could do that!
Two hours later, the rhythmic click of crutches announced my son approaching. He sat down, took off his brace, and propped his leg on the bench where I sat. Time to fill ice bags. But where? Certain I could get ice from the soda machines, my son pointed me toward the cafeteria, which was extra crowded, since it was Inauguration Day and people were gathered in front of TV screens.
Since I’d never been there before, I had no idea how to navigate the cafeteria set-up and system, but I finally found my way in line for the soda machine. I had two hospital-issued ice bags with fairly small openings to fill. I positioned the first bag under the dispenser and pressed the lever. Chunks of ice clunked down onto the bag opening; some went in and some tinked on the metal grate below. This was supposed to be easy. I felt stressed. I repositioned the bag to catch all the cubes, and pressed the lever again. At the same time, without my noticing, the wide cuff of my winter jacket depressed the lever to my left. It dispensed chilled Coke into my perfectly-positioned sleeve, running over my watchband, down my arm, soaking my sweater to the elbow.
What do you do with a sleeve of soda? My immediate reflex was to lift my elbow and put my hand down. Coke poured out my sleeve and joined the ice scattered on the counter. Looking for a dry spot to set the ice bags, I scanned the area for napkins and grabbed a handful. A collecting line of people behind me waited to get their paper cups, ice and choice of soda. Oh, Lord, is this really happening? I sopped up the mess, snatched the ice bags and got out of line.
From a distance, I watched for a lull. By the time it came, I’d figured a better system: fill paper cups with ice and step aside. Put said cubes into ice bags at a table. Simple. But I had to go to college to learn that.