I’m on a plane. 5 hours later than I was supposed to take off and to a different destination than originally intended and will land several thousand miles from my bag (with my coat in it). It’s OK, Chicago in the last week of November is balmy, right?
This year, no one is supposed to be traveling for Thanksgiving. The virus is so rampant that everyone is staying put, right? But wait! How are my kids supposed to get home from college? If it was just for the long weekend, maybe we would have had them stay in Madison and Ann Arbor, but they are coming home for 2 months. Travel was required. They made it home – though not without seeing too many people in the airports being lazy with their masks.
Today, I was at the airport, as well, to see my parents, but not up close. I will not even be in the same building as them. While in the airport, I asked several people with their noses hanging out of their masks if they were the one that gave my dad Covid. They, in particular, were not, but someone like them who thought it was more important for themselves to be comfortable than worry about others.
Worry about others? How about worry about a big strong guy that was invincible, conquering many ailments that came his way until a stroke in October took much of that strength from him. I traveled then, too, and spent most of October in Columbus visiting my father. Every day he got stronger and stronger. It was remarkable to watch and then I flew home to take care of my family and to get everyone back to the nest for the holidays.
Now four weeks later, after being at the airport for 5 hours, I am finally on plane. This time headed to Chicago and will drive the rest of the way to Ohio. It’s been quite the adventure already today. I was supposed to fly through Dallas and land in Columbus 2 hours from now. A perfect storm of the pandemic canceling all direct flights to Columbus, mechanical malfunctions on my first two planes, a last-minute ticket purchase and Thanksgiving week all colliding to make the travel a burden. In normal times (like January!), I am a road warrior and usually handle all that comes my way from a travel perspective very easily. Today, as I sit here on a 4-hour flight with coffee all over my lap (a result of a spill due to texting during take-off to get the latest update from the hospital) I am frustrated, tired, angry, hopeful, and grateful. A couple of those emotions are playing with my usual, constant stream of optimism, but I am giving myself a break at the moment. Boy, this year is fucking nuts.
24 hours after learning that my father has Pneumonia, and Covid while still recovering from a stroke, I headed to the airport. I spoke to him from the hospital and he sounded good. He had a rough night, but he is better than that now. We talked about the weak cornerback situation at Ohio State, we marveled at the skill of their (our?) wide receivers and confessed that neither of us were worried about one subpar performance from the quarterback. Mostly though, we talked about my mom and her strength and how great she has been at taking care of him the past several weeks and that she is the best advocate one could have in the hospital. Unfortunately, she cannot advocate for him because he is now in the Covid ward. Her not being there is especially difficult now since the hospital is overrun with Covid patients and the nurses are understaffed. (Still believe this is a hoax?) She did take his Phone and ipad to the hospital so he can connect with the world and that made him feel much better.
My mom potentially has the virus too. She has been tested and we will hopefully get the results tomorrow.
My dad didn’t know he had covid until they came in talking about the path of the virus. He was like “what virus?” He was really scared, but now back to being a steady eddie. They gave him convalescent plasma and Remdesivir. We are hopeful that works, and he can get back to working on the stroke stuff.
You know what I’m going to do? In a couple hours, I am going to land in Chicago, rent a car and lace up my Jordans and drive to Columbus. Because that’s what you do. You put on your uniform and you show up and you do what you got to do. I just read Trevor Moawad’s book “It takes what it Takes.” In this case it takes perseverance, it takes hope, and it takes resilience to kick this year and all that has come with it in the ass.
I will be at the Hilton to quarantine and my mom and I will do thanksgiving together. I will be in the car and she will be by the window in her sunroom. Phones will be on speaker and we will conference in my dad and my family in California.
Happy Thanksgiving. Lace ‘em up and let’s go, there are brighter days ahead.