Sympathy is not on the shopping list!

* Frank passed all the Physical Therapy tests and was released from the hospital.  He is home.  Yay!!  🙂  That said, I had the tree branches trimmed to the hilt AND hid the ladder...  (written 8-24-14)

Frank wanted to venture out of the house.  This before he heads back to work.  (Yes… work…)  (Somebody help me…)Stop and Shop was to be the official public ‘Test Run.’ 

He’s been moving about the house fairly well, including going up and down stairs.  Still sleeps a lot – though he did that before the fall.  The only difference is, now he has a ‘pretty’ choker collar to hold his head up.  (Yes, I specifically asked the doctors about this sleep-sitting-with-brace-on behavior.  They said it was fine.  Even if he falls asleep like a bobble head on the train. Go figure.) 

So, Stop and Shop ‘Test Run’ here we come.  Walking through the parking lot, towards the store entrance, was where the show started.  Frank couldn’t care less what he looks like.  I find this hysterical.  Most people we passed just stare. They range from outright gawking, to sneaking a sidewards glance.  Others part a path… Frank might as well be ‘Moses of the Market.’  Then there are the sympathy spectators.  Those not tainted by societies unwritten rule of mind your business, as if any of us could fake not noticing the purple elephant in the room.  They look, then shake their heads in sympathetic camaraderie.  Frank pays no mind, which makes this all the funnier for me.  It was a people watching smorgasbord – with Frank as the main attraction.

I pushed the cart, flashing back to when the kids were little.  Every few seconds I had to turn to see if he was still with me.  He was.  (Turns out he can move pretty fast.)  I almost wanted to make him hold one hand on the cart – as the kids used to do – so I knew where he was… but I got over that.  The cuts on his face are basically healed.  Left behind is a half shaved face.  Only the areas he can get to are smooth, and those are iffy – he can’t tilt his head to get a good shaving angle.  He’s an eye-catcher all right.  I’ll take it – it’s the only proof I have that he is actually keeping the brace on at all times.  (Phew… still not sure how long that’s going to last…)

We shuffled our way past gawking people and parted crowded isles.  A woman-on-a-mission near ran him down with her cart.  She did not care who or what Frank was, she just wanted him out of her way.  Frank moved aside to let her pass.  A few moments later she did it again… This time I couldn’t help myself.  “Hey.  Are you trying to kill him?”  She looked at me, and then him.  “He’s tried that already. It’s not that easy.”  Finally it registered.  “Oh, geez!”  She back her cart away from him, shaking her head in disbelief at her own ‘tunnel vision.’  We laughed.  Scary how tranced we get with the ‘to do’s’ of life.  

The freezer isle proved to be the warmest in the store.  Frank unsuccessfully pleaded for ice cream.  (Oh please, stop feeling bad for him people. I bought frozen fruit to make him the good stuff.)  Disgruntled, he weaved through the people and carts looking for single serving containers to further make his case.  “Nan?”  Like a kid begging for a piece of candy, “Nan…”  I was by the milk section, and though I could hear him, I couldn’t tell where he had disappeared to.  One of the men that had parted the way earlier in the store, was waving to me trying to get my attention.  Hard to miss, with his BRIGHT green shirt and short-n-SUPER-stocky build, he was on his toes waving to me.  Once he got my attention, he pointed over the crowd to where the voice was coming from. “Nan?”  It was hysterical.  Clearly this man was sympathizing with poor Frank.  “He’s over there. {point, point, point…} He wants his ice cream.”  {insert sad puppy dog face…} (Seriously, this man was pleading Franks case?) 

I laughed.  “Oh really?”   Frank’s hand was waving an ice cream container over the crowd.  “No Frank!” (God I sound like an ogre…) The man in the green shirt looked more crushed than Frank.  “What??”  He, too, was giving me his best puppy dog eyes.  “Hey, I already got him stuff.”  I couldn’t help but laugh.  Frank was playing it up, “Aw…  man.” He shuffled like a disappointed kid.  The man in green parted a path using his cart to block the less courteous.  As Frank passed, he fell in behind.  “Geez, poor guy.  Look at him.”  I watched this complete stranger empathetically embrace Frank, as Frank grumbled and mumbled for his ice cream.  Mr. Green-shirt looked at me completely befuddled. “Hey don’t feel so sorry for him.  Husbands that do swan dives off the TOP step of a ladder – where it says DO NOT STAND – while the traumatized wife below is screaming and begging for him to get down – don’t get ice cream… ever again…  he’s lucky I feed him.”

Mr. Green-shirt looked at Frank, then me, then Frank.  A moment of male bonding ensued – only to be replaced with the sorrowful realization that a fellow comrade has fallen – in more ways than can be helped.  Frank hung his head… well sort of.  He hung it as much as any man wearing a virtual choker-cone-of-shame could.

Mr. Green-shirt moved to the opposing side of the freezer.  “Did you do this to him?!”  I got hysterical at the last – albeit desperate – stitch effort of support.  Frank looked at him, then me – them momentarily thought about whether or not he should feign wifely abuse.  Mr. Green-shirt pointed towards me, “You better listen to her.”  Frank agreed, nodding a teeny-tiny yes, submitting to the fact that ice cream was not happening.  (Wise choice Frank.)

{Side Note:  FYI – just so I don’t go down as a complete ogre – part of the issue/concern in the hospital was his kidneys were malfunctioning.  This, because he has diabetes and does not follow dietary restrictions as per doctors orders… and yes, I made him a yummy fruit smoothy/protein shake… contrary to how it may appear, I am trying to keep him alive and happy…  😉 }  {He’s happy :))

Follow the Saga:  Life almost got REAL shortHospital Update for FrankSympathy is not on the shopping list!Train ‘friends’

2 comments on “Sympathy is not on the shopping list!

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