Getting back to normal

When I first began writing a column for the newspaper, all I had to do was fax my contribution and the editor did the rest. Then we got into all of this computer business, and this old lady was lost in never-never land.

This sounds ridiculous since at my last job I had to use two computers and a ton of programs. Why was this such a problem? Old age, I guess. In any case my computer could not be used to send my work to the newspaper, but Doug’s worked just fine. The solution was simple, I would write my column and Doug would send it out in the airwaves or something. So far it has seemed to work just fine.

Of course, nothing is ever perfect, and when Doug became so ill the newspaper editor was kind enough to allow me to go back to the old way of doing things. This could not have been easy. With Doug in the hospital almost two months the old fashioned way of doing my column had to be difficult for the newspaper staff and the results weren’t always perfect.

Suddenly, in one of my columns, I was talking about how to make a perfect Philly steak sandwich when at the end paragraphs were all about my mother, Edna Stokes. So much for modern computer technology.

About this time my son was coming home for the hospital and my main concern was his health. He was still in need of home care, and twice a week a nurse and a therapist were coming to the house. This kept me busy keeping the home fires burning. The column was way down on my list of things that were really important and I wrote and told the editor that I could no longer contribute to the newspaper.

He was so nice and asked if I could just take a leave of absence, so to speak, and he put in a couple of my previous contributions to give me time to think things over. About now Doug was feeling a whole lot better, and I decided to try and keep writing. I just hope my readers will bear with me if all of this sounds too confusing.

I have had to go back to driving, something I hadn’t done for about a half dozen years. Ok, so they announce in town that Edna is out in the Rav-4 so get indoors, but actually I didn’t have a problem at all. It just seemed strange, at first, but back behind the wheel just came naturally.

Doug could not drive, but he had to see his doctor, he had to have proscriptions filled, and there was all of the usual grocery shopping. Somehow, I managed to get things done and all has been just fine. Of course time has passed and now he is just about out of his wheelchair, uses a cane instead of his walker, and has gained a few pounds of the twenty-five he had lost. He is also back to driving,

We were talking about the missed holidays yesterday. Doug doesn’t remember anything about his last couple of ambulance rides when I had to call 911, and Thanksgiving and Christmas were just days lost with a lot of other days taken up with doctors, nurses shots and medicine. He was busy just trying to stay alive, and I was at home with the puppies and a lot of prayers.

God bless my friends and neighbors. I can still remember a friend bringing me an early morning breakfast, another a cooked chicken and a ton of groceries. Christmas my neighbors brought me a full dinner, and I was never without some kind of help.

I’ve written about how I handled things on Christmas, but I lied. It wasn’t all that easy. When it was time to go to bed I headed into my bedroom and there were Riley and Molly already up on top of the bedspread in their little beds, both looking at me with sad expressions. It hit me, suddenly, how close to losing Doug we had been and I fell to my knees, my head on the bed and I let it all out, I cried like a baby.

And then a little dog came and began to lick my face, and another one lick one of my hands. I felt a sudden sense of relief, God had answered our prayers, my son was getting better.

He’s home.

Edna Van Leuven is a Churchill County writer and may be contacted at


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment