In the Suburbs / Bad decisions - old folks trying to do too much in a move pay the price
The moving war is over, the troops are in the new house and injuries abound among these old movers. My wife was the worst of our injuries with two falls — one at the old house while she was cleaning and hurt her shoulder, and one at the new house where she missed a step, fell flat on her face and hit the same bruised shoulder. She had a few scrapes on her face and fingers also. It wasn’t a pretty sight.
The shock from the second fall caused a lot of stress — wonder why — and as we were shopping later that day in Home Depot, my wife complained of a tightening in her chest. That situation brought back too many memories of the mild heart attack she suffered nearly four years after a similar stressful and painful move into our Bridgeport home. So, I stopped the shopping expedition and took my wife immediately to Bridgeport Hospital.
Four hours later, the doctor assured us the chest pain was all stress-related, but the shoulder injuries could have triggered some tendinitis and the X-ray showed some calcium deposits. The doctor strongly suggested that my wife’s sporting days were probably over. Yeah, right.
This soldier, now a veteran of 10 moves over the course of our nearly 52-year marriage, had more minor injuries, but was still in plenty of pain. My flat feet caught up with me, especially when I wore the wrong shoes, and I was in such excruciating pain, I had to leave work at the bookstore one night last weekend to pick up gel inserts for my shoes. Couple that with the cramping in my legs and I couldn’t reach for the Aleve fast enough.
As we both climbed into bed last Sunday night, moaning in pain, I turned to my lovely wife and said, “You know that seniors in their 70s should not be lifting or carrying anything, let alone moving to a two-story house. But we had a good laugh over our combat injuries and agreed that in a few weeks we’d forget all about the pain and truly begin to enjoy our new home.
Unfortunately, the pain from my wife’s shoulder did not decrease for several days, and the first day I had to come home during lunch and help her from our couch — way too low — into a straight-back chair in her new office. I walked the dogs for her that first day, but called our dog walkers to come in the next two days until her range of motion was better.
There were two other combat victims in this move — our dogs Truffie and Patches. Truffie, the cocker spaniel we inherited about four years ago from our close friend Hazel, who died of cancer, had lived in a Cape for years and was used to steps, even though our last home was one level. When Truffie arrived at our new digs, he literally bounded up the steps.
Our Jack Russell terrier, Patches, on the other hand, is nearly 14 and has lived in ranch homes his entire life. Like water circling a drain, Patches circled the downstairs foyer endlessly, trying to decide whether he could make it up the stairs. Only with a lot of coaxing and biscuits did I finally convince our senior canine to climb the steps. We think what scared him more in the first few days was that there was no carpeting yet on the hardwood steps that had just been refinished. Fortunately, going down was never the issue, but I’ll probably have to get a good canine glucosamine to help Patches with his early arthritic legs as he climbs the steps.
Fortunately for these elderly movers, we purchased this amazing king-size mattress with a remote control that adjusts back, leg, neck and other muscles. It was delivered this week and I can barely describe the comfort we are beginning to feel for sleeping. After all these years of sharing a bed with two pushy canines, we are in Heaven with the extra space.
While the moving war is over, we now face the battlefield of boxes and the mission of getting everything put away. I already warned my wife that we have to get her sewing room organized so she can begin to attack the 50-some plastic crates of fabric that are piled neatly in the basement storage area and create new quilts. Then there is the garage.
It’s going to be a long, painful spring and summer, but we’re home … at last.
Steven Gaynes is a Fairfield writer, and his “In the Suburbs” appears each Friday. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.