Ah, I’d forgotten how much fun it was to have Gill here with a Crohn’s flare-up. There was the routine of the five mad dashes to our washroom every morning, the assessment:”Well, it’s not too bad today. Just five poops this morning and it’s 11 a.m.Not half bad if I do say myself.”
Then there was the always popular mad dash to the train station so she could catch the train to Toronto. I waited in the car, engine running, fearing we’d be late, for her to make one more visit to the toilet. She ran out. “Go, Ma, go! We don’t want to miss the train!”
I stomped on the gas and off we roared. She had previously made a mental note of all possible washroom stops along our route — convenience stores, supermarkets, gas stations and doctor’s offices — made trickier this year with all the construction, road closures, and detours (often poorly marked).
I stopped quickly when a light turned yellow. I hoped the abrupt nature of the stop didn’t upset’Jeff’ (her pet name for the Crohn’s beast in her belly). I vowed that I would tear through the next yellow to save us both. When the next light turned yellow, she yelled: “Go, Ma Go!” as I attempted to make a left turn. Then, as I found myself in the middle of the intersection, waiting my chance, she chickened out. “Ma, don’t kill me on the way to the train!” Unperturbed, I screeched through at the last second.
Peeling into the station with a few minutes to spare, she jumped out, grabbing her bag and running across the street. “Where are you going?” I screamed.
“Coffee. Must have coffee.” I looked in the direction she was pointing to see a trendy new coffee shop — a godsend for a person who is feral until after at least two cups of java. With all the cutbacks, there are no longer any humans or vending machines in the train station so this fine example of entrepreneurship was as welcome as an oasis in the desert.
As hectic as this trip was, I felt somewhat nostalgic recalling the many, many times we have been through this routine over past years. The worst episode was the day she went to Toronto for a job interview. This was post PhD when the economy had tanked, she had few job possibilities, and we were living our own Stockholm Syndrome nightmare. We were both desperate and fearful that we would be stuck in Stockholm for the rest of our lives. That day, we made five emergency stops at bathrooms during the 15 minute drive to the train.
I know I suggested at least once that no job was that important. “Your health is more important than any stupid job! And what if you shit on the floor during the interview?” I worried. “They’ll never hire you then!”
She didn’t but they still didn’t hire her. After the bad news of her continuing unemployment, she summed up her feelings on the situation: “Well, shit on them!” Indeed.