A Long Quarter
Well, so much for strict pub dates. It feels like a year since the last issue, and there are some pretty good reasons for that. Between issues, we’re all living our lives, right? And, each of us has a story to tell. Here’s my story, and I think you’ll agree that the events of my life since April would make these last couple of months seem like a lifetime to anyone. There were some ups—and some downs.

The Ups
As we wrapped up the spring issue, I looked forward to a jaunt to the Boston area, to see my dear friend Clare (author of “Caring for Aging Parents,” in the Spring 2007 issue). I planned to drive about 40 minutes to Allentown (PA), to catch a bus to the Port Authority in New York City on the Friday and spend the night with my daughter Sarah. Then, I would take Amtrak to Boston (a four-hour trip), visit with Clare the rest of Saturday and a half-day Sunday, catch Amtrak from Boston back to New York (another four hours—are you counting?), grab dinner with Sarah in NYC, take the bus back to Allentown, then drive the 40 minutes home. A lot for three days, but doable. I had work along to keep me company while traveling. You’ll see where I’m going with this in the BODY department article, in this issue. The weekend was exhausting (I don’t plan to drag suitcase, guitar, and laptop around together, anywhere, for quite some time, if ever), but it was also a lot of fun.

Two weeks later, I found myself back in New York City to celebrate Sarah’s graduation from New York University—a much-awaited event for everyone on a lot of fronts. Sarah, of course, would mark a milestone and finally be able to get out and audition for film and stage, her biggest loves. We, in turn, would mark the end (finally!) of tuition bills in the Bonner household. And, my elder daughter, Amie, and her husband, Todd, would be coming in to help with the celebration. All of us, plus Grandmom, spent three days in New York, taking in Macbeth (with Patrick Stewart) on Broadway, Sarah as the lead in Lysistrata in Queens, a tour of the NYU campus and environs, and plenty of good food and drink. What a lot of walking we did, but what a good time we all had together—and a rare opportunity to do so!

The Downs
About this time, I developed some aches that I chalked up to playing “weekend warrior” at the gym between all my travels and meeting work deadlines at my computer. Well, I’m giving it away, but chances are you read the articles in this issue before reading this editorial, so I’ll go on: It wasn’t tendonitis but, instead, blood clots (a deep vein thrombosis, or DVT) that plagued my left leg. Consequently, I began the summer (counting Memorial Day weekend, technically, as the beginning of it) on the couch, taking drugs, and fearful that a piece of the clot in my leg would break off and kill me.

Two weeks later, still kicking (so to speak), I had acclimated to the endless routine of Coumadin and bloodwork and was back to my normal activities (climbing, biking, sailing, Pilates) but now all with some trepidation. Even sitting too long at my desk raised a red flag for me. Hey, things could always be worse, right?

Then came the trip to Florida. Months earlier—once the last tuition payment was made—I planned for Sarah and me to visit my sister and her family (near Tampa) and made our flight reservations. I was relieved to learn from my doctor that we would not need to cancel the trip because of my blood clots. “It’s a relatively short flight. Just make sure you walk around.” I readily agreed. And, I could even have an occasional margarita (!), this one for my sister’s birthday, so we were good to go.

The trip down went smoothly: We found our luggage, picked up the rental car, found the motel with Sarah in charge of the map, and so on. I took Cathie out to dinner for her birthday, and Sarah shepherded her younger cousins around the local mall. Everything was lovely. Friday, Cathie took us to a beautiful beach at Fort De Soto, near St. Petersburg—my first swim in the Gulf of Mexico. I was in heaven! If not for the requisite sunburn (do you have to put 30 SPF sunscreen on every half hour down there, or what?), the trip would have been perfect.

Not to Be
Then came Saturday. Cathie and her girls had another commitment part of the day, so I had arranged to meet up with an author I had worked with many years ago who lived about an hour away. She, Sarah, and I would have lunch together. I was so looking forward to it! But it was not to be. As we drove the interstate to lunch with Linda Berg, and just about a mile from the exit, a car slammed into us from behind at high-speed, causing our Kia Spectra rental car to veer off the road, roll over twice through heavy bushes, and come to rest at the foot of a large tree. Lunch was no longer a part of our itinerary.

Luckily, the car landed upright, and we climbed out through the passenger door. (If we hadn’t been wearing our seatbelts—as we always do—that sentence could have read differently, or not at all.) I felt pretty dazed; Sarah was better. She was ready to run up the hill and give the other driver a piece of her mind. Most of the windows were shattered, and glass, leaves, and branches littered the car. It was hard to tell what was what, it had all happened so fast. And, I discovered that I was bleeding. Evidently, as the car rolled, my head and shoulder hit the window. But, by then, bleeding was something I was conditioned to avoid, so I tried not to panic. Soon, people stopped to help (and mainly helped stop the bleeding), and Sarah frantically called 911. Miraculously, Sarah was left relatively unscathed (just a small cut marked her right shoulder). I was relieved—like every mother, I would rather that it was me who was injured.

So, we spent the afternoon in the ER. Sarah waited while I endured x-rays and a CT scan, staples in my scalp, glass pulled from my back, and a general cleaning up. Cathie came to pick us up, as we, of course, now had no car. She was pretty upset about all of it, naturally. And, of course, the phone call to my husband, Gary, was difficult. But, we were relatively all right. Things could have been much worse. The rest of our trip, however, went a lot different than we had planned. We managed to still enjoy the remaining day and a half with Cathie and her family, despite our limitations, but we had to take it easy. (Boy, did we ache on Sunday, and Monday, and Tuesday, for that matter.)

We arrived at Philadelphia International Airport late Sunday night, after a delayed flight, and begged Gary to drive slowly on the interstate as we made our way home. (He readily complied.) We were relieved just to be back in one piece. I almost kissed our driveway as I stepped from the car. Getting back into the swing of things was slow and tedious. I had to take it one step at a time. I was afraid to do anything (like biking, climbing, and sailing—not to mention driving). And, the time that accident-related phone calls, appointments, and paperwork actually takes is amazing. Of course, that all didn’t bode well for my work deadlines or for the summer issue of Empty Nest. All in all, though, I’d say that despite the downs, we’re okay, so maybe that’s an up?

The Issue
So, here we are, another issue finally up and more adventures within. Note the life-saving info included in “BODY: Our Bodies, Ourselves: Expecting the Unexpected.” On a more uplifting note, plan an exciting cross-country getaway with railroad expert and author Jim Porterfield in “It’s Vacation Time.” Do you itch to discover your family’s history? Then, be sure to scribble notes while reading “Family Histories and Other Tales,” by Janette Gerber. Or, perhaps you need friends and fun on a monthly basis—then don’t miss “Bunco,” by Joan Sartor. If you’re feeling the empty-nesting blues, join regular MIND columnist Marian Buckner, RN, BSN, for ideas on how to satisfy that nurturing instinct. Finally, enjoy a light-hearted look at aging, and ways to avoid looking like it, by syndicated columnist Patricia McLaughlin in STYLE: “Old-Looking Teeth: A Fate Worse than Death?” (This, by special arrangement with Ms. McLaughlin!)

At Empty Nest, we continue to work toward nationwide authorship and readership. So, again, I’ll ask that you pass this link along to empty nesters you know—especially if they live in the Midwest, the South, the West Coast, or even abroad! If you are not already on our emailing list, drop us a line at editor@emptynestmag.com, and we'll let you know whenever a new issue is published. And we won't send you junk or give out your email address.

Finally, special thanks go, as always, to our writers, and especially to Associate Editor Bonnie Boehme, copyeditor supreme, whose tender touch you will find on every article in this issue. Bonnie also serves as a sounding board for many editorial decisions. Very special thanks go to my husband, Gary, who lends his support to the publication of each issue by doing most of the html coding, troubleshooting technical problems, and generally putting up with me while I’m in the throes of getting an it posted.

Enjoy the issue. And I normally hate repetition, but this advice is still apropos: Remember to enjoy life—each and every day of it!

Robin C. Bonner
Empty Nest

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