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Photo by Imthaz Ahamed on Unsplash

It’s bad with Carol. She’s 2800 miles from family and friends and she can’t even sit up, let alone walk. Lisa flew out when it happened, but in another week, she’s scheduled to take a cruise to Hawaii to celebrate her 25th wedding anniversary and her recent victory over cancer.

Can I go? Since I won’t be doing chemo, I’ll be going directly to radiation, which means treatments every weekday. Once those start, I’ll have to stay put for a month. I’m scheduled for radiation planning in one week, but the treatment itself won’t start for another week after that. It seems I have the window I need.

I call Dr. Grant to verify that I can be out of town for a week. He gives the go-ahead. We agree that I’ll begin radiation on April 16, and I turn my attention to booking flights. Bob has been gone a full month, working on the cabin while I recovered from surgery, tending to his son who was having knee surgery on the east coast, and then visiting his parents in Chicago on the way back. It’s been way too much time apart, so he will come with me to Baltimore.

It won’t be cheap. Our last-minute roundtrip flights clock in at a staggering $1700 each. I’ve checked Kayak, Priceline, Hotwire, and every budget airline, and it’s the best we can do. Lodging is tricky since we don’t know when Carol will be moved from the trauma center to rehab, or where that will be. I decide on a VRBO near the plaza since that’s where Tom and I once stayed when he had a conference near there. The reviews tout it as comfortable, clean, and quiet, but the piece de resistance is a state-of-the-art fitness center that Bob salivates over. He’ll pass on the virtual reality golf coach and the conveyer belt climbing wall, but how can he not throw tires?

We leave in a week, April 8, the Sunday after my mapping appointment. I’ll be able to pick up where Lisa leaves off. Then we’ll get home late on April 14, giving me a day to catch my breath before radiation starts on April 16.