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Myra Demeter Headshot

Help! I am Going to Turn into a Man!

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We just returned from our first weekend away from home since my husband Dan's stroke 20 months ago. We attended a charity event several months before he had the stroke and bid on a hotel stay in San Diego, the city where our second son lives. The voucher sat in a drawer all this time. We felt we were finally ready to use it, so our eldest son stayed with the animals at home and off we went.

Prior to the trip, I made a list of things my husband would need -- the most important items were his medications. I counted them out and placed them in a sectioned pill holder. I was so focused on making sure that his needs were met that I only discovered that I had forgotten my deodorant and hormone pills when we arrived at the hotel. I panicked and thought, "I am going to turn into a man" -- two days without my estrogen pills!!! I didn't.

That issue wasn't as serious as the time we went to Hawaii several years ago and I forgot my contact lenses. I wear one-day lenses that I throw away each night. I only realized that I had forgotten them when I woke up the day after we arrived and couldn't see anything. Luckily, I had one spare pair in my purse. Since there's no "overnight" service to Hawaii, I had to reuse those lenses again and again till the shipment arrived. And then there was the time that we drove to Napa for a wedding and realized when we arrived that my husband forgot his suit at home. Luckily the wedding was the following day and we had the suit shipped up to us -- overnight!

Back to our trip: I drove my husband's mid-life crisis car, a Porsche Cayenne, a powerful V8 monster -- quite a change from the Prius I usually drive and love. After 20 years of driving a minivan (we bought our first minivan when I was pregnant with my fourth son), I clunkered it in for a Prius three years ago. My sons are now grown, drive their own cars and prefer to drive separately, even when we are going to to the same event. I get a thrill out of the 400 miles my prius drives on a single tank of gas. When I take Dan somewhere, we take his powerful SUV and we watch the gas gauge move as we drive on local roads. The porsche was rearing to go on the open road again -- 20 months it had endured local trips and four-way stop signs at every corner. That's not its style. I was tentative at first, but after warming up a bit, I got into the car pool lane and let it ride. Although he wasn't driving, I could tell Dan was enjoying himself as we charged down the freeway.

For almost 40 years, Dan was the driver in the family. For all those years I sat in the passenger seat and exercised my right foot on the invisible passenger brake. A week before his stroke, we headed out to Napa Valley for a bicycle race. So that we would have peace on our trip, I made him promise he would only go 10 miles above the speed limit and he agreed. He loved to drive and would always find his "rabbit" and drive behind them. He always found a "rabbit" on the road and when one sped ahead, another would appear and he would follow behind him.

Dan had a great time this weekend. He enjoyed the drive, tried out our son's new massage chair and enjoyed watching all the people enjoying cinco de mayo celebrations. We even stopped in at the San Diego Zoo to see the meerkats and hippos. Our favorites! Before getting back on the road to drive home, we accompanied our son and his dog to the dog park in Balboa Park. We spent an hour watching our grand puppy sniff other dogs, mark every tree and roll all over the grass. I guess that's what you do till you have grandchildren. For us it was a perfect way to end the visit!!