It had started out that I was just going to come up to visit for a few days. When I had my surgery, spouses of the patients were allowed to stay at the convalescence home, at a cost and providing there was enough room. This was that plan for Karyn (patient) and her wife Diane. But Dr Brassard had been so busy that the practice of allowing the spouses to stay was discontinued at the end of 2011.
If you have a slight idea of where you are going, Montreal driving can be ok. If you don't, it can be brutal. I've driven in almost every major city on the Atlantic coast and only two frustrate me, Claremont, NH and Montreal QUE. Plus I didn't want Diane to be stuck in the hotel and having to dine alone.
I insisted I would go for all ten days. Karyn though very appreciative, didn't want me to use up two weeks of vacation time for her. She was insistent that I only come for the few days as planned. I had my four angels come up for me when I had my surgery (Carrie, Gaily, Linda & Michelle) and I knew how much it meant to me. Granted, this was the best way for me to 'pay it forward', and it was also the best way for me to get over the "Montreal haunting" and depression I had around my surgery dates. It worked, thankfully. Unbeknown to me, my friend Michelle even wrote to Karyn, asking Karyn to take up my kind offer. Michelle wisely knew how much it meant to me to help someone just like me.
Now granted I had been up to bring my friend Anna home from her surgery in 2010, but that was literally a 24 hour trip. But the key in this is, Diane & Karyn had become so important to me, that I could not face them being alone in a strange place. It was an extreme honor for me to be there for them. For the time we left my drive way to the time I dropped them back off in my driveway, ten days later, it was my pleasure. I would gladly do a 24-48 hour trip to help friends. But for these two important, giving up two weeks of vacation time was a bargain. And to think, exactly three years prior, I did not even know them, I just saw Karyn's name replying to rude comments about transgender folks in the Nashua Telegraph series about me and other NH trans folks.
One of Karyn's friend's that I had never met, even e-mailed me out of the blue for going up with them so they would not have to be alone. I assured her that Karyn & Diane were in good hands and that in all honesty, it was my pleasure.
I'm a good friend of Karyn's (my husband Mike grew up with Kevin since 1st grade) and I was talking to her last night on the phone and she mentioned to me how you were going to Montreal with them in March. I was so HAPPY to hear this. I was worrying about the two of them out there alone and was really thinking of going but with work and two kids in high school it was going to be tough. To have her tell me that you were going was a blessing! What a true friend you are!! Karyn has mentioned your name alot, (all good stuff!) and how blessed they are to have you in their lives!!
We need more people like you in the world!!
It took awhile, but Karyn did finally admit that it helped calm her nerves some what that Diane would not be alone in the hotel.
One noticeable change about this trip is, when I had my surgery, I was at Dr Brassard's for 14 days, arrival on Thursday, surgery on Monday, departure exactly two weeks from the arrival day. Now the patients arrive on Sunday for surgery on Tuesday and leaving nine days after surgery.
The start of the trip on an unusually cold March weekend, was at a farewell/new birthday/good luck type dinner in Lawrence, MA and continued on at Diane's parent's home. We left much later than I had planned considering we had an early departure in the morning. But it really was a very nice night and I met some very nice folks.
We departed early on yet another very cold Sunday morning and it was a really quiet trip up. I understood. Completely.
In hindsight, a very good thing because the next twenty four hours wouldn't be as peaceful.