Parent Managing

Today was the day of my second eye- treatment. (To paint a picture, I am typing this with my sunglasses on, protecting the sensitive, swollen and slightly teary right eye – charming.) As I had to take out my right contact lens  for two days ( my left eye is already fixed) I was obviously unable to drive. My parents were again so kind to drive me to the hospital in Rotterdam.

The only way for me to fight the inevitable  irritation of being treated like my mother’s child whilst sitting in the back of the car ( meaning: I’m perfectly capable to navigate my way around London-life, but once at home my mother  finds it necessary to keep all my hospital letters and papers in her handbag…) is to put my sunglasses on and ear phones in.

I must have fallen asleep, because when I opened my eyes it was 1pm. Appointment is at 1.15pm and  despite glasses and ear phones I sensed  some tension. So took my ear phones out and my Mum turns around. “Do you want something to eat before you take those pain killers they give you in hospital – they make you ill otherwise.”

I nod and search my handbag for some food, when from the passenger’s seat she passes me a lunchbox with sandwiches and a bottle of water: I felt five again. At this point Dad asks “Do we have to keep on ging straight? My Mum looks at her print-out and confirms this statement. He promptly goes right. Panic! What to do? I gather that we have no clue where we are. “TomTom?” I offer.

Ah they left the Tom Tom at home. You see my Mum doesn’t like driving with the TomTom if we have to be somewhere on time in case it sends her a different route than she is used to. This reasoning fails on three levels today: 1. She isn’t driving. 2. She is clearly not used to this route from a month ago. 3. We have to be somewhere on time and the trusted print-outs map and directions fail.

With seven minutes to go, my Dad suggests to call the hospital to tell them we are running late. Mum grabs her phone and searches her handbag for the hospital letter. I have taken it back into my handbag and suggest I call the hospital since it is my appointment after all.

I explain to the  receptionist that we are running late but that we are already in Rotterdam. “We are at the Princes lane!” Mum shouts from the passenger’s seat in the hope the sound of her voice will not be blocked by my head and that the receptionist can shout loudly enough to direct her to the hospital. Alas, the receptionist wishes us a safe journey and tells me not to worry. Ha!

Then the classic happens, as we are nearing a gas station and Mum says: “Let’s pull over and ask.” My Dad calmly drives on. I can see my mother’s grip on the door tightening. It doesn’t help that Mum always wants to be on time ( yes ok it is hereditary!) and my Dad is quite possibly the slowest driver in the world. Safest but the Slowest.

Second attempt, second gas station. Dad now pulls up until we are nearly blocking the door and Mum  jumps out of the car and literally runs inside. She changes her mind and runs over to the gentleman cleaning the outside bit of the gas station. He doesn’t want to help, she runs inside again. My Dad dryly states:  “I think your Mum is getting nervous.”  I look at him and wonder how my mother copes. She is beyond nervous, nervous was probably when we left the house, when she realised we would be precisely on time if we would drive there perfectly.

Mum comes out of the building triumphant we are already on the right way. Straight on, pass nine traffic lights left and left again. “You should just drop us at the hospital and park the car,” she instructs Dad. When we arrive, she and I step out of the car. “So the parking is just straight? ” Dad asks as Mum slams the door. She  opens the door again. “No it is just straight ahead.”  My Dad feebilyattempts a “That’s what I said”, but the door is slammed closed again and Mum is legging it to the hospital doors. I ask her to wait up or whether she intends to start the laser-procedure without my right eye.

Once inside the building the receptionist takes me in to another room to pay. My face  must say it all. ” Aw I have the same thing with my parents.” she consoles. “Don’t worry, the doctor isn’t here yet.”In fact the doctor wouldn’t arrive until 20 minutes later and I would not be treated until an hour later.

When we walk back to the car, I am starving. I put my arm through my mother’s and say whilst thinking of one of her speciality dishes that is waiting at home.”Mmm, I am looking forward to some pasta.” She looks at me in bewilderment “Oh but I only made the macaroni cheese, I can do you some pasta if you like.” Gotta love her. I kiss her and tell her macaroni cheese will do just fine.

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