Lynn’s favorite band every is RUSH. For years, him, his son, his son’s friends, and Lynn’s friends have bought tickets to their concert as soon as they went on sale and anxiously awaited the day they could see them live. It used to be a fairly big production with a group of 5 or 6 guys spending the night at our house after the concert and reliving the experience while they blasted out RUSH songs as if the concert was still in progress. He always wanted me to go with them but I am not a big fan of concerts and had rather listen to Christian rock or country music so I would just smile and decline.
He finally convinced me to go to RUSH’s 2010 concert. By that time I had heard their songs so much that I had learned to appreciate their music, though not as much as Lynn did. The concert that year was during the time that his health was starting to decline. I remember the day of the concert his being so ill that I really did not want him to go; however, he stubbornly insisted. We drove two hours to Jiffy Lube Amphitheater in northern Virginia and just left in time to get their before the concert started. Lynn’s friend from his former job went with us and was going to sit with Lynn while I sat with the rest of the group many rows back. I could not enjoy the concert at all. Knowing how sick Lynn was, I constantly was looking for him and checking my phone to see if John needed my help. At intermission I found them. They had never made it inside. Lynn felt too bad to be among the crowd. I tried to get John, his friend, to go inside and let me stay with Lynn but he’s a very loyal friend, and choose to stay with us. Shortly though I managed to convince Lynn that we needed to take him home and we left. That was the beginning of a very long period of illness and hospitalization so for me, a RUSH concert did not bring forth pleasant memories.
Fast forward two years and guess who is back in town? RUSH. Guess who is going again? Me and Lynn. This time; however, I’m sitting with him and he’s feeling well enough to enjoy the show. However, he is still fighting the fatigue and irritability that comes from getting adjusted to Rebif so the trip up was not as much fun as expected. We took the van, of course, and I connected his peddlar to him so he could pedal all the way to northern Virginia but he just could not relax.
About 45 minutes before show time, we got to the road leading to the entrance of Jiffy Lube park. Traffic was not moving! The concert was due to start at 7:30 and i took till 7:30 to move far enough ahead that we could pull into the entrance to the park. To make matters worse, Lynn was convinced I was going the wrong way to handicapped parking and was “losing his cool” while I was losing mine in trying to maneuver through thousands of cars. (By the way, I was right about the direction I was going.)
We had left early enough to be able to eat a packed lunch I had brought just before the show…or so we thought. Since we arrived right when the concert was due to start, we sped out of the van and toward our seats. RUSH always does something unique for the beginning of their shows so Lynn was determined not to miss it and upset because he knew he would. Well, we made it on time. Our seats were as good as you could ask for considering he was in a wheelchair. We were located between the cameras and sound equipment so no one could stand up in front of him! Perfect! I could not see as well as he could but I didn’t care as long as he got to see the show.
Just as we got to our seats, the show started and Lynn began to relax. Knowing though that he needed to eat, I got him comfortable and proceeded to pour him soup into the top of a thermos container. I first poured the liquid and handed it to him to drink. I should have known better but it was a small, light-weight cup so I thought he could handle it. I was wrong. As he took his first sip of hot onion soup, the full cup fell out of his hand and soaked his shirt….We just looked at each other and laughed. I asked him if it was warm enough and he said, “for now, but cooling off fast.” Fortunately, I had brought in a blanket to help him stay warm because the temperature was supposed to drop to the 50’s that night. So, since I did not have a spare shirt with me, I took the blanket, covered his legs and stuffed the rest of it under his shirt so that the wet shirt would be able to dry without touching him. Then I proceeded to feed him his dinner, only this time, I held everything. We probably looked rather comical. Here I was with a load of supplies feeding him soup from a thermos while a rock concert was blasting away and he’s covered with a blanket stuffed under his shirt. I kept thinking to myself, “a caregiver never takes a holiday or goes on break; you always have to be prepared for the ‘what if’s’ of life.”
I finished feeding him dinner, got him comfortable again, and went in search of food myself. The rest of the concert was uneventful and enjoyable. It was actually the first date we have had since he became immobile so it was nice to be out, with just the two of us and several thousand of our closest unknown companions.
When the concert ended, we waited for some of the traffic to head out and then loaded up for the trip back home. We were directed to leave by a different route than we came in. So needless to say, we got lost. We started heading west to Fort Royal instead of east to Washington. Finally found out way back heading east to the 95-south connection and finally headed for home. He was exhausted but content. He fell asleep not long after we got on the road. Other than a lengthy delay for construction, we made it back without issue. I woke him up, got him inside and settled, then fixed our dinner (at 3 a.m.) and off to bed at 4. He was very tired; as was I; but glad we made the trip. He’s already planning for the 2014 tour! I think next time I’ll pack finger foods and an extra shirt…..