Off to a happy start!

Oscar finally got to check something big off his Summer List yesterday, post-surgery mini-golfing. He’d been eager to go ever since he’d gotten out of the hospital, begging us last Saturday, a mere two days post release. Dr. C, probably incredulous that we were considering it, said, “Maybe in a week.” Paul and I were relieved—we didn’t think he was ready to walk for an hour with only an occasional park bench for rest, but he’d insisted we get her opinion, and she was nice to not tell us how crazy we were for thinking about it.

But we used the promise of mini-golf to our advantage all week—every time he balked about a walk or sitting for a long time, we’d remind him. “You want to be ready for mini-golf, right? Let’s Go!” He is usually fine with the first walk of the day, the pre-breakfast 1-1.5 miler with GrandMary and Grandpa. He only objects to the shorter one, later in the day, often with less interesting company (me). But he plodded through them all week, climbing more hills, slowly increasing his distance, especially on the non-rainy days. He checked weather forecasts daily, sights set firmly on Sunday golfing, once Ruby was back from her Berkeley soccer camp and before Abe’s girlfriend, Allie, departed.

We arrived at the course before they opened yesterday morning. And things were tricky from the start. Oscar struggled to putt without bending. He kept forgetting not to pick up his ball. With his adjusted swing he kept topping it, and we gave him lots of do-overs. He persevered but his patience waned as he kept missing shots, and I kept reminding him, over and over, not to bend. His voice rose, his movements quickened, he yelled back—and, on the 6th hole, he had a big meltdown. He blamed me for not picking up his ball before he forgot and did it himself. I tried to reason with him, but he stomped off to a bench, and I stomped the other way. When I turned back around I saw Abe perched next to him on the bench, and Ruby behind him, rubbing his back. “You gotta take responsibility, O,” Abe tried. But that didn’t work. It was all our fault. So he tried another tactic. “It has to be a team effort, Oscar. We all need to work together so that you don’t bend.” Susan and Grandpa chimed in too, and Oscar finally got back up, still angry, but ready to try again.

And guess what…on the next hole he got a hole in one! And then another one, later in the game. He celebrated with big fist pumps and his spirits lifted. But it was a tough morning—he was in pain, and his swing was awkward. By the 13th hole he was sitting a lot. He got better at not bending though, and we got better at reaching for his ball before he did.

It’s going to be like this for a while I think, at least for the initial six weeks of recovery. Me worried about his posture, anticipating his needs so he doesn’t bend. Him forgetting and giving me a hard time for not helping him more: to pull up his pants, reach a magazine on the floor, spit out his toothpaste. He struggles with taking responsibility—it makes him anxious to be wrong. But with all he’s dealing with, now’s definitely not the best time to be working on that too.

Trying not to bend
Watching the hole in one!
Celebrating a long putt

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