At your urging, I did decide to go to the two quilt shops and quilt show yesterday--wouldn't have done it otherwise, but I like to keep my friends happy, so I made the sacrifice. I have a couple more photos for you of the show and my purchases, but I think I'll save those until tomorrow's post.
I said yesterday that I'd tell you a story about an earlier quilt show. Remember this quilt? This is the one that won Members' Choice and Viewers' Choice one year--I think it must have been in October 2003.
This quilt has many memories tied up in it. In March 2003, I was working on the pinwheel border when the U.S. invaded Iraq. I remember being glued to CNN and other news programs while trying to find different color combinations in my Kansas Troubles stash and eeking out enough fabric to construct the pinwheels.
The quilt show began that year on Friday, October 17th. I finished sewing the binding on this quilt late Monday night, October 13th. All quilts had to be turned into the show on Wednesday, October 15th, between 9 and 11 a.m. That year, I think I had three quilts I was entering.
After work that Tuesday, I was busy trying to finish something in the house before I cooked dinner, and my husband was in the garage, getting some Halloween decorations out of the rafters. It was probably around 7:30 p.m. when I heard a crash. I hurried out to the garage to find my husband stretched out on the floor, half on top of the aluminum ladder, groaning in pain and unable to move. I called 9-1-1, and soon the paramedics arrived, immobilized his neck, and placed him on a stretcher for transport to the hospital. I called both of our kids and got in my car to follow.
As it turned out, my husband had broken a rib and shattered his elbow in the fall. He also pulled and bruised several ligaments and muscles. We spent all night in the emergency room, and they finally admitted him to the hospital at 6 a.m. After getting him settled, I went home, got cleaned up, and gathered up my quilts for the show. I had them checked in and I was home again by 10 a.m. to try to get some much-needed sleep.
At 11 a.m., the roofers showed up and began removing our shingles. I knew they were coming sometime that week, but they weren't certain when they'd begin. Of course, they were ready to start our job the day I desperately needed sleep! Isn't that always the way things work out?
My guild holds a preview party on the Thursday evening before the show, and my husband and I had planned to attend. Of course, we didn't make it. My husband, after much delay, finally had surgery on his elbow to pin the bones back in place. When I wasn't at work, I was visiting him in the hospital, and then going home to take care of things there. On Sunday afternoon, I finally made it to the quilt show for a couple hours before everything was taken down, and I found I had won Viewers' Choice and Members' Choice.
Receiving the awards was somewhat bittersweet given my husband's accident, but knowing I had made a quilt that was liked by so many people was a great comfort and honor.
My husband stayed in the hospital for about a week. After that, he had to go into a nursing/rehab home for another week, so he could regain the strength he needed to get up and down. He came home on the afternoon of Halloween, and we went directly from the nursing home to Sacramento State University to watch our son play soccer in the pouring rain--that was what my husband most wanted to do, and he had pushed himself and his doctors to be released in time to see that game--I think it was the last game of the season, and he didn't want to miss it. He was in a wheelchair then and remained in a wheelchair and off work for the next couple months.
By the time he came home, I had finished piecing and nearly finished quilting this quilt for him, which I named "Pat's Ladder."
My husband has muscular dystrophy which was diagnosed when he was in his mid-20s. Saying someone has muscular dystrophy is a little like saying someone has cancer--very non-specific. Muscular dystrophy is the broader category of a disease that has many variations. My husband's form has never been specifically identified. What it means, though, is that over time, the muscles die off or atrophy. Pat has always done whatever he is able to do, and if doing something the conventional way is difficult for him, he finds another way to get the job done. His balance is not very good, and he probably should not have been up on that ladder that night, but he's never been one to accept limitations. This fall, though, and the amount of time it took him to recuperate from it, convinced him to listen to his body a little more and try to accept what it tells him it cannot do. His Pat's Ladder quilt is a reminder that there are just some things he needs to ask for help with and that it's perfectly alright to not be able to do everything himself. It is a constant and frustrating struggle with new lessons to learn all the time.