An SOS is sent out, and answered in full

If you’re a news junkie like me, you might get the sense that the world is in chaos, and that some folks are out for themselves. And this may be true.

Our life’s journey is not always taken on a smooth road headed straight to Disneyland. Sometimes, we find ourselves navigating hairpin turns headed straight into a tornado. During those stormy times, some folks may find it difficult to send out an S0S. Personally, I have a tendency to go into lockdown during periods of calamity.

As most of you know, Frank underwent quadruple bypass surgery in May. I must have been in Disneyland myself because I thought (and I worked in cardiology, no less) that once Frank was discharged from the hospital, I could relax.

Fiercely (or stupidly) independent, I drove 140 miles a day to visit with Frank while he was hospitalized. The mental strain and physical exhaustion took its toll. So when Frank’s pal offered to do the driving on the day of Frank’s hospital discharge, I gratefully accepted his kind offer.

Before Frank’s surgery, I had no idea how much upkeep our home required. Frank did it all. Everything needed watering, from the grass to the hanging baskets. Now instead of fighting traffic, I was doing battle with the hose — and guess who was winning. (I broke two hose nozzles in one week.)

One morning, my dryer began spewing lint all over the laundry room. “Now what?” I thought. I was back in Disneyland because my first impulse was to wake Frank. Thank goodness my rational brain kicked in.

I called upon a friend who is super-handy. He came over and repaired the dryer. What a guy! He even cleaned up the debris that fell behind the dryer. He also delivered the nauseating news that the hose nozzle was broken. (The first one.)

With the big brouhaha surrounding Frank’s surgery, I forgot that our property taxes were due. You know the saying, “Nothing is certain except death and taxes.” Believe it. The law says you gotta get those taxes paid by the deadline or else …

In a panic, I called a gal-pal, and before I got halfway through my story, I had a complete meltdown (very un-Ceil like). She, along with her husband, came over and picked up my check. They drove to Town Hall, waited on line and paid my taxes.

Another friend called and inquired about our sprinkler system (something else I’d overlooked). “Great,” I said, “perhaps with the sprinkler system going, the hose and I can part ways.” (The second hose nozzle had broken.)

Our friend came over and spent the entire afternoon getting the sprinkler system working. In a couple of days, the lawn perked up. But, alas, the hanging baskets still needed watering, and I continued to receive a daily soaking.

Then two gals whose husbands had undergone the same surgery as Frank reached out to me. They tried to prepare me for the recovery process. I was back in Disneyland.

When one of the gals checked in by e-mail, I surprised myself by divulging that I felt snowed under. Tending to Frank, trying to work and my daily skirmishes with the hose were wearing me down. Later that afternoon, she appeared at my door sporting a huge smile and dinner.

During that time, Frank and I consumed several yummy dishes we called “dinner surprise.” With the sheer number of cards we received, Hallmark’s profits must have skyrocketed. Every day brought a new onslaught of calls and e-mails. We were astonished and humbled by the outpouring of affection.

Another shocker: I unlocked the door to my patchwork heart and allowed a dear friend in. Her daily e-mails kept me buoyant.

Finally, the hose and I formed a tentative relationship.

Yup, the world is still in chaos and some folks don’t give a darn; but then again, sometimes along the way, we meet angels unaware.

Ms. Iannelli is a resident of Jamesport.

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