Today is daughter Lauri’s birthday (lower right in photo). She says today is the 23rd anniversary of her 23rd birthday. We all have our strategies…. I suppose there are better birthdates to have than Dec 28…if your interest is presents. Christmas is too much competition. Even as a parent, I tend to remember her birthday a bit late. Happy birthday, Lauri. “Back in the day” I called her “Miss Minnie”. Why? I have no idea. Ditto for her siblings in their earliest years:”Picklewisp” (Tom); “Miss Swiss” (Joni), and their youngest sister “Miss Heather”. These are the kinds of things you think of when you get older.
It has been quite a month; quite a year. We all know that life is uncertain. This year, like every year, a Christmas note comes about a friend who died. You know you’ll get such notices. You don’t know who….
This year I single out Lauri, among many others, including my and Cathy’s children, for being there when the chips were down. This diminishes no one else. Lauri became the taxi when there was a need; she ministered to my spiritual welfare at a time when the spirits were down.
All I can say is “thank you”.
Especially, an additional thank you and gratitude to my wife, Cathy, who now has to “manage” this case at home (not always easy!)
I gather that my heart procedure was more complex than predicted. Predicting my small stroke was probably impossible – perhaps the probability was significant, but not the result, when it was found, after the surgery, that I could not properly stand on my left foot. In the post-op fog, I remember that. (The residual problem with the stroke appears to be minimal, and hopefully will become a memory, only.)
Today, Dec. 28, I’m running no foot races, but the walker I left the hospital with seems near unnecessary, though I’m pretty weak, physically. Managing 16 stairs has proven to be no problem Christmas-New Years week means physical and other therapy will not begin till Jan. 3.
I’m not one to be cooped up; an hour at a nearby coffee shop this morning was welcome. We all have our habits. Soon will be the first visit since the surgery to “my” Caribou Coffee, a near daily place to begin my day for the last 18 years.
As I write, 24 days out, I’m at home and the post-op process continues and will continue for quite some time. I have been deeply moved by all the assorted kinds of messages from friends – simple greetings, e-mail, etc. Family has been central.. Yesterday grandson Bennie Menier, my Caring Bridge kin kid, was over along with his parents and grandparents – he had previously visited me at the hospital as well. Grandson Spencer arrived at the door on Christmas Day in his Marine dress uniform, home on a leave I didn’t know about. Everyone who reached out was so solicitous. A list would be very long, very incomplete, since I would without doubt miss someone/something.
Everyone, in whatever circle is part of my personal “infrastructure” – support system. These are people who appear when chips are down, in mostly quiet ways.
I am not accustomed to feeling helpless; this has been a superb lesson in the goodness of humanity, generally, and doesn’t require physical evidence of any kind. The word seems to get around.
I want to add a word or two about Edina Southdale Hospital, Fairview Acute Rehab and the entire Fairview-University Hospital system of which I have been a patient since the early 1990s; and with which I have been personally acquainted since my first wife, Barbara, died at age 22 at University Hospital July 24, 1965, awaiting a kidney transplant.
Day after day, for 17 days, my life was in Fairview-U’s hands, at a time when I was completely out of control of almost anything. The system continues to monitor and advise as recovery continues.
Other than driving past the hospital and the Rehab center on numerous occasions, I had rarely entered their doors for any reason, and had never experienced in person the wonderful people who all did their best to shepherd me through not always gentle waters. We patients can be difficult customers and I am thankful for all of those within the system who assessed, advised, coordinated, mediated, as needed, and continue to follow up. It is good to know that I and my family are not on my own.
The person I select to represent the hundreds of Fairview folks helping me survive the 17 days is the anonymous man, perhaps in his 50s, perhaps a volunteer, who delivered my meal to my room several times in Acute Rehab. I don’t know his name, and we didn’t talk about weighty things, and our conversations were very short, but much appreciated. Each time he showed up with the tray his presence was a bit of sunshine – a kind word or two, and off he went.
I could list many, many others who dealt with me during those 17 days in the hospital.
Systems as Fairview are collections of people, with the assortment of personalities, etc., which go with the word ‘humanity’. Add to the mix the clientele which goes by the name “patient” (a most interesting word when I think about it, shortly after my experience of having been one…) We patients are not there willingly, and are often frightened, and possibly not on our best behavior. But hospital workers of all ranks seem generally to do their best while we are in their care. Thanks to every single one of them.
Again, thank you to everyone, everywhere.
I would hope to personally acknowledge in some way, every one who has reached out. I suspect this will be a near impossible task to do…so in lieu off a personal thank you, please accept my gratitude for your caring.
Happy New Year.