Archive for November 2010

FUNERAL FACTS

November 30, 2010

Sorry if this seems late, but it is still “Monday” for us….it’s been a very long day with so many meetings and appointments.   But we have some results!

So, just the facts, as clearly as I can write them:

(photo to come)

Place (of Hubbie’s funeral):   St. Luke Lutheran church of Haslett

Map of local area and church can be found HERE.

Date:    Thursday, December 2, 2010

Visitation:  9:30 a.m.

Services:  11:00 a.m.

11:45(?):  Luncheon, remembrances;  reminiscing, celebrating

2:00   Immediate family leaves . . .

We look forward to seeing Ken’s family and friends, to share our grief and to share our joy of having known this unique man.  

FATHER INTO SON – At Advent

November 30, 2010

 I haven’t forgotten that it’s the week of the First Sunday of Advent.  A whole new liturgical year has begun, and it begins with four weeks of serious personal spiritual preparation for the coming of the Christ Child.     

As this year’s Advent begins, it’s a time of pain and darkness for our family.   Son and I are together now, often reliving the events of last Friday evening as Hubbie passed away…every second of that time.    Sometimes we’re silent, and sometimes we blurt out what our mind is working on at the time.     Our words often indicates a step forward in this whole process of coming to terms with our changed lives.

 The father builds the son.     It began a long time ago….

 

Our son and our daughter have never known life without their Dad.  This is a whole new world for them.  I don’t know yet what our daughter’s thoughts are – I wish she could be with us too – but our son muses out loud that his father prepared him very well for such a new world.  He sees that everything his father did was a preparation for this time when we must live without him.  The pain of the loss will always be a big part of him, but ready or not, it’s time to live out the things he learned, like he’s been “awakened,” he said once.    

He and I each heard a different Advent sermon yesterday, but each one added depth and richness to our thoughts.   The Epistle reading I heard began:  “Brethren, know that it is now the hour for us to rise from sleep. . . ”  – awaken!  walk soberly, seriously, honestly;  Jesus Christ is the Light, the Truth, He is real, and He comes.   Wake up from the complacency of ordinary life, where we don’t take seriously the things that are serious.

Son heard as part of his sermon that during Advent we prepare for Christmas. . .  and prepare and prepare and we think the whole house is finally ready — but when Christmas comes, we suddenly realize we’ve forgotten to prepare our own selves (our souls) and we greet the Light of Christmas in old raggy work clothes, caught short, unready to live our own Christmas experience.

As Son and I scramble to discover how to take on the work that Hubbie used to do, we are finding how well he prepared things for us.  We are a household ready, with Son prepared to lead the way and show me what his Dad has shown him.  Hubbie put himself into our son.    We will not be caught short.

 

So, again, this is the time of Advent, we have four weeks to prepare.   Christmas will come.   Christ will come.  Christ will come again.   Christ will come for each one of us.

Hubbie prepared us well for our world without him.   We saw him, with his own pastor, prepare his own soul to go to Christ.

BLANK TIME

November 28, 2010

Thank you.

My son and I are together.    Alone together.    Needing to be alone together.   

I guess we’re doing what we must, to cope and get through the loss of husband and father.   Son’s  loss is not my loss, although we’ve lost the same man.    But it’s the loss that binds us together, the ripping out of our lives of a loved one.

We’re good….good moments and bad moments, sometimes it’s him, sometimes it’s me, sometimes it’s both of us.   His words give me new insight on my husband;  I hope my words give him new understanding of his dad, seeing his dad through my eyes, too.     We’re starting to perceive a process going on here.

So, again.  Thank you, all, for our time of privacy.   I never realized how important privacy is to the people who really need it.    We’re offered help, and we appreciate it when we say to you, yes, and we can accept your help;  and we really appreciate it when we say, no, thanks, and you understand.    We are both acutely aware of all of you readers, messagers, texters. . .  We’re grateful for your presence in our lives. 

Tomorrow we must end this period of time, and begin all kinds of official meetings and decisions.    Then The Spruce Tunnel will have a more newsy update.

JUST. . .DEPARTURE

November 27, 2010

Not an accurate picture for you this time, but the saints and doctors of the Church often refer to the soul as “she.”    Not meaning the human is a  female, but meaning that the soul is like a beloved of God:   delicate, precious, protected, cherished, loved.     She, the soul of a human.

God loves each human soul and from the time of its creation, He attracts each soul to Himself, until He finally calls the soul home.

We, “poor banished children of Eve,”  cry for mercy;  “…and after this, our exile, show unto us the Blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus…..”

“Hospice Care” is supposed to be longer, we thought, but for Hubbie it was very, very short, and ended peacefully tonight with Son and I each holding his hands,  until no more breath was necessary.        

He had done what he wanted to do, he had spoken all the words he wanted to say,  he had seen his daughter again and his first grandchild;   he was head of our household and father,  who provided well for us, as he felt his duty was, and he raised and helped form the character of two beautiful adults, his son and daughter.   Family was his first and only priority.

Hubbie’s name is Ken.    Please pray for his soul.   

There will still be more thoughts coming from the Spruce Tunnel, but I just wanted to thank all of you who have been on this journey with us and have prayed for us.   

Seems like I’ve said this a million times in the last two weeks:  “I’ll keep you updated.”

DEPARTURES AND ARRIVALS

November 26, 2010

I wished to write this sooner for all of you who want to know if we’ve left Cleveland and if we’ve come home.   There was so much to do today: 

The snow clouds arrived in Cleveland today and hovered over the city.    I parked on the “roof” of the parking ramp last night, and very early this morning I went out to get some “necessities” for the day.

Our departure from Cleveland was supposed to be last night, but at the last minute they decided to keep Hubbie overnight.   I had just checked out of the hotel, and I know I could have checked right back in again, but Son and I were allowed to stay in Hubbie’s hospital room all night long, and neither of us wanted to leave him.

I think we were all uneasy about taking him home.  Very, very uneasy.

You don’t need another snow cloud picture, but this one is for me.    I like winter’s arrival.

Thick, heavy bands of clouds coming from the west and the north.   They were quite impressive, standing in the strong wind on the rooftop in the early morning light.   We are so small compared to the forces of nature.

Back in the hospital, the nurses were busy unhooking all those tubes and wires and machines and monitors.   Robo-Hubbie no longer  looks like Octopus Man…..it was almost humorous two weeks ago when they “tied him up” with all those things, but now we feel nervous  without them.  

How will they know if they have the right amount of medicine in him without the monitors?    How will they deliver the medicines without the tubes?   They are telling us it no longer matters.

And they arranged for an ambulance ride, all the way to Michigan.    Here is our Son  accompanying Hubbie’s bed and the ambulance team during Hubbie’s departure:

Our giant “Viking” of a Son, will ride in the ambulance, providing companionship and encouragement for his Dad…and advice for the ambulance team about the possible use and responses to medications on the long way home.    Son is a pharmacist.   They’ll listen to him.

I pack all the bags and take a last look at the Cleveland Clinic on this dark, rainy day;  looking back from the elevators that bring me to the top of the ramp:

Outside the window is that curved heart specialty building we’ve all become so familiar with.   That’s it.   We’ll never have another appointment in that building again.  This is our last departure from the Cleveland Clinic.

The ride home takes about four hours.  I make a game of trying to catch up to the ambulance on the  journey home.   They all left before I did, and I had to make three stops along the way.  One to fix a giant box in the back of The Big Red Car, which was blocking my rear vision.   A happy thought:    the box contained one brand-new baby car seat — to be used when Cooper comes back to Michigan.  

Another stop  at Hubbie’s favorite Cleveland gas station.  

One more stop at  a turnpike oasis to complete some business with the ambulance company that the hospice people had arranged for us.

I never did catch up with the ambulance.   Son texted me from time to time, telling me where they were.   Even with my freedom to go….well, any-miles-per-hour,  I didn’t quite reach them.    Until I got home.

This  is NOT a scene you want to see when arriving at your own home:

Son’s girlfriend had let in the hospice people and they had prepared the “equipment” needed for Hubbie.    She took in an unbelievable amount of instructions.   She has told me some of them, but she’ll need to tell me them again….and again, I think. 

They had left.   And then the ambulance team placed Hubbie in the Bed-thing.   (Hospital bed, but it’s….so….strange….)   And they left.   And the nurse came and did a lot of work and instructing us (probably)   and he left.

Hubbie has fully arrived back at his own home.

And now our family room looks different.

It’s Hubbie’s favorite room.    It’s not for his TV programs anymore, but he’s resting almost comfortably and he’s able to sleep…and breathe.  I hope it will be where he can see his friends some day.   Soon.   But impossible now.

Soon, I hope.

For now, Hubbie has arrived home.  We have him now.    Happy Thanksgiving to us, for this and for so many, many things.    We’re too weepy right now to list them all, but minute by minute there is something to be thankful for.

HALLS OF CLEVELAND CLINIC

November 24, 2010

Just what the title says:

Just peaceful hallways to calm our minds.

Past that beautiful blue/green/violet tunnel I showed you a few posts ago,  we come to this hallway.   It leads to. . . just everywhere we would need to go.   It’s become so familiar to my son and to me.   It was familiar to Hubbie too when we came here together for “ordinary”  check-ups and ICD tweaks.   He hasn’t seen these hallways this time.

We turn left to the hallway that has the elevators that go up to Hubbie’s room.

At most times of the day there are people in the hallways.   But we have news now.  Hubbie is going to take an ambulance ride all the way back to Michigan.   All the way home.    There is nothing more to be done for Hubbie’s heart here.

The hallways are starting to feel empty now.

They’re all really beautiful in a “Starship Enterprise” sort of way.   They’re not “bland.”   They’re restful and soothing to people who walk these hallways with busy minds and too many thoughts.  The architects seemed to know that.

The main waiting area sets the theme:

Ever hear of a grand piano in a hospital lounge?     If there is no one playing the piano, and if there is no small chamber music group there, then the music is soft, gentle, sustained sounds of what we used to call space music.

The stairway to the parking ramp:

It sometimes seems like a piece of artwork all by itself. 

Soon we’ll be leaving.  

And there will be no need to return.

Mankind is mortal, and the Cleveland Clinic can’t overcome that.

COOPER’S TRAVELS

November 24, 2010

When you’re three days old, it’s time to be on the move!

As long as you’re with Mom and Dad, anywhere is all right.   His little tiny face is right there above Daughter’s hand in the baby carrier.   Dad is driving a wheelchair this day, not his bike.

And also a rented car, for Cooper’s first ride:

The very next day Cooper was ready to go out visiting.   It was time to visit the man he hurried out of the womb to meet. 

Cooper and Grandpa.      (No words necessary.)

Then it was time to meet another very important man in his life:

This is Cooper and Uncle;   they slipped into their roles very easily.    Uncle eager to receive the little bundle, Cooper giving himself sweetly and peacefully to those big hands.     Cooper’s hair color and hairline are identical. 

So many miraculous things occurred during the timing of Cooper’s birth.   The locations, circumstances, timing of information, timing of Dad’s airplane landing, “good’ rush hour traffic getting him to his wife,  Cooper waiting until everyone was calm and happy together before making his appearance,  our entire little family happening to be visiting Hubbie in Cleveland at the same time,  and, of course, Hubbie, who could not have traveled out to San Francisco to see Cooper as a newborn.

We are grateful.   And we know “home” is the best place for these three, Mom, Dad, and  Cooper.   So at four days old,  Cooper made another journey:

Mercifully,  there were too many practical logisitics for a sentimental, tearful parting.   Getting baby and new baby equipment and all the other luggage and ticket and scheduling concerns took all of our attention.    

It’s so odd to see an airplane in the air and think that one of them carried a very precious tiny baby. . . that is a piece of us.

That’s their destination, right down along the bottom edge of this aerial view of San Francisco:

The “Tiny Kicker” has returned home to become a genuine Raider’s Fan.

ELEVATOR MAN

November 23, 2010

I know this is a strange photo:

It’s  a strange photo, but I wanted to capture the moment so I could think about it.   It shows what happens when the elevator door opens and an elevator repairman is working inside.   There are his legs and he’s standing on the top of the elevator car.

We see a lot of elevators nowadays.  Up and down inside parking ramps, inside hospitals, inside our hotel.    It’s a small, insignificant but important and sometimes frustratingly time-consuming part of our days.  

So I happened upon this repairman one morning as I was on my way to see Hubbie.   Kind of nice to know they’re taking care of the  elevators.  I’m not sure why we began talking beyond the usual -“Oh.  Hello.”     He asked me if I was having a nice stay in Cleveland, and so I was told him where I was going,  and then he took the time to tell  me that later that day he had to attend a funeral — for his own father.

We were full of kindness and sympathy for each other, each experiencing life-and-death family issues.

You never know. . .

We’ve found so many nice people here in Cleveland and especially at the hotel and at the hospital.    I’ve been so eager to help people who are more lost than I am and who are going places I’ve already gone to.   People here have helped me in that way too.   There are seven stories of parking ramp, and everyone drives so courteously – no fender benders yet.  People seem to have time to stop and explain how things work around here.

Everyone seems nice.   Even down to the elevator man.   He will never know how much  sharing his story with me helped me that morning.   I would have never expected that he too was experiencing the bad and difficult things of human life.    We had that in common, and somehow it helped to know that.

We have so many needs and sorrows and successes and joys and frstrations and doubts and fears — and we all have them in common.    We’re all in this life together.   The elevator man reminded me how important it is to share ourselves with others, and to welcome the little bits and pieces that we receive from others, that sometimes come from unexpected encounters.

COOPER’S MESSAGE

November 22, 2010

Cooper.   Three days old.   Out and about in the world now, far away from the home his Mom and Dad have prepared for him.   But he’s just fine, because of this:

Hard  to see, but that’s Cooper, holding hands with Grandpa and Grandma.   He squeezes hard and hangs on to our fingers, finding comfort in the physical connection he makes with us, and with anyone who will hold hands with him.

It’s hard work, we’ve found out now, entering or leaving this world, but Cooper shows us there is comfort throughout life in holding hands with our friends and family.    Holding hands, one way or another. 

This is a Hubbie update too.     We just want to say thank you to you for reaching out and holding our hands sometimes, one way or the other.  

Life is difficult, entering or leaving, and often in between.   How did Cooper become so wise at three days old?

DAD & DAUGHTER

November 21, 2010

It’s so surreal.

I’ve exchanged trips to The Spruce Tunnel for trips down this tunnel.   Back and forth between two hospitals, through this tunnel many times a day.

The situation 24 hours ago:   Dad and Daughter, both lying in a hospital bed.

Both interacting  with attentive Cleveland Clinic doctors and nurses.

Both with an oxygen cannula in their noses.

Both wearing an automatic blood pressure cuff on their right arms. 

Both with an IV line in their left arms.

Both connected to monitors with screens of squiggly lines.

But Daughter goes on with life today without all this.   Dad cannot.

It’s so surreal

Such great joy, such great sorrow in all our hearts.

There are many philosophical things to say, but for just now,  I just need to . . . feel.

MEET COOPER & FAMILY

November 21, 2010

Hi !

Cooper found his bed:

Found his Mom and Dad:

Cooper’s First Home:

The hospital is Cleveland Clinic Hillcrest.  It’s going to be a short stay, thanks to God’s merciful providence.    At five weeks early, he qualifies as “premature.”     But all is well.   Good lab tests, good muscle tone, he knows how to nurse.   He just has to be convinced that he has to do it often.    He much prefers to snuggle and sleep.

So comfy in Dad’s big arms:

With beautiful Mom looking on:

The three are inseparable, as it should be.

11-19-10

November 20, 2010

No photos.   Yet.   Just the facts.

Cleveland is still a strange town to us.  We dont know our way around very well, but this is where Hubbie is.   Daughter and I were supposed to meet in his hospital room about 2:00 today.

Hubbie is getting weaker and a surgical procedure was scheduled for later iin the afternoon.   Daughter came in, looking noticeably upset.    8-month pregnant daughter…she was feeling “pressure.”    We sat her down in an easy chair, put her feet up, I got her water, and when I got back, she was timing those “pressures.”    

And talking to her own OB doctor  way out in San Francisco.    She was supposed to call the doctor back to report in “one hour.”     Never made it.   The next stage of labor had us calling the emergency personnel a few floors below in the hospital.

One daughter, one mom, and about 30 doctors and technicians in one little emergency examining room.    She is five weeks early, but examination showed baby didn’t feel it was “early.”    She was calm and level headed and was spouting out 10-digit phone numbers and other needed information.   I filled in on the rest and coordinated belongings, and became the overall reference point. 

As great as the Cleveland Clinic is,   they “don’t deliver babies.”    They called a special Baby Team to accompany her in an ambulance – alone – (without me) – to their other hospital campus, where there are specialists  in neo-natal deliveries and surprises.   

Hubbie was about to go down for his surgery, Daughter went off to some unknown hospital.   Oh yes –  Son-in-Law  was arrriving at the airport around this time.   

Said good-bye to Daughter;   encouraged Hubbie and said good-bye;  and drove off to the airport.   In Cleveland Rush Hour Traffic.    A twenty minute trip took an hour and five minutes.

When he had left California to come to Ohio to visit Hubbie,   he had no idea his wife had gone into labor.    When he landed, he received her text about what was happening.    With hastily printed out insstructions to the next hospital, I flew along strange expressways and new territory, and delivered dad-to-be to mom-to-be.

And stayed with them in the delivery room.   Heh Heh

But not for long.   Hubbie took a long, long time to return from surgery…..There seemed to be time in the delivery room, so I was sent off to Hubbie’s hospital to help him get oriented to his new room.  He looked so very tired and weak.    I left him as he was falling asleep and didn’t want to talk anymore – or be talked to.  

En route to..somewhere…I got a call.    Baby’s here!    And just like that, the world flipped to joyous.    Heavy heart?   Joyous?   Hubbie.   New Mom.   New Dad.     An ecstatic and nearly speechless New Uncle, who couldn’t be here today.   And a calm, strong, beautiful first grandson. . .

11-19-10

Hubbie’s few spoken words earlier today:   ‘This day will go down in our family history.”

ROCK AND ROLL!

November 19, 2010

Cleveland, Ohio;   Home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:

I noticed, when I came home tonight at dusk and looking out my hotel room window, that I could see one of Cleveland’s big tourist attractions.    The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is that glass pyramid structure.   To the left is the beginning of the Cleveland Browns stadium.    Beyond them both is Lake Erie looking rather scenic in a pastel sunset.

As it got darker, I could see the pretty lights inside of the Hall of Fame:

One time, in the past,  when Hubbie was able to walk around after his Cleveland Clinic appointments,  we visited the Hall of Fame.     Hubbie likes Rock and Roll….early stuff….pre-Beatles.    I’m notorious for strongly disliking 20th century music of nearly every kind.   

But it was interesting to tour the museum and see all the actual belongings of famous people in the entertainment industry.   Guitars and drums that were banged on during concerts;   funny clothes that the famous people have been photographed wearing — always smaller than you’d think.   Small suits and skinny dresses.   We even saw the grammar school report card of John Lennon.   He was good in art, if I remember correctly.   

It was interesting to see the guitars and equiment of Les Paul (and Mary Ford), and to see some video of his early performances. 

But…I don’t know.   Locally, back home in Michgan,  we have the wild animal fur loincloth of Ted Nugent.    Memorabilia can’t get any more personal than that.

Well, whatever.     Hubbie isn’t interested in going back to the museum.

He had a good, busy, and tiring day today.   I was with him all morning.  He slept peacefully.  I did a little of my computer work.    The fact that his sleep was restful and peaceful was a joyful thing.

Then his very own sister (and her husband) visited.    We have such a small family on both sides, that a “family visit”  is a big thing.   They live in Ohio on the western side of the state,  so it was a bit of a drive for them.    Hubbie gave 110% of his effort for the visit, and he looked very good for a while.

Then Son drove in from Michigan on his one day off.   Then Daughter and I arrived.    It was a happy day of visiting topped off by a futile attempt to find the Bears game on TV.    We settled for the UCLA-Wash. game, and quieted down to watch it until everyone got . . . Comfortably . . .Numb.

Pink Floyd.   Possibly the best display experience high up in the peak of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

LIVING IN THE 5%

November 17, 2010

Cleveland by night:

Night falls;  days darken;  and so do prospects.

Last night I posted this:   So that’s about a  95% certainty that nothing else will occur and nothing else will be found that will change their minds.   

Hubbie thought he heard good news about the Decision to go forward with the surgery which would have implanted a heart pump to help his heart pump enough blood throughout his body.    Everyone on the team saw no impediment – from their particular specialty’s point of view.

However, only the surgeons can see all the pieces fitting together,  and they don’t like what they see.     Because of the impact of that news today,  there will be more conferring with surgeons and the chief surgeon….so, we live in that 5% of uncertainty that I wrote about yesterday.

 

THE DECISION

November 17, 2010

The Cleveland Clinic Heart Center.  Apologies to the important people whose names are on the building.  I just call your building the Heart Center for now.   

Each tiny square that you can see is an office, an examining room, or a patient  room.   Hubbie’s room is the third level up, above that long gray line, and it is just to the right of center as you’re looking at it.   If he could get to the window, we could wave at him.

Behind one of those tiny panes of glass the Committee met this morning, the representatives of each department giving his opinion about the ability of Hubbie to undergo the very serious operation they have proposed.

The consensus is:   Yes.     It’s a Go.    A Green Light.

Yikes.

So that’s about a  95% certainty that nothing else will occur and nothing else will be found that will change their minds.    No word on “when”  other than “soon.”

We need to take a deep breath, because the surgical insertion of a heart pump implies a total commitment to the mechanical device.    There will always be batteries, battery back-ups,  a control panel, a control panel back-up, connectors, tubes — and a collections of dos and don’ts and never, never dos — or else!

I don’t mind tinkering with computers and electronics  and mechanical devices — but not when the other half of the gizmo is INSIDE  Hubbie!

More detail next time.

A SHORT LONG WORD

November 16, 2010

WAIT:   Short word to describe “a long time.”

We have been waiting.   We are waiting.   We will be waiting tomorrow.  

The apple will fall.

Tomorrow.    The Big Conference of doctors and specialists meet together to decide whether the big life-saving surgery can happen.     Or not.   Or when.

It’s been foremost on our minds. . . .

A “CLEVELAND CLINIC FAMILY” UPDATE

November 16, 2010

Luke 9:23 –  And He said to all: If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

The Soul carries her cross:

As the title of this posting says,  we are now a Cleveland Clinic “Family”  —  a family that forms when someone becomes a patient with life-and-death issues.    The family forms from the immediate biological family, of course, and the extended family such as cousins, uncles and aunts, and then close friends and all friends and all the wonderful people whose hearts are involved and concerned about the outcome.  

It’s a family  of common interest united around the Patient.

The welfare of the Patient bends the lives of everyone in the “family.”    There is a “cross” to bear in everyone’s life in this matter of Hubbie’s heart, be it large or just a small effort.  The heart is on our minds.

  

I promised an update on the family last time, but I dont’ remember what I wanted to say.   Here is a straightforward update:

Hubbie is fine today, relatively speaking.   I am doing what a wife must do from hour to hour, a “cross’ gladly taken up, a cross that moves often from Michigan to Ohio.

 

Daughter who is now a mother, soon to see her own son next month, changed a business conference call with a corporation in Ohio to a long flight from California to appear in person at the conference and at the Clinic – to see Dad who will soon be seeing photos of his first grandson.    Her world “bends” to follow the needs of her father.

Son,  a good man, a professional whose pharmacy can  do without him from time to time because he has managed it well,  has taken on the “cross” of being the reliable support and resource for all his family.   He steps in when needed, going back and forth to Cleveland, flying back and forth to California, not quite finding enough time to sleep.

The Minnesota Cousins who are now good and loving friends, sent their Mom/Wife/Sister to Ohio to comfort, encourage, cheer, and love their newly-found cousin in need;  and  keep in constant contact with texts and phone calls.

And many family and friends who have each in their own ways found what it means to “take up their cross” by showing the love of Jesus in their prayers, their phone calls, their cards, and their thoughts.   Showing care for others is somewhat of an effort;  a burden;  a kind of a cross.

I meant this to be a Family Update, but it’s also our reason to give thanks to all of Hubbie’s “Cleveland Clinic Family” and for the awesome conection among people who care about each other. 

And time to thank the doctors who are giviing so much of their time and effort to take care of this kind of a heart.


Again,  Luke 9:23 –  And He said to all: If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

 

A LAYMAN’S MEDICAL UPDATE

November 13, 2010

For family and friends:

Monday:  Discharge from local hospital, diagnosis:  End Stage Heart Failure

Wednesday:   Difficult and scary ride to the Cleveland Clinic;  admission and “rescue.”   At least from our point of view the doctors rescued Hubbie – and us.   Relief all around.   When did an Intensive Care Unit get to be a “good” place to be?

ThursdayFriday a.m.:  getting used to Intensive Care Unit protocol and procedures, machines and tubes.   Hubbie is responding well.  Some panicky hours as his body reacts to medicine trials, but the doctors are  swift to make adjustments, and the crises are over. . . until the next ones come.
Friday:    Much improvement, most of the time.   Sleep is on and off, around the clock.   Eating and breathing is easier.   Talking more easily with wife and son and one of the Minnesota Cousins.   We are all grateful for hospital policy of allowing visitors, 24/7.   One friend even did some detective work and phoned Hubbie in his hospital room.    I swear I didn’t give that number out!    But it was a nice thing to talk to an old friend.   Daughter calling from California.   I gave that number out to her.  
Saturday:  Continued improvement.   Activities included a game of CHESS!    Sheeesh!    And watching a football game.   Sheeesh again!    Okay, he’s strapped down to the bed with several octopuses worth of tubing, so these aren’t “active” activities, but you’d think…..    All this adds up to optimism on the part of the doctors that the much  needed life-saving surgery can occur as planned.    We are counting on their decision.

 
Hubbie confident enough to send wife back to Michigan for some catch-up work.    Like paying bills, if wife’s energy doesn’t give out.

More on family next posting.

“HOPES”

November 13, 2010

I’ve come home from the hospital now.   A four-hour drive, but it’s beginning to feel like “part of the neighborhood.”   I’ll be seeing a lot of the Ohio Turnpike in November and December.    I hope.    Because if I do,  that means all is going well at the Cleveland Clinic.

Our tiny little family has met lots of very nice people:    medical people,  patients, family, and visitors.    In the midst of very serious circumstances, everyone seems friendly, giving, helpful, and hopeful.    I’m struck by how much good hope and optimism there is  at the Cleveland Clinic.

Maybe some people are just made that way, optimistic, look on the bright side, hopeful.       Hubbie is one of them.   Here’s a sample:

Yep.   That’s our refrigerator and our floor.   Sometime, recently, in these past two months, with his health failing fast,  Hubbie called out for me from the kitchen.  I came running, ready to help.   He said,  “Look at this!  I saved it for you.”  

I looked down at that black “spot” in front of the refrigerator, as he said with a  big  grin:   “It’s a four-leaf clover!”      I doubted it.        “I doubt it,”  I said.     At this time of the year, we don’t have flowers or gardens or trees or grass – or any kind of clover – growing.   

But he insisted.   It was important that he had found a four-leaf clover:

So.     There it is.    I don’t know how it got there.   But his happy, optimistic grin had some substance to it.    We both  needed that symbol of Good Luck.     

We had no idea what all was coming in the next few weeks.

I’ve never been much for good luck and free-floating optimism.    Past experience doesn’t exactly affirm optimistic outcomes.    On the other hand, there is a real  Source of hope.   Hope is one of the Virtues;  one of the Theological Virtues, to be exact:   “Faith, Hope, and Charity.”  

(Virtue:  a good quality or habit that a person has.   Basic definition.)    It’s not impossible for God to infuse virtue into someone, but the most common way is to learn, to desire, and to practice, practice, practice, practice.    That’s the way any “habit” grows.

The thing is, when a person places his  life in God’s hands and submits to His justice, God places the desire for virtue in the  human soul and then  kindly meets the desire for virtue with His supernatural aid.   The Virtue of Hope is called a theological virtue because it is one that has God Himself as its object.   

With the grace of God providing the desire, and  the growth, and the  knowledge of the Himself as virtue’s Object, there is reason to Hope, indeed.        

What a cute little reminder on our kitchen floor.

CLEVELAND CLINIC ROBO-HUBBIE

November 11, 2010

The Future is here:

We travel down futuristic hallways under the Cleveland Clinic, knowing this place where we don’t want to be is still the best place to deliver Hubbie into the saving hands of modern medicine.

If anyone knows how to extend the life of a man with a failed heart,   you will find such people here.    Even if they have to turn him into robo-man with a multitude of tubes and wires and machines with dials and gauges and needles and bags. . .

Bottom line,  the diagnosis is End Stage Heart Failure.  There is not enough natural heart cells left to pump efficiently.   If the rest of the body  proves to be strong enough, then a mechanical heart pump can be inserted.   The statistics for success are promising.

Coming up:  more and more tests and close monitoring.   Medical team conference on Tuesday.    Decision shortly thereafter.

Hubbie has a beautiful view out of his hospital room window.   I just wish he could get up and see it:

Thank you for your continued prayers. . .