a life well lived

Sunday, January 4, 2015

dispatch from KRL - taking my ease at HRH 01/03/01

My hospital stay has been a more restful than I could have imagined, based on past experience.  Just as my breakfast showed up this morning, so did a volunteer to take me down for a cardiac ultrasound.  I thought "Good bye breakfast."  Instead, the volunteer cheerfully said, "You enjoy your breakfast, then call me when you are ready to go down for testing." 

You  could have knocked me over with a feather.  At one time, the test - not the breakfast - would have taken precedence.  I ate my breakfast in peace.  It was not until I was good and ready that we rolled on down.  I saw that same shift in attitude throughout the day.  What a blessing.

I have been touched by many people over the past 24 hours, starting with Peter and Elsa and, of course, my physician, Dr. David Litt.  Other hospital staff who have gone out of their way to make my stay as comfortable as possible include Jack (the volunteer who put my breakfast first), Carol, Brenda, Bill, Jennifer, Pat and Italia.  One of the staff - I did not catch her name - stopped by to check me out.  She was a snappy dresser and had a pair of beautiful bracelets on her wrist with gemstones that flashed like fire.  I admired them, then held out my right wrist with its collection of medical tags bracelets and impishly asked - "Do you like mine?"

I felt like a queen holding court.  Both Peter and Mim called today - Mim called this morning and this evening.  Peter would have come over, but was tied up at work.  Andy Doering stopped by early in the afternoon, Elsa popped in around 1:30. 

You can tell she is a veteran of my hospital stays.  Without my even asking, she brought over fresh undies, a supply of Depends, my tooth brush and tooth paste, my brush and comb, even my eyeglass case.  

She also brought over the "wellness" chain, which she draped over a picture from, and a basket filled to overflowing with silk sunflowers, brilliant butterflies, bumbly bees, tiny American flags - even a tiny canoe - from the summer tree. 
She headed out when the Rev. Jeremy Simons arrived. 

Jeremy was wonderful - he read part of a sermon about walking in the woods and left a copy with me.  We said the Lord’s Prayer together - that always gives me a powerful sense of peace and grace - and together we recited, "The woods are silent, dark and deep..."  Jeremy’s visit left me in a lovely, peaceful state. 

This evening, Elsa dropped by again, pineapple sundae in hand.  It has become  a tradition - she always stops at the Dairy Queen in Bethayres for a pineapple sundae to bring when I am in the hospital.  It was deeelicious.  She came in just at the tag end of Peter’s phone call.  She hung around until the announcement at 8:30 that visiting hours were over and all guests had to lead. 

Just as she was gathering herself together to head out,  daughter-of-my-heart Leslie Adams walked into the room.  Leslie works at the adjoining St. Joseph’s Manor and had bopped over a visit.  We had a high old  time, until the two of them finally rolled out together at 9:00. 

It turned out to be a surprisingly pleasant day.  It was lovely to get the print outs of your e-mail messages.  They are all dear to my heart, but I must admit that Bob Ripley’s was extra special, since it included a personal memory about my Pete and Mike and Lockhart Lumber.  I feel very wrapped up in love and caring, from family (biological and of the heart), friends and from the hospital staff.

I must share a memory that is the opposite of my current experience.  Over twenty years ago, I was in the same hospital for an in-patient EKG.  My physician, Dr. Robert Peruzzi, stopped by and said that as long as I was on my back, he might as well do a breast check.  Thank goodness  - he felt a tiny lump.  He had an oncologist down to see me in no time.  After checking me out, the specialist said, without a hint of compassion or caring, "We will do a biopsy and if it comes back malignant, we’ll go in and do a mastectomy at the same time." 

The man sounded like a stormtrooper.  I was horrified by his complete lack of empathy. 

Apparently, my horror showed.  Later that same day, Margaret York (now Gladish) dropped by for a visit and was shaken by what she saw - I was turning "hospital grey."  Well, that just would not do in her book.  She cooked up a scheme to break me out of the hospital.  

Margaret, Mim and Elsa gathered their forces, came over and said, "We are taking you out of here."  I leapt at the opportunity.  Because Margaret had experience as a psychiatric nurse, she knew just what to say and just what attitude to strike. 

Do not mess with Margaret when she means business. 

The nurse was beside herself  that I was checking myself out.  "But the doctor (the oncologist) will wantto talk to you before you check out."  My retort lives on in the annals of Lockhart history - "Well, - I - do not want to talk to HIM!"  Off we went. 

I felt like I had been sprung from Sing-Sing.  The four of us were all a bit giddy from busting me out of there.  I think we went out to dinner.  My doctor got the message that I was not happy with the oncologist and he connected me with Dr. Domkowski (elm - sp?) or Dr. Dom as he was called by one and all, a wonderful, wonderful doctor.

Thank you for your kind thoughts and caring words.  They matter.  I will probably be in the hospital at least another day.  On the up side, it will be  a relief to have the testing done.  Elsa says I look more rested - I think it  is due to the fact that she gave me a facial tonight and massaged in Oil of  Olay.  Who wouldn’t look good after that?

Nite nite from Holy Redeemer Hospital -  Grandma L.

1 comment:

  1. What a marvelous account and perspective on a hospital stay! Thank you Deev.