"The Swallow Study" or "More Weird Things I Never Knew Existed"
Smiling Faces

“Make friends with the angels, who though invisible are always with you.” Saint Francis de Sales

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We are 6 days into our Hoag Hospital Tour. The latest is that Vernon will be sent back (after Dialysis) sometime Monday afternoon. I wish his recovery was going more quickly here, but then, I don’t know what to expect, so for all I know, he IS doing great. The staff seem to think so, but they only met him on Monday at an uber-low.  As a novice caregiver, I still can’t shake the idea that he is only as good as his last best self.  Time to release the perfectionist in me, perhaps?   One proactive thing I can do is look for the angels…or as Mr. Rogers would say, “the Helpers.

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Not only has Talar been my personal hospital guide all week (paying for my daily parking fees and treating me to lunch and coffees, not to mention the “inner circle” valentine chocolates from the case-management staff-room) but her husband, Patrick, who happens to be a chaplain-at-large, paid a visit. What a Dynamic Duo they are. They both came together to pray at Vernon’s bedside and offer him some spiritual care.  I got to have lunch with them too and hear their love story, how they met in Norther Iraq years ago. I could fill a blog up with the richness of their unexpected story.  When you get better, Vernon, they have promised to come tell it to you in detail.  Look forward to it…its worth the wait!

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Another sweet surprise at this hospital was that our friend Amanda Girard was a nurse on his very floor. She came in to bring Vernon a smile today. It’s been comforting for me to see her bustling around the ward as well, when I catch a sighting.  I know on a good day, he has remembered playing football (soccer) on the weekends with the local crew.  She was one of them.  Seriously, what are the chances?

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This is the amazing Dr. Close, whom I hear from everyone, is the BEST  Vernon could get.  She has called me at home every night and sat down for consultations a few times in person.  I won’t write too much here, but she has informed me of a few things about his former care, according to the records she has received, that imply some things about his former care that I was not aware of. My darker side wants to scratch my claws out of anger, but I also know that some of this could be down to miscommunication and my own naiveté. Knowledge is power though, and I will be doubly vigilant from here on out. Let’s just say I am thankful to be moving to a new care home, where we can have a fresh slate.

Today, the most beloved of Vernon’s personal angels came to visit. Who else: The Maki! (I was trying to take a shot of this local Crystal Cove photo on the hallway wall, but Maki had different ideas, jumping out in front of it.  Can’t be mad at that smile though.)

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He was terribly impressed with how posh the hospital was, even though it was a bit of a ghost-world today, so empty of the week-day busyness. As long as they have BBQ potato chips and Dr. Pepper in the cafeteria, he’s a happy kid.  Sadly, today was the first day that Vernon didn’t seem to know him when left to his own devices.  Of course he remembered once we told him. As for myself, when I asked if he knew my name, he said: “Wife!”  After some of the other things I’ve heard him call me these past few months, I was totally satisfied with that answer. In fact, it’s possible to believe that he quickly went through the other jumbled names in the “significant relationships” file of his brain and realized “WIFE” was the best/safest answer he could find.  Brilliant and efficient!

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Angels don’t always need to take human form in order for us to recognize them. I was surprised to see someone had placed a big teddy bear under Vernon’s arm overnight. Now, he is a grown man, so it could be seen as a little silly, but it gave him something to hold on to instead of pulling at all his wires and catheters.  And why not a teddy bear?  It just shows we haven’t looked under every stone quite yet.

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These fragrant birthday flowers and a small hedgehog from the gift-shop (chosen by Justine) may not be angels, but they are reminders that people care about him. Next to these, there is a big birthday card, sent by his parents. He is never alone, even when none of us can be there in the room.

“We are each of us angels with only one wing, and we can only fly by embracing one another.” Luciano De Crescenzo

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"The Swallow Study" or "More Weird Things I Never Knew Existed"
Smiling Faces