Spoiled – Strong – Grateful

May 2, 2019

 “You can’t be spoiled if you do your own ironing.”  Meryl Streep

Well guess what Meryl, I do my own ironing and my husband’s as well. In spite of that, I know that I am spoiled.  I live in a beautiful home surrounded by scenic beauty.  My daughter and her family live right next door so I get to see my grandchildren daily.  If anything goes wrong and I mean anything, my husband is right there to fix it for me or hold me until it passes.  Some people might call my life charmed or spoiled or magical.  I call it blessed!

“You never realize how strong you are, until being strong is the only choice you have.”  Bob Marley

April 17th I jumped on an airplane and flew to Fort Myers, Florida to stay with my sister-in-law for a couple weeks as she recovered from yet another surgery in her cancer battle.  The first couple of days after I arrived, the hardest thing I had to do was find my way from her home in a gated community to the rehab hospital she was staying in.  Google Maps and I became the very best of friends. 

The nurses found us a medical transport to bring her home on Friday afternoon through a torrential downpour of rain.  With a bit of help, we made it safe and sound.  Saturday the home health care nurse arrived with a suggested number of ways to help make the recovery and rehab more comfortable and hopefully a bit easier.  Between Google and Amazon, it was fairly easy to find and order just what we needed including a wheelchair, a lift chair, wheelchair cushion, high rise toilet seat, bed pan, grabber, thermometer and a bed rail.  To say the least, I was totally unprepared for all of this.

As the days progressed instead of getting stronger even with home PT, OT, home health aide (who we never did see), social worker (who we also never saw),  I could see that she was getting weaker.  Our eyes were on Thursday morning as she had a follow-up with her surgeon in his office.  Other family was hundreds of miles away in Oshkosh, WI.  Through many phone calls, text messages, and emails ideas were shared and advice given.  Ultimately, however, I was on the hot seat and needed to come through for my sister-in-law.

Wednesday, one day before the appointment, found her unable to get up out of the lift chair, one minute shaking with chills while the next burning hot, and not real interested in eating much of anything.  I suggested going to the ER by ambulance and she flatly refused.  I should have just pulled up my big girl pants and taken her anyway.  I did not.  It was a very long sleepless night of worry and second guessing.

The medical transport arrived 30 minutes early and caught us off guard – ready but not quite.  A bit of a bathroom dilemma had us behind just a bit.  My patient by now was unable to be of much help.  She was shaky and weak and unable to get herself out of the lift chair and into the wheelchair.  A few other problems were beginning to present themselves as well. 

As the address of the doctor’s office came into view, all three of us in the van breathed a huge sigh of relief.  The wait for the doctor for me was unbearably long.  I can only imagine how long it must have felt for my sister-in-law!  After the doctor’s exam and consequent orders, the medical transport took us directly to the hospital instead of back home as was planned. 

Why does time move so slowly when someone you love is suffering and in need of  a bed so desperately?  The registration process seemed interminable.  FINALLY she was in the hands of the caring nursing staff.  My sense of thankfulness and relief was immeasurable! 

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Am I different now than I was only a week and a half ago?  Have I learned anything worthwhile from this experience?  Am I a stronger individual with a greater appreciation for the men and women in the medical profession?  As we say in Minnesota, “You Betcha!”

My sister-in-law continues to be hospitalized for which I am most grateful.  She is where she needs to be getting the excellent care that we all deserve.

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