Monday, August 24, 2015

What I've Learned This Week

It's been a long and crazy week, but we're in a better place than we were a week ago. Dad is making progress. He's awake a lot more. He's stronger. He's figuring out how to help himself more. The doctors say he might have more surgery Wednesday. Or he might not. We'll just have to wait and see.

Rachel continues to brighten our hospital world with her funny observations. This weekend she asked how Poppy was and I explained that he was really sleepy and kind of dopey from his medicine. Rae replied, "Oh, like the Seven Dwarfs!" Mom messaged me today that Dad was pretty grumpy. Still a dwarf. I brought him a picture to hang on his wall tonight. We're waiting for the day he's Happy.
Here are some random things I have learned over this past week:

-- I've learned nurses are awesome. Every single nurse and nurse's aid has treated Dad with such gentleness and patience. They explain things carefully to him and cheer him on. They are just amazing.

-- I've learned that there are no real answers in the hospital. Things happen or they don't. Surgeries happen on a certain day or they don't. No one is really in charge and everyone has different information. You can be frustrated by this or you can just roll with it. There's a very limited future in the hospital, just a lot of now time.

--I've learned that double occupancy hospital rooms well, suck. They're crowded and loud and there is constant commotion with hospital staff coming and going. And the whole concept of privacy is just a facade.

--On a related note, I've learned that crazy roommates are incredibly stressful, but then become part of family legend. Just ask one of us about Mr. Methadone or Magnet Man!

--I've learned that the hospital cafeteria has decent food and bad pop. And that the fresh fruit bar is greatly appreciated.

--I've learned that my phone is my friend, I have called and texted and emailed and posted on Facebook and been oh so grateful to be able to do so.

--I've learned where to find the family lounge and the bathrooms and the ice machine. I know where each bank of elevators goes and how to navigate the parking garage. I recognize the nurses and aides and the volunteers at the front desk. I've spent way too much time at the hospital...

--I've learned that taking care of parents who are sick or hurt or stressed out is sometimes a lot like taking care of a 3 year old. They whine. They cry. They ask the same questions over and over. They have little fits. They need lots of naps. And, just like caring for 3 year olds, you somehow find the patience to get them through each little crisis. And it's all okay.

--I've learned that friends really do mean it when they say "Let me know if there is anything you need." My parents friends and mine have stepped in to feed us, take care of my kids, sit with my dad, call, send messages of support, visit, hug us, listen, and take care of everything that needs done at home. That support has felt like blessings raining down upon us and it has helped us feel surrounded by love.

--I've learned that discussions about surgery and rehab and skilled nursing aren't as scary as you might imagine. In fact, after a week of hospital life, they sound quite positive.

--I've learned that You Take Care of Family is hard work, but that I am so glad that I can be there through all of this.

I have felt so many emotions this week - fear, sadness, grief, frustration. But mostly I have felt such deep gratitude. I am just so overwhelmingly grateful for all of the good in a tough time. Grateful for the friends who have surrounded us. Grateful for the prayers that have been said on our behalf. Grateful for my family. Grateful for my Dad. Just blessed.


  1. And an introvert who loves reading your blog is pulling for all of you as well. When life settles down for you I'd like to introduce myself "properly" somehow.

    1. Thank you! Introduce yourself any time.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I'm Martha, an adoptive mom and English professor who lives in NYC (Manhattan); my daughter is a year older than Kate. I've loved reading about Kate and Rachel, and I also love your photography and prose posts. Several times I've thought of commenting on your posts, as so much of what you write about resonates with me: teaching, family, life. But, you know, the introvert.... The sunflower post (photos and words) from August was breathtaking. Thank you. You can find me on Facebook.

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    Did you know that you can get these AUTOMATICALLY & TOTALLY FOR FREE by getting an account on Like 4 Like?


I love birthdays!

the ladybug cake

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Jie Jie and Mei Mei

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
Peeking through the windows

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Park Pictures
Katherine and her toothless smile

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Park Pictures
The little one leads the way