With a little help from my friends

Now that things are slowly regaining a semblance of normalcy – or we’re adjusting to the new normal – I want to take a moment to acknowledge my friends who did something large or small to help us through our weeks of hellishness surrounding Mother’s surgery and Bill’s unexpected death.

You know who you are, but I want others to know, too.

Rhonda not only was there for the family and me but for her buddy Bill, too. They had a special friendship and she visited him frequently. She brought us a delicious cake when extended family arrived after his death and made (knitted? crocheted? I never know the difference) me a gorgeous, amazing red wool scarf, just because.

“Red is your color,” she said by way of explanation. Red is love, too.

Scarf made with love by Rhonda

Scarf made with love by Rhonda

Anita made a fabulous cheesecake and offered loving support at the funeral and at home.

Julia, ah, Julia, took some of the hardest shifts, helping Mother calm Bill one rough day while I ran errands and sitting with him part of those few hours in hospice so Mother, Cathy and I could have lunch and while the whole family (and Rhonda) met with the hospice doctors. She and Rich also sent glorious flowers, and Julia considered postponing her own orthopedic surgery to be there for the funeral. (Mother soundly vetoed that.)

Dauphne and Jason sent beautiful white flowers, as well as coming in person.

Julie and Bimal gave me two lovely Red Sari scarves that helped keep me warm many cold days (and nights) at the hospitals.

I won’t even try to list all my wonderful peeps who came to the service and/or visitation at risk of leaving someone out. Your presence was noticed and appreciated. I love you all.

Some of my long-distance friends went above and beyond, too. My dear friend Jan sent me the most wonderful wind chimes – they play the opening notes of “Amazing Grace,” which just happened to be one of Bill’s funeral songs.

My friend Leslie McClure from Pebble Beach, of 411 Video Info, happily sent me (at my request) copies of Tracey Mallet’s The Booty Barre Beginner’s & Beyond DVD. TM'sBBB I’d been doing the more advanced Booty Barre workouts before everything went crazy, but after a giant step backward fitness-wise, the beginner version is more my speed.

It’s as fun as the others – Tracey Mallett is a cute hoot, and at my age, I should really probably stick with the beginner version, at least for a while.

But let me go back in time a bit to tell you something else Leslie – and her friend Jeanne Mattick, whom I’ve only met once – did for us. When Leslie learned way back in early December, when life was fairly tame, that Mother was facing back surgery, she and Jeanne asked to send Mother one of Jeanne’s Secure Threads hospital gowns (more like robes in substantiality), for two reasons. One was for Mother’s safety (more on that in a sec) and the other was to get her opinion/feedback on the product Jeanne created after being a cancer patient herself and after losing her husband to a hospital error.

Mother was so thrilled with the gown that she agreed to model it here on my blog. She gives it a rave review and adds that her nurses, therapists and other rehab workers thought it was just the coolest thing they’d ever seen. One of them took her picture for the rehab floor bulletin board.

Mother modeling her Secure Threads gown.

Mother modeling her Secure Threads gown.

What the gown has, beside substantial velcro fasteners to protect patients’ dignity and hidden slits inside pockets to allow access for tubes and wires without pulling the gown askew, is four pockets embroidered with critical information for a successful hospital stay. The first one has the patient’s name, blood type and birthdate.

That one had special significance for us, since Type A+ Mother had recently been wrongly typed as A-, a recipe for bloody disaster.


Another, in the detail photo,  shows patient allergies. The third pocket lists medical conditions and medications and the fourth has emergency contact info.

For times when a patient doesn’t want the info out there, inner flaps can be pulled out to cover the embroidery.

As I mentioned, Mother loves hers and will definitely wear it if she has another hospital stay.

One last group I need to mention is the folks I do freelance work for. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your patience and for giving me the time and space to take care of my family first.

Speaking of that group, I’m also blogging over at thebernicegarden.org, if you want to check that out. Cool things happening in the neighborhood.

Actually, I need to thank a couple of furry people for their patience in the weeks they got so ignored. Tess and Zuzu, we love you and your exuberance. We do hope you find your inside voice soon, Zu, and could go for a little less gusto, but you’re still a big old pup. You’re both fun to come home to.

My love to all. And thanks again, friends.

Zuzu and Tess don't hold grudges. They just grin and bear it and love us still.

Zuzu and Tess don’t hold grudges. They just grin and bear it and love us still.

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