We do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.

~Oliver Wendell Holmes~

Tuesday, July 15

Serendipity in Houston

As many of you may already know, my father had major surgery last Tuesday to repair an aneurysm of his descending aorta. I'm both delighted and grateful to report the surgery was a success and his road to recovery will soon lead us back to his home in San Antonio.

Although the circumstances have prevented me from posting this past week, that doesn't mean I haven't been looking and capturing images. What follows are photos I took as usual, but which I've posted from my computer rather than directly from my cell phone.

Unfortunately this is only a brief glance into the events of the past week. So many more images and thoughts come to mind... the families of other patients who filled the waiting room - as anxious and hopeful as I was - all of us sharing our stories and updating each other on our loved ones' progress... the doctors and nurses and all the staff and volunteers who have all shown such amazing kindness and patience in explaining what was going on, what could be expected, and in listening to - and answering - concerns and questions... the staff of the hotel who are also obviously used to having patients and loved ones staying there and so are equally helpful and generous with their time and support and encouragement... and finally the guests of the hotel that I've met - both the sick and the recovering and their loved ones - sharing our histories and results and comic laments in vans and at the poolside, over coffee and in elevators, the sincerity of our well wishes and sympathy no less deeply felt for our paths crossing so briefly.

There are times and places where each meeting leaves an impression that is a little deeper than normal. Although the stories, names and faces may fade from memory, the experience shared - even for a moment - shifts our perception and reshapes us in ways we may never fully understand.

Daddy's Angels

He carries these in his backpack, which I had with me on the day of his surgery. I reached in for something else and came out with these.

Does This Look Like the "Mascot" for a Hospital Cafe?!?

Maybe it's just me, but this chef does not inspire the mental Picture of Health.

Thursday's Breakfast

This was the 2nd morning after Dad's surgery... following a 5:30 am visit in the ICU... running on fumes I decided to actually eat breakfast. And realized that hospital food, whether you are a patient or not, is still hospital food.

Poolside Pal

I've been trying to give myself little breaks each day... particularly when I was sleeping out at the hospital in Dad's room. Or, not sleeping, as is probably more accurate.
Most days this ended up only being a short trip to the hotel's pool. About 30 minutes of swimming and 30 minutes of soaking up sun to recharge my batteries (I'm solar powered, ya know) followed by a good hot shower does wonders!

As Seen on the Eliptical Machine

On one of the few days I managed to make it down to workout.

One-Eyed Reindeer Silhouette

There are shuttles that run from the hotel out to the hospitals of the Houston Medical Center. For several days I'd noticed this ornament hanging in one of the vans - the one used by my favorite driver. So when I was sitting up front on Sunday, I asked him where the one-eyed reindeer ornament had come from.

He told me they had a guest who had stayed at the hotel for several months while undergoing treatment for cancer at MD Anderson, and of course he drove her to and from quite a lot. She'd been there around the holidays and had made these ornaments for the staff at the hotel. So he'd hung his in the van. And now, whenever she came back for follow-up visits she'd get in the van and smile at the ornament still hanging there. He said he knows it's kinda beat up now, and the antlers need to be fixed a little, but it made him happy to see it and especially because whenever she comes back its hanging there will make her smile.

It truly is the little things in life that bring such gladness to the heart & spirit.

Monday: Today is Angelina Day

My Dad's PCA (personal care assistant) drew the flower, which was just adorable - as was she.
Plus, I found it ironic that this was the day another Angelina and her newborns were dominating the morning news shows.

Hospitals are Messy

And frankly, not a good place for sick people.

Daddy Snuggled in Loving Quilt

This T-shirt quilt was made by my sister-in-law April.
It has been an incredible blessing since Dad was moved to a room. Not only has it kept the chill off me when trying to sleep at night, but made with love and signed by my brother Jimmy, April and their kids, it has warmed the heart as well.