Thursday, October 28, 2004

I C B's

Things are going fairly well at the hospital. Amy is moving about a bit more and I've had really only one run in with any medical person about her care. That happened today. Amy was restless and in pain. She couldn't get comfortable. Finally after quite a while of trying, a little well placed medication, and making sure she was "tucked in tight" I got her settled down, and she fell asleep. Seconds later, a student nurse bopped in and cheerily announced, "I'm here to ask Mrs. Main some questions. She's one of two patients I've been assigned today."

Before I could grab her clipboard and smack her tush with it, she had already woken Amy. I quickly brought the Q&A session to an end and told the young woman as politely as possible that despite what it said on her clipboard she needed to consider the patient's needs before her own. Then I ushered her out the door.

I did take some satisfaction in realizing that Amy was for the most part unconscious and I have no idea what answers she gave the poor girl. I suspect her instructor is going to read her report and tell her she needs remedial help in "elevators"….the rubber rooms are one flight up from Amy's.
Although things are scattered this week... I've been trying to maintain something of a schedule. For the past two days I've taken my walking clothes and hand weights with me to the hospital. When Amy has fallen asleep I've managed to get in a walk. I got lost both times (the medical center area of San Antonio is far larger than you might suspect), but I found my way back...eventually. I get lost all the time…I am notorious for it.

No, I didn't stop and ask for directions. No, I didn't read street signs. I didn't memorize my path and retrace my steps…I didn't even fall back on my tried and true method of logically thinking which was the right direction to go and then taking off the other way knowing I'm almost always wrong - that works for me about 80 percent of the time by the way.

No, this time I simply looked up.

Oh please if you're thinking I was checking the position of the Sun so I could then determine my direction, get real.

I looked up and noticed something that I have not noticed in our 8653 previous trips to the medical center area….on top of almost every building there are signs with the names of the buildings in HUGE letters.

That meant if I simply stopped, looked up in each direction I would eventually see "Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital." That's what happened.

When I can actually see the building, even I have a hard time getting lost finding it again.
Last night our oldest child Tiffany stopped by the hospital on her way back to Kerrville. She had been to the dentist and that probably was the best part of her day. As soon as I heard her voice on the phone I knew she was troubled. When she arrived at the hospital (after getting lost on the freeway - hey, don't blame me she's my stepdaughter someone else passed along the no sense of direction gene) it was even more apparent.

Within moments she was in tears. She was upset about work, frustrated at the futility of teaching kids who don't seem to care, and by the educational bureaucratic morass which only made things worse. There were some personal issues that had wormed their way into the emotional hodgepodge as well. She cried and told me all about it and I tried to console her as best as I could knowing full well I had no answers.

Soon I sent her home sensing one thing - she certainly needed more sleep.

I sent her an email when I got home - still containing no sage wisdom, and called her this morning to leave a word of encouragement on her voicemail.

Although she was miserable, Tiffany was comfortable enough with me last night to unload her heartbreak and anger. We were close enough to share each other's pain. Honestly and openly. She may have had a horrible day, but part of it was a wonderful thing for me.

I hope that young student nurse thinks about my brief conversation with her today. In truth it might be a far more important lesson than she'll ever receive by carrying around a clipboard.

Tiffany's frustrations and fears were painful for me too, but they also were something I celebrated…not that she was hurting; but that we have grown close enough to have more than a parental relationship…we share the good stuff and the hard stuff.

It's not that unlike my complete inability to find my own way without getting lost.

Sometimes I have to stop amid all the confusion and chaos; turn in each direction and stare skyward.

Like those signs atop that maze of buildings, God's blessings are there.... occasionally I have to look for them.