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Inspiring Day at the Hospital with Pop and His Court

I spent yesterday at the hospital with my father (who experienced a small heart attack early Sunday morning) and my niece, Diane, who holds his medical records with meticulous care and kindness.

We have a division of family labor in creating a team to support my father's ability to live alone. The medical portfolio belongs to my niece--also one of the top 10 mortgage lending expert lawyers in the country. I have the creative-social-emotional portfolio. My brother, Gary, has the land/property management, business and tax management assistance for his portfolio. Together, we've been able to support my father's clarity of mind, vision, and heart to make a productive and high-quality life for him in the home where he was raised, where he raised his children, and where he nursed his wife before her death. Yes, as Arlin says, a thread of love, caring, and devotion.

In the hospital yesterday, that is what so struck me. My father's concern and thoughtfulness for others, in his vein of service as mission. He waited until a civilized hour to tell my niece and her husband that he was suffering heart irregularities for several hours that began in the early morning hours....later determined to be a small heart attack. He's frequently had these throughout the years with no special attention given to them.

In the hospital not only is he a model, uncomplaining patient, the "patient patient" as he describes himself...but, he is also an entertaining patient...the kind that is every nurse's favorite. He even got a letter of reference and introduction from the ER nurse to the Floor nurse! He flirts with the nurses, serenades them, acts the part of the primal avuncular grandfather...what a guy.

It was a joy to see my niece at work. I think she must have earned her medical degree by now as much as she's learned about medicine. She has my father's entire file at her fingertips---a good thing since there are several doctors, cities, hospitals, and a multitude of tests to bridge. If any question is asked, so completely has the information right there, at her fingertips for easy reference to converse with the cardiologist and augment his information to make an informed recommendation.

All of the doctors and nurses and tech people in the hospitals have been exemplary models of their professions. They have been skillful, knowledgeable, good communicators with my father's hearing difficulties, and...kind to all three of us in the room during the consultation. Pop's personal doctor from St. Louis even popped over to Alton, Illinois to see him directly with her own eyes and speak to well as staying in full contact with Diane and the doctors throughout the day. She does not officially do rounds at hospitals; this is her way of tracking the situation.

All in all, it was a good day with a steady stream of medical procedures and tests...visitors coming to see my father...and to top it off, a good visit with my niece, which is more precious than gold.

Thanks for your thoughts & prayers.

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3 Responses »

  1. Thinking of you both!

  2. Janet,
    What a wonderful family you have. My thoughts are with your father.
    Much love,

  3. Dear Janet,
    A few minutes ago I sent your dad an email telling him how much I'm enjoying "The Home Place--The Long Rows" and then I thought I might check your blog. Wow, I didn't know your dad had been through all this!! But it is wonderful that he's at home and that your team effort to keep him independent and healthy is working so well.
    I don't know if he's up to reading an email, so maybe you could check his mail and read it to him. That book is my favorite of all his books that I've read so far--I love it! All the little details of life just really speak to me, like the charred mark on the back of the door, reminding folks NOT to let the open door rest against the woodstove!! And of course the panics, the foreclosures and the failing banks, all is so ironically timely!
    My thoughts are with you and your dad--even though I'm not a very regular correspondent. When I'm outside tinkering with a gate latch or laughing over the blue jays and mockingbirds fighting over the pyracantha berries, I'm thinking of you and your dad.

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