Unforgettable and deeply meaningful experiences came through our lives these last days. The sadnesses and bewilderments were certainly well-matched by gratitude, joy and memories that we're sure will be with us for months and even years to come.
Here is one small way we remember our sisters for the first 30 days:
And now: why were there no entries Thursday or Monday? Because yours truly landed in UPMC Hamot for 5 days with pneumonia! Here's a part of the story: Thursday morning at 3:30 am I went to my friend, Anne, and said, "I don't feel good. Something's not right." After a half hour talking about options, pros and cons, we decided to go to the ER, banking on a non-crowd at such a time. We were right, walking in at 4:15 am we were the only non-staff members there. As we were moving into the rooms in back a security guard wheeled in an elderly man whom we greeted with a muffled "Good morning" and his response became, "Good morning ladies," and then looking right past me (for which I don't fault him) he says, "My don't you have lovely hair"! We are used to this in restaurants or at public events, but it is 4:30 am on a cold, snowy January morning at the downtown hospital ER for crying out loud!
"My don't you have lovely hair" and I continue on back to a room and, five days later, here I am back from my first and, hopefully only, bout with pneumonia (in both lungs). The professional care, personal kindnesses and compassionate manners of the medical personnel and oodles of staff were all top notch, really, really superb. Only one other shocking experience: the standard questions they must go through for anyone over 55 who comes in:
Do you walk with a cane?
Do you need assistance with care at home?
Are you able to feed yourself and take care of your personal needs?
I learned to be calmer about answering them after the first round, but it still was a shock to have them asked!!
And finally, I became aware as I walked around the 7th floor, of the large number of people there who were in obvious misery. I asked one of my nurses about it and he told me that they have many patients with what he called co-morbiditers: people who have 3-4 conditions that cause chronic and constant health issues for them. It's in and out and in and out of the hospital month after month: (diabetes, heart conditions, COPD, obesity, cholesterol, etc). They spend their days "doctoring" for these multiple problems, ending up as an in-patient every few months and then going home to begin a decline again. It was very sad. So, today I am very grateful for my own health and for having friends, sisters and many others who care enough about me and each other, to encourage such.