Mary Beth Writes

11/12/2021

Many of you sent emails and notes and we read every single one. Thank you! We loved the photos of where you live and what you are seeing in your world … and Neal, that fish that you caught is BIG!

Len was scheduled to come home today but the surgeon stopped by a day early to remove Len’s head staples. Blessedly, my sister-in-law who is an RN had just arrived for a visit, so I left the room. I’m not a fan of first-person medical procedures unless I’m the person who has to get the thing done. It only took a few minutes and Len said it wasn’t too awful. I’ll take his word for it.

So they sprung him a day early – yesterday morning.

We have been home a day and it is awesome to be here together. For nearly a day Len has barely been cynical or sarcastic about anything. (He has not been paying much attention to the news yet.) Maybe his sanguinity is part of the brain injury? I doubt it. He’s just thankful and so am I that he’s as okay as he is and we go forward.

Which is not to say we are going to be cozily at home. As all of you who have been through big medical stuff already know, you come home on rubber bands because now they want you to come back and back and back again. Already he has appointments to see the cardiologist, the brain surgeon, to get a cat scan, to see the brain monitoring physician who will be in charge of the healing of his brain. We have an appointment to meet with the outpatient physical and occupational therapists; that appointment is to schedule a series of appointments. And more.

Len’s health and recovery have become our hobby farm. There will always be the next thing to do.

When you all said that the caretaker needs to take care of herself, I heard that. I am Len’s ride for the foreseeable future. I think driving him to all these things will be as much social life as I can handle for a while. I’ve put a lot of books on hold at the library and my goal is just this. When waiting where I am not part of the conversation, I am firmly resolved to read books instead of looking at Twitter. That’s my whole goal and you can hold me to it. I will need some narratives to keep my brain from turning into a tornado of Len details.

We are seeing a lot more of our kids. This situation sucks but boy, we have spent more hours together in the past three weeks than we have done since the kids lived at home.

So here we are. Grateful. Overwhelmed. Curious.

Did I say grateful?

...

I think I need to write an article soon on how to get two free boxes of tissues from your local hospital via two emergency surgeries accompanied by two weeks of recovery in two hospitals. We also got a mini bottle of mouthwash and some hand cream.  

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Comments

Mary Beth, I am so glad Len is now home, where he has not only you to keep him company, but two lovely cats to offer solidarity. All the upcoming medical visits will keep the healing on track. Nothing like a serious health emergency to rally the family together. I bet you are so glad they are not too far away. Best to you both.
Mary Beth's picture

Thanks and yes to all of this. Particularly our two cats who are on him like cat magnets. One doesn't have to scan far to find these cats...

Very glad to hear that Len is on the mend. There are the physical and the mental after-effects from a fall -- tending to both is important. Cats are a big help! Fondly, Kay

Grateful!!!!

This is such great news! Enjoy your family, sleepy warm cats and good books.

That is a good picture of the two of you. The love is shining from your eyes. Here’s to life becoming normal and maneuvering it together.

Being home again is the best medicine. It is a trite but true sentiment. I hope you will soon be cooking up some elaborate meal that only you Len could create.

I'm so happy for you to be home and moving forward into the healing phase. Being forced to move outside of the "everyday routine" gives each moment a sense of immediacy, and makes you focus on being in the moment; which can be enriching, but also disorienting and exhausting. Take your time. Oh - when I was in the hospital a couple of years ago, I got socks with little grippy things on the bottom - did Len get socks?
Mary Beth's picture

Laughing. He sure did get those grippy socks. We have been home a day and a few hours and they are washed and in the giveaway pile. Those pads they put under patients are on their way (via a friend) to an animal shelter. One has to get that bad juju out of the house....

Spring a day early! Music to any patient’s ears. I am so glad, and maybe you will more or less get to sit around over the weekend and have space to discuss “Wait! What just happened?” But all kidding aside, that was bad scary for both of you and will be a pain for a good stretch here, and I am praying for your recoveries both physically and emotionally from the trauma this thrust upon you.
Mary Beth's picture

Thanks so much. And what a way to get the kids to come around, ... We weren't complaining before, but this has been so different, a few hours here and there without their spouses (who stay home to watch the kids so the kids can come here) and without the beloved but very distracting little grandkids. Always a new country to explore - right here in our own families.

Yes! So happy to see this photo and to know that you are home together figuring it all out! You both look wonderful. I am sending a big remote hug to both of you and to your wonderful kids that are circling the wagon (never a doubt that would happen). Well done so far team MB & Len maneuvering this new fork in the road. Rest and read and stay cozy in between those appointments. Thanks for the updates.
Mary Beth's picture

Sent a half loaf of bread home with two kids yesterday. Truck Toast.... when one sends a treat amount of food but not the whole loaf because you didn't make that much in the first place.

A wonderful treat - truck toast❤

Thrilled you are home! Glad you have a plan for self care. It's important! Patricia

What a nice picture of the two of you. Welcome Home, Len. It must feel so good to be out of the hospital. Wishing for a nice easy healing path for you. lol - grippy socks. :)

So glad he’s home and recovering! The kids and I miss you!

"A problem shared is a problem halved. A joy shared is a joy doubled". Happy for you and your family that things are better.

Dear MB and Len, We are sure with you in spirit always. I just cannot imagine the pain your community is feeling now. It is so great to see the vigils and gatherings to help uplift the spirits. Most of us just feel distraught when evil takes over something that is meant to be so joyful. All we can do is keep sharing our love and comfort to whomever whenever and wherever.

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WHITE CAKE!

The picture is our wedding cake, made by my friend Karen, who drove it from Indiana to Chicago on the hottest day of that year. It was in the back seat so their two little boys had to ride in front (remember when kids could ride in front?). They got lost in the city but I didn't know that for years because Karen and her husband start early and had time to get lost and then figure it out. Sometimes wedded bliss is a lot of work. 

The following story and recipe is not about the wedding cake, but it is the photo I have...

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6/30/2022

How Do We Remember What We Remember?

6/30/2022

The Jan 6 Hearings, huh? This is an amazing moment in US history and I’m trying to understand our incredibly intense response. Four of 10 voters have watched at least some of the hearings, which is 20,000,000 people. It’s not just me that can’t look away.

Our Terrible Canoe Adventure

The eagle photo was taken by Len - but not on this trip! 

6/23/2022

We are fine but I have a tale to tell.

American Successes / American Failures

Did you ever have to tell the truth when it was hard? Did you ever lie to avoid a hard situation?  Did you ever know a hard, wrong thing but you told no one because it was going to be complicated and some people wouldn’t believe you and you might end up disrespected or worse for “telling on” someone else?

Most people work hard at learning truth-telling when they are 4 and 5-years old.

Molecule Moving

6/8/2022     

I didn’t know a Panoply of Dental Moments was coming my way this week, but such is life with teeth. One can brush, floss, slosh, and swish - but if one’s teeth want to crumble, they do. Yesterday I had my six-month cleaning. The hygienist said several times that I brush and floss beautifully. I was proud and thinking maybe I would give myself a “well-done” sticker when I got home. Then the dentist came in to do the check-up and said two fillings had cracks around them and needed to be replaced.

Rough Stories, Tough Week

6/1/2022 

Last Friday evening on PBS Tonight David Brooks said something like this. “I am afraid for all of us. The news just pummels us.”

There are as many tough stories as there are fingers on a closed fist. The shooting in Uvalde. The shooting in Buffalo. The corrupt power of the NRA and other obscene wealth-mongers that are destroying our society from the inside of elected reps’ pockets outwards. Ukraine. Global climate mayhem. Oh, and covid is everywhere. Less traumatic for most; long covid for some. So that’s six fingers on that pugilistic fist.

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