[Tues. was the 9th; this was posted on the 10th]
At noon we left for Yakima Regional Medical Center to visit the fine folks of the ICU. I was simply amazed. As we entered the parking lot John spotted the nun that floats around the wings, wards, and operating rooms offering support to all. She showed up in the operating room just before my open heart surgery to see me off. I couldn’t get out and run so John had to maneuver around rows of cars, other visitors, and a few in wheelchairs and caught up with the lady just as she was crossing a grassy strip and leaving the grounds.
Then, back at the front entrance, John dropped me off, unloaded the 4-wheeled walker, and left to park the car. I made it through the large double automatic entry doors to the front desk and there found the young woman that delivered all the e-cards ya’all sent. After she paged the ICU Director for me I turned and encountered 3 of my caretakers. One had just delivered a patient in a wheelchair to a family’s van; the other two were just passing through.
Before we made it to the elevator we met my early morning blood drawer – she showed up and poked a needle in me most mornings at 5:30 and so John had never met her. We had an elevator cage to ourselves but when I stepped into the hall we got an echoing “hello” from way down the hall from the mom of one of my former students. She is the nutritionist that keep me fed via a tube for many days and then kept after food services to see that I was served proper meals. At the phone outside ICU where one has to call to get “buzzed in” a male nurse was pushing through the doors on his way out. He had been with me for many 12 hour days when I was in my worst condition and was always cheerful and helpful. He meant so much to John and me through the stay.
Finally we made it through the doors. This is a difficult place to “just visit” because every bed is occupied by a very ill person and those on duty are committed to keeping them alive. Knowing this, we were amazed to find folks squealing with glee to see me walking again. I got many hugs, and even John did. It was a special day. The on-floor doctor was about the only person that did not know me and he seem amused at all the fuss. Nurses came out of several of the rooms, gave me a hug, and quickly went back to their patients. We stayed no more than 15 minutes because we didn’t want to take folks away from caring for those needing the care as I got while in there.
Back in the hall we headed for the elevator. A person had just turned into a door way, backed up, and addressed me with — “Nancy, is that you?” Well, I was in street clothes, up right, and walking – none of which she had seen from me before – and it has been 6 weeks since I was there, and still she knew me. We met another nurse outside the big doors with a freshly emptied wheelchair and a flipped over name tag so I couldn’t see her name. She knew me though and gave me a hug, remarking how good it was to see me walking.
Off to grab a milkshake for me and a hamburger for John, and then on to my surgeon’s last check up on me after the Dec 29th surgery. It was another great meeting when my progress was noted as “exceptional”. I think the surgeon and the nurse are exceptional too, but they are professionally through with me. They will now pass me back to the cardiologist – that visit is for April 14th. After that I should be released to our family doctor (in Cle Elum), also known as my primary care provider.
Finally, we hit the road for home with no further events, except a stop to get some lemonade for me. Arrived home just about 4:00 p.m.
There I had a phone call reminding me about a play date, so we left for town again at 6 for me to play music with The Connections. It is mostly singing (& playing) religious music, plus sing-alongs by the residents with anthems from a book that has the words. Tonight someone chose The Old Rugged Cross, and Leaning on the Everlasting Arms, and others. I still do not have a singing voice, but the others did fine and have strong voices. I played my violin on all songs. It was great to be back. We ended with Amazing Grace.