Pi Time

It’s 3:14 am as I type this.  Pi time.  It’s shift change time.  Linda has had a few hours sleep in bed, taken care of the dog, and returned to the hospital to tag me.  She will now be with Mary Ellen as she sleeps and I will get some sleep here at home.

Mary Ellen has been recovering well, but she has had very little “awake time.”  This is probably for the best, as she has a lot of fresh pain to manage.  The very good news is that her breathing has not been so shallow his time around, which means she has not been awakened frequently by alarms and parent’s reminders to take “deep breaths” so often.  Morphine has been her friend.  When she does wake up, it’s to say “ouch” and gladly press the green button again.

Mary Ellen has had some nausea to deal with this time, which is no fun at all.  But the second anti-nausea medication they tried seems to have done the trick.  She still hasn’t really had anything but a bit of water since before midnight on Monday though.  We ordered a cup of tea for her dinner.  It’s all she wanted.  But, it grew cold while she slept and she never had an opportunity to enjoy it.

There is much more to tell, but it’s for Mary Ellen to tell, herself, when she is awake again.  So far, she’s made two brave attempts to scribble something down for me to transcribe to her blog.  However, she faded after a few partial sentences each time.

And so, like Linda and I, you must wait patiently for Mary Ellen’s recovery.  Thanks so much for all the kind thoughts and prayers.  It’s what we can do for now, and it’s enough.

Focusing on the Essentials

As I write this, my daughter Mary Ellen is in second surgery for a tumor in her right femur.  She is writing about her experience this time in her own blog, which you can read here.  My other daughter is 1000s of miles away on a wonderful trip to Africa.  Although I am much closer to Mary Ellen, I feel just as helpless to help her at the moment as if she were also on the other side of the earth.

Right now, all my training and experience is no help for her.  Her health and safety is entirely in the hands of Dr. Lin and the good team of professionals at MD Andersen Cancer center.  I am left to be supportive in other ways.  In basketball, we used to refer to this as “working away from the ball” by which we meant that you had an important job (getting open, being ready) even when you weren’t controlling the action moving the ball yourself.

Today my job is to focus on the essentials.  I have the second bedside shift in recovery, so my job this morning was to sleep in so I would be ready.  My jobs this morning are feeding myself, taking care of the dog, and leaving the house in a reasonable state.  I am also doing some praying.  Later today, my job will be just to be there for Mary Ellen and to do whatever is needed.  Despite how I spend the bulk of my days usually, these really are the essentials.  It’s a bit challenging to really have a grateful heart at the moment, but I am grateful for the opportunity to focus on the essentials.  It helps me remember what is really important.