Last Tuesday my dad checked in to Banner Desert Hospital out in Mesa to have half of his left lung removed. He told me this morning that he barely remembers anything from the week, which is probably a good thing considering what he went through. I’ve just returned home myself and I feel like I’m stepping out of a bizarre dream.
I’m quite certain every hallway at Banner Desert looks exactly like this one and winds around in some MC Escherish fashion. I got lost going to the (best most amazing incredible) cafeteria yesterday morning, and even though I had walked this path around three times a day, in my hospital-fog I somehow found myself in an unfamiliar place. Everyone who walked by me appeared to be the type of person who could immediately shape-shift into a tentacled monster wearing white coats and quiet shoes.
Which is unfair, because every single person I encountered was helpful, friendly, and kind. (A stark contrast to my neighborhood hospital, Phoenix Baptist, where I felt like I needed to pack heat just to walk from my car to the building, and the staff seemed to believe we were a necessary evil as opposed to the purpose of their job. Maybe Mesa isn’t so bad after all.)
If I had any scrap of energy right now I would collect the names of the nurses and aides who took care of my dad and send them a note. They all responded to our every need with a level of compassion and professionalism I have never experienced. Even when I called late Friday night after a particularly difficult day, the night nurse said “He is going to be fine and he is resting. You need to rest too.”
I’m trying to remember that.
Yesterday we all finally escaped those hallways and took my dad home.
Yes, my badass father walked out of the hospital on his own two feet.
I rushed home, folded some laundry, we took our kids to Easter Brunch and I hightailed it back to North Scottsdale where my parents live. I worked out my dad’s pain med schedule, and asked him if he wanted to go for a walk.
Everything I have done with my parents since my dad was diagnosed on March 5th has been more vibrant, more important, more interesting and more powerful. This small walk around the property is no exception.
We looked at every cactus, all the flowers, we checked the pack rat traps and saw some crazy funnel spider web.
See that board? It goes across a little ravine in their back yard. We walked across it together. There are brilliant purple flowers and the three of us stopped to admire them. (Just to give you all a small peek into my mental state, I just looked up “board” to make sure I spelled it correctly.)
What an experience this has been. I am extremely grateful for the kindnesses of the giant net of friends we have. My kids have done their best to understand why I have been away, and how important it is for us to take care of one another.
All is well. Or as well as it is going to be. There is a new normal, and maybe tomorrow I will take a minute to myself to figure out what that means. For now, I will bask in the gratitude of the hundreds of people who have reached out and offered their prayers/positive energy/happy thoughts/support/advice/assistance over the past month and a half. Our road ahead is long and scary, but as Julie keeps reminding me, today is Monday….