Saturday, July 01, 2006

Reception recap, Activities, Blog end & book?

Here's a picture of Denise & a school parent (and nurse) from the reception on June 17th. Just look at that little smile & raised eyebrows on Denise's face! These two ladies are talking about going shopping together sometime this summer! During the two hour window of time, I don't even know how many people came & went. Some people drove an hour or two so they could meet Denise and talk to her for a few minutes. My only regret from the day is that I didn't get pictures of everyone that came to visit Denise. Her only regret is that it didn't go longer so she could have time to spend with everyone and properly make everyone else feel as special as they made her feel. She wanted to get up & speak, but was very nervous. That was OK, since the microphone wasn't working until the very end, and with people coming & going constantly, there never would have been a good time to address her adoring public. She did write something up, which we photocopied for the guests. I need to retrieve that file from a flash drive that's in my desk at work. Doh! I'll get it and post her words next time.

These are some folks that were strangers until the day of the reception. They'd only known Denise & I from the blog. After talking with them, they kind of made me feel like a hero for doing the blogging and presenting Denise's story. I feel like they're heroes for praying for her even though they had no idea who she was. Oh, and they also provided one of the cakes at the reception, so that weighs in pretty well in their favor. Seriously, though, they and people like you pulled for Denise and supported our family in every way imaginable. The most eloquent words I could ever use would still be way to feeble to express my gratitude.

Speaking of heroes in my mind, the tall guy in this shot is another one. He's a school parent that's also a surgeon at USC. Other than thinking he pointed out that there was still hope for Denise's survival during some of the darkest days, he's a humble guy and doesn't think he did much. But I think he's representative of the medical professionals at Arcadia Methodist, USC University, Huntington Memorial, and Country Villa SNF that worked their tails off, applied their skills, cared for my wife in a personal way, and did everything they humanly could to fight for Denise's life. Thank you to all the doctors, surgeons, nurses & helpers of all certifications, RTs, PTs, OTs, and everyone else.

This is a neat picture of Denise with a bunch of friends from her time at Westmont College. She picked some great friends. How do I know? They've become my friends more than ever and supported me & the kids every ounce as much as they've supported Denise during her hospital stay, that's how I know. And yes, guys, some of these ladies are available!

Activities Galore! This is a great paragraph to be able to write... Since school's been out, not only have we had Denise's reception, but we had a bunch of 4th grade boys at our house for a movie marathon (school fundraiser) and we went to an end of school pot luck for Gracie's preK class. Denise visited the CCU at Arcadia Methodist Hospital (I'm awaiting the picture to be emailed to me) and visited Country Villa skilled nursing facility. We had a test run of life on our own, as Denise's live-in caregiver was gone for almost a week doing house sitting for some friends. She's been sort of a security blanket for me, but somehow we managed to do pretty well during her absence. That stint on our own is another milestone in Denise's recovery. We're stoked! Escrow on my mom's house closed (if you need an agent, she'd very highly recommend the guy from Furstenberg Realty that she used) and she moved into a retirement community very close to us. Denise started swimming again for the first time in almost a year at the city pool and again at the pool at my mom's retirement home. Denise's sister & her husband had their second child (her mom just missed the event) and Denise's dad went to do some hurricane relief. I took Jacob to Disneyland, our whole family went to Kidspace Children's Museum, Gracie & I camped out in the backyard, we've gone to the park, and we went to a Dixieland jazz ice cream social where my mom lives. July 5th is our anniversary (talk about the ultimate wedding reminder... fireworks & barbecue, then I'd better buy some flowers the following day or I'm in the dog house). Actually, we alternate planning little getaways each year, and this year it's my year to plan. I guess that for most people a 9th anniversary isn't usually a big deal compared to a 10th. But after what we've been through, it might as well be a 50th or 75th, as far as I'm concerned. I feel like the last year has aged me a few decades. Denise also started and almost immediately stopped taking a med called Geodon. It seemed to have the effect of boosting the behaviors that it was supposed to suppress. It made her feel odd. Why is this great? It's because other behavior changes were only noticed by others, but she noticed this one herself. Anyway, as you can see, between my family & friends, life has been crammed with activity and my blogging has become more infrequent.

Now this is a difficult paragraph to write, as it involves another person to pull for. We found out during the last week that one of Denise's best friends has stage 2 breast cancer. She's 33 years old, same as Denise. I'd give you a name to associate with the situation, but she asked that I not include a name at this time. Perhaps she'll set up a blog at some point and I'll certainly put a link to it if that happens. She was a huge inspiration to Denise, particularly during the hard work of learning to walk again. Now her friend says she's drawing inspiration from what she's seen happen with Denise's journey during the last year.

Blog end & book... I appreciate that so many of you, in spite of your own trials in your own lives, have been keeping up with Denise's struggle for so long. Thank you for caring, or being addicted, whichever. This soap opera's been going on for almost a year, and our lives look like they're now heading back to normal. I was thinking of ending regular blog postings on July 18, the one year mark of Denise's hospital admission. I brought up to my cousin (the map/fund/email list guy) the idea of starting the email list again (this time, more spammer-resistant). That way you can sign up to receive updates, and won't have to keep checking back on the blog, only to find nothing new. But if something noteworthy happens, good or bad, you can still get word of it through email (and yes, I'll post it on the blog anyway). If we can get that email list going again, I'll put a link to it in a post.
And another suggestion that seems to come up from time to time is publishing this blog in a book form. Even though this blog will probably stay online and anyone that cares to read it can have access to it for free for year & years, I guess that there's always the possibility that the Google/Blogger people might take it down. So maybe a hard copy version might show up on the radar some day. Anyway, part of the usefulness of this blog has been the interactive nature of it. Your ability to post comments has educated me, encouraged us, increased the quality of Denise's life, and quite possibly played a part in saving Denise's life. So if we ever do publish a book, there are definitely some comments that I'd like to include. If you can think of a comment you posted that you wouldn't want in a book, please email us to let us know. Denise might want to kill me for writing some of the things I've written, though. So I guess it's kind of a gamble, huh?

3 Comments:

Anonymous Shannon Seeker said...

Hi Phil and Denise! Please look at the comments from your last entry, I accidently posted my comment there! Thanks, Shannon Seeker RN Charge Nurse 3 Tower Methodist Hosipital

July 03, 2006 2:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glory to God, and blessings to you. When things go wrong, your story is a help. And when I get uncomfortable with accepting help, I just hope that somehow it works the same way as the amazing blessing you have been to so many people for this past year.

May your lives be incredibly boring. ;)

July 03, 2006 9:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By all means, put this blog into a book. The story is awe inspiring -- the story of a miracle.

Thanks for sharing it.

Valerie (sister of Terry Mack)

July 11, 2006 8:54 AM  

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