Sunday, February 27, 2011

Gratitude bestowing

This is my long-delayed Thanksgiving entry, though I doubt I'll ever be able to say it all or well enough. Valentine's Day seems close enough (at least it was when I started this). Not that this will be a ranking of the things for which I am most thankful , but my Valentine, Jamie, is certainly toward the top of that list(and, yes, I did let her read this before Valentine's Day). J, you are my soft place to land, and I've needed a stuntman's airbag for a skyscraper fall on this one (insert Hooper reference here). You've literally saved my life on a daily basis for the last few months, and gave me something to look forward to (your visits) every day during many grey days in the hospital. We've often said, with regard to marriage and kids, that we'd never want to go through it with anyone else. Better than a wife, you are my partner in life. I can't say that I'm glad to have gone through this with you (or to have put you through it), but I am infinitely fortunate to have had you by my side; though I'd do just about anything to undo the last four months or so. I wouldn't wish them on my worst enemy, if I had one.
Good Fortune
Even with a mountain of circumstances for which I am by no means grateful, I have also been very fortunate in how certain events played out:
1. I had tangible symptoms which led to the discovery of the aneurysm prior to a rupture
2. I found an extremely capable surgeon to help me.
3. My stroke affected me in a relatively limited way (i.e. I am still me).
4. The delay of my original surgery gave Jamie and me some extra time together, strolling along the Charles.
Good Family
You can't choose your family, but even if I could have handpicked them, I'd never have done as well as the hand I was dealt. I can't really say enough about how our family has come to our aid, but -- just to be specific -- our kids have been patient and resilient. in the face of events they are far too young to fathom. As much as it breaks my heart to hear Gus' little voice say things like ,"Good job walking, Dada," they  make it so much easier to put in the exhausting effort it will take to "rehabilitate."
Jamie's mother came to our house and cared for the kids during both hospital stays in Boston, allowing Jamie to be there with and for me.
My parents have traveled up from New Jersey, numerous times, to offer support (moral, emotional, financial, and practical), in both Boston and Maine.
My brother and sister and their families were at my bedside in Boston and Portland. It shouldn't take something like this to reconnect, but it certainly helped us all recognize how much we mean to each other. It also gave my siblings some quality time together during long car trips.
Jamie's sister has volunteered babysitting services on a number of occasions, giving Jamie and me much-needed time together and alone both before and after the real ordeal began. My uncle, aunt, and cousin came to Boston and Portland, giving my uncle and me the fortunate opportunity to bond over our mutually-unfortunate debilities.
Good Friends
You can pick your friends, so I'll credit myself with pretty outstanding taste there. Or, on my friends' taste in picking me(especially now that they know it ain't no picnic being my friend).Just to single out a few -- Jamie ("boy") and his wife Stephanie, who acted as Bostonian ambassadors during our stays in Massachusetts.Tess, who has provided nursing care and advice, as well as childcare and a watchful eye for me on rare occasions when Jamie("girl") was not available to do so.
I also can't say enough about how blessed I've felt by the cards, pictures, meals, visits, and efforts made by friends, co-workers, neighbors, and members of our new school communities, in finding ways - large and small - to help us ford through the deluge of often overwhelming calamity.As I tweeted awhile ago (Sure- why not paraphrase myself quoting a famous movie line?) -- Looking at my hospital room wall made me feel like George Bailey --"the richest man in town."
Along this long road, my college friend Katherine( with input from many other geographically-scattered friends) put together a miraculous book of photos and stories.
And in a few short hours I should be on my way to an event (dare I call it a "palooza"?)far more ambitious and generous than anything I could have dreamed up.

And then there are the big shoulders of this virtual community. There's lots of overlap with the above groups, but you have also meant so much more to us than we could ever have anticipated.

Last but certainly not least, I am thankful for the army of doctors and nurses and nurses aides and therapists who worked and continue to work tirelessly to make me comfortable and healthy and whole.
My gift for all of you is a group of  pictures, such as the much-discussed, little seen (fortunately) Superman briefs over hospital scrubs.
Halloween 2010 (Superman overroos)
Christmas 2010

Snow Reindeer
Halloween 2010 w/ Gus (skunk) Aino (clown), and Wyatt(Clark Kent turning into Superman)

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  1. Thanks for posting, Ken. I am so very grateful that you are recovering so well. You mean so much to your family and friends. See you at your palooza ♥

  2. I don't want to sound corny or embarrass you -- but those Halloween pictures were a revelation: you really ARE superman!

  3. Not quite so sure about Santa though... Can't put my finger on it... Maybe your beard isn't long and white enough.