It’s been clear from several of my past blog posts that I’ve been doing my Spring house cleaning for the past few months. Yes, it’s now become Summer and Fall cleaning, but, whatever.
The only area that’s been left to tackle for the past month or so has been the master closet. But before you start to feel sad for me, I have already gone through all of Dale’s clothes. In fact, he and I went through most of it together before he moved to Bickford Cottages.
And I go through my clothes on a pretty regular basis, so this really wasn’t a big job that I was dreading. I just hadn’t gotten around to it yet.
One of the items on the very top shelf was the stuffed heart he got from the hospital staff after his triple bypass surgery nearly 15 years ago. Not only did it serve as the item he was to clutch if he needed to cough or sneeze, but it also became the place that staff, visitors and friends added their words of wisdom for Dale during his stay.
I kept debating whether it was something to keep or not. I’ve read the messages many times over the past years, so there weren’t any new revelations on it. But I did find myself smiling a lot as I reread all of them today.
Then it hit me. This would make a great blog post! And not a sad one, for a change. 😊 The messages on it covered the full spectrum of what you might write to someone recovering from heart surgery. Especially someone like Dale whose circle of friends was so very wide.
But before I share all that was on it, I have two favorite memories from that experience that still make me smile today.
- Dale was SO proud of this one and I share it with apologies to my readers (myself included) who aren’t great fans of bathroom humor. For any of you who have experienced either your own surgery or that of a loved one, you know that there is one very important activity that must occur before you can go home. Or in this case, be moved out of CCU.
That’s right. It’s the bathroom job. Once the spirit moved Dale, literally, it was a great day and a sign that he was healing. One problem – as he liked to tell it – he broke the toilet. Yep. Had to get the top maintenance guys up there with their big snake to get things moving again. And even funnier (to me), was when he did get moved out of CCU, this particular story, and his reputation, had preceded him to the telemetry floor he was moved to. Everyone got such a kick out of this story, but no one more than Dale.
- The second story all happened while he was completely out of it, recovering in his room. He wanted me to take a picture of him right after surgery because he was curious enough to want to see what he looked like. We even got clearance from the hospital staff to do it!
But when the time came for the photo op, I freaked out a bit and couldn’t do it. Keep in mind, he had not regained consciousness yet. I was accompanied into his room by both of his daughters, so one of them graciously offered to take the picture for me.
This was before all the smartphone cameras so her camera had a little flash on it. As soon as she snapped the picture, with the flash, Dale’s eyes flew wide open and we ALL completely freaked out. We ran out of his room, down a staircase for a few floors and ended up lost somewhere in the employee cafeteria! Only later did we find out from the nurse that he never really regained consciousness then; it was just the body’s reaction to the flash. That one still makes me laugh to this day!
So, with that backdrop, here are the unaltered messages from his hospital “heart” – with no names attached!
“Hurry and get home. I love you!”
“Dale, be good.”
“Faker! Get well soon! God bless…” (Yes, that was all from one person!)
“Best wishes for a speedy recovery from the bottom of my heart.” (Strategically written at the bottom, of course!)
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Phil 4:13. We’re praying for you!”
“Get well, I [heart] U”
“Get rolling soon”
“Get well soon!
“Love you, Dad, you’re doing great!”
“We want you home – take care”
“Patients like you make everything worthwhile. You are great. Never forget your first Colgate shower.”
“ ‘Bout time”
‘You’ll do anything to get out of vacuuming! I love you! Come home soon.” (OK, that was me, signed Nurse Ratched – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest)
“You’re a good guy. I’ve enjoyed taking care of you. Stay healthy!”
“I’ll send all the good plumbers your way. Beware of ‘the stick lady!’ Best of luck!” (editorial note – stick lady was the rehab person whom Dale wasn’t real fond of…)
“Hope you have a speedy recovery. You’ve been a great patient.”
“Thanks for letting me take care of you. You were a joy!”
“Keep up the great work!”
Such a nice collection of sentiments, but a definite theme that he was a patient the staff all enjoyed. Our main CCU nurse was pregnant with twins at the time and before we left her floor, Dale wanted me to give her some cash to use for any upcoming baby expenses. So much like him.
Nothing more to add. No deep lessons. Not even a scripture text this time! Hope you got a smile or a chuckle out of the stories or the messages. I’m smiling as I type this. 😊