My mom and I visited Dad yesterday at OHSU. His shingles have abated so Mom was cleared to gown up and visit, and, having missed a little over a week of his recovery, she was stunned at his improvement. It was great to see them together again. He was fully awake and lucid the entirety of our roughly three hour visit and though he’s physically rather weak, all his vitals are good. In fact, they’ve clearly reduced his medications again because he barely had any drips going into him. You’ll recall that when he was really sick they had IV bags strung up like lights on a Christmas tree. We were heartened and cheered by his condition.
The downside for Dad is that once you’re relatively well, a hospital patient’s existence is boring as anything, “anything” not necessarily being the word he used. But you know what? Bored is good. We’re quite happy to take bored as a state of being. If he can feel boredom, he’s on the road to recovery. He’s got plenty of physical therapy ahead, and as anyone who has worked back to health from injury knows that’s not going to be a bed of roses.
He’s still on a path to be released to a physical rehab facility by mid-week. Hopefully that will be in Salem so that Mom, me and the kids can see him more often. We’ll be working with OHSU Social Services to find a place in the next couple of days. (Anyone out there with recommendations, we’re open to them.)
A month ago Dad had the pancreatic surgery the saved his life. His chance of making it to the point he’s at today were not good, less than 50 percent according to one of the surgeons who answered when I asked for the odds not to be sugarcoated. I’ve always believed that life lived well means learning the lessons that it teaches you, and our recent experiences have provided so very many to digest.
Although I’m too near the experience and not enough of a writer convey the meaning well, it’s clear to me that there is something to be said here about belief in the face of despair, human resilience, friendship during trial, and deep gratitude for all we’re given. Just over a month ago I wrote “Hope dies last.” From today’s vantage point, I am happy to add that sometimes Hope flourishes.