In Tiger Town


I am still in Detroit, though I suppose I am neither decorative nor functional.  I believe my Janter is an annoyance, but my intentions are good.  Five days after open heart surgery, my brother has taken up residence in the Homewood Suites in order to be close to his doctors and hospital should any complications arise.  It is the perfect spot:  he has a handicapped room, the breakfast and dinner are served community style, and there are no interruptions during the night.  His wife is a court reporter, and she has ventured out a few times to fulfill work obligations, and “Mike sitting” gives me a chance to feel less than superfluous. All in all, this process is an amazement; we live in magical times. The road back will be full of small and large challenges, and lifestyle adaptations.  Mike has a healthy life style and diet, but exertion and temperature extremes will affect him forever.  He will be on medications that alter his body chemistry, and he will have to regulate them.  Right now lasix and beta blockers are getting him up and putting him down, and the blood thinners and greasers have made every injection site purple.  But he is a gamer, and when he smiles, or hikes, or reassures us- we realize how blessed we are.


The other blessing that comes through loud and clear is family.  Paul sent Mike’s test results to my cousin Mark, an internist.  Mark snatched Mike’s care from a lolly gagging hospital up North to the one he practices at.  Dr. Mark’s father died after a jog in Ireland, and Mark did the autopsy.  Mark knew exactly what was up, and his skill expedited the process of diagnosis. Mike’s sons traveled in from Chicago before I did, to distract him before the surgery.  The five siblings have called, visited and converged upon every venue that Mike was in.  The outlaws, as they call themselves, have popped in, made turkey breasts, shopped and transported.  They have allowed the evaporation of their spouses without complaint.  I was fortunate enough to land at my sister, Marie’s house, which is like a Bed and Breakfast.  There were flowers on the nightstand, clean sheets, fresh muffins and cookies, good company and wonderful meals.  She works for a medical practice, so she is a good translator for me. 

  Mike’s wife is the ultimate multi-tasker:  she has been programmed to care for her husband, juggle the home front and her job, and hold us at bay when Mike is tired.  That last part is a job by itself.  

 Paul scouted the out-patient placement here at the Suites, finding a room with a walk-in shower, two beds and a kitchenette.  He is a sturdy brother, and that is a bond that fortified him to stand tough as he watched Mike tip-toe away from a certain death to a strong future.  My parents stretched their income to the corners when they had six kids.  This week, the proverb that “many hands make light work” has led us to appreciate their sacrifices.
These days, families are scattered far and wide, and during the past week, I have felt great empathy for those who face these challenges alone.  The bond of family love will not patch all the rough spots in life, but it is a foundation.  Of all the blessings I have reflected upon this week- good hospitals, geographic proximity, modern medicine, a skilled surgical team, Tiger games, and understanding and kind husband- family is the one I repeatedly praise God for.  
Five days after being tethered to 15 tubes and lines, Mike is emancipated.  He is in good hands.  Life goes on.

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