We left the house at 6:45 this morning to head to Pocono Medical Center for Frank's TIPS procedure. Frank had not slept much last night, but was nowhere near as nervous about the day as I expected him to be.
Sharon and Michelle, his parentesis nurses, met us in the prep room after we settled in. They kept Frank entertained and laughing up to the point they took him in for the procedure. So entertained, in fact, that he was too busy to notice when I trailed off behind them while going down the hall.
For me ... I went for a breakfast of French Toast at Mollie's, our favorite little place on Main Street. After that, I went to Gertrude Hawk's and bought gold foil wrapped chocolate coins for Mom & I to have ready to give to our friends who celebtrate Hanukkah (Friday at Sundown!) and then I bought my Hess truck to add to the collection that my Mom and I share. A quick lunch on Main Street Stroudsburg, and I was a happy man.
You've gotta love a town like Stroudsburg. Main Street is beautifully decorated with Christmas lights and the shop owners are full of holiday cheer. And no big name stores here, all the shops are locally owned and the breakfast mecca is abuzz with all the local news and hearsay.
Walking down the street, I watched as the UPS driver pulls into a non-parking spot, jumps out of the truck, and warmly exchanges greetings by name with the meter-maid, who in turn walks past the truck and goes about her business, understanding the need for the UPS driver's momentary indiscretion. Of course this is a town where 25cents buys an hour on the meter and an expired meter costs a ticket of $5 payable in cash via the drop box on the corner pole!
Frank's procedure did not go without the difficulties that were expected. Dr. Swank, the surgeon, told us two weeks ago that he would "have to push with all my might to get through the portal vein and the liver". The procedure was a little over three hours. They had to fuss a bit to get the TIPS in place, but as Sharon told me afterward; "We were determined not to let Frank down and to get this done right so Frank can show up NYU!"
Sharon telephoned me to let me know what room he would be in so I could be there ahead of time. I had a feeling that they would come up to see him before they went home, so I bought each of them a little Cyclamen plant and a thank you card from Frank. He was alert when he was brought to the room and, sure enough, Sharon and Michelle came up to see him before the went home.
Nurses are amazing people. They truly are angels whose wings God is holding on to so they won't fly away. The next time you come across one, consider telling that person how special they are.
I remember how caring the nurses were at Hughes Cancer Center when my Mom was going there for treatments. Patients who no longer needed to be cared after there still returned with flowers from their gardens and baked goods from their ovens.
It seems so strange to celebrate this procedure. When it was done, I was happy and wanted to celebrate. I could not figure out why, until I thought about how this procedure was one that would make Frank happy as it seeks to provide him with the comfort and quality of life that trumps anything the disease itself could ever attempt to rail against him.
Once again, thank you for all of your support and prayers. I am blessed to have found this forum family and my prayers continue to be with you all.