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Gut Check

This week is my Spring Break.

Normally, I’d be sleeping in until 9 or 10am, lounging by the pool, and taking a nap or two every day.

This year has been a lot different.

The Mr. and I have spent the past three days at the Mayo Clinic, where he is undergoing several procedures that will help his doctor formulate a plan for treating the severe complications discovered when he became very ill in January.

Tuesday was full of several pre-op appointments.  I do believe that we walked across most of the hospital’s large campus.  The view from the 5th floor was incredible!

We did have the afternoon to ourselves.  I spent the latter part of the day sitting outside at the hotel, toddy in hand, watching Dancing With the Stars on my phone via a streaming app by my cable provider.

Wednesday was an early day; the alarm clock went off at 4:30am.


Neither of us had slept well the night before, so we were d-r-a-g-g-i-n-g.  On top of being up early, we had to load up our car because we were going to be changing hotels when we were finished with the day’s itinerary.  The nightly rate at our hotel was going up, so we had reservations at another hotel down the road.

After getting the Mr. settled, I headed down to the cafeteria for some breakfast.  The cafeteria at the hospital is large and offers a great assortment of food.  No matter what your diet, you’ll find something you can eat.  This vegan approves!

On my way back to the waiting room, I couldn’t help but notice this…

There is an entire wall dedicated to the women pioneers of the Mayo Clinic.  I didn’t take pictures of the individual boards for the women on this list, but they were beautiful!  If you’re ever here, make sure you stop and take a look at them.

Then, I went back up to wait.

Now, let me tell you, the Mayo Clinic really does things right.  Patient care is exceptional!  They don’t only care about the patients, though.  They are very mindful of caretakers.

When we’d checked the Mr. in, I’d been given a paper that required me to put my name and cell number on it.  The Mr. had been given a unique number by which I could be linked to him.  I could look at an electronic board on the wall to see where in the queue he was.  The volunteers could also use the number and the information I’d provided to give me updates throughout his procedure.

I continue to be impressed with the professionalism of the volunteers here.  They’ve all been of the elderly sort and very tender.  In fact, the ladies who were at the desk in the surgical unit on Wednesday found me, without calling my name, in a vast waiting room that was full of loved ones.

At one point, I went out to my car to retrieve an item and was struck, once again, by the beauty of the landscaping.

When you’re anxious about your loved one’s health, fountains like this, along with all of the lush lawns and bright flowers, soothe your soul and remind you of God’s presence.

The Mr. got through his procedure quite well, and we were back at our hotel by 10am, which left me a lot of time to explore a bit of Jacksonville (once I got the Mr. settled into the room).

Later that afternoon, after a brief nap, I settled in by the pool, another toddy in hand, and read a few chapters of my book.

We had another quiet evening while the Mr. prepped for the procedures he’d be having this morning (as I’m typing this, in fact).  He wasn’t feeling well, but that’s par for the course with his health right now.

We were back up at 4:30 this morning for his last day of tests before we start the long drive home.

Rather than this post just being a narrative of our week, I really wanted to talk about something besides the aesthetics of the hospital.

Being around so many people who are so ill has been a gut check…literally and figuratively.

There are so many hurting people in the world…so many needs we just don’t know about.

On Wednesday, I was struck by the young woman waiting in a separate curtained-off section in pre-op, where the Mr. was also waiting to be rolled back to the operating room.

Not that I wanted to eavesdrop or anything, but when you only have a curtain between you, you can’t help but hear things.  She was scared about her procedure.  She’d recently had a baby.  Her precious husband, who I’d noticed in the waiting room, was by her side.

Scary, y’all.

In the waiting room, which was seriously huge, there was a large contingent of people who, it appeared, were there to support a patient having some kind of surgery.  I pictured that being my family when the Mr. has his big surgery soon (date still to be determined).  The love that came from that group reached out and enveloped me as well; their smiles and gentle laughter lightened a stressful and tiring morning.

I heard a man who was checking into registration shortly after the Mr. had gone back.  This man’s surgery was going to last twelve hours!  It made the Mr.’s hour-long procedure seem minor in comparison.

Walking through the hospital, I saw so many with masks…a lady wearing a scarf on her head…people with walkers or in wheelchairs.

We’ve had a lot of health issues since November.  Because of that, I notice things I never did before, and my heart goes out to people in a completely different way.

I am more empathetic than I ever was…more understanding…more aware.

What we are going through with the Mr.’s health is serious business, but we are not alone.  There’s a world full of hurting people…some better off…some not so much.

Is this what happens when you get older…this gut check?

Maybe I should have titled this post “Heart Check,” for that is really what this experience has become.

I know that I, for one, am feeling my heart beat a little faster with a renewed appreciation for God’s hand in my life and those around me.

2 Responses

  1. When I sit with my dad in the hospital, I am always crowd watching & amazed at the families that have a ton of people waiting with them… & breaks my heart for the ones that have like one person… if anyone. There is so much heart ache in a place like that. glad to see they are taking steps to make it more peaceful for everyone.
    Drive safely home!!!

  2. We are praying for Your Mr. And for your ability to support and promote his recovery. So sorry you are having to go through so much in a short amount of time!

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