Busy Milestone Day and JoEllen’s Perspective
Wow. Here we are, Day 400. Can you believe it? I remember writing about how cool it was to be approaching Day 100, and what do you know? Day 400. It wasn’t a typical day at all.
It started off normal enough. Breakfast was another scrumptious egg white-mushroom-and mozzarella creation, this time wrapped inside a 90 calorie Flat-Out flat whole wheat flat bread. Sure, it adds 90 calories to the omelet version, but it becomes portable, and that’s worth the extra 90 calories to me! I arrived extra early at the studio in order to write Day 399 and prepare for the day. I knew it was going to be a busy production day in the studio, and I was right. I had a banana mid-morning, and then powered right past lunch, too caught up in the production of the day. Then the call came.
Irene and others had been trying to reach me on my cell, but it was silenced in production. Finally Irene called the studio line and gave me the news. JoEllen was now completely blind in her right eye and needed to be rushed to the Dean McGee Eye Institute immediately. Since my regular workday was coming to an end, I was the logical choice for the trip. JoEllen didn’t really want to go anywhere, but the doctor made it very clear: If you don’t, you’ll be permanently blind.
We rushed to Oklahoma City for the emergency appointment and the news that JoEllen feared. The pressure that was relieved with a previous surgery was back, and the only way to stop it is with a surgical procedure known as a “shunt.” It’s a shunt or total and permanent blindness. Easy choice right? No, no it wasn’t for JoEllen. She hated the idea of a shunt. She cried, she screamed, she was scared. I tried to reason with her “Jo, listen, with this procedure---you get to see, your vision will be saved, don’t you understand?” Still she was scared and very nervous about having a surgeon work on her head. The doctor became irritated at one point and then put it in very plain English: “We do this shunt, or you will be in complete darkness the rest of your life.”
I tried to bring a smile to JoEllen’s face by improvising a routine about the name of the procedure or device. A “shunt” sounds horrible. Perhaps the medical community could come up with a more pleasing name, like “Rudy.” “Rudy provides relief from the pressure that’s stealing your vision Jo, let’s allow Rudy to work, shall we?” I then told the doctor we would refer to it as a “Rudy.” And then it hit me, the name needed to be more personal for JoEllen. Jo loves to read and she loves seeing her children. So we decided to call it the “Children seeing and reading device.” OK, so it doesn’t flow well, doesn’t roll off the tongue like “Rudy,” but the whole conversation about changing the name made her laugh, then the final change made her smile and understand that she didn’t have a choice. They will put in the “Children seeing and reading device” on Thursday.
JoEllen’s situation really makes me realize how fortunate we all are and how it can change with very little notice. I must give thanks everyday for our blessings. It makes complaining about anything we might be going through seem so silly. Perspective, it’s all about perspective.
By the time we left the doctors office it was close to 5:30pm, we waited for the pharmacy to fill her prescription until 7:30pm, then I took her to her ex-husbands home for a stay. Ventura has been more than helpful during all of this. He offered to get her back to the surgeon on Wednesday and then to her surgery on Thursday. She’ll be released from the hospital on Friday. The doctor is confident that she’ll walk out of that hospital “feeling like a million bucks.” Can’t wait to see that. She needs something positive, she really does. Her emotional state is completely understandable, I seriously do not know how I could or would handle the same circumstances. She’s strong, she really is a strong woman.
I started to drive home and realized I was too tired. My eyes were trying to shut on their own, and that’s my cue to pull over and sleep. I don’t fight it, I don’t care what the schedule says I have to do, or where I must be. If my eyes are trying to shut, I must get off the road. I say this because I’ve fallen asleep and crashed a car before. I was 17 years old and extremely lucky, divinely blessed that I flew off the road where I did. Anywhere else along that highway where it happened, and you wouldn’t be reading this blog right now. So, I pulled over last night and slept for 45 minutes. I really only had about 25 minutes of solid sleep. It was enough to get me home by 11pm. I left a bunch of calories on the table, and I know my metabolism wasn’t happy, neither was I, but sometimes…special circumstances take over. This couldn’t be helped.
I think Tuesday is the day I drive the Corvette! I have to check with Janet and make sure her schedule allows for a joy-ride today. I can’t wait! Tuesday is also the day my youngest gets her official drivers license. You hear that? It’s the sound of our insurance premiums going up! Oh joy, oh joy.
Thank you for reading. Goodnight and…