Thursday, February 14, 2013

Zen Hospice Valentines Day Prelude

Karen, Jean, Clark the cat, Anne, Naoko the nurse
Zen Hospice, 2/12/13

In Brief

Jean has had a stream of visitors since Friday, Feb 8, as well as Skyping with friends in faraway places.  Although she appreciates the devotion of family & friends, saying goodbye to Deme on Friday was her latest definite human interaction.  When her beloved sister Anne returned from West Palm Beach Tuesday evening, Jean opened her eyes but did not acknowledge her.
Clark and Jean
Zen Hospice 2/13/13

Clark the cat has continues his stay at the hospice, charming everyone in his paths, and getting some strokes from Jean too.  Thanks to Susie Dranit, our room at the hospice is bedecked with Valentine's Day messages, and we are beyond grateful to be together on the romantic holiday.

Room Decoration Courtesy of Susie Dranit
Zen Hospice 2/8/13

One Day at a Time

Friday, February 8

Bedside gathering.  Jean is wearing a Peets
t-shirt saying "Bittersweet Complex"
Zen Hospice 2/8/13 

Deme, Maria, and Susie came back for another visit, chatting shoptalk and bearing gifts.  Deme will pay for weekly foot massages for Jean, a treatment he has found beneficial for himself.  Maria and Susie both brought bouquets, and Susie decorated our room with Valentine's Day signs.

Mairia holding Clark: a big cat
Zen Hospice 2/8/13
Susie with bouquet, Valentines Day window decals
Zen Hospice 2/8/13

Saturday, February 9

A very busy day for visitors.  Our old friends Andy Brodie & Patricia Seery came by mid-morning, Derek & Tara McCulloch dropped by in the late afternoon, and Mary Ann Koory and Joan Gibson, from Jean's novel writing workshop, came by in the evening.

We talked with Andy and Patricia about Laguna Honda, the other Zen Hospice, which serves those who cannot afford a private pay facility.  Before their final illness, many Laguna Honda patients are homeless, friendless, without family to acknowledge them; the insider term used for this clientele is "train wrecks."  According to one volunteer we spoke to, dying alone is one of the greatest fears of terminally illness.  And yet the train wrecks "get" the hospice idea, and their care poses less challenge for the staff than many better endowed with the acquisitions of successful lives.  A mystery bearing further inquiry.

No report on the Tara/Derek visit, although doubtless Jean appreciated the presence of these old friends.  At the time they came over, Matt had agreed to have dinner with his brother Mickey, who is battling liver cancer.

We talked with Mary Ann and Joan about Lewis family history, in particular Jean's father John.  John grew up in a family marked by poverty and violence, and co-founded a family that broke both cycles.  All those who had the privilege to know him comment on his gentle intelligence, his sharp, dry wit.  He passed those gifts to Jean.

Sunday, February 10

Lindy Ruddiman came by to visit again, with her daughter Allison.  Lindy and Jean met when they took their moms, Betty and Sylvia, on the Prairie Home Companion Norway cruise in the summer of 2007.  This was her 3rd visit at the hospice, and the first for Allison, a biology major at SF State.

In the evening we had a Skype session with her brother Ray, and two friends from U. of M., Shadie and Yao.  Working through vexing technical difficulties, the three ended up talking about Jean's love for geology and paleontology.  Ray talked about Jean at Camp Michigania, the U. of M. alumni family camp, where Jean loves to hang out at the Nature Center.  Shadie told how Jean introduced him to fossil hunting, and Yao of a trip to the Southwest around 1980, where Jean convinced her to look for geodes based on a guidebook saying they could be found in the dessert.  Yao was skeptical that something so interesting could be found in such barren terrain, but sure enough, Jean was able to crack open grey rocks and find beautiful crystals inside.

Monday, February 11

Another Skype session with Ray, and Shadie, Yao, with Linda Hutchins trying to join before giving up due to technical difficulties.  This was a more cat-centered discussion, and Yao shared some tips from her veterinarian practice.  Ray's video was working and he was treated to the sight of Jean petting Clark.

Meanwhile, Nick Galloro, one of the unsung heroes of this saga, was kind enough to go to our house on Wood Street and feed Clark's brother Lewis.  Nick has been helping out in many ways, making it possible for Matt to spend more time with Jean.

Tuesday, February 12

Kathy and Chuck Zehner came by to visit in the afternoon, and talked about their quest for an affordable Bay Area house to invest in with their son Nicholas.

In the evening, Karen Creech picked up Anne from SFO.  Welcome back Anne, thank you Karen!

Wednesday, February 13

Bouquet, card from Beverly
Zen Hospice 2/13/13
A visit from Beverly Epstein in the early afternoon.  Beverly has been working at URS for about 3 years, and met Jean soon after she started.  As it happened, her horse died, and although Jean did not know her well, she bought Beverly a Pegasus pendant.  Thereafter they were friends.

Among the gifts of their friendship was Jean's recommendation to color her hair with henna, easier on the scalp, easier on the environment.  The inside of Beverly's card reads:

Every weekend when I'm riding Dakota, someone says: "Hey, your hair matches your horses hair."

I want to thank you for turning me on to "Henna."

Every 8 weeks when I "do" my hair, I will think of you and send my love to you.

A visit from Bill Paratore in the early evening.  Bill was a partner of Dames and Moore before it was acquired by URS, so his memories of Jean stretch back to the 1980s.  Like all her colleagues, he esteems Jean for her powers as a technical editor.

A Skype with Ray and Ellen McCarthy in the evening, while Pamela Michaud and Doug Flock were visiting.  We chatted about the weather, which in California is warm enough for no coats outside, and in Michigan has reached the cheery height of 38 degrees.

1 comment:

  1. matt I really appreciate these posts from afar. I'm glad to see that Clark is still there, must be soothing for jean to pet him. Hugs to