A Letter to Mom

Dear Mom,

I wish you could hear me when I call you—I miss you and I think you are the dearest and most steadfast of all Moms! How about that for a compliment? I think you like getting letters from Salado even though they are hideously self-centered and more or less just a listing of my calendar for the week. BUT, you know that this past week I was in Florida visiting Cee and Stephanie….so lots to tell.

This was the first time I have flown or been on my own traveling since June…I was prepared for all kinds of new obstacles. Scott & White gave me a port ID card to carry and show the TSA staff when I went through security. So I was geared up to show them the card and pull my headdress off and the pins that hold it on! Maybe because I told them about both that they just said, “No problem.” I went through the mechanisms as I always have without incident or a private body search! They were actually very, very personable. I did not put my lymphedema sleeve and glove on until I was cleared through security and at the gate. I am attaching a photo…It is TIGHT. Reeeeeeallllly tight. Dr. R told me he is not sure if it is helpful or not but a precaution. I do NOT want lymphedema but then I didn’t want cancer either! It is more important to wear during long international flights apparently. Apparently, lymphedema can develop after no symptoms for 10 years. So I wore the sleeve and glove. It is like wrestling with yourself to put the thing on.IMG_2127.jpg

Cee arranged for a driver to pick me up at the Tampa airport…he is the same fellow who picked me up other times. This is much easier for all and I will continue to ask for his service in the future. I loved the visit with Cee. We have so much history and that alone keeps us busy reminiscing and laughing–I know you remember that every time I come back from her place on Longboat Key, I only want to start over and live the gracious way she lives. I guess the best way to sum it up–she lives elegantly. We had dinner with her friends/neighbors–she is fortunate to have such good friends not a block away. Hmmm, of course Cee kindly took me to St. Armand’s Circle where you and I had lunch with her Mom and Dad ages ago. You have such a good memory, you probably remember the Columbia Restaurant….best Black Bean Soup I have ever had. I went just a little berserk–I bought several flowing items at one of my favorite shops, called Oh My Gauze….one top, I will wear with leggings (Don’t let that image make you crazy!) and two dresses that Loretta Young would have loved. I just need to make a grand entrance whenever I wear them. We have so much history and that alone keeps us busy reminiscing and laughing–I know you remember that every time I come back from her place on Longboat Key, I only want to start over and live the gracious way she lives. …

IMG_2136.jpgAfter a couple of days of perfect weather, I flew south then north to The Villages to Stephanie and Sarge. I flew 35 minutes to Miami then 38 minutes to Orlando….all of this very indirect travel so I could requalify for American Airlines’ Elite Status.

Steph and Sarge picked me up right on time then off to Winter Park. I KNOW you remember when we went there! It is just as lovely as it was before. I think I might like to live there too. We had lunch and I had just enough time to run into the See Optical shop and buy still another pair of weird glasses. They only have shops in San Francisco, Boston, Miami, Winter Park, and someplace I can’t remember. This time I bought a pair of blue glasses. Where did that come from? Not your DNA….maybe Daddy?

The time in The Villages was divine too. S&S just love it so much and there is more to do there than a person could find time to do. I want to rent a house there for a few weeks to see if it would ever suit Len and me. S&S’s daughter and her husband have moved there also…so it was wonderful to see the ‘kids.’ Len and I love them and have been trying to figure out a way to adopt their son-in-law. He says he is willing!

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Susan Cutting Sarge's Hair.jpgDSC07379.JPG

We recreated a photo that Steph took years ago when I visited them in Ft Ord, Ca. That photo was me cutting Sarge’s hair! This time, he PRETENDED to cut my hair. I think I can attach both photos. Really, it was Steph who actually cut my awful Mangie hairs off. She went to “Beauty School” in the 70’s and hasn’t lost her touch. Forty-five minutes of clipping to get it just right. Imagine this? She did such a good job, that I stopped wearing the scarves. I just strutted around central Florida with my verrrrrry modern haircut. I actually like it. I wasn’t self-conscious at all. I did get a few hugs from strangers who recognized I was coming out of chemo baldness. Each was given a turn to rub my head….it reminded me of that laughing Buda that Daddy had…I think over the years we wore off the stain off his belly.Ok, enough of that.

I don’t know if it is healthy to laugh so much and drink so much and eat so much in a week. I pretty much home….he is my grounding rod. He had wonderful white lilies for me pushed my limits and I loved every minute.

IMG_2175.JPGlLen was glad to have me and cleaned the house himself since, T. has been out for two weeks with family illness. In my absence, Mickey has massacred two birds, one mouse, and one gecko! She ignored me for 10 minutes then sat on my lap for 45 minutes….I love cats.

So I am home all of about 27 hours. Today I went in to ‘work’ at S&W convinced I would drop Mondays from my schedule. Wellllllll, I thought I would. Mom, I don’t know how to tell you just how much I love it. Because I am sooooo dramatic, you will get the picture. I guess I can say this much without exaggerating. It is the most gratifying time I have ever had in a work place…and NO MONEY involved. Maybe I should have been a nurse too! The fact is this is prefect for my ‘skill set.’ I chit chat, give make up and scarf tying lessons, and clean chairs. I didn’t need to get that doctorate at all! Today was just a huge high. I went in feeling a bit self conscious without the scarf even though I did so boldly in Florida. It was like a surprise birthday party and like the ringing of the bell at the end of chemo. All the nurses came buzzing around me….asking questions and hugging me. Damn that felt good. Each was given a turn to rub my head….it reminded me of that laughing Buda that Daddy had…I think over the years we wore off the stain off his belly. Ok I am digressing! Yes, it was very reassuring. BUT the best was yet to come. I started seeing some of our patrons/patients. Mom! It was just amazing. I think they missed me as much as I missed them. There was much more head rubbing and questions about how long since chemo, etc. The best: I went into a chemo pod (my term) and I saw a man with no hair. I said, “I think you and I have the same hair dresser.” From there we just did some laughing and he told me about his week of losing then getting his head shaved. I went on about my business passing out blankets and juice. I was talked with two ‘virgins’, my term for first timers. The nurses come and get me when we have first timers. I talk to them during the plugging in…what ever that terms is for starting the IVs. Anyway, I had moved on to another pod and was talking with someone I knew from previous weeks. The man who I had talked to about out mutual haircuts, came in and said something like this. “Excuse me for interrupting. I just want you to know you made my day.” Mom, I can’t remember what all he said. I told him to please stop because I would cry all over him and that once I start crying I don’t stop. Yes, you do know that. We hugged and he said such nice things I felt like I really made a difference. I know why you became a nurse and I wish I could have spent my life making a difference like you did.

Gads, I am writing so much and now I have to get ready for Mah Jongg tomorrow. I will be home Saturday and come back to this home on Monday. I love you dearly. Susan!

PS. Photo Janie sent me of all the grandkids…and Kelly’s brand new baby!

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One Response to “A Letter to Mom”

  1. Lou Ann Weaks Says:

    An amazing letter to Mom from an equally amazing lady!!! Much love – Lou Ann

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