The Journey Continues… and a Quiche for Nurse Glenn

7 Apr

quiche for Glenn

Pepper and Onion Quiche for Glenn… one of Dad’s amazing nurses

Two weeks ago my Dad was brought to the hospital after suffering a stroke.  Two weeks?  Seems more like two years.  My sister and I have spent countless hours with Dad at the hospital and we are incredibly grateful that he survived this frightening experience – but neither of us knew that our journey was just beginning.

Just as Dad was starting to get better, we were told that he needed to get into a rehab facility.   We were both too numb to know what that meant.  In my mind, there was some magical plan that we would follow to get my Dad healthy again.  That dream was shattered when the “case manager” at the hospital (who we had to seek out) handed me a list of skilled nursing facilities (snf’s as they are known in the industry) that were “approved” by my Dad’s insurer and told to select the one that (we felt) would best work for him.  “How do I choose?” I asked, as I read through the list of a dozen or more names.  “Well, you’d better go and visit them” she replied.

There is much I would like to say about this experience… and the problems with the complexities we are facing as we are learning about Medicaid, Medicare, etc., but I will save that for a time when my head isn’t spinning.  What I will say is that this is something that we need to learn way before a crisis strikes and I urge each and every one of you to talk with your loved ones about it because the day will come much sooner than you realize.  In fact, as we’ve been stumbling through this week I’ve wondered why “end of life” planning  isn’t a mandatory course in college because, like it or not, we are all going to walk this path at some point.

On a more pleasant note, my family has met dozens of nurses and myriad doctors during this time and most of them were absolutely wonderful.  I wish that I could single each and every one out and thank them for the kindness and patience that they have shown us during this most challenging time but I know that is impossible right now.  Instead, I chose one nurse to honor and that was Glenn, one of the nurses who spent a lot of time with us.   Glenn always answered our questions (and there were many) and he did so in terms that we could understand.  He showed my Dad courtesy (even when he was very busy and even when Dad was grumpy).  Most importantly, Glenn made us feel that he cared… and that was truly a blessing.

Butter for Pie Crust

Grating butter into the flour for the pie crust

Yesterday I bought a pretty Pyrex pie dish and  this morning I baked a pepper and onion quiche in it for Glenn.  I know how hard he works and hoped to offer him a bit of nourishment after a long day at work.   After the quiche was finished, my sister and I drove to JFK hospital and brought it to the wing where Glenn works.  He smiled when he saw us and was surprised at the gift of the quiche… and when he saw the pie dish he asked how he could get it back to me.  I told him it was part of the gift and that I hoped that when he used it he might think of our family and remember how grateful we were for his help.

Quiche Prep

Sautéed Peppers and Onions and Cheddar

Whole Quiche

The finished Quiche
“When I think about all the patients and their loved ones that I have worked with over the years, I know most of them don’t remember me nor I them.  But I do know that I gave a little piece of myself to each of them and they to me and those threads make up the beautiful tapestry in my mind that is my career in nursing.”

Donna Wilk Cardillo, A Daybook for Beginning Nurses

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9 Responses to “The Journey Continues… and a Quiche for Nurse Glenn”

  1. Shirley Patton April 7, 2013 at 7:10 AM #

    Karen, my prayers go out once again for all of you as you plan this transition for your Dad and the family. I’m at the Mercy Center this weekend in Burlingame with the Synodwide Gathering of Presbyterian Women. It is a beautiful retreat center with lovely gardens which are blooming, magnificent old trees, and delightful birds that are singing right now. I love to hear their chorus at dawn. Before our morning worship I’ll walk the labyrinth in the garden and pray for your father, you and your sister, and all those who will be helping you. Love across the country,

  2. Jeff Moran April 7, 2013 at 8:30 AM #

    You are completely right when you say we need to prepare for end of life, my wife’s family has had nothing but problems with with the loss of her aunt, and now her grandmother, I hope you father makes a full recovery! Thank you for your pie a day blog!

    • pieadaygiveaway April 7, 2013 at 11:12 AM #

      Thank you for reaching out Jeffrey… I wish all the best for you and your wife.

  3. Mary Danca April 7, 2013 at 10:48 AM #

    You have been in our thoughts and prayers.

  4. Debbie April 7, 2013 at 7:05 PM #

    Karen, it’s good to hear that you are doing something that brings you – and others – so much joy. I know first hand what a gift one of your special quiches is. What a wonderful way to let Glenn know how much his care means to you and your family.

  5. Pam Cooper April 8, 2013 at 2:37 AM #

    So sorry to hear/read of your Dad’s stroke. Your generosity of heart and hand are inspiring.

  6. Wendy April 8, 2013 at 7:49 AM #

    Thoughts and prayers are winging their way across the great divide (meaning, in this case, the Rockies). Prayers for healing and hope and gentleness in your days as well as some rest. As you bring to the fore the need to plan regarding rehab facilities and others, your thoughts give me gratitude for the planning that my folks did manage to do (we and they have found that there is more to be done . . .),
    How wonderful of you to have gifted Nurse Glenn as he had so shared his gifts with you; Too often we note what goes wrong, especially in stressful situations. I’m guessing this is the very best “comment card” Glenn has ever received. And so much more than that, of course.
    Blessings and Peace to you and your family.

  7. Debi Boen April 16, 2013 at 10:50 AM #

    I was better prepared for my parents’ aging, as I once worked in an “snf”. I agree that people need to consider the inevitable before the crisis hits — proactive is always better than reactive.
    During the last year of my father’s life, he and I spent a great deal of time going over his vital information (and it was his idea). He wanted me to know what accounts he had, and we made a comprehensive list that included contact information for each of those accounts. He wanted me to know how many death certificates to order (a tip he had picked up after my mother’s death: if you order them all at once, it costs less, and money was always a major concern of his). When he passed, all the hard work was done — yes, I spent the morning on the phone, but if I had not already had the list of who to call, the process of settling his accounts could have taken weeks.
    I encourage everyone to create a “twilight file”, for whomever is left to fit together all the puzzle pieces. Does someone know which of your bills are automatically withdrawn from your checking account? Will someone be figuring out six months after you are gone which cable company you use? Will old friends never be notified of your passing?
    Each individual should also complete what in Oregon is called the “health directive” — what do you want done medically, and when?
    Finally, if you find yourself in the position of reaction, and having to choose an “snf” with no preparation, find one — any one — and walk thru until you find a visitor. Explain that you need to choose a facility, and ask what things they wish they had known, when they were in the same position.

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