Tag Archives: Florida

Mother’s Day and a few Quiches

27 May

asparagus quiche

It seems like it has been YEARS since I have made a pie… but that is not true!  In fact, on Mother’s Day I baked a quiche and brought it to church for a friend – who did not show up that day.  That’s when I started thinking about Plan B.  After church I was talking with a few friends and mentioned that during the prayer time I had wanted us to think about “mothers without children and children without mothers” but had felt too emotional to do so.  Then one of those friends, Dr. Bill Sager, told me that forty-one years ago he was a missionary in Pakistan and received a call from his brother-in-law saying that Bill’s mother had died.  I watched as Bill’s eyes filled with tears remembering the loss of his mother and was amazed that so many years later this memory was still so vivid.   I offered Bill a hug and then thought of the quiche.  I explained that it had been meant for another, but that I hoped he would accept it instead.  Immediately Bill offered to take it to the person I had made it for (Bill is ALWAYS thinking of others) … but I told him that I think the quiche was really meant for him…. but I hadn’t known it until just then.

After Mother’s Day, I was busy with work and then last week I flew to Florida to see my Dad again.  He has been improving since he had surgery to clear his carotid artery.  He is looking better but is still living in a rehabilitation facility because he has to regain his strength and mobility.  I know that it’s been hard for him to go through this episode and at this time we are looking into “next steps” for him as he won’t be able to go home alone for a while, if ever.

On the bright side, over the last few days I have seen him show more interest in the world outside the facility.  For the first time in months I helped him to check his email and scan the world news.  Then yesterday, he wanted to watch the Indianapolis 500, and so we did (Congratulations Tony Kanaan!)  Later in the afternoon, Dad played a game of Scrabble with me, which shows incredible patience and concentration on his part.

As I was leaving last night, Dad, never one to gush, brusquely said goodbye.  I drove back to his place feeling sad and that maybe my efforts were in vain.  As I pulled into his parking place I noticed a flowering bush in front of his apartment that I had never noticed before (to be fair, most days I get back in the dark).  It was really beautiful and it stopped me in my tracks.   I realized that I had forgotten to find the beauty in each moment… and to remember that I am not alone going through this.

flowering bush

This morning  I woke up and baked an Asparagus and Cheddar Quiche to bring to my Dad.  I know that he will want to share it with some of his fellow residents and I think that that will be a perfect way to spend this Memorial Day.

Chocolate Cream Pie, Travel Woes, and Virtual Pies for a few Angels

21 Apr

Chocolate Cream Pie

Chocolate Cream Pie

As you know, I have spent the last three weeks in Florida with my Dad after he suffered a “major” stroke.  At first it seemed that my Dad would have surgery almost immediately to clear his carotid artery, but the doctors have decided that they would like to give my Dad more time to heal and so his surgery has been postponed until mid-May.  And since my Dad’s condition appears to be improving each day, and because I had committed to a few catering events, and because I missed my husband, I decided to come back home for a while.

In the days before I left, I tried to wrap up all the loose ends for my Dad that I could: arranging for the payment of bills, handling of laundry and mail, and most importantly, his health concerns and future care.   One thing that I considered tremendously important was to convey to the nurses and aides that I want (more likely need) them to watch over my Dad when I am not there to do so.   How could I do that?  Well, being me, I thought a pie might do the trick.

My nephew Wayne and I shopped for the ingredients after we had put my Dad to bed one night and two days before I left Florida I brought a chocolate cream pie to the nurses in my Dad’s wing.   They smiled and thanked me but I felt that something was wrong.  And after thinking about it, the best explanation I have is that those nurses don’t know me at all; they certainly don’t know, or care, about my pie blog and they just might not trust food from a stranger.  And though I truly hope this isn’t true, I don’t believe that the nurses ate one bite of that pie.

In retrospect, I understand; why should they trust me? Perhaps I should have just bought another pizza, but the “pie lady” in me wanted to show my gratitude with a pie that I had made.   And it was an experience making a pie without my usual accoutrements (cuisinart, pastry bag and tips, etc) but I figured it out and was proud of the final product… and even if the pie wasn’t eaten, it was given in the spirit of gratitude, and that’s all that matters.

On the day that I left, I arrived at the airport and was told that my flight was cancelled.   Thus began a 33 hour odyssey to get back to southern Oregon.  I’ll spare you the details here, but will mention that I spent time in six different cities before I arrived home (including catching a late night nap in a major west coast city).  What I do want to share is that I met three lovely people (angels?) on my journey… each of whom had a parent who had suffered a stroke.

The first was a man that I met in Fort Lauderdale who had just lost his Mom. His name was Steve and we spent an hour or so (our flight was delayed) talking about our kids, our parents, and this crazy system we call “health care.”

The next angel I met, was a lady named Connie.  She was my seat mate for a few hours and as we talked (and prayed during the most turbulent parts of the flight) she told me about losing both of her parents.  She knew the path I was traveling and was willing to listen to me as I rambled on;  she was a great comfort simply by being there.

The last angel I met was a man named Matt.  He was born in London but now lives in northern California.  We struck up a conversation as we watched our flight time change over and over.  His Dad suffered a stroke 18 years ago and has survived; unfortunately, their relationship has not.  What was most amazing about Matt was that when we realized that I was not going to make my last connecting flight, he offered to take me home and introduce me to his wife and child so I would not have to spend the night in the airport.

Tonight, I am deeply grateful that my Dad survived his stroke… and also very grateful to those people who I met along my journey home.  I wish that I could give each of them a pie… but because I cannot, I hope that my sincerest thanks will do.  Each of them has reinforced my faith in humanity… and that is an amazing gift.

It  is by suffering that human beings become angels.
Victor  Hugo

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

A Stroke is Clearly Out of my Control

28 Mar

Honey Almond Pie

 

Honey Almond Pie

There are times when we think that we are in control of our lives (for the most part anyway) and then something comes to remind us what an illusion that is.  I was reminded of the truth last Saturday.  My cell phone rang with a number that I didn’t recognize though I did determine it was from a Florida area code.  The call was from my Dad’s girlfriend, Eileen.  She called to say that my Dad had had a stroke and that he was in the hospital.  Eileen did her best to paint a positive scenario, but I knew that I would be heading to Florida very soon.

There was one issue that I had and that was how to get back in time for an event that I was to cater for my dear friend Ken in two weeks.  At first I thought, “I can still handle this” because I didn’t want to create any problems for Ken (clearly I have not dealt with anyone having a stroke before).  Just as I was considering what to do, Ken called me and asked casually, “How are you doing?”  When I told him what was going on, without hesitating a moment he said, “Go and take care of your Dad… we will figure this out.”   The permission Ken gave me to let go and focus was tremendous and greatly appreciated.  (I told you he was a dear friend).

Before I took a red-eye flight out of town, I had a few hours and “needed” to feel in control of something and so I baked a pie for Ken to thank him for his compassion and understanding.   Now if I may, I’d like to ask for healing prayers for my Dad.  And if you have any experience with strokes… please share that if you can.

Thanks from the bottom of my heart.

A Visit with my Dad

9 Dec

Florida Shells

Beautiful Sea Shells!

Last week I visited my Dad in Florida.  It had been a while since I’ve seen him and I just wanted to spend some time together catching up.  It’s also nice to escape the cold of a northwest winter for a few days in the warm sunshine.  And just check out those pretty shells that I found on the shoreline!

Me and Dad

Dad and me at Boynton Beach

While I was in Florida, I decided to make a few pies.  One was for my Dad’s girlfriend Eileen, and one was for her daughter Joanne who’d just had her third baby.   And while making pies is relatively easy for me, I found it a bit of a challenge because my Dad didn’t have a rolling-pin or a pastry cloth.   I searched the fridge and cupboards and found something that worked out just fine: a cold bottle of wine and a large Ziploc bag.  Perfect!

rolling out the dough

My make-shift rolling-pin

Once I had the pies made, we first delivered one to Eileen…  and then we visited  Joanne’s family and met their new baby, Bryson.  I even got to sit and hold him for a while… which was just delightful!

eileen and pie

Eileen with her Sweet Potato Pie

I came home late Thursday, and spent many hours (13+) in planes and airports (likely because I had used a mileage award ticket for this trip) and it took a day or two to feel like myself again.

Once I was “back to normal” (normal for me that is) I got busy making another pie.  I had recently been given an apple peeler/corer by my friend Caroline and pulled it out today.  It works great!  And to think I didn’t have this help last year when I was making a pie a day… just think of the time I might have saved!

sarah pie prep 2

sarah pie prep 1

Sarah's pie

The finished Apple Pie

Early this afternoon, I delivered this pie to a friend who has family visiting.  I knew she wouldn’t be able to cook for them and I wanted her to have something homemade to offer them.  After all,  what could be better than sharing yummy food with people you love?

“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.”  A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

 

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