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.
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.
Sautéed Peppers and Onions and Cheddar
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