Last week I was in West Palm Beach, Florida trying to help my Dad figure out what he is going to do once he leaves the rehab facility. In a way, I know he would be happy staying there because he knows the routine and has learned to negotiate the situation, but unfortunately that is not an option.
Next steps was a difficult topic for us both to discuss. I know that my Dad would prefer to stay in Florida, but he can’t live alone right now and he has no one to live with there. Knowing that there weren’t many options, I offered him a place in our home for a while. I am hoping that this will at least give us some time to explore the possibilities.
While in Florida, I made a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie for my Dad’s surgeon, Dr. Miguel Lopez-Viego. He was the doctor who performed Dad’s carotid surgery a few weeks ago. When I met Dr. Lopez-Viego in March, I had given him my card so that his office could get in touch with me in an emergency. He noticed the sketch of a woman holding a pie and asked if I made Strawberry Rhubarb pies. Then he told me that he had once had a Strawberry Rhubarb pie and loved it, but because rhubarb doesn’t grow in Florida, he hasn’t had one since.
Knowing that story, and feeling tremendously grateful that my Dad’s surgery had gone well, I brought some fresh rhubarb from Oregon on the plane with me when I flew out to see my Dad. As soon as I had the chance (remember I was spending many hours a day with my Dad at the facility) I put together a pie for Dr. Lopez-Viego. As it was cooling I realized I had no idea if I would be able to deliver it to him… would he be in the office? in surgery? on vacation?
When I called his office, I heard the familiar recording and when I was prompted, left a very long (and dare I say unusual?) message for Nurse Annie that went something like this: “Hi Annie, this is Karen Amarotico, my Dad is a patient. This will sound strange, but I made a pie for the doctor and want to deliver it today, but don’t know where to bring it to…” Then I left my number and hung up and wondered how long it would be before I heard from Annie.
A short time later, my cell phone rang and it was Annie – the doctor was in his office and I could deliver the pie there. Less than thirty minutes (and a torrential rainstorm) later, I delivered the pie to the receptionist with this request, “I made this to thank Dr. Lopez-Viego for taking care of my Dad. Please give him a hug for me” and with that, I left. About ten minutes later, the doctor called my cell to thank me for the pie and said it was delicious. It felt good to know that I could do something special for him, since he had worked so hard to help my Dad. And though Dr. Lopez-Viego is paid to do just that, I know that a gift from the heart is never bad idea.
You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give. Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet