A Thanksgiving To Remember

29 11 2008

I still have one more post to write on my aorta series about my husband’s stay at Vanderbilt Medical Center but I thought I’d take a break to reflect on our Thanksgiving holiday.

We usually spend our Thanksgiving holiday with my brother, Brad, who lives in Nashville.  Brad and his wife Susan– have taken very good care of me the two times I’ve had to spend a couple of weeks at Vanderbilt.  I asked him during my recent stay in Nashville if our usual Thanksgiving feast was still to be held at his home.  He assured me that was the plan.  Brad and Susan live in the suberbs of Nashville.  They own a home on five acres of land that are woods.  I always feel like I’m at a state park when I visit their lovely home. 

Last year our plans were changed because Susan’s father was very ill with cancer.  She wanted to have Thanksgiving with her mom and dad in Chatanooga, Tennessee.  Brad came to our place and our entire family went out to eat.  I had just learned that I had breast cancer and I was in no mood to cook a Thanksgiving dinner.   Susan’s father passed away with cancer last spring.  Now Susan’s mother has moved to Nashville to be near her.  Thus, we were pleased that the celebration would be at Brad and Susan’s home. Then suddenly another tragedy occurred.

On November the 12th, Brad fell down his basement stairs.  He experienced three places of trauma to his head and broke his left arm.  He had two major surgeries within his first days at Vanderbilt.  We went to see him on Sunday the 16th.  He was just beginning to come out of his induced coma.  He did seem to know us but it was hard for him to talk because his jaw had been wired shut.  Brad’s head was so swollen.  It was very hard to believe all of this happened to my very special brother.  However, by the things he was able to say–it was apparent that his mental faculties were doing fine.  And  that proved to be true with each day of his recovery. Brad wasn’t totally out of the woods as another break was found in his right wrist and he had another surgery.  That surgery was not has serious and he was able to be awake for that one.

We talked about what we would do for our Thanksgiving.  I’ve never had to plan a whole meal by myself.  I didn’t think that was what I wanted to do.  Yet, with living on disability pay–it didn’t seem right to spend a large amount to eat out.  Finally, I decided that I would cook a big Thanksgiving dinner.  Sunday afternoon I was just getting ready to go to Kroger to buy what we needed–when we noticed a box on our porch.  Someone had left a turkey and some canned goods for us.  I knew that I was definitely supposed to cook this year.  I went ahead and made the trip to Kroger because Vera wanted me to buy sweet potatoes to make a casserole. 

All day Wednesday, I prepared casseroles .  Vera made a big pot of regular mashed potatoes.  I finished up my evening by baking  three pumpkin pies.  It had been several years since I had tried my hand at making homemade pie crust.  The pies turned out wonderful.  Thursday morning, we cooked the turkey.  All of my family were able to come.  We ended our feast by sharing Thanksgiving blessings. 

I had a very special blessing to share.  I had a mammogram on my remaining breast and the report came in the mail the day before Thanksgiving.  The mammogram was perfectly normal.  I have made it through one year as a cancer survivor.  And I was also very thankful that Jim has had six good weeks at home.  He will never be able to have open heart surgery again–but if we take care of him–he can live many good years.

Later that evening I called Brad and Susan.  He has just gotten on from the rehabilitation center on Wednesday.  He was able to talk very well through his wired jaw.  He talked about making a good friend at the rehab center.  His new friend has been in a car accident.  Brad was able to give him some legal advice. ( Brad is a lawyer)  He talked about how the two of them raced their wheelchairs around the rehab center.  I was pleased with Brad’s upbeat attitude. Lastly, Brad told me that he wasn’t in any rush to see his basement stairs again.  I think their plans are to totally rebuild them and make them safer.

       I’ve also realized how dangerous basement stairs can be.  I’ve been running up and down my basement stairs for 23 years now to do laundry.  I fell once  but broke my fall with my left hand.  I did have to have surgery on my little finger.  I also fell a couple of years ago and my head hit a desk that was near the end of the steps.  I had a huge swollen place but no lasting injuries.  I’ve been taking the stairs very slowly since Brad’s accident. 

So Brad is home.  Jim is home.  And, I’m a one year cancer survivor.  I have the love of my husband, family and friends.  Although, we have some new challenges to face in 2009–I know love will carry us through.

God bless each of you!




4 responses

2 12 2008

Plenty to be thankful for, Nichole.

Glad to hear that your brother Brad is on the mend. And I hope you found a blender and a straw for his turkey …

6 12 2008

I am glad for you that Jim has had a good time at home after being released from Hospital.
It is also good to hear that your brother is also making progress.
Quite a few years ago (before it was standard to use seat belts in the back seats of cars) a work colleague was thrown violently forward in a car accident and suffered fractures to his jaw. After several weeks he returned back to work with his jaw still wired together and a gap where a tooth had been removed to provide space for that straw!

6 12 2008

Yes, Brad is very much on the mend. We were able to drop by to visit him on our way home from Nashville this week.

6 12 2008

Yes, Jim is making good progress but he will never be able to hold down a job. We have had many good weeks together. After Christmas, I will begin substitute teaching in the public schools again. And, yes–Brad does quite well with his jaw wired. He talks great and he is able to use a straw without having had a tooth removed. Thanks for dropping in for a visit.

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