Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"Spelling"

My friend Madeline, who, among many other things, is an NP (Nurse Practitioner) married to an M.D., came out to "spell me" at the bedside. I am guessing that this old Southern expression refers to "sitting a spell" beside the bed of a loved one challenged with a health crisis. Madeline, however, did a lot more than sit when she and her daughter Greer came out to LA. The following is her account of their visit.


Kim has been away from her desk this past week helping husband Brooks and daughter Grace pack up the car for their epic "sea to shining sea" road trip. College is right around the corner for the baby girl and her possessions from this point forward travel with her. Thus the voyage.
As friends of the Athens branch of this family, my daughter, Greer, and I were in L.A. this past long weekend, regrettably in Kim's absence, to visit with Katherine en famille. It progressed into so much more. Thus my most humble request to Kim of katherineawolf.blogspot.com that I have the privilege of writing in her journal.
One of my favorite things about of one of my favorite things is the titles that Kim gives her blogs. Therefore instead of the traditional storyline and to maximize my use of the headline format, I would like to speak in chaptered vignettes.

Inner Sanctum Guest Membership
As those of us who remember the marriage of Katherine Arnold, the Flower of Athens, to Jay Wolf, clearly a catch but NOT A NATIVE, a seat at First Presbyterian Church that day to witness the nuptials exchange vows was the hottest ticket in town. That would be my first and last glimpse of the bride's betrothed until last Wednesday. From then to my departure four days later, Jay would convert me from talking to texting on the phone, introduce me to some of what is clearly an extraordinary collection of family and friends, and give me ample reason to forgive him for whisking our rose off so many years earlier.

My First UCLA Medical Center Sleepover EVER
Jay adores Katherine. Every day more so than the day before. That is as evident as the sun's rise. Less clear, but as true, is that Jay runs a "tight castle". Katherine is never alone. The obviously capable UCLA Rehab staff knows about Mrs. Wolf's" Companion Program" and they are most accommodating. I had the good fortune to cover the night shift Thursday and Friday. What an absolute luxury for the likes of me. As a nurse I draw great pleasure from my station at the bedside of strangers but private duty service for a friend is a rare opportunity.

The Wink of an Eye and The Blow of a Kiss
I don't know Grace nearly as well as I do her "big sisters", Katherine and Amie. My last children were more in chronological alignment with them. But I'd have to say that between first and second born, though they both share gorgeous looks, fiery spirits, and hearts of gold, Katherine has a stage presence that is unique in the world. I remember how absolutely smitten we all were during Mrs. Wolf's high school years when she added to her considerable dramatic repertoire, comedy. With the wink of an eye or the blow of a kiss she ruled her audience. That was still the case this weekend.

Mother and Son Race Each Other to Take First Steps On Earth
If Kim and Brooks thought teaching Katherine to walk the first time was challenging, they now know that that was a practice round. Jay's wife may have three months MAX before their Sweet Baby James will be scooting around on his own. But let me tell you with the utmost confidence that I am putting my money down on MAMA to win that race. Let the world know that Katherine Arnold Wolf has no intention of being sidelined in this competition. I watched her walk the length of her parallel bars and the distance of her home corridor with the resolve of a woman with a husband to adore, children to raise, worlds to conquer, and God to worship.

Crooked Smile Power
My husband of thirty plus years has a sixth nerve palsy. That means that in the middle of a smile the right side of his face does not light up in perfect symmetry with the left side. One of our sons has inherited this trait, a fact I find strangely endearing. Anyway, when Phil and I were courting and I was in that coquettish phase of romancing, he asked me out for a cup of coffee. I suggested he read my lips, NO, at which point he asked me if it was because of his crooked smile. Little did he know that that would be the official start of the rest of my life. How to tell Katherine that her crooked smile (though likely fleeting) did the same magic.

Romeo and Juliet
Weekends are for families. That's true in and out of hospitals. So it's only natural and fair that the Recreation Therapist ON DUTY Saturday would suggest that, hours shy of Katherine's first hundred days post-op, she deserved, well, a weekend pass. In the interest of surprise, Greer, my daughter, Ray, the UCLA chauffeur extraordinaire, and I took off with Kat toward the Wolf's future home, an apartment the family has secured only blocks from the medical center. With a brand new coiffure, her favorite pair of shades, and some Pacific Ocean Breeze off her port, Katherine and her entourage arrived at Jay's door around noon. Though we had a wonderful welcoming committee when we knocked, Jay was not one of the greeters. It turned out that Barrister Wolf and his dear grandfather, Peeps, were at the hospital curious about the damsel's whereabouts. But all's well that ends well. As it turned out this glitch gave us just enough time to escort Mrs. Wolf to her brand new balcony where she was able to stand and wave to her Romeo in true Juliet fashion. At the sight of all this flurry, Mary Ruth Wolf, Jay's Mother, was struck by this new reality and said to her daughter in law, "Katherine, you are the best guest we have ever had here!" And that's saying something because I know for a fact that some remarkable souls have walked through the doors of that sacred home.

Greer's reflections on their time here may be found at: http://movingwestmovingon.blogspot.com, "A Baby Boy With 15 Mothers."

Our deepest gratitude goes out to Madeline, Greer, and all the other "spellers" who have sacrificed their time and energy to help us "make it through the night..."

3 comments:

JourneytoFamily said...

What a beautifully written post!

Joy in Montgomery said...

This is one of the many post that has brought me to tears, some happy, some sad. I thank the Lord Jesus that Katherine has such wonderful, amazing,and loving families and friends. You all are the rocks that she uses as her strong hold to climb up from this terrible thing that happened to her. All of you are BEAUTIFUL people. I pray for God to give you all strength and lift you up to meet each of the challenges ahead. I know that God gets all of the credit, but you are his worker bees here on earth. Being there at just the right time, doing just the right things she needs. I'm sure her being able to see "home" has given her more determination to get through all of the days ahead. God bless all of you!!!

Ginny Evans said...

An amazing account of yor friends visit!! Kim, Katherine, Kelly and all the family............you are amazing people and God's hand is on each one working in and through each of you. You may never know how many lives you are touching for the kingdom during this period of your lives!! May God continue to bless and use each of you!!