Monday July 16, 2012

If only the WFMC (World Famous Mayo Clinic) had a frequent user program - I'd have a free ticket somewhere by now!  Don't worry, these most recent visits were all scheduled.

Friday we were at the WFMC for Erin's 11 year old "well child" visit.  Dr. Puffer agreed that looking at Erin made it hard to call her a child.  So, we re-named it the "well young person" check up.

We have been seeing Dr. Puffer since Shannon was born.  After Shannon's delivery, we needed to choose a primary physician and Dr. Puffer was doing rounds in the nursery that night.  We met him, he seemed nice, and just like that, he became our family's doctor.  Almost 14 years ago.  Our journey with Shannon last spring began with a visit to this family doc who started us on a quick course to diagnosis.

This time around, Dr. Puffer was there to see Erin.  (Although we did manage to talk about my latest medical adventure!  Dr. Puffer will be following my blood work results as my primary physician.) The "well young person's" visit included a lengthy discussion about development, an eye exam, immunizations, and a full physical.  Dr. Puffer signed Erin's sports physical form so she's good to go for volleyball and golf this year as a Mayo Spartan.

Today it was my turn to visit the WFMC for a post surgical check in with the oral surgeon.  Things are healing nicely and I can begin to be a little more adventurous with my foods.  Still need to be gentle with my jaw and let the healing continue, so no tearing into a t-bone just yet.  Baby steps...  They did tell me I could start getting some exercise - walking - but no swimming, tennis, or golf until the PICC line comes out, which hopefully will happen on August 4th.

It's been an emotional time over these past few days.  The three of us have been shedding tears and struggling to carry on.  We all miss Shannon so damn much.  There are triggers for us - Erin finds that down time is hard, knowing that in the past she and Shannon would have found something to do together.  Erin said last night, "I don't have any friends who are only children."  It seems to her that everyone has that built in playmate.

And Erin's not just thinking about today, she's projecting down the road.  Tears flowed as she reminded us, "When I get married, she won't be there to be my maid of honor."  I have no good motherly advice that can take that pain away.

And Dan has had some triggers this week, too.  Seeing Shannon's friends in pictures or at the grocery store reminds him how much everyone is growing up.  Dan also crossed paths with two men this week who each had lost a daughter in a car accident.  Those men are still struggling years after their children had passed.  Their daughters had both reached their 20's.  It made Dan envious that they had that much time.

As for me, nothing hurts me more than seeing Erin and Dan hurting.  I can empathize and support and encourage, but we each must travel through our grief and recognize it and accept it and feel it.  I somehow feel like we are in the middle miles - we've moved on from the beginning of our grief, but we cannot see an end in sight.

So, we will carry on as best we can with a normal work week for all of us.  There is a promise land at the end - a trip to Lake Hubert for some much needed R & R.

"It isn't for the moment you are struck that you need courage, but for the long uphill climb back to sanity and faith and security."  - Anne Morrow Lindbergh