This blog is going to be a bit out of the ordinary. That's because Linda and my planned trip to attend my son Will's graduation from Cardozo Law School in New York City was anything but ordinary. A couple miracles interrupted our plans. Miracles can be one of two kinds 1) highly improbable event, but still complying with the laws of nature, and 2) event which violates the laws of nature. Our daughter Tamara experienced the first kind and our daughter Rosanna experienced the second.
Plan A was for Tamara and our grandson Liam and granddaughter Cecily to come to our home on Tuesday, 24 May to pet sit while Linda and I flew to New York on Wednesday, 25 May and returned to Colorado on Thursday, 2 June. Our son's graduation was on 31 May. We would be staying with our daughter Rosanna, husband Evan and 10 month old grandson Connor at their home in Danbury, CT. We would enjoy our time with them, do some touring of the Hudson Valley and New York City, and attend Will's graduation. Tamara was expecting her baby at the end of June so we thought we would get back
in time even if she were to deliver a bit prematurely.
The plan started to fall apart on Monday, 23 May when Tamara called to ask us to drive to Fort Collins to watch our grandkids while she went to the hospital to see what was causing her great pain. She was 35 weeks along in her pregnancy, but this pain was out of the normal experience for her. We drove to the hospital in Fort Collins and by 2 PM she was feeling better and checked out. We returned home thinking Plan A was still viable. However, at 5 PM we received a call saying she was back in the hospital. We realized that Plan A was looking highly improbable.
Tuesday, 24 May I did my regular volunteer day as a park ranger at the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. I hiked the new Geologic Trail to see if our new information map aligned with the trail. I returned to the Visitor Center at noon only to receive a urgent phone call asking that I meet Ryan, Tamara's husband, between Fort Collins and Colorado Springs so that I could pick up our two grandchildren. Ryan would return
to the hospital where Tamara was to have surgery to insert a stint so that the kidney stone the doctors discovered could pass to the bladder. We decided that Plan A was shot. Plan B was for Linda to watch our grandchildren until Tamara had recovered well enough to watch them. I cancelled Linda's flight. I would continue to New York as this was the only graduation that our son would ever attend.
So bright and early Wednesday, 25 May Linda and grandkids dropped me off at the Colorado Springs airport. I arrived at La Guardia in New York at 5:25 PM where Rosanna picked me up and caught me up on the latest regarding Tamara. Further ultrasounds had revealed that the stint was not working. The kidney stone was so large that it was blocking the duct from the kidney, resulting in the kidney swelling and leaking urine into the blood system causing the second kidney to start to fail. She had minutes before her kidneys would be irreparably damaged. A team of five surgeons immediately went to work; first performing an emergency C-section, then removing the kidney stone, and while at it removing the appendix which was
also revealed as being problematic. The miracle in this case was timing. If Tamara had this happened a couple days later while she was at our home and we were in New York, she would have ended up in an emergency room of our small hospital with doctors who were not familiar with her case, and might not have been able to put together the team of surgeons in the time required, and with no one to watch her kids. It was also a timing miracle that the team of doctors from Denver and Greeley could get to her in time. Tamara survived all of this and began the healing process. She was moved to the maternity ward to be with her baby Austen. Ryan was with her throughout.
So, back to New York...on Thursday, 26 May Rosanna and I relaxed until Connor finished his nap at 11 AM. We then drove to and walked around Ridgefield, a quaint New England town, and had Dole Pineapple ice cream just like at the Dole Pineapple Plantation in Hawaii...this brought back great memories. We returned home for Connors 3 PM siesta. Although his siestas limited our time for touring, I enjoyed
watching him on the baby monitor as he had freedom to roam his room as Rosanna didn't believe in cooping him up in a crib. He would crawl over to his books and take each one out and flip through the pages. Then he would look out the window, before playing with a stuffed toy. Eventually he would sprawl half on and half off his mattress and fall asleep.
Friday, 27 May we drove to Tarrytown for lunch at an old tavern with Evan. After we went to his office at Regeneron, where he does research on the human genome to find cures for genetic diseases. Rosanna had never seen his office our met his co-workers. She figured he couldn't say no to me! We had intended to visit the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery and Washington Irving's home, but 3 PM was upon us and Connor needed to be home. Besides, it was blazing hot, and we could always visit some other time. Rosanna had a late afternoon appointment with her doctor for an annual check up. They discovered a large lump in her breast, so the doctor prescribed an ultrasound appointment for the following Wednesday.
After work Will
took the train from NYC to Brewster where we picked him up about 8 PM. Will started work at the Software Freedom Law Center the day after submitting his last final exam. He is really enjoying his work! His boss, a Columbia Law School professor, started this non-profit to defend pro bono the intellectual property rights of open software developers who provide software free. His office building is next to Lincoln Center on Broadway, and he has his own office with a window!
Meanwhile, back in Colorado, Tamara and Austen were discharged from the hospital so Ryan drove them to our home where she could benefit from Linda's care. They stayed the weekend, but had to return to Fort Collins for doctor appointments. Cecily returned with them, but Liam decided to stay with his granny.
Saturday, 28 May with both Evan and Will off work we toured the Hudson Valley, specifically Hyde Park where the Franklin D. Roosevelt Home and the Vanderbilt Mansion are located. As it was Memorial Day weekend, the FDR Home had a display of WWI and WWII soldiers in uniform and their equipment, including vehicles. The next tour of the home was at 2:30
PM which we didn't want to wait for as the temperatures and humidity were sky high. We walked around the outside, and put that and the Vanderbilt Mansion on our list for next time...vowing to never tour New York in the summer again.
Sunday, 29 May we loafed around, drove into Danbury for ice cream and shopped for a graduation gift for Will.
Monday, 30 May, was Memorial Day so we drove into New York City to lower Manhattan to visit the World Trade Center and Memorial to the 9/11 victims. Rosanna wanted to park near Taylor Swifts apartment on Franklin Street in Tribeca, so we parked right in front. The we had to eat lunch at Taylor's favorite restaurant around the corner. Obviously the word had gotten out as the place was very crowded and noisy. I suspect Taylor leaks what restaurants she supposedly eats at so that she can have peace and quiet at another restaurant. And the food was expensive and lousy. I vowed never again to eat at a restaurant that some star eats at. We then walked to the World Trade Center and Memorial before returning to the car. We drove to Brooklyn
to drop Will off at his apartment. He showed me his room in the basement...his three female roommates got the bedrooms on the first floor. I can't wait for him to afford a nice apartment in Manhattan! It would be better for him to live with Rosanna and Evan and commute by train than live where he was.
Tuesday, 31 May was Will's graduation day, scheduled for 4 PM at Lincoln Center, home of the NY Philharmonic Orchestra. Rosanna and I picked up Evan at work at noon then drove to the city, parking at Lincoln Center. We took the subway to Union Square, near Cardozo Law School, to meet Will and his girlfriend Miriam, who flew in from the UK the day before. He met her at Bangor Law School in Wales, where he got his first law degree. He didn't attend the graduation there since it was six weeks after final exams and he had to return to the U.S. for a summer internship. We ate Asian fusion for lunch and then headed back to Lincoln Center. The graduation ceremony was the usual pomp and circumstances. We had a box seat right above where Will sat in
the second row so got a close up view of him receiving his diploma (actually a piece of paper stating a diploma was coming soon). Afterwards the graduates gathered in the plaza for pictures with fellow graduates and friends and family. We then walked down Broadway to a Thai restaurant on 8th Ave, with many strangers congratulating Will who was still in his cap and gown. The food was delicious and a good time was had by all. Connor missed his afternoon siesta, but was a delight the whole time.
Wednesday, 1 June. Rosanna went for her ultrasound test and was told that she needed a biopsy as there was a solid lump in her breast. As she had taken ibuprofen, the earliest she could have the biopsy was the following Tuesday, 7 June. She brought the news to me when she got home and I hugged her while she cried. We decided to go to Ridgefield for ice cream...the solution to every problem. The next five days could not pass fast enough.
Thursday, 2 June. Rosanna dropped me off at La Guardia airport, where I checked through security in plenty of time and found my flight delayed
three hours due to bad weather in DFW. I would miss my 7 PM flight from DFW to Colorado Springs so rebooked for the 10 PM flight. Any time I fly through DFW I know I'm going to have problems. I arrived at DFW and found the 10 PM flight delayed to 11:45 PM, getting into COS after midnight...five hours late. I called Linda with the arrival time...she wasn't very happy with such a late arrival! But she was there and we got to our home in Woodland Park about 1:30 AM.
Friday - Monday, 3 - 6 June. We stayed in the Woodland Park area before driving up to Fort Collins where I would meet my grandson Austen for the first time. We ate lunch at a Thai restaurant...you can see a pattern here...and after I drove home, leaving Linda to take care of Tamara and the grandkids. They are all supposed to come here this weekend, and leaving Linda here with me!
Tuesday, 7 June. Rosanna's biopsy was scheduled for 8 AM EDT, or 6 AM my time. I kept the phone next to my bed, but couldn't sleep in anticipation of her call with the
results. The call came. Her first words were "It's a miracle!" The nurse had taken and ultrasound to confirm that it was a solid mass about 3 cm in diameter. Then the doctor came in and reconfirmed the solid mass and told Rosanna that at least the cancer hadn't spread to her lymph nodes. He proceeded to explain to Rosanna what would happen...five samples with results in a day or so. Then the doctor placed the ultrasound monitor on her so that he could see where to insert the needle into the mass. As he was about to insert the needle, the mass went from a solid mass to a liquid filled cyst right before their eyes. The doctor asked the nurse if she was seeing what he was seeing...she was. So they inserted a syringe in the cyst and milk flowed out. They couldn't believe what had happened. The doctor told Rosanna that she wouldn't need a biopsy after all. She didn't have cancer. This was a miracle of the second kind. Prayers had been answered!
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