I woke up at about 2am last Monday amazingly thirsty. I didn’t know it but it was the beginning of a fever. I didn’t call Mommy to ask her for a drink until around 3am since I lay in bed for a while hoping the thirst would go away. It didn’t. It made me think of when I was in ICU and I was incredibly thirsty but couldn’t tell anyone. They couldn’t give me anything to drink anyway – I probably already had some tubes sticking down my throat and was disallowed from swallowing anything, but I was not overtly aware of these things. I only had some fleeting moments of partial wakefulness and just knew I was thirsty.
When I came home from Intel Summer Camp (my internship) in August 2008 I stopped by Joe’s Shoe Repair to visit with the S’s. Uncle Joe immediately led me outside so I could see the display window as if I were passing by and made me select a handbag to commemorate my homecoming. “This one good…This one no good…” he advised me. I put up a little protest, but Uncle Joe was a very determined man, and I eventually selected a little LV with short handles that I’m happy to report my woefully handbag-challenged sister carried on the Sunday of her 2nd visit to Portland.
Once inside I broke the news – I had received a full time offer and had to decide whether to move to OR. Aunty H claims she has no recollection of any such conversation (“Who say you can move to Oregon?”) but she was right there, I promise! I used to tell her that “Uncle Joe said I could.” When I thought I was moving to Africa I got into trouble again and could not claim that I had Uncle Joe’s permission. I had to ask ProfJ, who had assumed responsibility for the Sunday taxi service, to run interference for me on this one. But now it’s a moot point.
Anyway, Uncle Joe really did say I could move to Oregon if I wanted to. He was very clear with me, though, that I would be largely alone out there if I did. If I got sick, for instance, “Nobody’s going to bring you a cup of water.” His example proved to be a powerful one. It sticks with me even now. The day before my brain bled I had stayed home from work. It wasn’t a cold or anything, it was just the overwhelming desire to sleep. I remember beating myself up over working from home. Surely, I reasoned, I was well enough to go to the office. I had almost coughed up a lung in Africa and the J’s had to take me to a pharmacy one night where I purchased (with JJ interpreting through the iron bars) something called “Muco-Mist.” Now a little tiredness was sidelining me in stateside comfort.
Given what happened on Thursday I’m willing to give myself a reprieve on staying home on Wednesday. Uncle Joe was right – no one brought me a cup of water. But when it really counted God saw to it that I went to work the next day and a whole bunch of people were around to bring me anything that would help. Most importantly, they brought me to the hospital. Example: the two ladies who helped me when I collapsed in the Ladies’ after ditching my manager in the hallway “happened” to be members of the “Emergency Response Team” so they knew what to do, and how to do it fast.
Now in case you’re wondering why I felt compelled to get the S’s permission to move to OR, they sealed the deal as my adopted grandparents several years ago. I was sitting in their red Jeep one Sunday when Dad was sick. I was sad so I cried a bit. “No cry, no cry!” Uncle Joe told me. But Aunty H smacked his shoulder. “Joe, she want cry, let her cry!” she said. I have loved them ever since.
Mommy brought me some nice ginger ale when I woke her last week. Thanks, Mom! It was so nice to be at home and to get help when I needed it. But it turns out that help was around when I moved away, too. On the first Sunday I was in OR, two people (brothers) told me separately that if I needed any help moving I was to call So and So, who would activate the phone tree or whatever system they have, and people would show up to carry boxes for me.
It turns out that I never called them to help me move, but somehow they were mobilized via phone or email when I got sick. I was asleep at the time, but now I know that when my family arrived in OR they were immediately shuttled to the hospital and hotel, and they would have been inundated with delicious meals had they been in more of an eating mood. So Uncle Joe was right – no one brought me a cup of water. But so many people brought me so much more.
Mark 9.41 For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because of your name as followers of Christ, truly I say to you, he will not lose his reward.
p.s. I went to VT yesterday without incident. I did not have to sit on the Physio Ball. I’m going to PT this morning. 🙂