10/22 M-I Town: Patty Taylor Dutcher

Thanksgiving is not for another month, but I want to take the opportunity to share my feelings of gratitude and, yes, my thanksgiving for those who have brought so much sunshine and happiness into my life these past few weeks.

During what was to be a yearly physical exam last month, something not quite so normal and downright unpleasant was discovered in an X-ray, which resulted in various blood tests, scans (CT and PET) and consultations with specialists.

I also discovered just how lonely and frightening it was to walk those long hallways in the darkest of hours before daylight. The cockeyed optimist in me hoped for the best, but I had to think about the worst. I worried about those whom I love so much -- my husband, Don, my kids, grandkids, family and good friends, and how all of this would impact their lives as well.

Advice came quickly over the telephone wires. Daughter Beverly (the newly minted RN who knows everything) said I would die if I didn't get to a major medical facility. My son, Geoff (who has racked up several years as a pharmacist and learns something new everyday), said to have faith in my physicians and be confident that everything would go well. Don took my hand and walked with me through the process and although we still have miles to go, the road ahead looks bright and shining and the only thing scary on my calendar right now is Halloween.

I'm thankful for the skill and good eye of my medical provider, who referred me to a wise specialist and to an excellent surgeon who performed the necessary task to restore me to good health. I'm thankful for the caring hospital nurses, aides and technicians who gently and graciously cared for me when I couldn't care for myself -- those who apologized for awakening me during what little sleeping time I could manage, because they had to take tests to ensure that everything was going well.

Mostly, though, I'm thankful for Don and his unwavering support and loving care -- no matter how rotten the day or my mood, he is always there.

I'm thankful for sweet and funny cards and notes from friends and family. I'm thankful for the dear friends and family who stopped by my hospital room with flowers and love. I'm thankful for grandsons who cheered me up with their orange and black face paint from celebrating at the OSU football game. I'm thankful for granddaughters (and their parents) who sent decadent chocolate-covered strawberries that I am rationing like pure gold.

I am blessed to be surrounded by love and prayers from near and far -- and I appreciate and will never forget these blessings. In my darkest of moments, I really thought that God was a bit too busy with wars, the economic crisis, politics, crime in the cities, and all that major stuff to listen to me. I'm sure happy to learn how wrong I was.


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