12:44PM Thursday - Last night was relatively simple, except for one surprising detail. Liza rested and I got her med schedule worked out in little cups written with the times and meds written on the side. With just a few phone alarms, the night went pretty smoothly. In my opinion, Liza's pain management trouble spots are in the early AM hours, on through 8 or 9:00. That seems to be one, not the only, but one of the problem periods. She did okay last night, but around 8:00 through 11:00 was hard for her pain wise. We were able to lay in a real bed and not be bothered by vitals, weights, beeps, neighbors, nurses or doctor rounds. That's all a good thing.
We were joyfully awaken by some calls from our kids. We love it when they call with silly or random thoughts or questions. It makes us feel like we are connected, especially for Liza, even though she's been away from them for over a month - by far the longest she's ever been away from her kids, ever. I think that distracted her a bit until some of the meds kicked in.
I arranged some things, cleaned up the room a bit and then ducked down the street for coffee. One of the hotel staff at the front desk finally took me up on my offer to buy them a coffee - well one of them did. Jesse declined. Laura accepted: she's the new wife of CJ, the valet. He's become one of my closest new friends here in the hotel. I've been encouraging him in his young marriage. The two valets currently outside also declined the coffee offer, Christian and Andre. I'm not sure how I would have carried them all anyway.
So the plan for today is also quite simple - rest. Our flight is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon so that means I also have to get my mind around packing and organizing the room. It's actually a task that I can get excited about, a challenge that I will meet. One of the things Liza wanted to have on our last night here was the great pizza from down the street. That is the plan.
The mention of food brings me to the surprise we encountered last night. Indulge me a little backstory. So, because of COVID and the restrictions still in place here in California, a small but high-end restaurant located in a house around the corner from the hotel was completely shut down. Restaurants here can only occupy tables that are outdoors. They didn't have any, so they couldn't serve people. That's death for a small business or restaurant. That is until one of their staff worked out an ingenious collaboration with our hotel. The restaurant would come into the large hotel kitchen, co-opt some or most of the area there, and set up an outdoor restaurant around the small pool and at a second location on the roof of the hotel. Brilliant. They started this only recently for four nights a week, and now they are doing it six nights a week. Great for them and the hotel. People have been flocking in almost every night.
Somehow, Blake, one of the managers of the restaurant, heard that Liza and I were long-term "residents" in the hotel and that she was in the hospital. He surprisingly offered to gift us a meal - either in the hospital or in our hotel room, as Liza cannot sit up for long. He connected with me personally and we organized it for last night - the first night back. Blake sent us the full menu and told us to pick whatever we wanted. We chose three or four things for our meal and were very excited.
Then, Blake and Beau showed up at our hotel room door - pulling a large heated cart behind them. One by one they scurried in and out the door as I held it open, brining twice what we ordered. It was almost "Be our guest" from Beauty and the Beast. Seriously. Grilled octopus. Grilled peaches. Roast chicken. Gluten free pasta. French fries. Sauces. Dessert. Drinks. Plates and silverware - most on our tiny little side table perched at the foot of the bed. We barely had room for it all. Beau and Blake spoke kindly and gently to Liza as she lay in bed (yes it was a tiny bit awkward to have people in our room). They welcomed her and shared how happy they were that she was out of the hospital. They just wanted to make a special memory for us both and let us try their food. And let me tell you - their food...as a foodies...was outstanding. Like crazy good. Perhaps the extra zhuzh on it all was the "free."
In a snap they were out of the room and we were left with a spread suitable for a family of five or six. Liza didn't eat much, as her stomach and appetite are still not normal, but she enjoyed the chicken and peaches. It was all rather glorious, even if Liza was only able to sit up for a little bit. Most of it is in to-go boxes in our tiny hotel fridge.
Of course as soon as we were done, Liza and I brainstormed some gifts for Beau and Blake - I ran down the street for some materials and goods, I wrote some thank you notes from the both of us, then I dropped them off at the pop-up hostess stand for the hotel.
Just another unexpected blessing, a positive memory in a sea of rather negative ones. Actually this reminds me of one more that I didn't mention.
Yesterday in the hospital, as I stepped out for the coffee, Liza had an interaction with Anna before we were discharged. Anna is the sweetest woman with the best smile on the floor - even though I've never seen it behind her mask. You can just tell from her eyes. Anna is one of the many workers in a hospital that many people overlook such as those who clean the linens, deliver the meds, mop the floors or make the food. Anna came into our room most of the many days we were there to empty the trash, clean the bathroom and mop the floors. Most of the time, these servants try to swoop in and out unnoticed and without being bothersome. I asked her name about the second time we met and then I would see her down the hallway and say hi. Every time she came in Liza and I would greet her. She cut her hair during our stay and I told her once in the hallway that I liked her hair. Her great smile was reflected in her eyes.
In our room were two incredible arrangement of flowers delivered by some very kind people in our life and our church. They had been there several days and we were trying to figure out how to get them safely back to the hotel. But yesterday, when Anna arrived, she mentioned to Liza how beautiful the flowers were. On a whim, Liza asked Anna if she would take them. Precious little Anna, a woman probably in her 60's, short salt and pepper hair, who moves slowly but deliberately, was obviously surprised by the offer. After a short exchange she joyfully accepted and said to Liza, "these are by far the nicest flowers I have ever had." Liza got tears in her eyes. Another unexpected blessing of stories and lives.