Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Landscape at OHSU

Reflecting pool at OHSU

Almost 2 weeks since my last post. I know that's not a great way to start, but even I can't believe it. We are having gorgeous sunny weather and I still have not planted my containers. Look at my post on March 20th, and that is what my deck looks like now. Except my kale is bolting.

My dad's illness has changed my schedule as well as my mom's and my two sisters. Since he went into the rehab facility we've tried to split 'shifts' so that one of us is around and we can schedule things in our own lives. Dad came home last Sunday and despite having 2 weeks to plan for it we were not all that ready. We are still scrambling with food, furniture and our own sloppy emotions. Don't get me wrong, we are accomplishing quite a bit, just not in a streamlined fashion. I don't think my dad expected anything else.

My dad was admitted to OHSU (Oregon Health Sciences University) in late March. I've lived in or near Portland, Oregon since the late 80's and had never been there. I counted that as a blessing because OHSU is home to some big deal hospitals for people who are really sick. The one I'm most familiar with is the Doernbecher Children's Hospital, considered one of the best children's hospitals in the US.

My dad couldn't be placed in any of the 3 Kaiser hospitals, so he got a room at OHSU in the bone marrow transplant ward. After walking a series of maze-like hallways, taking different elevators we then had to phone the nurses to get in, then wash hands, then wear a mask into his room. It felt dramatic and scary, and I truly feel for the patients there.

The thing that struck me as odd at OHSU is the lack of landscape or plant material. The campus receives a lot of money, some halls of the Kohler Pavillion were like a museum to different forms of artwork. But, there is no landscaping at the entrance, no open space, and relatively little green space. Dad's building had a 2 story patio with steel chairs and artwork of wildlife.

When we went out onto the 9th floor patio, it seemed that the emphasis was more on the scenic views of Portland. This was the only plant space I could find so I was happy to settle for it.

Chris looking at the before (1851) and after photos of the city.

The campus seemed like a small city unto itself, the people were very nice and the staff were exceptional. I can say that Chris got me to ride the tram - twice (it rocks, literally). After 5 days it felt like an accomplishment to finally figure out my way around there. And, on the day dad was discharged my sister and I finally found the Starbucks (Doernbecher lobby).

My word for the year is Gratitude...
The reason I picked this word is because sometimes it's hard for me to feel grateful.
I put it here at the end of my blog so that I would be consistently thinking about gratitude.
Being at OHSU and the convalescent center where dad went next, gratitude slaps you in the face. 

Today I'm grateful for:
my health and (relative) youth. 
Coming home to my cat and sleeping in my bed each night.
For a social worker's comment on how our family cares and that is not always the case.

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