“…All the rugged way”

I’m writing this later than usual because I needed to get some joy back before putting pinkies to the keys. The day started with a series of rugged ups and downs. I got to the hospital room just after the cardiologist told Larry his operation would be Monday. Hooray! Then a woman who programs the surgery came in and yelled at us because we didn’t have the comprobantes in hand, that she had to have them by ten o’clock this morning in order for Larry to have surgery on Monday. She was so, ahem, emphatic, that Larry started getting upset. She kept telling Larry, no te preocupes, cálmate, cálmate, and then would continue speaking to me in a really loud voice, obviously very upset. English speakers aren’t the only ones who think yelling slowly at foreigners will get the point across. I sent her out of the room with Marta, who came back later and told me the surgery would be Tuesday. Disappointing, but Larry said you were never supposed to buy a car that was assembled on Monday, and maybe heart surgery was the same way.

Other good news of the morning was that we had an O Neg donor actually show up in Guadalajara. This after calling a list of eight O Neg donors registered with the Red Cross, Eric and his wife Shirley came into the city from Ajijic (out on Lake Chapala), making the effort to be at the IMSS central blood bank by 6:30 in the morning. That’s when people start lining up to get a ficha or date to give blood. If you get there early enough, you get a date that same day. It took them a total of about five hours waiting. I took a picture of their sweet faces. Wish I could download it. They headed back to Chapala, leaving me the first actual comprobantes I’d ever seen – the precious papers that say so much blood has been given for Laurence Michael Cobb. They also gave me the name of an O Neg friend of theirs, and I called him. He is willing to come in next week and donate. Blessings on these dear people.

I also received by email pdf files of the comprobantes of the three donors who gave in Tepic. I look at these, and they don’t look anything like the one I got from Eric. Sweet Lulu also gave in Tepic this morning, though I don’t see a comprobante from her in this group of files. I hope sometime during these next few days somebody, some where can help me make sense of this stuff.  But the whole world, it seems, is going on vacation. The hospital is left with a skeleton staff.

But the blood bank remains vigilant! Marta, our treasured donor for plaquetas, went in to be tested today. She flunked. She has a tooth descapada. The crown is off. Shoot, I had a crown come off the first day we got here. That’s why I’ve been eating quesadillas. They’re soft! But this was a real downer.

I also explored buying blood from a private blood bank. I was told by the IMSS blood bank that buying blood in Mexico is a federal offense, and IMSS will not accept blood donated or acquired through another hospital that may not have the same high standards as does IMSS. No ****! I keep saying I will translate the requirements for donors and post it here. It’s pretty amazing. One thing they don’t mention, but will also disqualify you is if you haven’t been living in Mexico for at least six months. So precious friends in the States who are willing to fly down and “be there” for us, sigh, it would be for naught! Thank you, anyway.

Then came another visit from the queen of programming who informed us that maybe some time next week would be the operation. And, maybe not. I said I didn’t understand all the waffling around, and was told that foreigners always want to know an exact date and time, and it just doesn’t work that way here. I need to remain calm, tranquilo and patient. I kept remembering Marielena’s assurance that the surgery will go through. We just may have to set up housekeeping here for a while.

In the midst of all this friends have been making grand efforts on our behalf, putting notices on web boards and e-zines, and giving counsel and comfort, by phone, by Facebook, by email. Other patients and their familiares come by to encourage and offer prayers. I treasure each and every one, and offer my own in the form of the hymn Larry and I grew up singing in Sunday School. I’ve been singing it to him very quietly. The words seem particularly poignant right now:

 Shepherd, show me how to go

O’er the hillside steep,

How to gather, how to sow, —

How to feed Thy sheep;

I will listen for Thy voice,

Lest my footsteps stray;

I will follow and rejoice

All the rugged way.

Thou wilt bind the stubborn will,

Wound the callous breast,

Make self-righteousness be still,

Break earth’s stupid rest.

Strangers on a barren shore,

Lab’ring long and lone,

We would enter by the door,

And Thou know’st Thine own;

So, when day grows dark and cold,

Tear or triumph harms,

Lead Thy lambkins to the fold,

Take them in Thine arms;

Feed the hungry, heal the heart,

Till the morning’s beam;

White as wool, ere they depart,

Shepherd, wash them clean.

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