Birthday Weekend

23 May

“This calls for a birthday weekend,” my mom decided, considering my days are much shorter than a normal person’s day. That is, accounting for all the naps I need, the exponentially longer time it takes me and a team of nurses to do anything because of my gimp legs, random echocardiograms, blood transfusions, drop-by physical therapy, visiting nutritionists – you get the drift.

Morning Birthday Instigators

So birthday weekend it was indeed. To kick things off, I was awakened by a very festive version of my Mayo Cavalry. I assume the pediatrics crew isn’t as well-oiled when it comes to celebrating the big 2-5 among its patients, but you would never have known. They totally pulled it off. Plus I’m a sucker for cone-shaped hats and cupcakes.

Fresh-off-finals-but-now-cramming-for-medical-boards Jimmy couldn’t resist, breaking his study schedule for an early morning drive from Chicago to make a surprise visit. Any sour feelings, tension, anxiety, you name it, peeled right off when he was here. He sat through my echocardiogram, which the techs had hauled right up to my room, and of course offered many inappropriate faces and other charades at the techs’ backs. We enjoyed a romantic lunch in bed. I tried to teach him new medical terms.

Hospital Food in Hospital Bed

Olivia had more hair than me.

Thankfully Jimmy’s departure was eased knowing my best friend Melissa, her husband Jordan and their brand new baby girl Olivia were waiting in the lobby for their visit. I had last seen Melissa when I visited them in Jacksonville, where Jordan is stationed with the Navy. They managed to swing by on their way to their new station in Washington State. Melissa and I have been naming our babies (and groomsmen, and wedding venues, and jobs we’ll have) since developing an extreme, complex version of the game MASH. It’s gratifying to see how those columns are finally shaping for both of us, although she sure does have far more categories crossed off than I do.

Yesterday I spent the entire day with my dad, giving my mom the opportunity to attend my cousin Andrew’s high school graduation (congrats, Andrew!). My dad used every bit of his motherly flair with this girl-with-no-use of her-dumpy-legs. He already visits nearly every night after work for a few hours, making his total day commute something like 3+ hours, and he’s even more of a workaholic than me. It was good to spend a good hunk of time with him.

Kyley and Rachel visit

Rounding out my birthday weekend visitors were Kyley and Rachel, friends I’ve had since high school and Katie and Mary -Katie was the only Minnesota girl (even though she’s a Badger) out in DC at Powell Tate and Mary and I worked together quite a bit when I worked at the Weber Shandwick office in Minneapolis. Between the four of them, we easily yakked away for hours. I even have a trophy mouthsore today to prove it.

Mary and Katie Visit

If there was a prize for “Best Birthday Confined to a Hospital Room (Let’s Be Real, Hospital Bed)”, I think I took the cake.

My legs are slowly but surely getting better. Yesterday I stood for two, then three minutes using a walker. And I just took physical therapy break and walked with a walker! I’m a little wobbly, which could be taken advantage of by certain people (ahem), but I’m well on my way to that graceful stride. My staph infection has been treated, but I’m still on the antibiotics for it. My new problem is mouthsores and bleeding from low platelets. Mouthsores that are back with a vengeance. Bleeding that won’t stop. So, we’re trying to keep the pain medicine just right and I’m trying to keep eating to keep that food tube out. And we’re trying to talk a fine line between giving my enough platelets but only when needed, as their effectiveness can ware off once you’ve had too many transfusions. They’re hoping my blood counts may start coming up on their own by late this week. Fingers crossed.

I want to sincerely thank all of you for bombarding me with cards, Facebook posts and messages, notes on my blog, gifts, and other messages for my birthday. Your overwhelming support and unrelentless care for my wellbeing enthuses me, motivates me, and is invaluable to reference when I’m feeling in the gutter. Thank you for reading my Redhead Report, even when I take what I’m sure are annoying breaks in my writing (because I’m not feeling well, have a lot of various appointments, don’t feel like dealing with the Mayo Internet access wall, or need a long nap). I truly value your loyal readership.

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13 Responses to “Birthday Weekend”

  1. Carly May 23, 2011 at 5:44 pm #

    I think Jimmy needs to Bic his head so you can match! I saw his First Aid peeking out from under the table at the romantic meal 🙂 Good times.

    Sounds like you should have a birthday every week! Hope your legs keep getting better!

    Love, Carly

  2. Sadie Brown May 23, 2011 at 5:56 pm #

    Hey Girl!
    Happy Belated Birthday! It looks like you did have a great weekend even if it was stuck in a bed. Spending good vibes all the way from Wisconsin! Your spirit and motivation inspires me and I am a huge fan of your blog! I am sorry I am not there to visit but know that you are in my thoughts and prayers all the time!

  3. Robin Guadagnini May 23, 2011 at 7:49 pm #

    Happy Belated Birthday Jenna! What a wonderful celebration and you know those birthdays are pretty spectacular!! One for the memory book for sure!

    I was in DesMoines for a conference and tried to figure out how to head north and drop by…sorry I didn’t get it worked out!! I could have snuck good food for you too!

    Love and hugs and prayers!

  4. Lori Thom May 23, 2011 at 7:50 pm #

    Hi Jenna, glad to hear that you are feeling a little bit better. Thinking of you & wishing a speedy recovery!!!!

    Lori Thom

  5. Fran Albright May 23, 2011 at 8:55 pm #

    We’ve been away on a trip to visit family. Even so I thought of you often and lifted you upp. I understand you had a visit that really helped your spirits mend, from JAV, the picture on the blog proves he was there. What a birthday!!!

  6. Katie Lloyd May 23, 2011 at 9:09 pm #

    I’ll let the Badger comment slide (this time).

  7. shelley schugel May 23, 2011 at 11:52 pm #

    Happy Birthday. So nice that you had so many birthday visitors.. So that shows your friendship is very special. Next year will not be at the hospital but they made this one special.

  8. Betsy (Willing) Price May 24, 2011 at 7:57 am #

    glad you had such a great birthday weekend! glad that your spirits are mended now too keep up the improving on those legs! soon you’ll be doing Dance Team moves again ^-^

  9. Ann T. May 24, 2011 at 11:50 am #

    So proud of how hard you are working on your standing/walking! I know it’s not easy. Just remember, the Mayo All Star Pro-Am IV Pole Drill Team needs YOU in the lineup! I heard they will be drafting Jimmy as a coach when he’s done with boards.

  10. Elizabeth J. May 24, 2011 at 12:31 pm #

    Happy Birthday! Best Wishes to you and your family!

  11. Jonathan May 24, 2011 at 2:20 pm #

    Happy Birthday Jenna! Looks like you had a great party. Hope you continue to feel better each and every day.

  12. Miki Schultz (Ashlee's Mom) May 25, 2011 at 9:00 pm #


    God broke the mold when he created you! You are such a special gift to the world. Your humor, strength and attitude are like no others!! I am so happy you find the strength to write when you can – !

    Hugs, Love and Prayers…
    Miki Schultz

  13. Laurie Strunk May 26, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

    Happy Belated Birthday Jenna! We continue to pray that those mouthsores go away and NEVER return.

    PS Alysha turned 10 on 5/18/11. Do you remember when she was just a tiny baby? You know, you were her first babysitter. 🙂

    Take care, Laurie

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