Yesterday I flew to St. Louis and my friend Faye picked me up. We drove to Alton IL to St. Anthony's Hospital right away to visit another friend who is in ICU. Gerry is married to Sheila, another pal. Gerry's been in ICU for about two weeks, and they're going to take him off the vent and put in a tracheotomy. I didn't know that they only keep people on vents for two weeks or less--then they move to a trach.
Joe, Carol, Fred, Chris, Faye, Sheila and I all got to visit Gerald together and pray together. It was so beautiful. The ICU let us all in, even though it's against the rules, because we told the nurse that we were all Gerry's prayer group--and that's true--although I've been gone from St. Louis for 3 1/2 years. We also spent time talking to Debbi, Tim and Braxton (daughter, s-i-l, and grandson).
It was quite moving to spend time with Gerry, but also terribly depressing. He looks like a very old man. There are tons of tubes running in and out of him. My heart aches for Sheila...she's there most of the time. They've been married for 40 years, since they were youngsters, and this is so hard for her and the family.
After spending the afternoon at the hospital, we all wanted to go to dinner together and we wanted Sheila to have some fun with us too. So we went to a Mexican restaurant and six people drank three pitchers of margaritas. I was the seventh person, and couldn't drink because of my stomach....so voila', a designated driver.
I went back to Faye's place for the night and we chatted for a while, but were both tired.
Woke up early and did some editing on a Journal I'd brought with me. We went to mass at Joe's parish and then went for friend pickles for lunch. I swear--fried pickles are worth the price of the plane ticket. The three of us ordered two platters of them. I've never had them anywhere but Kenrod's in St. Louis. And they told us they were changing the menu--instead of a sports' bar/restaurant, they were turning into a Southwest Steakhouse. The server didn't know if they were keeping friend pickles on the menu or not. It would be a SHAME if they dropped them, because--well, just because... I. LOVE. FRIED. PICKLES.
Even though the reason I went to St. Louis was so sad, the visit itself was wonderful. And being with close friends is a treat I don't get to experience much in Milwaukee.
I flew back to Milwaukee shortly after lunch, and am now back home--getting ready for work tomorrow.