Dr. Greg & Suzanne by rhoing

Dr. Greg & Suzanne

Tonight we went to Greg & Suzanne’s for dinner. Clare & I met Dr. Greg in January 2001 on the first day of spring semester. “Professionally”. At his place of work. He’s a surgeon.

I had had a stomach ache for a couple days, but that’s not unusual right before a new semester: I generally get “butterflies” (ha-ha, right?) before meeting new classes, especially large classes of 80 or so. But Monday evening, the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, I developed a fever. Clare informed me I was going to the Urgent Care clinic the following morning and I agreed. I really felt ill and the fever was the clincher.

So off I trotted to the clinic where a physician examined me and sent me upstairs for a consult with a surgeon, Dr. Greg by the luck of the draw. He palpated minimally and decided against a CT scan (“I don’t need a CT scan to tell me what this is”): appendicitis.

It turned out to be a perforated appendix rather than a ruptured or burst appendix and the surgery took much longer than Dr. Greg initially told Clare (2+ hours versus 45 minutes). It turned out that I had been septic for a few days already, so it was quite a mess inside. And since he’d gone in laparoscopically, everything had to come out laparoscopically so it took some time.

I was in the hospital for more than 4 days and off work for 3 weeks. The first day I could drive myself alone again was a Saturday and I “ran” a bunch of errands. When I returned, Clare said Dr. Greg had called.

Dr. Greg had gone to the ER the previous night and — long story short — he had a brain tumor and the surgeon was having surgery in 4 days.

As you can see, the story has a happy ending. I met Suzanne the day of Greg’s surgery, the surgery was a success and Dr. Greg went back to work. He gave retirement a try at age 50 — as he had always promised himself that he would — and he hasn’t looked back. Now he wants to travel more and is subtly nudging Suzanne — okay, maybe not so subtly — to retire so they can travel together!

No longer his patient, we two couples have become good friends. Initially we got together twice-a-year for dinner. Then it became four times a year and now it’s roughly every-other-month. (Eventually, it will be constrained by when they’re “in town”!) We were at their place tonight and they’re coming to our place October 27. When they arrive, one of the first things he’ll do is go to the calendar in the kitchen and propose a date the first week or so in December for us to be back at their place. (Last year I put my guess on our calendar before he flipped the page. This year’s guess, Greg: Friday the 7th.)

This evening as we were finishing dessert, Suzanne noticed fireworks outside in the distance. It was probably at a nearby winery, but that reminded Greg that they had some “stuff.” After he disappeared for a minute, he returned with some sparklers that wouldn’t ignite, a Boa that must have disappeared between two planks of their deck but lots ’n’ lots of Roman candles that made for some great shots that I’ll post on my posterous site after I get ready for Tuesday’s classes! An empty wine bottle made for a fine launcher and we had a blast!

While Suzanne continues to work, Greg runs. Run, Greg, run! About 3,300–3,400 miles per year. Suzanne runs, too, and some of their trips are for races all over the country. The day I met him, they had just returned from Houston the previous day after he’d run the Houston marathon the day before that. Now they run “halfs”.

Thanks, Greg & Suzanne, for your friendship to both Clare & me these many years! Your home is *always* “sanctuary” for us, an escape from the concerns of the work-a-day world. And tonight Clare & I could toast to having a son-in-law-to-be, as Jenny is engaged! Thanks for letting us share our good news!

This was a “one take” shot; Clare apparently made a “V” over my head to get these smiles…

Notes. I used a longer focal length (70mm) for a shallower depth of field (so that Snoopy is blurred in the background), a bounced flash, and another filter from Clare’s dad. This filter is labeled “DIFF” and I think it is used in portrait photography to soften features. I have been using it to photograph all the new graduate students in the department this fall.

A year ago (“Lines and flowers 2”): http://365project.org/rhoing/365/2011-09-02
Great photo and such a heart-warming story! So nice that you've become such great friends! I'm back to school tomorrow, and the kids return on Wednesday. I had a wonderful end to the summer, so I'm ready to start teaching again - Good luck with your teaching, too,Thom! :)
September 4th, 2012  
@sparkleplenty1 Hospitalizations are fantastic re-prioritizers! Extreme, but effective!
September 4th, 2012  
Great photo - friendships are such a treasure. Yours sounds meant to be
September 4th, 2012  
Thom, I have loved reading your words :) thank you for a wonderful story and a beautiful photograph :)
September 4th, 2012  
@lindag @michelleyoung Thanks so much, Linda & Michelle. It was from my appendectomy and Greg's surgery that I finally appreciated a simple (or not-so-simple) truth: “life” is about the journey, not the destinations…
September 5th, 2012  
@michelleyoung P.S. Some time ago I gave up "trying for the PP" every day and made 365 *my* daily post...
September 5th, 2012  
Great smiles and what a scary story! Gals you ended up fine and got such great friends from it!
September 9th, 2012  
Leave a Comment
Sign up for a free account or Sign in to post a comment.