Tea and sympathy

Lynn Horton is a freelance writer and editor who in another lifetime taught English and Creative Writing at McIntosh High School and later worked in the Starr’s Mill High School Media Center.

Sunday afternoon, June 23rd, The Veranda Inn in Senoia, a lovely Victorian Bed and Breakfast, was the scene for the Senoia Area Historical Society’s annual Tea Party. The gorgeous day was interrupted only occasionally by warm showers which reached onto the corner of the porch and splashed welcome raindrops onto the colorful flowers of the beautiful arch created for guests to pose and capture Tea Party memories.
Shauna Mooney chaired a team of 10 other volunteer worker bees who created and carried off this delightful yearly event. Over 50 women and girls donned demure or “fantasy” hats. A few ladies sported white cotton gloves, a staple of tea parties in the past. They enjoyed a varied menu which ranged from crudité cups and party sandwiches to tiny scones with the most delicious raspberry jam on this planet, compliments of Nancy Roy and her shop Carriage House Country Antiques.
After spending a tense and climactic week at Piedmont hospital where my dear husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor and quickly operated on, I felt as though I had been released into a Wonderland which was taking place in my very own neighborhood. Who could have imagined what faced Bill and me as we sailed happily along in our daily lives just 10 days before. Who can ever know when one’s world might be turned upside down, topsy turvy, with fear as its center?
Early Wednesday, June 12, Bill spent a restless night. He woke me to complain of headache and nausea several times during the night. We went to the walk-in clinic in PTC at about 9:30 a.m. He was given antibiotics and a prescription for Ibuprofen. These proved insufficient to manage the pounding headache. Bill became even more restless during the afternoon and early night. By midnight Wednesday, still unable to sleep, I began preparing to leave for the hospital emergency. I gave him Ibuprofen at 1:30 and finally he was able to sleep. There were to be only a few hours of rest and he woke with even more pain.
Thursday morning at 5 a.m. I drove to the Emergency Entrance where Bill was quickly and efficiently admitted. After initial work ups, the very astute ER doctor followed up with CT scans on the band of throbbing pain that Bill had found no relief from in the last few days. His tests showed a growth in the lung and as frightening, what appeared to be a mass on the brain. Plans were made to transfer Bill to Downtown Piedmont by ambulance. I was allowed to accompany Bill while my daughters would follow.
Thursday noon. Bill quickly became the Houdini of ambulances and unbuckled all restraints faster than I could keep them connected! He had become stubborn and belligerent (the drugs; he is a gentle man…normally). He would get busy unlocking the three sets of buckles as soon as the attendant re-snapped the harnesses. We played this exhausting game for 45 minutes until the driver pulled up at the ER entrance. We waited in a holding area until about 3 p.m. for a room to become available. Bill, in less pain but suffering some side effects of the drug “cocktail” designed to manage the headache, was “hangry,” anxious, and agitated. An MRI, critical at this stage, was interrupted because Bill was like a Raggedy Andy whose head and arms could not be controlled, he flopped, twisted, and fidgeted. He was ready to go Home. Me too. My nerves were raw and my eyes refused to stop leaking tears. In the meantime, a “crack” team of what has proven to be some of Piedmont’s finest was being assembled.
Friday proved extremely frustrating. Two more scheduled MRI’s were disrupted and cancelled. By 7 p.m., no more information was available except that we would have to wait until Monday or Tuesday for Bill to be put under deeper sedation. Friday night, my daughter and I tried to rest but remained wakeful, each troubled by our own thoughts and worries. Bill woke suddenly at 3 a.m., wide awake; he was lucid! Now our greatest obstacle was how to keep him calm while refusing this precious man food or drink. He had had nothing for 60 hours!
Saturday, day three, we got things moving. No matter how much effort is made to prepare or distract the patient, the horrible loud noises emitted by the Monster MRI cause great distress. But Bill finally was able to understand, be very still and get a successful MRI. Believing it would not be read till Monday, we were thrilled later that day to learn that the team had seen the results and scheduled surgery for noon on Monday. Hallelujah. Praise God. All went as planned, and the surgery to remove the mass from my precious husband’s left frontal lobe was successful, but we were told that we must wait for at least a week, maybe longer, for the pathology results. It has been more than 10 days. Bill was released in record time on Wednesday afternoon. We continue to wait and pray.
In the meantime, God gave me, my sister, and my cousins a very special treat, a marvelous distraction. An Afternoon Tea! From the moment we entered the Inn, we were greeted by such sincere warmth and caring wishes that I was afraid I would dissolve into a puddle of tears. These women, friends we have made in just over five years since moving to Senoia, were so sweet and dear, creating a web of love and support like we have never before experienced. It was the perfect venue for hugs, kisses, comforting pats on the shoulder between cups of my favorite tea. There is nothing in the world that conveys sympathy better than a loving smile across a tea table.
Except perhaps….On the raised counter which divides our kitchen and dining area are over 50 Get Well cards. The wishes, hopes and prayers conveyed by the beautiful missives have cheered and buoyed us both. We are so grateful for these many, many kind expressions of love. Thank you dear, sweet friends. We covet your prayers.

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