Sunday, June 8, 2008

Meet Our Meal Mavens: Dorrie and Helen

Dorrie Lamarr and Helen McCusker

Many of you Food Angels have met Helen and Dorrie on the phone and email. Now you can put faces with those voices and email handles. That's Dorrie on the left, and Helen on the right. Together with Francine, they make up Jo Ann's tripulaciĆ³n de cholas. I am not at liberty to say just how long these ladies have been homegirls due to that 'age' thing, but lemme put it this way: they met somewhere after the Walkman, during the VHS revolution, and well before the DVDification of the world. Bottom line is: they have been best friends for a loooooong time, and they all look like they're in their early 30s! It's amazing! Jo Ann, Francine, Dorrie, Helen: these ladies walk the walk. When one of them needs a hand in life, the others are there. It's a real inspiration. OK, enough of that....I have a feeling I'll be sleeping on the doorstep tonight, Fred Flintstone-style.

Back to the Dorrie and Helen Show.

When we were still in the hospital, we hadn't even thought about how we might handle, like, caloric intake. But D & H did, and they let us know that they'd be commandeering the food lines–communicating with folks, keeping a master list, letting people know our food prefs–so we could focus on Pablo and Grady, and whatever came our way.

What has come our way has been: trips to the hospital; taking P's temp with any one of three different thermometers that can now be found in all areas of our house; feeding P medicines that he can't stand the taste of (violently so); loving and supporting Grady through his experience with this and finishing junior high; finding time to talk to one another about the medical plan, the foundation, if we are/aren't going to take P to school for 30 minutes on a given day, so he can maintain a connection to his friends and teachers; getting in exercise and fresh air; and, of course, working in between all that....

The LAST thing Jo Ann or I would have the bandwidth to deal with is, "Hey, what are we gonna cook for dinner?" If it had been up to us these past few weeks, we'd have been somewhere between freshman year in the dorm, and 'Mess Hall, Viet Nam.' Plus, I have to admit publicly here, I am not a happy camper when I'm hungry. So, taking blood sugar drops out of the equation has been beeeee-yond a blessing in our household.

The meals that you all have dropped on our doorstep at 5:3o p.m. every day have been–literally–the only sliver of consistency in our lives since 17 May. On top of that, as Jo Ann always says: food cooked with love has a special taste and power. The meals you've made for our family have fit that statement 1000000%!

All this foodfare would actually be a burden if not for Helen and Dorrie's coordination of it all. What I mean by this is, at a time like this, it'd be hard to have to juggle the social/logistical aspect of coordinating meal deliveries. And it'd be impossible to do without crying even more than we do. Jo Ann is on with doctors all the time, and I am crackin off work calls or emails in between either of us attending to Pablo's needs. We start rollin in the AM, and suddenly it's 6 p.m. Crazy how fast the days have been going for us lately. Sometimes at the end of a day, we just want to, like, stop talking, and just BE. I write the blog, Jo Ann plays her fave new game Word Twist. It helps us clear our heads.

In addition to the home-cooked meals, we've had some long-distance dedications. The other day, Jeannie and James Kim sent us four Chicago deep dish pizzas on dry ice from Lou Malnati's (the REAL DEAL). Last week, my sweet-as-pie friend Katy Jorgensen from Portland, Oregon had pizza delivered from our fave local spot, Tomato Pie.

All these yummy deliveries have brought us comfort at a time when we have all but lost routine. Here's why: the chemo drugs are literally killing fast growing cells in Pablo's body. He gets tummy aches, sweats, clammy hands, and irritability. None of these things ever happened ith him prior to 17 May. He was (and still basically is) a totally easy-going dude. Polly keeps saying this, too. Can you image what this Chemo stuff is doing to his entire life experience? I mean, usually when someone ingests a colorful poison-like potion, their name is Robert Downey, Jr., they turn into a comic book hero, save people, and get paid $13M to do it! Our little hombre has a serious science experiment going on inside his body. And, as verbally sharp as he is, he doesn't have the ability yet (thank God) to discern and communicate what's going on inside him. He just knows that one minute he wants to run around the house like an insane person and scream and throw things and the next minute and S L E E P.

Most days, Pablo takes a long nap sometime between 2 and 6 p.m. (he had gotten to the point in lift where he'd take an occasional nap). When we eat meals, he might take a bite and then say "I'm not hungry" and walk away from the table (normally, he is an eating machine). At 9 p.m., his usual bedtime, he'll want to eat dinner.

So, with our new, zany sked everyone's delicious meals have warmed our hearts and filled our bellies.

¡ Viva la Hellie Bells y Dorita !

¡ Viva la each and every one of you !

By the way, even if we have not (yet) sent you a note of gratitude, please accept this temporary one, and rest assured, we have talked about each person or family who's made our dinner while chowing it down!!!!

OK, we're off to LAX. Grady has a plane to catch. Next stop: Costa Rica!!!!!

No comments: