In Sickness & In Health


I was born with a heart murmur, and while I've always read this in my baby book it has taken me until now to realize how fortunate I am to have had the hole in my heart close up days after I was born. My friend, Makenna, whom you have read about before was not this lucky. She had surgery when she was just a newborn to fix her heart--and has a scar to prove it. And now, 17 years later, it was time for a follow up surgery.

I, for one, have never broken a bone, had a major illness, been sent to the emergency room, or anything of the like (knock on wood), which is surprising considering my countless hours spent on balance beams and more recently standing under considerably dangerous cheerleading stunts. My point is that I'm not very good with hospitals. My only memories of being in them are--as most people--in times where those that I love were not well. But regardless of my hesitations about hospitals, I know that visitors is just about the only thing that would get one through the day with all those wires hooked up to them and nasty smelling cafeteria food.

{MB, Jules, Sickling Makenna, Kelli & Hannah/GG]

So, I went to visit Makenna two days after her open heart surgery. They placed a cow valve in a heart...yes, I said cow...and the doctors said the procedure went very well. I felt very adult as I meandered through the busy streets of Houston's medical center and afterwards wandering around 4 some odd buildings until I finally landed in the right spot (they really got make that less confusing!) Room 1517 was jam-packed with gorgeous flower arrangements, balloons, "get well soon" cards, and sweet treats. I myself came came fully stocked with yellow flowers put together by the great Meems who is a connoisseur of anything floral. And how appropriate! Yellow flowers is a symbol of friendship and supposedly yellow blooms send a message of new beginnings.

Also in hand was Makenna's birthday present...2 months late. But hey, better late than never! My intention was to give it to her shortly after her birthday in April but in the mix of APs and finals it just didn't get done. So, her surgery seemed like the perfect time to surprise Keeks with a little homemade gift. I have always fantasized over the idea of designing album covers for a living. Whenever I purchase a new song on iTunes, half the fun for me is examining the artwork that is added to my library. Every artist's artwork expresses his or her unique style and musical talent. So, I took the liberty of making the job for myself by making Makenna her very own album artwork. It wasn't hard to find so-called "artsy" pictures of Makenna and with the simple addition of some of her favorite quotations, her lyrics, and song titles, it was a piece of cake. And I enjoyed every second of it. Rather than presenting it in the form of an actual album cover, I blew it up onto a larger poster to display in her room.

It's been a week since her surgery now and she's doing great. She returned home Monday-very happily I might add. She's been bedridden for the majority of her recovery, but she's slowly getting back to speed. I've spent two of the nights at her house staying up to watch One Tree Hill until four in the morning. Yes, work the next day was a bit of a struggle, but I don't regret one single episode. And now we've got Tess hooked too.

She won't be driving for six weeks, but she's got a spot saved in my passenger seat! Oh wait! Doctors orders said she must ride in the back. How precious...I'll be like mommy carpooling my little Kenners around town. And the BEST part of it all is when she'll be struttin' down the halls as a senior next year with a rollie backpack. Work it, girlfriend, work it. What says SKA better than a rollie backpack?

So keep Makenna in your prayers and be thankful for your beating, healthy, all-in-one-piece heart!



Carolyn said...

Get well soon Makenna!