I love surpirses. But I also hate them. I have no patience. If I know something is coming, I need to know what it is. I can keep a secret if necessary. I can be very tight lipped. That's the attorney in me. I know how to keep confidences. But when it is something exciting, I burst at the seems and want to shout it to the world!
Yesterday, I was sent a text from Dr. Diego (el brat himself) that he was on his way and bringing a surprise. Thankfully, I didn't check my phone so I wasn't anticipating it. I was standing at the door talking with Brother David when I looked up and saw a dark, bald head dip real fast and run by! I thought, "I know that head!" I yelled out, "Stop! Right there! You!" He tried to duck into an empty patient room, but I tackled him. Dr. Obi. Dr. D came up and said I ruined it. They were going to walk by, glance in and keep going, just to see what I would do. Brats. Or, excuse me, "el brat" as Diego says he is.
Diego is off for the next week. Or so he thought.
Today, we were all sitting around chatting and guess who walked in? I think he just made up an emergency procedure so he could come in and get his Jersey bagels.
Then it was time for lunch. We decided to go to Cheesecake Factory. The Yellow Ribbon Fund arranged for us to have taxi vouchers for a wheelchair accessible van to and from the restaurant. It was arranged yesterday. I called this morning to ensure a pick up at two, and I was guaranteed I only needed to give twenty minutes notice. I called at 1:30 p.m. (1330) for pickup, and I was told 10-20 minutes.
At 1400, I called for an ETA and I was advised at that time that they were having trouble locating a wheelchair accessible van and they would get to us by 1430 (2:30 p.m.). The family was waiting at the restaurant. I told the dispatcher the restaurant would not hold the table much longer, and this was arranged yesterday. She promised me pick up but said they had car problems.
1435. No cab. No call from them. I call. I was told 1545 (3:45 p.m.) at the earliest. Yes, I started yelling. The guys at the Command Center were so nice. They tried to find us another cab company, but being Christmas Eve, we were stuck.
So, we made the best of a bad situation and ordered take out from the Cheesecake Factory. It wasn't what we wanted, but it was intimate and "quiet" with just us in the conference room.
Two months ago, an anonymous angel sent Derek an engagement ring to give to Krystina. He did. He still wanted to get her his own ring but until he was well enough to consider it, this was a gift from Heaven.
After we ate, Derek turned to Krystina and said, in part, "Most people say why they love someone, but I have proof. I have pictures of you sitting beside me in ICU holding my hand while I was unconscious. You were always there. You gave up everything for me. Since you are the girl of my dreams, I wanted to get you the ring of your dreams." He then presented her with a gorgeous ring that my sister picked up after he told her exactly which one to get.
Derek's nurse, Angela, was in the room taking pictures, and a corpsman and LPN also ran in to watch. It was wonderful! So, no we didn't get to go out to eat, but we made the best of it and had a good time.
The best part? We were together. It would have been better if Krystina's parents could have joined us, but it was wonderful.
Many Christmas blessings to you and yours! If you celebrate Hanukkah, then Hanukkah blessings. Kwanzaa? Kwanzaa blessings! Whatever you celebrate, may your season be merry and bright.
For all of you with soldiers, marines, airmen, sailors away this Christmas, my thoughts and prayers are with you. My sailor Michael was away last Christmas, and Derek was supposed to be away this Christmas, so I do know how you feel. The worry, the thoughts, the sleepless nights. May God keep them safe and bring them all home soon.
If you have room, set an extra plate at your table this year in honor of a deployed serviceman or woman, or one who did not make it home. Raise your glass in honor of those deployed to the sandbox and other places around the world and unable to be with family and friends this Christmas, the wounded warriors struggling to recover in hospitals in Germany, Bagram, Khandahar, and across the US, as well as other VA hospitals around the world, and those who are Heaven deployed.... always honored, never forgotten.