Thursday, January 27, 2011


Bear with me, this is going to be a long post. Today was a milestone day: we left the hospital! We are now the proud residents of the Kline Galland home in Seward Park, Seattle. But more on that in a minute.

Last night, we cleared out most of her room (and since we've been living there for a month and we all have a touch of the OCD, there was much to be cleaned!); all that was left this morning was a plant, her clothes, a few stray bottles of lotions and potions and miscellaneous essentials. I arrived at Overlake at 9am, shortly after breakfast had been ordered. Mom mentioned to me how much she was looking forward to her breakfast of cream of wheat with the diced peaches that a dear one had brought for her. Uh-oh. We had cleared out the peaches last night. Dad and I looked at each other, then both sprang into action. I immediately called Ross, hoping he was still at home (he was), but as I did, Dad remembered that the peaches were in his trunk in the parking lot. "I'll run and get them before the cereal arrives," I volunteered, but Dad insisted he go. 10 minutes later, he's back, with a package of pears. "Dad, those are pears." "Isn't that what she wanted?" "Nope, she wanted peaches. I'll go get them this time." But Dad was already running back out the door to fix his mistake. Shortly after he left the second time, breakfast arrived. I mixed Mom's hot chocolate while we waited for the peaches. About 15 minutes went by this time, when Dad ran back in, thrust the package on the table, saying "these look exactly like the one I just brought up!" "Yup, because they are. You brought up more pears." He started to run back out again when Mom yelled from bed, "Don't even think about it! Aynsley's going this time!" So I did, grabbing the peaches (after first grabbing oranges, but realizing my mistake before even hitting the "lock" car key) and running into Ross arriving in the parking lot.

We had a nice morning. Mom got a great sponge bath from a very sweet nursing tech, I took advantage of our last day across from Whole Foods, half of the nursing staff came in to say goodbye in person and tell us what an amazing family we have, I packed up the remaining essentials, Mom got dressed in clothes and we got ready to leave. The transport team arrived-two middle aged men who did shtick the entire time, which amused me and sort of annoyed Mom, which amused me even more. As we were leaving, Mom started to cry a little bit.

We rode in an ambulance to Seattle where Dad met us at the entrance-serendipitous timing. Another friend, our special liaison and advocate to the facility, arrived shortly thereafter and helped Dad with all of the admitting paperwork. I went with Mom to the room and realized we had just entered the Mecca of Jewish grandmothers. As soon as we arrived, we were welcomed with a platter of fresh baked chocolate chip and almond cookies. The main mantra for Mom's care seems to be "eat, eat, eat" which I'm 100% on board with and makes me feel so comfortable. The staff is so amazingly sweet and tender and the facility is clean, warm and welcoming. And we were worried about Mom not liking the food, which is all kosher, but she loved tonight's soup and ate a couple bites of egg dish. And she's looking forward to tomorrow's matzoh ball soup and challah. I think we'll run into a problem after the first week-the menu rotates weekly, but is the same on every day. I don't know how much she'll love the soup next Thursday, or the Thursday after that. There's a co-op down the street that isn't really walkable, but it's very quick in the car, so I'm sure we'll be frequenting that. Frequently.

Tomorrow, she'll move to a private room on the first floor, which is more focused on rehab, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. The nursing staff may change, but we've heard very good things about them, too.

Next week we'll begin the new routine: she will go via cabulance to the Seattle Group Health facility where our oncologist works Tuesdays and Thursdays for chemo. Once a week it will be both systemic and intrathecal and once a week only the intrathecal. The oncologist's best guess is that she will get the systemic chemo next week, then take a break for a week to let her body rest. We're very cautious of side effects and they don't want to let her blood counts get too low, which is very common on Taxol. We may go 3 weeks on, 1 week off, but we just have to see how she does. In all honesty, she was very tired today. She fell asleep at 7pm and was still out when I left at 9:30pm; Dad just texted that she was up for about a half hour for meds, but went back to sleep and is probably out for the night.

So far, the only cons I can see for this facility are cons for us visitors: limited menu options, no Whole Foods within walking distance, less ease with visiting (all visitors need a pass, so we need to check in each time we come), no sleeping cot, further away from home, small parking lot, no real waiting room. No cons at all for Mom. And the pros are tenfold, so it's really a no brainer. We're very happy to have her out of the hospital.

Now the best pro of the day for me: Gary arrives tomorrow! I'm very excited to have all of the people I love best in the same place on Sunday for Mom's birthday.


  1. Kirshenbaum Crew:

    How nice to hear that you have left the hospital and have moved to such a positive place! It sounds like the Kline Galland Home is a great place for all of you - and I like the fact that it has the name "home" - every step to move closer to home is a good one.

    Cute stories the last couple of days about Flynnne's requests for food (yeh, the medical marijuana isn't working.....whatever.....). Whether it's really working or not, it's clear that Flynne has some very serious cravings for specific food (LOVE THAT!) - and it's clear that you all are going to assure that those cravings are satisfied - love that too!

    I'm very happy to hear that Flynne is responding well to the vast array of medications - that's obviously not easy for someone who would only take 1/2 of an Advil before this. There's that fighting spirit again!

    Aynsley, I hope you all enjoy Gary's arrival and visit this weekend - and I hope the birthday weekend brings the real joy that I know you all will have spending it together!!!

    Have a great day and say hello to my friend.

    Love, Me

  2. Mazel Tov on the new digs! Sounds like a great place "mecca of jewish grandmothers" gotta love that!

    Enjoy the birthday weekend in your new surroundings.

    Lots of love and a Shehechiyanu to you and your new place


  3. I'm so glad that the move went smoothly, barring the peach/pear almost orange incident. Flynne yelling from the bed for Ansley to go back instead of Bob proves that she's still got it!
    So glad that you'll all be together for her birthday weekend. There is a lot to celebrate!
    much love,

  4. Flynne, thinking of you. When you are ready for a quick visit again, Sherrill Shamitoff and I would love to stop by. But, get your strength back, and get better! Love you, Cherie Klein

  5. Glad to hear the move went smoothly. Sending you lots of good thoughts and hugs as you get settled in...

    Rachel (and the crew)

  6. Aynsley & Ross,

    Debbie and I just found out about your mom last night. Such unexpected news; the "c" word attacking one of the sweetest, kindest, loveliest people we know. Thank you for sharing your beautiful, loving and honest narrative with us.

    "The Mecca of Jewish grandmothers" should become the Kline Galland Home's new marketing slogan. Cracked us up!! As did yesterday's "peaches" incident.

    Cancer is tough, but Flynne is tougher; especially with the strength and healing energy of her amazing family and wonderful friends beside her.

    Please let your mom and dad know that your family is in our thoughts and prayers.

    Steve and Debbie Lawson

  7. Flynne & Family,
    Ah, Mecca of Jewish grandmothers"--how perfect. What a huge step to be out of the hospital and in a great place for rehabilitation. I can't imagine the stunningly beautiful impact all of you made on the hospital staff, and how they will miss you, yet how they must be rooting and cheering for healing and strength, minute by minute day by day. Amazing how Flynne has been able to handle all of the medicines--as you have said so many times, Aynsley, such a FIERCE determination surrounded by the most wonderful family and friends. Here's to a day of eating and sleeping and rehab and more eating and sleeping.

    A gigantic hug for all of you. And a very special one for Flynne.