Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Monday, June 21, 2010
Tomorrow we have a book signing at the Barnes and Noble store in downtown Rochester, Minnesota. Not long after arriving in town, the kids and I took a leisurely walk near the Barnes and Noble store which is a block from Mayo Clinic. As we passed by the entrance to the Kahler Hotel, my mind flashed back to the first time we came to Rochester for Mayo Clinic and parked in front of those double doors ten years earlier. Turning toward the Mayo Building that towered across the street, I raised my hand to block the sun and looked up. That's when I began telling the story to the kids as though they had never heard it before. As I talked, Mathew lifted the camera to his eye and snapped this picture.
In Chapter nine of Good Morning, Beautiful, I wrote about that day and thought since we had this picture, you might appreciate reading about that visit for yourself.
Excerpt from Good Morning, Beautiful:
Warm air from a clear July day brushed my face as I bent my neck back to scan the enormous grey building, home to
Mayo Clinic. The clinic hovered over us eclipsing other buildings
as we stood across the street near the entrance of our hotel, freshly arrived from a two day trip. Larry’s arms wrapped around Christina, fresh out of her car seat, the strap of a diaper bag was slung over my shoulder as I held onto Mathew’s hand. We all looked up.
The gigantic building rose into the cerulean blue sky, reminding me of the Sears Tower. Gigantic slabs of battle ship grey marble formed parts of the exterior, and a massive bronze sculpture of a man, arms stretched upward, evoking the humaneness of us all protruded from the exterior several floors up.
A uniformed bellhop came rushing out to greet us. “Can I
help you with the luggage, sir?”
“Ah—yes,” Larry answered shifting his attention away from
“It’s quite a sight, isn’t it?” the bellhop said smiling, “You here
for the clinic?”
“Yes, we are.”
Larry and the bellhop began emptying the van. Luggage, baby bottles—some needing to be washed—a box of carbohydrate free formula and another with glass bottles of microlipid (fat emulsion). They clinked together as they were lifted on to the luggage carrier. When the men finished, only two car seats and Cheerios scattered on the car’s carpeting were left.
Burgundy and gold carpet rolled across the reception area floor distracting the eye with its paisley design. A lingering smell of old cigars and air freshener mixed with newer carpet and filtered air. This hotel, although beautiful, seemed hardly the place for two young children, but we ignored it— it was the clinic, not the hotel, and relief from the seizure storm that had brought us to this lobby.
Morning arrived too soon, Larry and I, exhausted from the long drive and months of seizures, could have slept longer. But we pulled ourselves out from the covers and left the hotel soon enough to eat breakfast at Mayo’s cafeteria.
Inside the building, we stood looking like tourists until a man dressed in a navy colored suit with a Mayo Clinic badge greeted us.
“Can I direct you to where you need to go?”
I couldn’t help sensing a calm feeling I had come over me upon entering the building. The feeling was more than a reaction to the spacious room, organic curves and clear glass ceilings. It was a feeling that this is where we are supposed to be.
At the registration desk we gave our insurance information and filled out necessary paperwork before walking toward the elevators for Christina’s first appointment. High ceilings, marble floors, bronze door handles and works of art—this was nothing like we expected. Beauty graced every corner, from blown glass artwork to ancient artifacts behind glass.
Nearly six months of seizures, tortuous needle pokes, debilitating medications, and a life-threatening misdiagnosis, had brought us here. The 1,200 mile trek seemed halfway round the world in our new azure minivan by the time we reached Rochester. We traveled on hope—hope that inside this mammoth grey building we would find the right care for our daughter, whose life was being ripped away by a tornado of relentless seizures. We wanted someone to help us stop this tornadic villain, render it weak and unable to continue. Could this enormous grey building hold the key to seizure freedom? We hoped it did—everything was at stake.