Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Carrying Klaus

I wore a truly vintage dress today – a thick cotton A-line dress by FADS with a flared hemline so sweeping it practically doubles the amount of fabric in the garment. I bought the simple frock back in the early 1970s when I worked for JCPenney Company in northern California. I believe I owned the same dress in red at one time, although I only have the black one now. The dark color has faded, but the material is soft and oh-so comfortable, like an old friend.

All that basic black was a perfect backdrop for my new birthday jewelry: a gorgeous silver filigree necklace and earrings in the shape of delicate leaves by Fire & Ice Jewelers of Baltimore (www.fireandice.com), a gift from my dear friends Robert and Jan – perfect for celebrating today’s crisp, autumn weather and falling foliage. I added a wide, triple-buckled belt from The Limited Too, my favorite black platform pumps by Call It Spring for JCPenney, and a silver-metal filigree bracelet-watch I picked up at a Dallas airport boutique a couple of years ago.

My eventual destination was, as usual, a day of research at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. But first I had a mission. My dear friends, Mary and Klaus, who are godparents to my rescue kitty, Ember, have been suffering through Klaus’s battle with esophageal cancer for over a year now. Although the cancer itself is in remission, the result of all the treatments has left Klaus with a foodpipe so narrow that he cannot swallow anything solid. Needless to say, this has taken all the joy of eating away from Klaus and it's been a struggle to keep him nourished.
Klaus and me
A new treatment was attempted recently by the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore: hyperbaric oxygen therapy; an attempt to speed the healing of the esophagus and keep the tissue soft and pliable. And, remarkably, it seems to be working. But the treatments in the oxygen chamber are long – about five hours – and they must happen every single day, five days a week, for the therapy to be effective. Needless to say, this regimen has been exhausting for both Mary and Klaus, and leaves no time for anything else in the day which might offer relief or a pleasant distraction. So last week Mary put out a call for help. Was there anyone among their friends and neighbors who could drop Klaus off at his daily treatments in the morning or pick him up in the afternoons?

As it turns out, picking Klaus up at their home in the morning and dropping him off at the UMMC treatment center happens to be right on my way to the Library of Congress, so I volunteered to help. A number of people stepped up to assist, and I was assigned Tuesday mornings. Today was my first day as Klaus's taxi driver.  I picked Klaus up and transported him to the treatment center and was on my way to the Library of Congress with nary a wrinkle in my normal commute, but the good feeling of having helped friends who are very dear to me stayed with me all day long!

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