• Christopher Hopkins

Bucket List Makeover Update!

Many of you asked if I had heard how Lynn, who came to visit me for a haircut because I was on her “bucket list” as she was waiting for a lung transplant at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Here’s her husband’s latest response:

Today is Lynn’s 16th day in critical care, three times the average, after a record setting 13.5 hour surgery for her double lung transplant. I’m pleased to share with all of you, a dramatic (and most welcome) turn upward. In the last 48 hours she has exhibited extraordinary improvement, i.e. off the ventilator, taking most medications orally through a gastric tube, able to sit in a chair for several hours a day, take ice chips and small sips of water, and at last, able to speak with us.

Her voice is still weak, quite raspy, and her swallowing reflex has been compromised by the lengthy intubation (imagine swallowing a garden hose and having it stuck for two weeks), however, every hour shows continuous improvement. The light at the end of the tunnel is shining, ignited by all of you, for your continued concern and support. Saying ‘thank you’ seems shamefully inadequate. But I choose to do it…thank you all very much.

Without resorting to the myriad details in the treatment, today will be the day to prepare her for placement into a “step-down unit” room, which, paradoxically is a step-up. It could be as early as tomorrow. Please recognize that she is still a sick puppy, a distance from implementing solid foods and the necessary physical re-hab which promises to be lengthy. At best, it may be two weeks or more before she is released from this Rochester Hilton.

Among her first remarks that we could understand:

“I think we should sell my mother’s silver service” Huh? Where did that come from ? You’re laying here half-dead and you’re thinking about silverware ???

“How long have I been here ?” Nice to hear, indicative that she has little memory of the ordeal, much like the pain of childbirth.

“I’m sorry I put you through this” Okay, you’re excused, but I’d do it again in a minute.

I did have to tell Lynn that her Uncle Dwight, age 95 y/o, died yesterday, and that we lost our old gullwing pal, George ‘Pinky’ Winther, who died in his sleep at the Homestead in Hot Springs, VA. last week doing what he loved most….playing with cars.

However, on a happy note, son Michael and his family, after a six year hiatus in northwestern Ireland, have been repatriated this week to Chandler, AZ. It’s a long way from Yeats country to Joe Arapaio’s Maricopa county, but we are happy to have them back. Grandson Niall had his first day in his new elementary school yesterday, without incident (except for his mother’s tears).

I will be glad to read any e-mails sent to Lynn. For those of you who insist on subsidizing the future success of the greeting card cabal, the formal address for the next two weeks:

Janet Lynn Spiher Mary Brigh floor 6E St Mary’s Hospital 1216 Second Street SW Rochester, MN 55900 Please recall, NO flowers (real or artificial), no balloons, no candy, no troupes of serenading Amish girls singing Amazing Grace, and no checks. I’ll get back in several weeks, maybe with photos and less dialogue. xxooxx Chas

Here’s the video if you missed it the first time:



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