Going for the Triple Crown —w

I married a thoroughbred.

I always knew it, but past events have really tested him, and so far he’s flown past them all like American Pharoah on his way to the Triple Crown, a bighearted thoroughbred all the way.

Of course the Triple Crown races are for three-year-old racehorses, and the Hub is 88. But the races  he’s been entered in lately (willy-nilly) are precisely those challenging folks inhabiting high human numbers. Oddly enough however, or maybe not so odd, they call for a lot of the same qualities in people as in racehorses. The Hub, like the Pharoah, is friendly, kind, cheerful, hard-working, persistent, and in it for the long haul.

Remember that childhood storybook favorite, The Little Engine that Could? “I think I can, I think I can” has pretty much always been the Hub’s mantra. He married a world-class pessimist, but has never it let it faze him, dull his own optimism, or cause him to doubt. (That, in itself, is a cause for congratulation.)

First race: while waiting for scheduled major surgery at the end of May, he was bushwhacked by an early Sunday morning collapse. He was transported by 9-1-1 EMT’s to our local hospital, where, the next day, he received a pacemaker. Sailed through the procedure fine, but then was hammered by post-op delirium from the anesthesia, an ever-present hazard for those in the “elderly” category. After mostly pulling out of that (a phenomenon which can persist erratically for quite some time) he was making jokes about at last becoming a Bionic Man.

The hot and cold Visiting Nurses that streamed through our doors in the following weeks, exuded confidence, competence, and good cheer. They ministered untiringly to the Hub, and incidentally saved my life.

Next up: the big operation itself, a ureteral nephrectomy. (That’s the removal of a ureter and a kidney, all dressed up in Latin verbiage.) A Big Deal, yes. Even the urologist-surgeon, a world-class optimist like my husband, allowed as how this was a really big deal. A slog, like the muddy course in the pouring rain that was the Preakness race, failed by almost all except, of course, American Pharoah. He sailed through the second challenge race. Like the words of “Fugue for Tinhorns” in Guys and Dolls, “likes mud, likes mud.” So did the Hub.

Here he is, the morning after the surgery, receiving a kidney to replace the one he’d lost, courtesy of our daughter, the Shopper Extraordinaire, (son cheering from cyberspace):

The Hub meets the Kidney

In case you doubted, you can truly buy anything on the Internet.

And here he is,  five days after the Big Deal operation, sitting up in rehab, although not exactly taking nourishment. (His normally great appetite has so far been playing coy and hard-to-get; but we’re assured that’s a passing phenomenon.):

A Speaking Likeness

(He doesn’t like that one so much, but I do because it’s a speaking likeness))

Now comes the Belmont Stakes of elder challenges: recovery and resumption of ordinary life. Just like the Belmont Stakes, it’s the longest challenge of all, and it comes after two other challenges, so it really is a testing event of courage and stamina.

And here’s where I want to express our  gratitude and our thanks for all your messages. What with the increased demands of “ordinary” every day life, there’s no way I’ve been able to tender anything resembling individual appropriate thanks. I hope you understand. I’m dancing as fast as I can. So I’m taking this quick breather to thank each and every one of you. Your cards, prayers, messages, wishes, vibes, thoughts — they’ve all been of immense support, more than you can know. Please, keep them coming for this longest race of all!

Last night watching TV in the Hub’s room in rehab, we cheered and laughed and exulted in American Pharoah’s climactic win. The whole of Belmont was pulling loudly for him. Thanks, everyone, for pulling for us — and for keeping on keeping on!

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43 Responses to Going for the Triple Crown —w

  1. Small Circle Big Circle says:

    my hero! How does he do it?


  2. tms says:

    Congratulations and my best wishes to your husband, Judith!


  3. So, as winning jockey Espinoza said upon crossing the finish line, “Wow, wow, I can only tell you, it’s unbelievable how things work out!”


  4. You certainly have a brave winner! Congratulations and all the best for the recovery!!!!


  5. 2e0mca says:

    It’s great to see photos and hear about positive progress 🙂 I suspect it’s a way to go yet until Hub’s mowing the lawn again so our prayers and thoughts are ongoing…


  6. Madhu says:

    What a star!!! I had no idea Judith. So glad the surgery went well. Sending healing vibes hubs way and wishing him a speedy recovery. And warm hugs to you. Take care.


  7. franhunne4u says:

    He looks so good in that picture, you are right to love it! And he does not look 88 at all in that picture. (In the post-surgery one a little more like an octogenarian – but that is understandable).
    Hope you two can continue for a long time to come to laugh with each other.


  8. WOW…………I knew something was up, but did not know the extent of it. So glad he was with someone when the heart slowed down and was quickly transported to a hospital for the pacemaker. Tin Man knows a thing or two about heart issues! Hub is looking GREAT! So glad things are going well. I have dispatched the flying monkeys with well wishes and good health sprinkles to you and yours so that the magic of Oz and the Emerald City may be with you.


  9. Thérèse Craine Bertsch says:

    Judy this post just validates who “both” of you are. You are a model for every married couple or single person. Love pours out of each of you individually, and as a couple. I especially love your ability to speak the truth of your situation. Frank faced this great health crisis the way he lived his life, responsible but the greatest example of NOT being self involved, a kind and respectful “gentleman” (as my daughter Jane says. “Frank really is a gentleman, mom.”). There aren’t many as polite and goodhearted as Frank. Your deep gratitude for the man who married you because you could change a flat in high heels is just as inspiring. Thank you for the many gifts and much love you have both brought into my life and my children’s – without ever mentioning a word of it to others!!!! You have made such a difference in our lives. I love you both and I am so grateful Frank did well.


  10. Anonymous says:

    Beautifully written with a wonderful ending! Here’s to a speedy full recovery.


  11. Muzzy says:



  12. So good to hear this Judith – your Hub is a trooper indeed! (Loving that fluffy purple kidney!). All my best wishes to both of you. May he go from strength to strength xxx


  13. Jen Payne says:

    Wonderful analogy! Great to hear from you, to get a progress report on the two of you, and to see Frank’s smiling face. xoxo


  14. WM says:

    I LOVE your spirit Judy, and Frank’s even more – (and I would hardly call you a pessimist – the closest would be a realist, and with his secret yearnings being out, [bionic man :)], one of you’ve got to be that, so you’re forgiven :)…
    But Therese’s words ring so true – and I have the memories of our weekend trips to Yaphank all those years ago as testimony – who but the most generous of couples would allow a “kabab mein haddi”, as they say in India – a third wheel, a fly-in-the-ointment – to crowd out their precious weekends week after week?? They were such cherished memories that I still find myself looking for ways to recreate those times – other weekend treks, other weekend prayer groups, other Taize groups.. soemthing always seems to be missing… and Therese’s words remind me what that is!
    And the pics look great! Frank’s signature smile and poise are all intact!!


    • Touch2Touch says:

      Oh, those were really good times, Mercy. We both remember them well. But unrecreatable. When I’m tempted to repine, though, I mostly can remember to rejoice instead that we were so lucky to have them. A great gift.
      And I have had a lot of memorable meals since those days, but NEVER a finer Indian meal than the one you made for us in Philadelphia, all yummy spice and love. It’s never been equalled. And the celebration that was your wedding! I sigh and smile, remembering.it all comes rushing back just seeing your name on an email. Powerful stuff, eh? Love to you and Jey.


  15. WM says:

    Oh! you are so-o right Judy – the proper thing to do is to be grateful for being lucky as you say, to have those memories!! Yes the wedding party! I have a tape somewhere (but no player to play it with!!) of all the revelry – Therese’s singing, your reading, Joe prepping the congregation with some onsite taize-rehearsing, and Frank’s unforgettable genial smile…!!

    We need a reunion!!! We’ll make it there, soon!!

    Please give all our love to Frank and let him know a ton of good vibes from DC, carrying along with it all the past memories are wafting up trying to reach him – and you!!!

    With Love,


  16. WM says:

    Oh Judy,
    Jey with his razor-sharp memory just corrected me – it was FRANK who did the reading!!! 🙂 – credit where its due!!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Adam Fisher says:

    I feel a bit late to the party, but that doesn’t dim my hopes for both of you. Your “Hub” looks — you should pardon the expression — fan-damned-tastic. And your tone, however constrained, sounds very good.
    In part because I can’t send flowers and in part because a self-described pessimist might benefit, here is one of my all-time-favorite sillies:

    Once upon a time there was a little bird who decided not to fly south for the winter. The other birds tried to tell him he was making a big mistake, but the little bird remained adamant. Finally, the other birds gave up and headed for warmer climes. The little bird sat as the cold winds gathered around him. Pretty soon, he decided that the other birds had been right and he had made a mistake, so he took off. He flew and flew and the winds grew colder and colder. Ice began to form on his wings. It wore him down until he decided he was a goner. Finally, he was spent and plummeted to earth.

    By chance, he landed in a cow pasture. A passing cow chose the right place and time and took a dump on the little bird. The warmth of the manure thawed him out and he realized that he was not a goner after all. He was so happy, he began to sing. A passing cat heard the singing, dug through the manure, found the little bird, and promptly ate him.

    There are three morals to this story:
    1. Not everyone who shits on you is necessarily your enemy.
    2. Not everyone who gets you out of the shit is necessarily your friend.
    3. If you’re happy in your own pile of shit, keep your mouth shut.

    Even if you don’t care for the humor, I wish you both the best.


  18. pauline says:

    I am glad to read the update and hope Frank continues to improve, especially his appetite – corn season is coming up! Miss talking with you and hope we can connect sometime this summer. Every time I pass the Easthampton side of Lathrop I think of you! Much love and golden thoughts heading your way.


  19. tassitus says:

    Hello, it’s me … Rebekah.

    I’m a little late to the party too, but you know I’ve been thinking about you. What a terrible, terrible thing about the collapse, pacemaker insertion and all that. How scared you must have been! F. looks amazingly spry in that photo, and that quickly after major surgery!

    Too funny about the stuffed kidney! 🙂

    All the best to you guys …



    • Touch2Touch says:

      That’s you behind the new alias????!!!!
      I looked at current posts for “tassitus” — as I always do when moderating a new commenter — and thought to myself, whee, a live one, this blogger can really write! And lo and behold — it’s you.
      Shudda known!
      Yeah, it’s been quite a few rough weeks, and continues, as the Hub has a UTI (google it) which in the elderly often manifests mainly with acute confusion. And that’s no joke. Of all the tough stuff, maybe it’s the toughest, and not behind us yet. We now have the correct antibiotic for the bacterial strain, so with a couple of days and a favoring wind, we may come into smoother waters yet. Thanks for being in touch, Rebekah.


      • tassitus says:

        Thanks 🙂 It was Tacitus, G. is into reading Latin right now … it sounded cute.

        Didn’t have to google it. My uncle got extremely confused when he got it [UTI] while being hospitalized. It’s tough … and kind of scary. Hoping for that favouring wind …

        Liked by 1 person

  20. 2e0mca says:

    Loving thoughts and prayers still with you – haven’t forgotten you both. Tell Hub he’s welcome to take over late night software deliveries as soon as he’s able 😉


    • Touch2Touch says:

      Oh, Martin — that means a lot.
      The challenges keep coming, different days, different challenges. We’re still here, by the skin of our teeth occasionally, but still.
      I’ll happily volunteer him for the deliveries!


  21. 2e0mca says:

    Prayers still here whatever may happen at your end – we will not forget. You are not alone!


  22. Madhu says:

    Missing you Judith. Keeping you in my thoughts. Take care.


  23. Kamakshi says:

    Hey Judith,

    Its been a while since i heard from you on this space… I’m slightly worried about you. Hope you are fine..


  24. Rebekah says:

    Miss you, J … and thinking of you.


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