Remember when Christmas wasn’t ruined? HECK YEAH!

So how is everyone holding up post-Christmas/Hanukkah/Holiday madness? We good?

I hope everyone enjoyed some time off, spent quality time with their families, and had a chance to recharge their batteries (or in the case of the Blythe family, got new batteries from Tom Tom).

After my epic, amazing, Hanukkah with family in Connecticut I had to head back to the littlest of Rhodey’s for work on Christmas Eve. Believe it or not I had not one but two student appointments. I was shocked but it certainly helped to move the morning along. Around 11:30am, President Machtley got on the horn and announced that Bryant would be closing at noon (surprise!) and if our supervisors said it was okay, we could leave right then. I’m pretty sure we had the lights off and door locked by 11:32.

Later that evening I was taken in by my second family and spent Christmas Eve with Katie Carlson’s family. Now that I’ve spent Christmas with them, and am basically a cousin, I think it is overdue that I legally change my name to Jessica Gail Sultaire-Blythe-Carlson-Cunha-Hart-O’Hara-Shmase. It has a distinctive ring to it and will secure my place in future secret santa’s. But on a more serious note I am so thrilled to have been included in both the Cunha and Blythe Christmas parties. As always I was made to feel at home like part of the family. I appreciate the warmth and unnecessary gifts (that I love so much!).

Thank you Bear Family!

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xmasmajor

The best gift of all was snugs with my love, Major. How hard do you think it is to steal a big, dumb, dog roughly the size of a lion? Hypothetically of course…

I would like to thank everyone else that kindly extended invitations to spend Christmas with them! It was incredibly thoughtful to think of this lil’ jewbie on Christmas.

On Christmas day I turned down the gracious invitations because I had something else in mind. The past two Christmas’ were soured by illness and surgery. I know what it feels like to be in the hospital on Christmas (see last year’s Christmas Entry: Bah Hum Bug). Jewish or not, it sucks. It’s depressing and isolating. So this Christmas I was determined to go back to the hospital so I decided to sled off of my roof…KIDDING!!!!!!! I asked to be a volunteer.

I was hoping to volunteer in women’s oncology but there really was nothing established that I could do. In the future I might try to develop something. This is something I need to remember to tell the oncology advisory council (oh yeah I do that too now. It’s pretty awesome. More on that later). So instead I turned to Dr. Robison and The Izzy Foundation.

The Izzy Foundation built a gorgeous family room on the 5th floor of Hasbro Children’s Hospital that they staff with volunteers regularly for maintenance and periodic activities. My experience there was great but certainly different than I had imagined. There were less children than I anticipated, I only came across 3 in the 4 hours I spent there. It was mostly parents and family that were tired, rundown, and in search of respite (and coffee). I made friends with a 9 year old name Kyle after making him a hot chocolate. He was in and out of the room throughout the day and I was always happy to see him return. He didn’t tell my why he was in the hospital, nor did I ask but it was refreshing to see a smiling face despite his circumstances. Kids are awesome in that way. No matter how sick they are, when push comes to shove they are just kids who laugh and smile and want to play.

Many parents reminded me of my own. Each one was eager to tell their story. They needed to be heard so I listened. Between the burst appendices, mystery diagnoses, flu’s and pneumonia’s, each person had a unique story to share. Each person was stoic and brave for their children but clearly internally exhausted and fearful. I didn’t do anything special that day. I just made sure the room was clean and that patients and families were comfortable but I felt that my time couldn’t possibly be better utilized on that day.

For privacy I did not take photos of the families but I did take some of the room when it wasn’t being used:

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I definitely enjoyed my interactions with the families at Hasbro and certainly intend on volunteering in the Izzy Room for the Izzy Foundation again soon.

On that note I’m off to Connecticut to see a certain, handsome, bearded fellow. Spoiler Alert: It’s Cory. Sorry to everyone that was hoping that I’m secretly dating Gandalf.

Gandalf

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2 thoughts on “Remember when Christmas wasn’t ruined? HECK YEAH!

  1. It is nice to read that you are well enough to enjoy good times with friends and family and your new families. G-d bless you Jess!!!

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