When Gabe and I were married almost seven years ago we exchanged personally written vows. I always remember his promise to me that life would always be an adventure. The last few days have lived up to his declaration. After posting my last blog entry on Saturday evening I fell asleep and woke up to a loud explosion outside our home. I ran down the stairs to find a car had hit both of our vehicles and flipped over in the middle of the street. The driver ran and the Vacaville police department began their search for him. Before running upstairs to make a pot of coffee for the officers, I couldn’t help but start to laugh. The absolute randomness and absurdity of losing both of our cars in one accident while sleeping left me crying in hysterics. Apparently, renting a car on a Sunday would prove an impossibility and we would need to shift our travel plans to CHOC Children’s Hospital by a day. As I crawled into bed, I realized how far I had come. Five years ago an experience like this would have left me stressed out and in victim mode. I fell asleep knowing that everything happens for a reason and it would all work out. Maybe this recovering perfectionist was lightening up a bit?

Gabe, Preston, Mickie and I began our journey down the I-5 in our rented minivan late Monday afternoon and made it to our hotel without incident. I woke up at sunrise to Mickie’s big bright blue eyes and her request to go for a walk. I wanted to negotiate with her for 30 more minutes of shut eye. Then I thought of what her next few days would entail. She would spend a minimum of 48 hours with her head wrapped in electrodes and tethered to an EEG machine by an 8 foot cord. I popped out of bed and whispered in her ear “want to go for a walk and a swim?” Her face lit up. “Swim, swim, swim!,” she squealed. I am not a fan of being cold, especially in water. As I dipped my toe in the frigid water, I knew this was going to be a stretch for me.  Surprisingly, my body warmed as Mickie smiled and screamed with delight. Why would I resist this? How many opportunities like this would I experience differently if I just surrendered to the moment?, I thought.

On our way to the hospital, Gabe and I agreed the best use of my time would be to drop the three of them off at admissions and head to our favorite health food store.  We were on day 8 of a 21 day cleanse and I needed to think ahead to make it through the day on fruit and veggies alone. I walked into room 513 with green drinks and an organic veggie salad in hand. A steady flow a familiar faces came into the room. For 3.5 years we have had a team of soldiers…doctors, nurses and technicians…fighting the Epilepsy battle with us. They were there in our darkest moments and their hugs are as warm and comforting as Thanksgiving. I looked at Mickie’s nurse, Roni, and said, “please have Anh Sue do Mickie’s IV”. Without blinking she responded, “yes, of course.” There are some advantages to experience. Mickie laid in her bed getting the electrodes placed on her head as we settled in.

Twenty minutes later as the Charge Nurse Anh Sue placed Mickie’s IV, a child life advocate approached me to say, “I would like to introduce you to Jennifer Garner.” Alrighty then, I thought. The bare faced beauty approached me with a cautious smile. I jumped on my soap box and launched into Mickie’s miraculous journey and my fight for global pediatric epilepsy awareness. We discussed the challenges of fundraising and her recent efforts to help child flood victims in her native West Virginia. I shared the urgency of receiving an early pediatric epilepsy diagnosis and mentioned Harrison Ford’s stand for his daughter’s epilepsy. As if auditioning for a part, Mickie demanded everyone’s attention and began emphatically singing God Bless America. Jennifer glanced at Gabe as he stared at his little girl with pride and awe. “Stop it”, she said to Gabe as she playfully slapped his arm. “Yep” he replied with a grin. Mickie’s least stressful IV experience was complete as we gathered for a photo. As I walked her to the door, Gabe gave me my calling card. “For Harrison when you run into him.”, I said to Jennifer as I handed the card to her. “Well, he is my neighbor”, she replied with her signature smile.



Clearly I’m in the flow today, I thought. The rest of the day I made an effort to surrender. I felt calm and energized as I ate my healthy lunch, played with the kiddos on the playmat, FaceTimed with loved ones and relieved Gabe when he took business calls. As Mickie finished her dinner and Preston and I prepared to leave for the night, Dr. Zupanc walked in.



Mrs. Griess

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