Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Haircuts

Just after lunch three Thanksgivings ago, our family packed up Stross' room at St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester and traveled to the Hotel Winneshiek in Decorah, Iowa, to spend the rest of the day recuperating from Stross' shunt replacement. His previous shunt had silently begun to fail, and this operation had been necessary to relieve his brain of pressure caused by a build-up of spinal fluid. We'd only discovered the life-threatening problem, because I'd realized he'd not had an MRI in several years and had requested one as part of his fall check-up at the Mayo Clinic.

Sometime I'll attempt to describe the mixture of gratitude, horror and disbelief we felt upon learning the results of his MRI. I'll also try to explain what it felt like to tell him "good night" during the weeks before his surgery, wondering if he'd awaken the next day. As the neurosurgeon had explained it, until Stross had the surgery, we ran the risk of the fluid placing enough pressure on his brain stem to stop his breathing as he slept.

Today, I'm simply remembering his haircut on that Thanksgiving holiday in 2006, for Stross chose that surgery as the reason to get his first Mohawk. His reasoning and ours had been that if they were going shave his head anyway, he might as well do it first, and with style.

Since then Stross has probably had about two or three additional Mohawk cuts - and those for no specific reason, really. Just because.

Yesterday Stross had a reason again, but I'll let him tell you why he's sporting a Mohawk again this Thanksgiving.

This vlog is for you Philip, Lynne and Jack. Philip, we're going to get our Christmas tree soon. We will always hold fond memories of having you join us on those outings when you were a student at Waldorf in the late 90s. It would be great to take your whole family with us this time. And, hey, there isn't any snow on the ground yet; so we could even let you drive without fear of you landing in the ditch. Please send your parents our greetings. All the way to Russia, with love.

P.S. - After we checked into the historic Hotel Winneshiek that year - beautifully decorated for the holiday season - we let Stross take a painfully-late-dose-of-Tylenol nap before picking up a Mabe's Pizza. Our family enjoyed one of the most delectable Thanksgiving's Day suppers we've ever had.

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