So many people have offered to fly to Hawaii to stay with/care for/tend to Dick and me throughout this ordeal, and we have been touched by every one of those offers. When it became clear that I needed to return to Sacramento before Dick, and that he needed to stay a bit longer in Honolulu recovering from his bypass surgery before coming home, we had to decide whom we might ask to come stay with him.
It came down to Big C and Little C: Cora and Connie, two of Dick’s “wimmin,” as he calls them. (And me, too; I’m one of the wimmin.) Cora’s the taller one (Big C), Connie’s the shorter one (Little c).
Dick has known Connie Gibson (later Raub) since they were kids in Sacramento. Connie went off to Chapman College in Orange, California, where she met Cora Hoffmaster (later Johnson) and they became roommates—even after college when they were young teachers together. That’s when Dick became friends with Cora, too. Connie taught choir/drama and Cora taught P.E. and was later a high school librarian. Each of them cared for husbands with illnesses—Cora’s Bob with a bypass and later a heart transplant, Connie’s Richard with cancer.
As I’ve said before: These women know how to deal with sick and recovering men. They’re also powerhouses who eat and cook (mostly) healthy food, work out regularly, volunteer in so many ways in their communities (Cora in Minden, Nevada, and Connie in Colorado Springs, Colorado), and are just generally all-around, fun-to-be-with, funny, compassionate people.
It also helps that they adore Dick. (So many people do.) And when I called each of them from the hospital and asked if they’d consider coming to help Dick after I left Oahu, their responses were immediate yeses. As if we didn’t already love them and consider them family, this certainly clinched the deal.
They arrived the day Dick was released from the hospital, Jan. 30, and we moved all of us and all our stuff to a rental house in Pearl City—the three of them for two weeks of caretaking.
I have to say that in the first 24 hours with Cora and Connie, Dick is eating more—Connie’s tuna melts have won his newly snappy heart, and the nearby Palisades Cafe takeout they brought in tasted very good to him. He’s had more energy (though he’s still napping a lot), and the optimistic outlook of the girls, as he fondly calls him, has lightened his mood. A haircut (by me, as I often do when we travel) and a real shower helped, too.
While I hate to leave Dick, I fly home today very reassured that all is well and all manner of thing shall be well with Big C and Little c handling this healing project. They will get him to his follow-up appointment with the cardiac folks here and accompany him home on the plane. And Connie, who was rubbing Dick’s head (which makes him purr), offered me a bit of heaven on my last night on Oahu by giving me a foot rub (which made me purr, too). All the tension of the past couple of weeks fell into her soothing hands. I was beyond happy and oh, so grateful.
Friends like these are not only keepers for life, but they also provide the means to forge on when times get tough. Connie and Cora, you are not only a major part of our healing village in Hawaii, you also are no ka oi (the best)!