I do not know if I mentioned much about the tumor itself I promise I will not get too graphic in this description!). It was the size of a ping pong ball, and was between the skull and the brain and down into the left eye socket. Because of the size and area, everyone was prepared for emergency surgery on Tuesday (remember, we flew down Monday night.). The neurosurgeon had said “Get him here NOW”.
However, when they saw how healthy Ashton was, the neurosurgeon, Dr. Ha, decided to wait one more day. This allowed them to get better tests and proceed carefully, not hurriedly.
I called Ashton when I got into the room that first night. He had been in-processed (an ordeal in itself involving a few missteps which required him to get multiple blood tests and an apology from the hospital staff!), and had been informed by Dr. Ha that the surgery was postponed. So when I called, Ashton suggested that I try to come in at 8 am, and that I should get some sleep until then.
I drove up to Madigan hospital that morning. It is a beautiful, healing place—truly you can feel the healing in the air. It has an outpatient “medical mall” that is very reminiscent of a 2 story shopping mall. The ceiling of the mall is all skylights with light diffusing fabric billowed across the mall. Each specialty (peds, immunization, neuro, etc) are tucked along each side, both upstairs and downstairs, with groups of chairs in front of each specialty desk. There is a large escalator in the middle of the mall.
The medical mall connects to what I think is called the nursing tower. It is 7 stories of offices, OR’s, and wards. The two are connected with a tall, narrow passage that is glass on both sides. Outside of the glass is a courtyard. The courtyard is a beautiful, wonderful place! It has a meandering little stream strewn with small rocks and grassy parts. This stream goes between the buildings and out the other side into a quiet “botanical garden” looking area with weeping willow trees, lots of green grass and wonderful flowers, and many different benches and areas that are tucked here and there. You can tell it was designed not only to heal the body, but provide soothing environments for the spirit and mind as well.
The highlight of the courtyard is the two swans that inhabit it. They are the classic, breathtaking swans with the graceful arched necks. They paddle around in the stream, then doze and preen on the grass. There is a sidewalk that you can walk on through the courtyard, and the swans will be napping just inches from your feet! There are no fences, no barriers. Just a little touch of soothing nature for the broken and wounded soldiers and dependents who come to Madigan to be treated and convalesce.
Oh and there is an Anthony’s pizza too hee hee. For those of you who are not in the military, anthony’s pizza is a staple of most, if not all, bases across the globe. Tis a hard, remote assignment that does not at least have an anthony’s pizza! It is not gourmet pizza, but it is familiar and the slices are big. It was in the basement of the nurse’s tower with the mess hall, a shoppette, and a barber shop.