I was having a full blown, five alarm pity party for myself the afternoon of July 4.

That’s when I was alone in my hospital room at St. Anthony’s in Oklahoma City.

The handwriting was already on the wall that Gracie and I were not going to be able to begin our week-long vacation by Saturday, July 6.

We were ticketed to go to Galveston with my sister and brother-in-law for a couple of days in that port and then board a week-long cruise beginning that Monday.

The fact that I was causing us to miss that was bad enough.

But knowing I was missing a family cookout and pool party in celebration of the Fourth brought me down further than a snake’s belly in a wagon train rut.

I could only imagine the grand kids jumping off the sides of the pool and the accompanying sounds.

That wasn’t to mention the tasty food coming off the grill.

Then I realized something.

The hospital was full and the only reason I was there was because both Norman facilities were also full.

It got me to thinking, not about myself, but about the other 1,500 patients in those three facilities alone that were missing the Fourth of July holiday with their families.

Do the math around the Oklahoma City metroplex and then nation-wide and I was by far not alone missing a family gathering.

I had never really been thankful enough for not missing a family holiday for now well over 65 years.

Never had I taken the time to give thanks to the Man Upstairs for the sheer ability to mix it up with the family on a holiday.

That has forever changed.

I not only spent the third and  Fourth of July in the hospital but also the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and part of the 10th in the Oklahoma City institution.

Then another night at Norman Regional July 17 being treated for Sepsis.

What a way to spend the first part of July.

As the days and nights drug on with me getting very good care and lots of hi-powered antibiotics, I started trying to joke with myself about my plight.

I wondered what my new “home address” was and if I needed to check with the Oklahoma County Assessor to register for the Homestead Exemption.

I had visits from the family when I was in a larger room but when my condition improved my accommodations became far less spacious and much more like the 1940s when that part of the hospital was constructed.

I had a nice visit from our Deacon John Warren and a resident priest, Fr. Martin. Ironically, on the last day, Katie Bebout was my RN and Deana Ford was the Chaplain.

They assisted Gracie and me out the door for a welcome respite from my hospital stay.

We appreciated their assistance and the care rendered by Drs. Rick Schmidt and Rick McCurdy.

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