Thursday, April 15, 2010


Since I was in school when Dad spent his six weeks in Boston for a stem cell transplant, I was never able to get up there during the week to meet the doctors that were such a huge part of his care. My Mom talked about them every single day that they "lived" in Boston, calling me on the phone at night with an update. Then in the weeks and months following his treatment in Boston, both she and I spoke directly with these folks on the phone as they continued to monitor Dad's care after he returned home.

So basically this group of doctors, nurses, and techs became yet another support system during the difficult task of caring for my Dad and eventually making him comfortable. Another one of those adopted families I'm always talking about. When Dad passed away, Mom decided that to bring a measure of closure, she would like to go back and visit all of these folks and I decided I wanted to go with her. Well, admist all my packing and home-buying and wedding planning, we took that trip last weekend. We had planned it long before I got into being engaged and buying a house, choosing the date because it was the weekend closest to one year from Dad's passing.

The other thing that was neat about this trip was that Mom and I stayed in the same hotel that she and Dad lived in while they were there. Many
of the staff that took care of them and got to know them were still there, and it was another measure of closure for my Mom to see them again as well. This particular Ramada gets a lot of folks coming into town to be treated at Boston University Medical Center, so they run a shuttle on the hour out to Tufts, the Moakley Building, and any other of the numerous building on that campus. The door to door service that that shuttle provided was a huge godsend to my Mom when Dad became weaker as his treatment went on. If they had stayed anywhere else, she would have had to drive Dad into Boston everyday, which would have been awful.

So Friday, we took the shuttle into the Moakley building, and I got to meet everyone and see where my Dad was cared for. Everyone there was wonderful and very supportive of us coming back to visit. They all told us we were brave which was very nice of them. Not everyone I've told about this trip understands what the big deal was, but these folks definitely did. After meeting everyone, Mom and I had lunch in one of the BUMC dining halls and then returned to Moakley. Then they let us know that Dr. Skinner (the head of the amyloid program) wanted to invite us to tour the research building as her guests.

We were pretty excited because that's sort of a huge deal, so we schlepped over to the "K" building in the rain and were escorted up to the 5th floor - the amyloid research area. Dr. Skinner (a tiny, grandmotherly, very sweet woman) met us there and asked us how we were doing. We talked about Dad a bit, and then she took us on a tour of the floor. The most interesting part was the lab where we were actually able to look at a sample of fat that contained amyloid cells using a staining process that's used for preliminary diagnostic testing. They also gave us a lot of other interesting information on the disease and even let us know about a conference that they were going to present at in Rome later that week. It was very neat.

In addition to the closure part
of the trip, we did have a bit of fun. Saturday was a beautiful, sunny day, so we started out by going to Newbury Street via Boylston (near Finagle a Bagel because apparently I still remember my landmarks from when I was up there visiting Berklee). We walked the whole length of Newbury to Newbury Comics and then hopped on the T at Hynes to go to the North End.

We had a lovely lunch at Carmen (which I highly recommend if you're ever there...amazing Italian) and toasted Dad with a delicious sangria. After lunch we walked off our food coma by checking out a bit of the Freedom Trail including Old North Church and Paul Revere House (which is where the picture above was taken). We also checked out a few little boutique-y stores before settling on dessert at Caffe Vittoria. Because it's right next to Mike's Pastry, I'm assuming they're affiliated. And after having their tirimisu and cannoli, I'm almost positive. I also had the best cappucino I've had in a good long while as well.

After lunch and desserts, we headed back to Boylston to the Theatre District to see Blue Man Group. I was convinced that I wasn't going to like it, but in all honesty, I had a blast. The show was great, the theatre was small, and Mom and I laughed through the whole thing. After that we walked back to Boylston, grabbed the T, had a small directionally challenged fiasco, and eventually made it back to the hotel. All in all it was a lovely weekend.

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