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Greene: A Very Tall Stack of Thanks

May 06, 2009
susan greene Greene: A very tall stack of thanks By Susan Greene Denver Post Columnist Posted: 03/19/2009 12:30:00 AM MDT Updated: 03/19/2009 12:35:58 AM MDT I wish I could say I've spent the past few weeks attending trapeze school or hounding AIG executives. Even watching bark beetles gnaw through pine trees would have been more fun. Instead, I've been recovering from septic pneumonia — the kind that used to kill off minor characters in Russian novels. I'll spare the medical details. Suffice to say that two weeks ago, while I was crashing at St. Joseph Hospital and apparently babbling about U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, a brilliant ER doctor saved my life. If there's any upside to the ordeal, it's that I get to write her name, Rochelle Ravishankara, in the paper both as a small way of thanking her and as a helpful tip in case you, too, need some butt-kicking ER intervention. Far beyond the call of duty, Dr. Ravi — as she's known among colleagues — not only spared me from the permanent damage often left from septic shock, she also has visited or phoned most days since I got sick. (There's nothing like an "ISOLATION" sign on the door of your hospital room to make you feel freakishly lonely.) What's more, she was one of the few people to make me laugh during a week-long hospital stay when I lacked the energy even to correct nurses under the impression I'm married to former Post columnist Chuck Green. (I, for the record, am not.) In my book, this elevates Dr. Ravi to superhero status and should snag her a big, fat raise and a better parking spot. I cannot tuck my boys into bed without thinking of her in gratitude. Assuming that my glass- half-full jag isn't bound to last, permit me to gush even further. Every morning when a sadistic phlebotomist woke me to draw blood at 5 a.m., let it be said that I took a weird, almost spiritual comfort watching Kyle Dyer read the news on Channel 9. Her scripts may have been about Bernard Madoff and the world otherwise burning. But in my delirium, I swore she was speaking to me, urging me to hang in there. There were days lately when I lost my fight. There were times when the thought of mustering the energy to care for my family, write three columns a week or rag on a certain talk-radio hack for calling a congresswoman a vagina, for example, seemed impossible. Now it's all a daunting — but doable — challenge. And so to readers who've phoned and written wondering what happened to my column, I'm happy to report that I still have a job, a voice and the vigor again to use it. Thank you to the subscriber who showed up with a cake frosted with "Feel Better Soon. We Need You." Thank you to the stripping George W. Bush impersonator sent to cheer me up but banished by staffers at the Sisters of Charity-run hospital. Thank you to my husband, mom and family — far more than I could ever write or say. And thank you to the friends, colleagues and neighbors for the flowers, DVDs, comic books, self-help books, books on tape, soaps, lip balms, e-mails, voice mails and snail mails. Thanks, whoever sent them, for the Mona Lisa flipbook and the jigsaw of the Nebraskan prairie. Thanks for the chocolates, honey, muffins, zucchini loaves, soups and what must have been 20 lasagnas stuffed into our refrigerator and freezer. In a corner of my kitchen is a tall stack of other people's casserole dishes and Tupperware. Usually I'd feel stressed trying to figure out which belongs to whom and how I might return them. For now I'll let them sit as a reminder of the community that has sustained me and as a symbol of my very good luck. Susan Greene writes Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Reach her at 303-954-1989 or greene@denverpost.com.