66,529.74 Reasons to Be Grateful

Charlotte ate an oyster and she liked it.

66,529.74 reasons to be grateful and counting.  That is the total, to date, of the expenses for Charlotte’s recent cardiological procedures. We are ever-so-grateful to have good insurance that leaves us with a predictable maximum out of pocket expense. With each bill I am reminded that Charlotte is not a regular kid. She’ll have to manage her healthcare on her own one day, and that will mean always having insurance.  While I know that the new healthcare laws aren’t popular with everyone and don’t fix everything, I sigh with deep relief knowing they get rid of an insurance company’s ability to deny Charlotte insurance due to an existing condition.

Today, we had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner at the Signature Room with soaring, if hazy, views of lovely Chicago.  It started to rain as we took an after dinner stroll on Michigan Avenue, so we ducked into Lurie Children’s Hospital.  We gave Mom a brief tour, showing her the plaque with her name (thanks, Mom!), and then waited in the lobby–warm and dry–while Philippe gallantly went for the car (thanks, Philippe!).

Ms. Phyllis M. Goldman, my mother, and a strong supporter of the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Join her at Heroesforlife.org.

I still have some post-hospital updates to do about the procedure and our stay, but for today, I want to thank you all for reading and traveling Charlotte’s Journey with us for more than seven years.

I also want to thank the committed women who are my friends and co-philanthropists on the Children’s Service Board, the other affiliated organizations, and the Lurie Children’s Foundation for all they do,  I am well aware that $66,000+ probably doesn’t cover all the costs of the services and care we received.  The sobering thought, among others, is that the Gold Coast Fashion Award Show–which raised $400,000+ does so much and yet barely scratches the surface.

So, in advance, I thank all of you who click here to join us in meeting the Children’s Service Board’s commitment to Pediatric Surgery.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Halloween!

This is our second Halloween in a new neighborhood. Last year was fun — we ran into our neighbors and squared the block with them, then answered the door for the few dozen people who came by.This year was like no other Halloween I’ve ever experienced. The realtor who represented the sellers, and many of our neighbors, warned us us to have a lot of candy on hand, at lest 800 to 900 pieces.  They weren’t kidding!

.Charlotte as Hermione Granger (NOT Harry Potter)!

The crowds started coming around 4:30, first the tiny tots, then the elementary school kids, then the high schoolers. And, then more of everyone. The parents’ costumes were just as ingenious as the kids’. My favorite kids were dressed as a washer and dryer

Our next-door neighbor lit up the firepit, pulled some chairs around, and settled in. His kids, Charlotte, and the girls across the street ran back and forth visiting for a while. When Charlotte came in for a bath, her friend Karina helped me give out candy.  At times there were so many people on our stairs, I could barely keep up.

Charlotte and I took a break to trick-or-treat ourselves. We squared the block and were delighted to find that nearly every house was full of Halloween spirit, even those without children (like the realtor I mentioned above).  Neighbors joined together and had tables in front of two or three houses. My favorite neighbor costumes had to be Frankenstein and his Bride (and their son, Zombie Lincoln), and the Centerpiece (or as I called her “dinner at Ravinia.”

Hermione with Mr. and Mrs. Frankenstein

She never stopped moving, but check out this mom dressed as a centerpiece!

Oddly, after waiting for weeks for her favorite holiday and having what she declared was the “best school Halloween ever,” Charlotte gave up trick-or-treating after about 20 minutes. She hung out with the neighbors for about 20 minutes after dinner and then went to bed fairly early. We’re wondering if she’s still a bit tuckered out after her procedure last week.

Yesterday Charlotte asked me how the tradition of trick-or-treating came about. I was floored by the question so I looked it up on Wikipedia and History.com. It may come from a British and Irish tradition of going door-to-door singing prayers for the dead in return for treats (called “souling”). Other theories connect it to a Scottish tradition first noted in th late 1800s called “guising,” in which costumed people knocked on doors holding scooped out pumpkins and received candy, money, and cakes.  The term trick-or-treating seems to have come into modern parlance in the 1950s.  It was a great question and I had fun researching it.  Normally, you see, we go to the library and get a slew of Halloween books in October. This month was a bit hectic so no books and limited decorating. The question helped us both get more in the mood!

[p.s. Charlotte is doing fine post-balloon. I do have some more to say about the procedure, her discharge, and the hospital. Stay tuned.]