We arrived back in Aspen late Saturday night. Even Emma, who is the world’s best traveler, was feeling tired. By the time we arrived in Denver, having missed our connecting flight to Aspen she said, “Go see Granma?”
“Absolutely. But we missed our connection so we have to wait a few hours. Then we’ll see Granma.”
“Go see Granma?” Emma said again, anxiety creeping into her voice. Which is her way of saying – NOW!
Concepts of time are difficult for Emma, if not impossible. The idea something will happen tomorrow is not something she understands. If one says, “One minute,” she will patiently wait as she knows from the kitchen timer we use, one minute is a length of time she can count. Beyond five minutes it all becomes muddled. Emma will often answer the statement, “tomorrow” with “You have to wait one minute.”
To which we respond, “No Emma. Tomorrow. Much longer than one minute.” We might as well have said, “Next year.”
As we had been traveling for the entire day, having woken up at 6:00AM in Panama and were still traveling at 9:00PM, the idea we would catch a flight at 9:30PM and be back in Aspen by 10:15PM did not lessen her anxiety. Still, Emma was terrific and did not make too much of a fuss.
I took this photo in the Denver airport. While waiting for our next flight, Emma grabbed Richard’s newly acquired Panamanian hat and put it on her own head. Muzzy is in her lap and she is holding her cokie. (Evidently the Ecuadorians are to be credited with making the first hat we now think of as a Panama Hat.)
One of our faithful readers commented last week she had noticed how Emma was making eye contact in all the photos I have recently posted. She is right. Of course I didn’t post the dozens of photos I took when she wasn’t looking at the camera, but that I was able to get any photos of Emma looking at the camera is nothing short of miraculous. And of course my immediate thought has been – is this the stem cells?! Is it possible her terrific eye contact since she had her second round of stem cells could possibly be due to the stem cells? Impossible to know, but it is a striking difference.
Friday night Richard and I went to a wonderful restaurant in Panama City – Manolo Caraccole. It was absolutely terrific with no menu. The chef wields his magic in a kitchen one can see from the dining area and produces 11 tapas courses which are brought out – one more delectable than the next. As we were dining, a young American woman walked in with the attending physician who treated Emma the day before. It was Dr. Hernandez who spoke to us at length, patiently answering our questions, giving us his opinion and generally making us feel calmer about the entire procedure as we waited for Emma to wake up from the anesthesia on both Tuesday and Thursday. So when he walked into the tiny restaurant we were happily surprised. The young American woman said, “This is the man who saved my life.” She told us she had MS and he was the doctor who had taken care of her. She was overcome with emotion, her eyes filled with tears as she told us about coming to Panama to have stem cell treatments. She said she had had to stop working and now was able to go back to work. She was taking Dr. Hernandez out to dinner to celebrate her recovery. It was a bizarrely serendipitous meeting on our final night in Panama.
We can only hope the stem cells are doing their work in Emma’s small body as I write this. It continues to be quite a journey.
It’s good to be home.