Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Music to Grow Cells By

With all of the yucky business this weekend, I wasn’t able to tell you all about the wonderful time we had taking Dale out on the town the night before he went into the hospital. So now, with most of the unpleasantness behind me (hopefully), I want to share that with you.

It was Dale’s last night of freedom in a minimum of 3 months so we wanted to make it special. Kay, Wolf and I picked Dan and Dale up at the hotel and went to a Mexican restaurant Dale had been eyeing since his arrival in town.

We sat at a large table near the back and laughed and talked about old times, carefully avoiding discussion of the reason we were all in Denver. Dale ate his fill (and then some) of the delicious food and we went back to the motel. Dan wanted to turn in for the night so Wolf, Kay and I decided to kidnap Dale and take him out on the town. It didn’t take much to convince Dale to leave his fate in our hands for the night.

Off we went.

Since Dale was scheduled to have 2 days of intensive chemotherapy followed by 4 days of very strong radiation therapy, twice per day, he needed something to occupy his mind. Dale has always been a music fan. For the last 20 or so years he has amassed a huge collection of Jazz. He is also very knowledgeable about the artists and the history. He asked if we might find a place to purchase some music for his collection and to listen to while he was undergoing radiation (the part that scared him the most).

Wolf knew just where to take him and we headed downtown to the Virgin Records Megastore. Dale had never been to Denver before and he was very excited to have the opportunity to see the sights. Downtown Denver is quite beautiful at night and we all gawked like the tourists we were. We parked in a parking lot right on the edge of “everything” and started walking towards the store.

It was obvious that the sights and sounds were very exciting to Dale. It was Friday night and there were thousands of people walking in the warm night air. Horse drawn carriages traveled along the cobblestone and jazz music could be heard far off in the distance. Dale stopped walking and I asked if he was okay.

“Yeah, just taking it all in.” he said, with tears in his eyes and a big smile on his face. We stood with him until he was ready to move on.

Our first stop was the record store. As we approached the massive building, Dale’s eyes lit up. The look was priceless and one I’ll never forget. It was as if every dream he’d ever had was coming true. I felt such joy seeing his face; I can’t begin to describe the feeling. I looked at Wolf and he looked back at me. We both had tears in our eyes.

When we walked through the door, Dale let out an audible gasp. I asked if he was okay and he just smiled.

“I could never have imagined it this big,” he said, sticking his tongue out at me.

Wolf located the Jazz section and led Dale over to the Miles Davis records. Dale’s eyes lit up as he saw the huge collection of his favorite artist’s CD’s. He started flipping through them and was astounded to discover the diversity available to him. It didn’t take long for him to find the exact CD he was looking for; “Sketches of Spain”. He had the album at home, but hadn’t brought it with him.

Dale beamed at Wolf and Wolf beamed back. Kay and I looked at each other and grinned. What a happy, joyful time.

Kay and I continued to browse while Dale told Wolf some of the history of Miles Davis’ career. Dale told him about Red Garland, a pianist in the Miles Davis quartet who had eventually formed his own group. He said he’d love to get his hands on a CD of his, “At the Prelude”. It was at that moment that Dale noticed the display he’d been standing next to.

I’ve never seen that look on his face before. It was as if, at that moment, he knew everything was going to be alright. He picked up the CD and held it in his hand.

“This,” he said, “is music to grow cells by”.


Mary said...

Laurie, I have tears in my eyes. I can't say anything else except Dale will be fine as long as he holds on to his music. Thanks for sharing a special evening.

MsLittlePea said...

Oh I love that! Music is so good for the soul. I think jazz WILL help grow some cells. Good therapy. I listened to alot of Stevie Nicks when I was sick. It really did lift my spirit and made me feel stronger. I didn't have chemo though, luckily I didn't need it. I'll be praying for you all. He looks so happy.

I think I've been to that very store!!OOH Deja VU!

jen said...

this is so, so beautiful. his face looks sublime, and you gave him such a gift.

i love denver. good luck with what comes next, friend.

Anvilcloud said...

Aw, what a special time for a special group.

Carol said...

Inspirational. You are an incredible woman.

KGMom said...

Great attitude--music to grow cells by.
Whatever inspires positive thoughts.

Squirl said...

Music to grow cells by. That's so wonderful.

Hang in there!

Laurie said...

Mary, he was in a wonderful mood today. We talked and laughed and carried on. I think we were the naughty kids on the ward!

Mspea, I love Stevie Nicks. She rocks! It's a great store. We are taking him back when he's got more energy to explore.

Jen, I feel like I'm the one that got a gift here, being able to spend time with Dale and help in some small way.

AC, it was such a great time, I'll remember it always.

Carol, nothing incredible about me. I'm just doing what family and friends do for one another, but thank you.

KG, he has the best attitude I've ever seen. He is simply amazing.

Squirl, thank you. We are doing just fine.

Menchie said...

I love Miles Davis too. He's going to be ok.

Laurie said...

Menchie, thanks, I really think he will be. :)

Anonymous said...

I take our situation with the FIL and times it by at least five and then I get how you are feeling. It takes a strong group to deal with this kind of trouble. Music is a wonderful distraction! I hope it does the job!

I sent you that email the other day and then when I saw you sent it back I was kind of like what the heck? Then I realized it said send it back to the person who sent it to you! I felt like an idiot for being so dumb.

Ur-spo said...

he's not wrong.
Music can be very therapeutic to lower stress levels, and this in turns lowers the beating on the CNS and immune systems to have them heal and regenerate cells. really.

JustJock said...

I can't imagine a life without music. It is what keeps me sane.

"music to grow cells by" is inspired, and I will always remember those words now.

Bonita said...

Yes, one must hold onto the music. What an inspiring post! No matter how our lives change, there is always something to sing about. You've done that here.

Pam said...

I have tears, too. A beautiful story, you guys are the best. Just what Dale needs to win.

Laurie said...

Butterfly, thanks so much for the email. It was a real bright spot for me. I hope things with FIL get better soon. I'm sure it's quite stressful, especially since you have small children to care for.

Ur-spo, that is most excellent to know! He listens to jazz or NPR nearly all the time!

Jock, since my stereo was liberated, I've had to do without music while making the daily trip to and from the hospital. I really miss it. Maybe that's why I'm feeling slightly more insane than usual?

I loved Dale's comment too. He's a very wise man.

Bonita, you are right and what you've said describes Dale exactly. To him, there is always something to sing about.

Pam, Dale is the real treasure and I know he is going to beat his leukemia! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

"Music to grow cells by" sounds like a good title for a jazz album.

You have a real gift for story telling.

Reverend Sumangali Tania Pink said...

Wonderful. Keeping you all in my prayers.

Within Without said...

What you are doing for him -- and what he is doing for himself -- is just beautiful, L.

It just is.

Take note of what Carol said and do not dismiss it. She is right.


Love Bears All Things said...

Very good post. I'm glad you were able to spend this time with Dale and to fulfill his requests on this night. Keep us posted.

Laurie said...

Thomas, thank you, but I can't take any credit, the story wrote itself. It was a magical evening.

Pink, thank you so much. It means the world to us.

WW, he's an amazing guy. I can't believe his strength. And thank you...

Love Bears, I promise to update as often as possible.

LauraHinNJ said...

Thanks for telling the story of Dale's "night out" - sounds as if you made lots of memories.

Hope the music is of some comfort to him in the upcoming weeks.

Laurie said...

Laura, thank you. It was a fine evening, one filled with promise. Which is just what he needed.

Gina said...


I am so happy that he had such a good time before his treatment begins.

Thailand Gal said...

I am so glad you were able to provide a nice evening for Dale before he has to face all the medical crapola. I'm sure it will help him to have that positive memory ~ and music definitely helps grow cells!



Laurie said...

Gina, we all had such a good time. I think it will help to sustain him in the months to come. I know he loved the photos I took for him. :)

Chani, he's been listening to music every day. It has really helped him. Thanks!

Cathy said...

You are beautiful. I just keep thinking how blessed Dale is to have you watching over him. He has such a kind face and I know he'll come through this tough stretch to enjoy many fun outings with you and Wolf. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

Sarah said...

How beautiful, Laurie.

Thanks for peeking into my place. Your writing is wonderful.

"Music to grow cells by".... thank you for sharing those sweet words.

Laurie said...

Cathy, we are in the process of planning many fun outings. I think focusing on the future helps him.

Sarah, thank you so much for stopping by!

somewhere joe said...

*goosebumps* This post is music to grow inspiration by...

Miles Davis, so tortured himself, turns out such soaring, tender, and yes, healing, music. Funny how that works. We, from the grace of our own helplessness, heal one another.

Gawpo said...

What Joe just said. Where does he get those words? Somewhere, I suspect...