Miracles can happen…

The following story was sent to me by a reader and we both wanted to share with you…

My mom’s 86.  Almost 50 years ago she had to have one shrunken diseased kidney filled with stones removed and she has lived without a problem since then with just one kidney.

About ten years ago, her small intestines decided they needed more room, and moved over in the space vacated by the removed kidney.  The result was the growth of a hernia the size of a small football.  She started to lean away from the hernia but at the same time it became obvious she also has scoliosis, curvature of the spine.  But yet, she’s still a fabulous musician (jazz pianist) and artist (last twenty years she’s been carving songbirds).

About a year ago her one kidney started to fill with stones and she was experiencing pain. Her kidney doctor recommended something be done or the kidney could shut down, but her spine and ureter are so curved, the doctor couldn’t get his laser tool up to the kidney to blast away the stones.

I took her for a consult at Lahey Clinic in Burlington, MA with the head of urology and we both fell in love with him.  Dr. David Canes can’t be 40 and yet his specialty is minimally invasive endeurological procedures.  We both agreed he was the handsomest man on the face of this earth, along with a gentle bedside manner.

Because of my mom’s scoliosis, it turns out her one kidney is buried in the center of her back, sitting on her pelvic bone with the pancreas on top of it.  Her ribs are basically fused to her hip on the right side, so open surgery would be extremely difficult, and going through her back to get to her kidney would leave her with an open wound that would require attention.  Scary alternatives at 86.

Dr. Canes explained the situation and my mother looked right at him and said, “I’m 86 and I play piano!  I’ve got too much music and art inside of me, and I’m not ready to go yet!”

I think at that moment, they fell in love with each other.  Turns out that Dr. Canes’ dad is a classical pianist, who gave his son his old piano.  Next thing I know, they’re talking music. He says to my mother, “When there’s music and positive vibes in the operating room, miracles can happen!  Let’s blow the stones to smithereens!”

Surgery was set for June 28 and as I wheeled my mom out of Lahey, she looked up at the sky and said “Herbie (that’s my dad), forgive me.  I’m in love!”

On the day of her surgery, we brought one of the binders of her musical arrangements.  (Every week, she picks a big band ballad and arranges it with wonderful jazz chording in her way.)  I told Dr. Canes and his staff that while my mom was on the operating table, I would play her arrangements at the baby grand piano in Lahey’s admission lobby and they could find me there when he was done.

He arrived at the piano, smiling and said, “We got the stones, it’s done!”  I burst into tears and gave him a big hug.  He said, “So play one of her songs.  I want to hear.”  He sat next to me on the piano bench while I played “I Want a Sunday Kind of Love” and “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning”.  I don’t know how I managed to play because I could hardly see the music through my tears.

We had a follow-up visit on July 13 and before we left, I wheeled her over to the piano.  I had brought one of the binders of her arrangements with me and she started whining that she didn’t want to play because she makes too many mistakes (this is in my genetic makeup…).  I told her I would play a song, but made her get out of the wheelchair and sit on the bench next to me.  Then I said, “Mom, I’m going over to get the parking ticket validated so why don’t you play something?!”   She started to whine again and I said, “PLAY THE PIANO!”  And she did!

As I was paying for the parking ticket, I said to the young man, “That’s my mother!”  His response was “OMG she’s fabulous!  About an hour ago, some guy sat down to try to play Beethoven, and Beethoven lost!”

As I wheeled her back to the parking garage, she repeated a couple of times, “Really, you think I did ok?  You think it was good?!”   Talk about a bonding experience.  We high-fived each other and laughed all the way home.

Sorry for the length of this story.  My mom’s fine and she’s back to her weekly jazz piano and bird carving lessons.  Bragging about being 86 (although as she says, all of her friends are under ground…)

Sent by Judy


About hereisakiss

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5 Responses to Miracles can happen…

  1. Julia K. Agresto says:

    Hi, I work in the Communications and Marketing Department at Lahey and one of my colleagues came across this blog entry and brought it to my attention. What a story…and what a nice tribute to Dr. Canes! Would it be possible for you to put me in touch with Judy so I can find out if she’d be willing to let us share this? We have an internal-only colleague recognition site where colleagues can submit stories to recognize other colleagues for going the extra mile, doing something spectacular, acts of kindness, etc. I think it would be nice to share this story there, if Judy gave us permission to do so. The story has also been circulated to others in my department, e.g. our director of new media, who manages Lahey’s Facebook page, etc. — so perhaps we could do even more with it; again of course only if Judy was willing. You can contact me at Julia.K.Agresto@Lahey.org. Thank you!

  2. Julia K. Agresto says:

    …I should mention that it’s not just colleagues recognizing other colleagues, but we also share patient letters to physicians, nurses, etc. to showcase the amazing work that is done here and the impact it has on the lives of our patients and their loved ones.

  3. Julia K. Agresto says:

    Elizabeth: I received Judy’s permission via email to share this, and Lahey’s director of new media Pam Johnston syndicated this story on Lahey’s blog — of course giving you full credit and including track-backs to your original blog post. I’m going to email the blog link to Judy, and here it is for you: http://laheyblog.com/2011/07/28/miracles-can-happen/. Pam is going to share on Lahey’s Facebook and Twitter pages, as well. I also shared on our internal colleague recognition site as I previously mentioned. Thanks so much!

  4. Brenda Afargan says:

    What a wonderful story!! I’m so proud to be Dr. Canes’ aunt in South Africa. I always knew there was something special about him . I have sent this story to all my family here .
    Brenda Afargan [nee Canes]

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