"Grandpa, please write this code number down, so I can get another Lego Ninjago - the "Ultra Stealth Raider Building Kit - for my upcoming birthday," John - my then 8 y/o grandson said on the phone from Kansas, as we had chatted on the phone last year before a family visit to Red Stick.
"I tried to text you this info, but forgot to, Gramps," John added.
As I had just come back from work when John called, I reached for my favorite writing instrument, a maroon and Gold Montblanc pen - but it was not in my shirt pocket where I always had kept it!
"Heavens to Betsy!" I thought to myself - an old quote that one of my aunts used to say in a crisis - as I was worried about what had happened to my beloved "Meisterstück," the term which means masterpiece, which is embossed on the middle Gold circumferenced ring of the exquisite pen next to the "Montblanc" words.
Just at that moment, I had a flashback to 1991, when I had worked as a Medical Social Worker at Jo Ellen Smith Medical Center in Algiers, LA - on da Westbank of "Where Y'at" N'Awlins, which was my first hospital job.
Every week at Jo Ellen Smith - which had been named for a wonderful young Nurse, who unfortunately had gotten murdered during a home visit to a housing development - I would join another health professional in an inter-disciplinary meeting, Geriatric Assessment Team (GAT), to staff complicated cases of elders.
As the only discharge planner for the hospital, my job was to help patients cope with things related to their hospital stay and assist with arranging for post-acute care needs.
Some cases were rather challenging - involving difficulties related to specialty needs like iv antibiotics, wound care and possibly long-term acute care or nursing home placement.
Some folks just needed someone to listen to them and validate their concerns about their struggles in life and losses; others, I would refer to support groups, like for Alzheimer's Disease.
So after 3 years of many great learning experiences in the field of Social Work at Jo Ellen Smith, I had the opportunity then to work at another hospital in developing proactive programs to address concerns of the aged.
One of the GAT members, Gail Parry (now Relle), RN, who had worked with me at Jo Ellen and had also been a Wound Care specialist at the neighboring Meadowcrest Hospital in Gretna, got together with other GAT members and surprised me with a going away party that included a special going-away gift: that Gold Montblanc pen!
So I just decided to grab one of my 2 simple Bic pens which I always keep in my front pants pockets.
"Okay, John, Gramps has a pen; what is that number?" - as I proceeded to dutifully write the code down for my grandson's fav Ninjagos!
Well, I subsequently realized that I had loaned my special Montblanc pen to a home care patient around the time of my grandson's phone call.
The next day, I called the patient, whom I had been visiting around then and had loaned the Montblanc pen to for some forms to complete, and was relieved to find out that I had certainly left my treasured pen at this house; the home care nurse, Sarah, eventually would pick it up for me.
With all the emphasis lately on emails, texting and the plethora of other social media available, I still look forward mostly to snail mail and have found it to have the most impact on me in so many ways - it can truly have an unprecedented affect on recipients!
Sometimes, like wisely noted by Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839, in his historical play Cardinal Richelieu. "The pen is mightier than the sword!"
So whether it is for recording something special for grandsons about Ninjagos or writing a letter to the editor or Smiley Anders - like I frequently do! - I still find more creativity in using a writing instrument like the unique Montblanc pen than with any electronic device!
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