Wednesday, April 6, 2011

[Visitors, Part TWO] damn you Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell!

Ok I gave you my perspective on the "visitors" living in our house. Now let me give you my perspective on the "visitors" that came to the hospital. And how appropriate that I'm typing this blog entry on April 6. Six months ago tonight was when Kevin went to the ER......

Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell. Ain't no mountain high enough? Ain't no valley low enough? Seriously? To be honest with you, I'm a little sick of hearing this god damn song! Every time I hear it I freaking cry like a baby. I cried so hard recently that I had to pull over on the freaking 405 freeway!!! Sobbing. Like a baby. DAMN YOU!!! The song is what actually inspired this blog entry. I'm torturing myself by listening to this song while typing this. Tissues at my left. Wine on the right. It's a happy cry.

So you all know the first visitors were Chad & Susie...whom I've thanked a million times over because they were my "ears" & my "shoulders" that dreaded first night & many nights after. You are both amazing friends... if I won the lottery I'd give it to you because I owe you. I owe you BIG TIME. But for the record, thank you both.

Next set of visitors were my twinsanity mamas... first to arrive was Kym. I actually wasn't expecting her. I had called her to tell her what was going on, what had happened and she actually was unable to come. I understood because she's got kids just like me. I think it was about an hour later that Kym showed up. Bitches (inside joke). I realize much much a few weeks later (after I came up to breathe) that Kym showing up in that particular ICU waiting room...well that was the second time she was in THAT waiting room. First time she was there the doctors informed her that one of her twins had passed. So, the courage displayed by Kym to show up, for me, to support me, in spite of her most horrible memories... well, that's a freaking fabulous friend right there folks. If I haven't told you already, thank you.

Next was Gina who was with my kids during the night but was relieved by Chad & Susie. She single handedly started organizing the who, the what, the where, the how... all for me. More on Gina later....but until later, here is a pic of her smiling next to her very smelly stuffed cabbage that somehow put a smile on everyone's face in the waiting room that day.... but from this pic it looked like Lauren had just smelled something else?
Then Lisa... she showed up in typical mom, drinks, blankets, hugs, a shoulder to cry on, held my hand.... I've talked about Lisa before in my blog. She helped me through my first back to school night. She was there for me so many times during preschool drop off, pick up, making sure my boys had extra hugs, offered me a bed, offered me wine (i love you!), and was just another freaking fabulous friend. The pic to the right is of the princess blanket she let me borrow...I still have it to this day. If I haven't told you already, thank you.

Then Claire & Kristy show up... at this point I'm sure I reeked of vomit because I had been nervous vomitting for quite some time but both embraced me....they too showed up with food, hugs, a shoulder to cry on, held my hand. Actually, Claire &Kristy drove me home. You see, Claire drove Kevin's one drives his car... well, pre-heart failure no one drove his car. (I started a list of people that drove Kevin's car so when he woke up he would know) I will never forget that drive home. Claire offered the most comforting words to me. Kristy drove  Claire back to the hospital to get her car & she waited.... she waited to make sure Kevin's helicopter took off...all so I could kiss my sweet boys before naptime & get on the 405 freeway to beat his helicopter to his next destination. If I haven't told you already, thank you both.

So I'm sitting at Cedars Sinai Critical Care Tower with Susie and the elevators open. Out walks his parents & his sister, my best friend Lauren. I have thanked the three of you before but I'll say it again, thank you. I'd also like to add that I appreciated when you saw me as his wife and you gave me the much needed time, alone, bedside, with Kevin. I appreciated your support in my decision making. And this next sentence is towards my mother in law alone. I believe that this was the worst thing to ever happen to me ... I experienced this as a wife.... the only thing worse would be experiencing this as a mother. For this, I felt for you and I thank you personally for walking next to me always as the "first" to see Kevin after helicopter transport when the doctors were berating me with questions,  the "first" to see Kevin for only 2 minutes after LVAD implantation, and for holding my hand during that morbid moment the night before LVAD implantation. I will leave this thanks with one saying "Riepl's are NOT quitters." The pic to the right is of my mother in law being silly, she would probably not want anyone to see this but you know, the iphone wins. LOL.

My brother... poor guy... he was one of the first people I called... telling him "I"ll be damned if I'm going to be a 36 year old widow." Within an hour he had booked a flight to LA. He was supposed to take my sister in law Sharon away for her birthday weekend. CRAP. He chose to support me. I know Sharon understood but I'm not sure if I ever said thank, thank you Sharon. Thanks for understanding I needed "wind." (inside joke) My friends Gina & Jill picked him up at LAX. They all arrived at Cedars together. He (and Lauren)always manage to make me cry. Having said this, it WAS comforting to have "blood" with me. More on my brother later. Jill however had asked if I needed anything... magazines? food? drinks? candy? chocolate? porno? blankets? coffee? Oh wait, yes, yes, you read correctly. Jill offered me porno. How freaking fantastic is JILL???? This was quite the "funny" within our twinsanity group of mamas. LOL! If I haven't told you already, thank you.

Here is a pic of me & my brother Jimmy (left)... it was taken just before he left LA... just after we found out Kevin was ok after LVAD implantation.

The first night there were many people that showed up that I feel need some recognition, people that I personally remember from that night. Jeron & Wes. Thank you so much. Your support, your love, your positive energy meant the world to me and it still does. Joe & Selena. Where do I start with you two? You offered not only love & support, but shoulders to cry on, shoulders for me to BITCH at about idiots that didn't have Kevin's best interest at heart, you offered to beat a few people up for me if I'm remembering correctly (LOL love you JOE!), your oh so many visits with Kevin during the worst times ever, .....I will never forget either of you. Thank you both. Paul & Paula. My Jewish Californian parents. They were there the first night and Paula was there a few times after as well. Thank you for being my surrogate parents because mine were so far away &my mother was too ill to travel.  Thank you for your prayers, your love, your support... it means the world. Julie. She's always been the "happy medium"... I hope you're laughing Julie.... she is an extremely good friend of Lauren's... I knew I couldn't be a very good friend for Lauren that first night so I texted Julie asking her to show up & support Lauren... she did and I thank you Julie. Thank you for showing up when you did...Lauren needed backup... and thank you for showing up in the days to follow.

My sister... her own husband has his own heart issues & yet she showed up. Freaking awesome. She did a great job of keeping me distracted (plums!) and was impressed at my medical knowledge only one week in. LOL! The pic to the left is Aunt Tina reading stories to our boys at bedtime. More on Tina later....

Aunt Rita & Aunt Marie.... my mother's sisters. The Polish Three. The witches. If you're not "blood" you totally wouldn't understand. My mother was extremely ill & could NOT visit while this was happening. BUT Aunt Rita & Aunt Marie each came for a week. TWO weeks I will never forget. I have thanked you both privately. The week I spent with Aunt Rita was tender, it was my motherly substitute, and I learned how to clean my pots with baking soda! LOL! The week  I spent with Aunt Marie... well, it was a week to cherish. Not that my week with Aunt Rita wasn't cherished... just that things happened with Aunt Marie... she paid electricians with chocolate pie, she was there when our family of four was reunited, she was there for pumpkin picking... aaaahhhh, the world is less 8 bottles of wine because of her. She was only here for 7. Love you both Rete & Marie!!!

Now that I've got my immediate thanks out of the way I can share with you the part I disliked the most that I had to endure while going through what was the worst time in my life. I mentioned earlier that I kept a list of people that drove Kevin's car, also kept a list of funny things that happened while he was on life support, and my final list was entitled "mother fuckers that annoyed me." Coincidentally the people on this list are no longer in our lives... GO FIGURE!! Oh wait, they were mother fuckers!  These were people that visited the hospital and/or invaded my husband's privacy while he was on life support and/or had no respect for me, Kevin, or his family. It got so ugly to the point where I had to supply security with a list of people that "were allowed" to visit my husband in the CSICU...these people had to show ID... this included ME! If it was a security guard that didn't know me, I had to show ID to see my husband! So, thank you ASSHOLES! How cool, right?  Aaaaah, I could go on but this is in the past and I'd like to leave it there but not before I say "FUCK YOU & YOUR MOTHER YOU FUCKING ASSHOLES!" I feel so much better now. heehee

So those first two weeks when Kevin was on life support... my boys were in some major need of testosterone. I mean Grandpa & Uncle Jimmy were at the house but honestly they were mostly at the hospital during the day. I'd like to send out a personal thank you to Uncle Chad, Phil (our neighbor), and all my twinsanity Dads for being the "male figure" my boys were desperate for. A special & sincere thanks to Sean, Jorge, & John. If I haven't told you already, thank you.

I have but another heartfelt thank you to a visitor, he's Kym's husband... John, fellow twinsanity Dad. Or as we like to call him JO-NATE...better known as Uncle John to our boys. I'd like to thank you for visiting with Kevin during the CSICU days, thank you for driving me to the hospital (25 min from the valley to Beverly Hills at 5pm!), thank you for visiting Kevin during those first 49 days, and for your continued support, for your continued visiting at home and making us feel like we were pre-heart failure, my washing machine, thank you for living so close & giving up your afternoons to be with my boys while Kevin was recovering when you could've been with yours... I can't express my thanks enough but maybe ziti puttanesca will suffice for now? :-)

More on Gina, Jimmy, and Tina in another blog entry... the three of them are entirely too emotional for me at this moment. Know that I love you all dearly and know that Kaeden, Quinton. & myself would have been lost without you.... I owe the three of you my life for different reasons... like I said, another blog entry but until then, thank you.

And more on Jedi Master Maureen, Jill, D.B., and the doctors & nurses at Cedars Sinai who were technically "clocked out" but stayed with ME anyway to make sure I was OK.

Oh and not to forget the "mobile" visitors in my car  & at the hospital via my iphone! Mom & Dad, Otto, Ron (your kindness was indeed amazing), Jay (thanks for making me cry EVERY time we talked, love you!), Jeff (on two time zones, sorry for waking you up!), those Heavyocity Guys in NYC (you fucking rock!), Goldenboy & Goldengirl (that's right, my family is filled with fucking super heroes), MU, Eileen, and anyone else I can't seem to remember at this very moment.

ATTENTION: Ed Lima....I may not have known you pre-heart failure but I certainly came to know you during these past six months. Thank you for your Star Wars Facebook posts every day... little did you know they truly uplifted me while sitting in the CSICU waiting room...may the force be with you my friend. I read each & every one to Kevin every day that he was on life support... you should know that his awareness level would skyrocket from 48 to 90 every time I would read a Star Wars quote... hands down, you fucking ROCK and I'm glad you're an Angeleno now.

PLEASE do me one favor... Please take 2 1/2 minutes of your time to listen to the very song that "gets me" every would mean the world to me. If you listen, please comment on this blog entry. Tell me your reaction, I'd seriously appreciate it. I'd also like to remind each of you reading, there isn't anything I wouldn't do for my family or my friends. There ain't no mountain high enough nor is there any valley low enough to keep me from getting to you my friend.


  1. Powerful. That is what I think of when I hear that song Tracy.... It's power. I think of you in your Wonder Woman hoodie.. the the strength you display... I think about the indestructible love you and Kevin share.. it's amazing. It's powerful. It's actually inspiring.

  2. Keep writing, keep fighting, keep on living....
    the best to all of you guys from Helena and Paul
    Wishing Kevin the fastest possible recovery...we are thinking about you a lot and "sending" positive vibes....xoxo

  3. I don't even HAVE to listen to that song to know that it makes me cry. Everytime. So emotional and powerful. Can be applied to so many different things in my life - my kids, my friends, my family, myself. Now it takes on an entirely new meaning - the Riepl family. Kevin is a fighter ... but YOU ... you climb mountains and race through valleys to make things happen. And you do it with such conviction, strength and grace. (All with your true Jersey flair :-)) You are a true inspiration and I'm so proud of you!!