Hi. It’s Neil. I’ve been meaning to say thanks to so many of you for weeks now, I tried to write an Instagram post, but once I started writing I realized that that was not the right platform. I have way too many people to acknowledge. Anyway, I’m home and Nik has given me access to the blog. She may regret it, as I’m a little more….rough around the edges than she typically is. She made me promise no “F words”. No problem babe. I’m also not nearly half the writer she is, so hopefully this isn’t too dry compared to your usual read. Here we go.
Four weeks ago I was taken to the all-too-familiar Concordia Emergency Room thinking I was having yet another flare-up from my Crohns. I figured I would get my “regular” dose of beloved narcotics over the next 8 to 12 hours to help pass the worst of it and be back home in time to shower and make it to the office the next morning. No biggie. Thats been the routine over that last few years, why would this time be any different? But it was. Long story short (mostly because I know you’ve all heard the story) by 8 that night I was in surgery that would last 5.5 hours and see me lose 22cm of bad intestines. The next few months of my life would be changing dramatically. 25 days after my surgery, I was finally discharged from the hospital. After a few days of going back to a clinic for a dose of IV antibiotics and a dressing change to my open incision, Nik is taking over those duties, and I will only have to go back once a week, which is really nice.
God, Family and Friends have all showed up big-time over the last month. I want you all to know how much I love you and appreciate everything you have done for me, and even more importantly to me, everything you have done for Nik and the kids. Knowing that they were loved and cared for while I was away made this whole thing so much more bearable for me. Thank-you all SO MUCH.
I want to start by saying thanks to my amazing and beautiful wife. You are the strongest woman I know, hands down. Thank-you for everything you do for our family, you truly do hold us together, and keep us going. Thank-you for putting up with me ALL OF THE TIME. Thanks for being at the hospital with me as much as you were, even when I didn’t even know you were there, or was annoyed at you for whatever stupid reason. I know that I’m not an easy guy to love at times. Thanks for kicking my ass when I need it, which I know is more than any grown man should have to get his ass kicked, and for not giving up on me. EVER. Whether it had to do with my illness or not. I love you more than I could ever put into words.
Mom and Dad Moran and Hennan, thanks for taking the kids as much as you did so that Nik could be with me. We could not have done it without you guys. I know it also helped take their little minds off of the situation being with their grandparents, who they absolutely love and adore. Mom and Dad, thanks for making it in to see me as much as you did, again when I probably didn’t even realize you were there. I love you guys so much, and am thankful for all of the sacrifices you have made for me and opportunities you have given me my whole life.
MY HOMEYS!!! I literally have a handful of close friends and I wouldn’t trade you guys for anything in the world.
Neil Downie (and Jen!)– thank-you so much for all of the little things you’ve done for us over the last weeks. None of it has gone unnoticed. Raking our yard, babysitting the kids, picking up my truck, visiting me at the hospital, coming over to watch playoffs only to come back an hour after you had gotten home to be with our kids while Nik had to unexpectedly take me back to the hospital. I possibly love you more than any other dude on the planet and I’m beyond thankful to be your friend.
Travis Guy – My oldest friend in the world. Even when we go years without seeing each other, we pick up right where we left off. Thanks for making it to see me in the hospital Trav. I know you were only home for a few days, and while trying to fit in time to see your family and spend time with your kids, you made the time to come and see me, and I will never forget that. You’ve been there for us more than a couple times over the last few years, and helped us out big-time. I love you for that, brother. BBFL.
Tennille Frost – Thank-you for getting me to the hospital that day, and staying with me until they got me a bed. You are one of the few people that I know always has my back, but you will also tell me when I’m being a dick, and need to smarten up. Thank-you for visiting me as often as you did, I know it wasn’t easy with work, and having your own family to care for, but I appreciate every visit, no matter how short or uneventful it was. Thanks for all of your encouraging texts, even on the days I didn’t want to hear them, and may have been rude in my reply or even ignored you. I’m really glad we are friends. You are definitely one of the top 5 women in my life ;P Thanks G!
Chris Olson (and Heather!) – Thanks for always being a real pal, Chris, even though we don’t get together nearly as much as we should. Thanks for making the time to come to the hospital a couple of times, even though I know you guys have a lot going on in your own lives right now. Heather, thanks for that stupid mother-bleepin’ puzzle that I never did finish, it literally ate up hours and hours of my time. And by the way, Seth did it in about 5 minutes. I love you guys and I’m really happy to call you both friends. Just so you know, my goal is to get healed up enough to get some surfing in this year, so beware. NRSC! Also Heather, I think you should consider letting Chris get a crew tat, I don’t know how he could ever regret it, and it would give me an excuse to get it too. Just some food for thought.
My church family is next. To be completely honest, I have always been more than happy to go to church on Sunday morning, and get out as fast as I could without talking to too many people. I know I said to Nik on more than one occasion “I hardly have time for the friends I have”. I was wrong to think like that. You people have shown me and my family love like I have never witnessed before. The way you were there for the family of a guy that you barely know has won me over completely. People I have never talked to, or can even put a face to have been so generous to us through all of this, and I am so grateful to you all, and so proud to call you family. We are still eating meals that were brought to us almost 4 weeks ago. Our freezers were overflowing. You gave us gift cards for groceries, and gas, iTunes and Tim Hortons, among other places. Someone paid for a house-cleaning service, knowing that Nik would be running back and forth so much that she would be forgetting to eat, nevermind clean the house. We honestly could not have done this without your generosity, and I hope that one day we will be able to somehow return the favour(s). Jono and Nicole Zantingh, Jono thanks for the encouraging visits, they really did mean a lot. Blake and Marissa Manshanden, thanks for the haircut Blake, and Marissa, thanks for being there for Nik as much as you are. Sherry and Ben Andrusco. Stephanie (there’s no last name on the card, but thanks!) Leslie and Ron Joyal. Rob and Leigh Reimer, Rob thanks for hanging out all evening with me during the first week, I cant remember what we talked about and the whole visit is pretty fuzzy, but I know you were there and I appreciate you taking the time from your hectic schedule to sit with me. And thanks for getting my iTunes to work, damn narcotics… Chris and Elaine Dilay. Megan and Arlen Brooke. Carla Gloux. Christine and Mike DiDomenicantonio. Nicole McMillan. Tempest and Darrin Thorvaldson. Tammy and Tim Sanderson. Charles and Sharenda Wiebe. Sue and Phil Dupuis. Viola Pritchard. Heather and Al Rempel. Cindy and Dave Broadfoot. Crystal and Bennie Woligroski. Sophie Dyck.I know I am for sure forgetting someone, and if you have helped us out even in the smallest way, but don’t see your name here, please forgive me, and thank-you! I am looking forward to getting to know you all and thank you in person some day soon.
Family and friends that I haven’t mentioned, thank-you so much for your thoughts and prayers, positive vibes and well wishes. Thank-you for your texts and encouraging words. Facebook messages from people I hadn’t talked to in years, thanks you guys. There are so many people that I haven’t mentioned, and I’m sorry!
Things might get a little random from here…
Grandma Julie, Auntie Bonny, Lyndsey, Sara, and Jenni, thank-you for your kind gift. Girls thank-you for the constant text messages and Instagram messages. Sara, thank-you so much for helping promote the Crohns and Colitis Foundation with Nik, it means the world to me.
Rachel and Chris; Rach, more than a couple times you text me when I really needed some encouragement, thank-you, and Chris, thanks for stopping by for a visit.
Josh and Jaclyn; thank-you both for stopping by and bringing your beautiful baby girl, she definitely put a smile on my face, and it was nice to see you guys as well.
Drew Dueck (and Liv!); thanks for the encouraging texts as well as the always awesome music suggestions to help pass the time. I’ve missed you guys since you headed out west, it was great to spend a weekend with you this past January, and I look forward to another snowboarding trip next year!
Whynona! Thanks for coming to see me when you could and for watching the Bruins lose to the Habs with me. It was nice to have someone to watch hockey with. Sorry you had to see that old guy’s balls when he coughed. *shiver*
Mike Beauchamp, thanks for the texts brother, its been nice to be in contact again, I’m probably gonna need your help to bulk up here, my even-more-skinny-than-usual ass could use a personal trainer.
Maureen Reid, thank-you so much for the box of sunshine for the kids. Anyone who does something that special for my kids is an amazing and awesome person in my books. We have never met, but I would love to give you a hug one day, because you are the best.
I don’t think I’ve ever even written a school paper this long. I have to admit that its taken me approximately 4 hours, but I wanted to do my best to acknowledge everyone that has made this last month of our lives a little more bearable. From the bottom of my heart, Thank-you.