I walked the balmy walk just down the road from my hotel in Panama City to grab a late salad and a glass of wine before settling down for a needed night’s sleep. After making it to San Francisco to deliver a presentation and learn from giants, I got a call from sis and mom’s doctor’s saying, “You need to make some decisions.” She had been admitted to ICU with respiratory arrest and pneumonia. It wasn’t a good scene. High Co2, lousy performance from a host of other physiological measures, and just plain bad.

My E.A., Jan, got me on the first flight that afternoon right back out of The City for Charlotte. Landed a little after 9 Wednesday night, packed, got in my fastest car and drove to Florida. Stopped once for a power nap somewhere outside of Columbus, GA. Arrived and spent the day with this amazing mom of mine and equally amazing sister who knows her so well.

By the time I arrived her Co2 levels were better; CT’s negative; airways clearing, a bit; meds doing their wonders; and clinicians searching for a root cause. Once it was known that it might not be so dire, my self creeped in and made a weak, albeit real attempt to resent the hijacking of my “important” presentation that had been in the works for months. Then, the better part of myself, my conscience, arrived like a tornado carrying a bizarre mix of The Hulk and Mahatma Gandhi and said to me…

“Are you kidding me? Get over yourself, and love, and be present, and kick that ego to the curb and be the man you actually are!”


After this long day was over and mom was comfortably (an entirely relative term and one only she could actually speak to) resting and breathing much better, my sister Denise and I headed out. I hopped on Travelocity and grabbed a hotel for a night or two. Showered, changed, needed a bite and a nice glass of something red before sleep.

When I got to the establishment after a little walk in the humid night, I was greeted pleasantly by Nicole, one of the servers. I asked if they had a wine list. Her reply, “Oh, we have every kind of wine you want.” I perked up and asked if I could see the list. I even went so far as to ask if they had a reserve list. In the mood for something that would offer a special “goodnight.” Nicole said, “We don’t have a list, but we have Chardonnay, Pinot, Merlot, Cabernet, and Muscat.” I paused and surely looked a little perplexed. “Do you mean you have those wines but not different labels?” She nodded and affirmed my leading question.

I smiled and said, “How about a Pinot Noir?” She said, “You bet,” and spun around toward the bar.

Moments later Nicole returned with a glass about the size of a flight glass, filled to the brim with something a little more white. I asked if this was Pinot Noir or Pinot Gris. “What’s the difference?” she asked. I offered a simple and hopefully unpretentious explanation that one is a red and another is white. She seemed to appreciate the lesson and asked if I would like a Merlot instead.

“Nope, this is going to be just right. And thank you.”

I took a sip. Really tasty. It almost seemed fitting. Something a little more chilled while sitting on an empty patio while the humidity fogged the screen of my laptop. I closed the computer and sipped on my pinot gris and reflected on the day.

This was surely nature’s way of shooting a message across the bow? Simplify, Sean! Appreciate the littlest things. Who cares if it is good vintage or poured out of a box? This day was about life. About love. About appreciating the wonders of medicine and the people who practice it. It was just as much about offering it out there for the inevitable and non-earthly realm of next real estate and the Ultimate Healer’s plan.

I sipped that little glass of pinot gris as if it were a glass of Trefethen 2005 Reserve Cabernet. And I totally dug every drop (pardon the lack of wine-snob vernacular).

Sleep was welcome. Tomorrow will bring what it brings. Maybe the merlot?

3 thoughts on “Sean’s Journal: A Good Pour and Cheers to Mom

  1. Praying for you and your wonderful mom. I adore her. I just got back from having to put my little buddy Manny to sleep this morning.

    My heart is with you all.

  2. So glad to hear that your mom is doing better. Not much equals the pain of that knot that forms in your stomach when you get that call. Prayers for continued recovery and more happy years ahead.

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