Sunday, July 28, 2013



Exactly four weeks from today, I will be participating in the 2nd Annual Chicago Triathlon for The Patrick J. Stein Foundation!!!  Of course I feel completely inadequate and ill prepared.  I feel like I was much farther ahead last year and seemed to train more often.  Then I realized I was not working full time last year and I was not spending three days a week with the crazy ass Moldovian/Russian dance teacher.  I am counting, however, on the crazy ass Russian to have built up my endurance.

Patrick and I have had our 15 minutes of fame lately.  We've been on CBS news twice.  There have been a couple of local newspaper articles about Patrick.  Last week a Chicago Tribune reporter came and interviewed us for over 2 hrs.  In between all of this, Patrick has been hospitalized twice.  I spent the night with him a couple times while he was in ICU and this is his exact text to me,"Hi can you bring your computer here today and i am spending the night over a horse shit call by the doctor do you want a cot?"  I appreciated that last nod to hospitality.

During the most recent hospital stay, Patrick asks me, "Will you do me a favor?"


"Will you loan me some money"?

"For what"?


"Underwear????  I'm pretty sure if you asked your mom for underwear she would buy them for you."

"You have no idea what a nightmare it is without support".

"Whose not supporting you honey?  We all support you.  Your mom supports you.  Everyone loves you.  Is there someone who is not being nice to you?  Who is it?  Give me their name.  I will not tolerate that.  And do you think you're being just a little hard on your mom...calling her unsupportive because she hasn't bought you underwear?  She's had a few things on her mind...."


"WHAT????", I said.

"I mean support from my underwear!!!!"

Not having had to support men in that area in a REALLY long time, I had apparently  missed the whole point.  Anyway, I got back on point:

"OH....I get it! Sure.  What do you want me to order?"

"Boxer. Briefs".

"Ok honey, do you want boxers or briefs."

"Boxer. Briefs"

"Patrick, its a yes or no question.  Do you want boxers? or briefs? Boxers? yes or no.  Briefs? yes or no."


"OKAY!  What???"


At this point I am beside myself and Patrick is ready to kill me.  Clearly I am misunderstanding.  I pull out my phone and google "boxerbriefs".  Sure enough there is such a thing!  Boxers, that fit like briefs!!  Haines 3 to a box.  Done.

I think we both burned about a thousand calories on that one.  

I was riding my bike today.  It was windy and hard.  Usually, I start a little whining routine in my head about how hard it is, when can I stop, is it cheating to ride in the other direction (with the wind instead of against).  Vlad, my private, cute Russian ballroom dancing teacher, had me pegged in my first lesson.  He said, "you will do anything to find the short cut, won't you?"  Yes, goddamn it and is there something wrong with that? And how did he figure that out in 5 fucking minutes?

For some reason though, today was different.  Like a ticker tape mantra going through my mind, I kept thinking, I'm riding for Patrick.  I'm riding because he can't.  I'm swimming because he can't.  I'm walking because he can't.  Each step, each stroke, each mile is for him, because of him.

The Tribune reporter asked Patrick what his role was going to be at the Triathlon.  His response, "just sitting around waiting for the last person to finish...Mary Jo".

Gotta love that kid!

Now for the hard part.  Asking for money.  Last year we raised 10K for Patrick.  I would love to beat that this year by any amount.  So much of Patrick's care and needs are not covered by insurance.  As usual, I don't want to make this a political discussion.  Its just a fact.  Whether its Blue Cross Blue Shield or just doesn't cover everything.  Physical therapy is a simple example.  Insurance is happy to pay for physical therapy when a person is showing progress and improvement.  But what happens when the improvement is small, but real...takes months, but is significant?  We live in a culture that values speed.  We don't pay for patience.  It doesn't matter if its right or wrong, its our reality.  The whole premise of Patrick's recovery is built on slow and steady.  Repetition.  Insurance will stop paying at some point and physical therapy is Patrick's concrete measure of success.  Without it, he will lose ground.  That is just one of so many examples.  

So please open up your hearts again and help be Patrick's arms, legs and voice until is he able himself.  That day will come and it will be a triumph shared.

Donating is easy!  You can hit the DONATE button at the right, and you will be donating directly to Patrick's foundation through Sister Paulanne's Needy Family Fund.  OR you can write a check to Sister Paulanne's Needy Family Fund and write Patrick Stein/Mary Jo Harte in the memo line.  Mail to:

Sister Paulanne's Needy Family Fund
c/o OLPH Parish
1775 Grove St
Glenview Il 60025

or mail to me

Mary Jo Harte
1659 Winnetka Rd
Northfield, Il 60093


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