Three months ago. Saturday. 8:04 AM. Work rings. Never good. Answer phone.
“Dee’s mom called. His wife is a nurse and woke up and heard him gurgling. She called 9-1-1 and started CPR. They don’t know how long he was without oxygen. He’s at the ER now, but non-responsive.”
My heart sunk. We’d worked together 23 years. Dee’s a quality guy. I knew then I’d never see him again, not the same. At minimal, brain damage from oxygen deprivation would forever change him.
~~Something awakened Dee’s wife, Alanda, at 6:15 AM. She heard Dee gurgling from fluid filling his lungs. She flipped on the light, called 9-1-1 and started CPR.
Alanda saved Dee’s life. He’d crossed death’s doorway, but at the threshold, Alanda grabbed the tip of his little toe toenail and began pulling him back.
Five minutes later paramedics arrived. They took over CPR and used an AED.
One electrical shock to the heart. Two. Continue reading You Come From Good Stock
One of the most consistent things in life is that it changes.
Change constantly swirls around the atmosphere of life in the spiritual, emotional and physical spheres.
Change allows sunshine, and rain, to fall below.
It’s not all bad, not all good.
It is, however, inevitable.
Yet change, maybe just for me, is usually difficult and often seems unkind, unremitting. Continue reading Life Changes
In college I worked one summer at a funeral home. Morbid? Maybe, but I wanted to be around the death process to understand, not fear it.
Sometimes though things, places, events — they change you, change the way you think, change the way you see and feel life. That summer changed me, one night in particular.
I had two jobs that college summer. As soon as I finished my maintenance job, I’d shower, put on my suit and rush to the 2nd job at the funeral home.
It was a visitation that night, just one body, with few visitors expected. The funeral home owner told me he and his family were leaving town for a short trip, threw me the keys and told me to lock up after everyone left that night.
No one was there, so I went into the state room and was shocked to see the tiny casket. Inside was a beautiful, eight month old baby girl. Continue reading Brahm’s Lullaby
There is something beautiful about clocks, but they seem to move so fast.
It’s true time speeds up with age, or maybe, we just speed up busyness and slow down awareness. I don’t know.
An early childhood memory is sitting still watching a wall clock and realizing that if you stare straight, stare straight and concentrate, you can see the minute hand move each second in the tiniest of tiny movements.
Not intentionally, I sit now staring at a clock deep in thought. Slowly an awareness of time dawns. Continue reading Swinging Pendulum
He hobbled slowly to a stone wall to lean on it, caught his breath to gather strength. A few meters away, he half fell, half sat in a shady spot on the dusty ground.
His threadbare clothes were so tattered and thin that most people wouldn’t even use them for rags.
He carefully placed a beat-up cup within reach right in front of him. He’d learned that given half a chance, other beggars more agile than he would snatch his few coins and run. He was barely able to move across the street now, much less give chase. He tried in vain not to close his eyes.
There was just something about closing his eyes though that eased his pain. Every joint in his body seemed to ache, right down to his bone marrow. He wasn’t sure why, but sometimes sharp pains in his side doubled him over, causing him to curl up in a tight ball until the pain subsided. Continue reading Just For Crumbs
“Breath! Breath deep!”, the nurse said. “Good! Control your breaths. Control. Breath deep. Control!”
The deep breaths continue until the pain momentarily subsides. No class, no education, no preparation can adequately prepare someone for the pain. Sure, it wouldn’t be forever, but right then, in that moment, it feels like it will never end.
Sharp, awful waves migrate from the back and end in the private area of the body. It’s so intense that all appearances, inhibitions and concern for dignity flies straight out the window. Nothing short of hope and relief from the excruciating pain can bring comfort.
The nurse, a seasoned veteran, has seen it all, yet she never consistently predicts the responses beforehand. A sonogram gives the approximate size, length and weight beforehand, but everyone’s different, so there’s no way to know up front how long or what the response may be. Continue reading Push, Push!
I’ve been thinking back about an older couple I knew when I was in college. Loved them! Great, rock solid, influential people!
He developed cancer. After a valiant fight, Hospice was called. Hospice was there round the clock during his last days at home.
They were always a very kind, loving couple, quite expressive in their love and admiration for each other. They used pet names, like Sweetie Pie and Sugar Plum, Honey Bear and Honey Bunny, along with other pet names as terms of endearment.
They would greet each other, usually in a higher pitch voice with great emphasis on their tones, sounding like they were talking to a bouncing baby or a favorite animal.
Their transparent physical, emotional and verbal affection for each other was fun to watch. I learned a lot from them.
But that was in life. Death was a little different. Continue reading Sweetie Pie
One of my sons, Todd, told me a story that still lingers several years later.
He had several jobs at once in college, but quit them all to work in a college intern. He continued to work, however, for a gentleman in his 80’s he’d met a couple of years before. The man was in great shape, but hired Todd to do heavy labor work around his farm.
As Todd got to know the man and his wife, he really liked them, a lot.
Unfortunately, she had Alzheimer’s, and was getting progressively worse in the short time he’d known them.
One day sitting in the gentleman’s pickup, he told Todd he would need him to work more to help look after the place.
Staring out the front windshield, he spoke quietly, as if thinking out loud. He said his wife’s memory lapses were becoming longer, and more frequent.
Occasionally, she would snap out of it and be back to herself instead of the confused, absent minded stranger. He was was forced to move her to a nursing home for proper care. Continue reading A Thought To Remember
It started as a wild hair. I moved a swarm of bees at work to keep them away from some employees who are deathly allergic.
Besides, bees are important to the environment, so you don’t want to kill them. I learned along the way how to get a swarm to relocate them. At first, it was a fiasco, but after moving a few over a couple of years, I got better.
Not to be a braggart, although it’s bragging, but not a prideful bragging, just an accomplishment bragging….OK, so I’m tooting my horn with a fog horn beecause I did it beeuatifully!
And, (brag, brag) I’ve only been stung once a couple of years ago when one got under my hard hat. That bee kamikazed its stinger right in the bald spot! Yeah. It hurt! Big red lump on the bald spot for a week!
The wild hair (no pun intended) has turned into an interest. I bought a bee box from a feed store and waited. Patiently. Continue reading Welcome to the Bee Box
A man at work was diagnosed with cancer in a salivary gland. After extensive testing, the course of treatment was surgery to remove the gland followed by radiation. He was to be back at work in four to five weeks. Unfortunately, the cancer had metastasized and spread into his jaw bone. A 2 hour surgery turned into 14.
When he woke, he had a new jaw on one side constructed from grafted bone from his femur. The cancer had not spread to his brain, thank goodness. Instead of localized radiation though, he began six weeks of intensive chemotherapy. He caught pneumonia because his resistance was down and struggled daily, but after being off work over four months, returned, cancer free. Continue reading I Very, Very Happy