“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
When my oldest son was 4 years old, we were on our way to “Life Chain”, a pro-life activity where everyone stood silently holding signs along the business route in support of life. There were hundreds of people participating and the silence was, in and of itself, peaceful.
What I remember the most, however, was the drive. Blake sat next to me and asked where we were going. Thinking a short answer would suffice, I told him it was to support babies who hadn’t been born. As kids will do, he filled his logic train by peppering me with, “Why?” over and over.
Honestly, I didn’t want him to know about abortion, but after answering a couple of questions vaguely, I let the word “abortion” slip out. He zeroed in like a heat seeking missile. Continue reading The Baby Dies
Somewhere in the forest of the mind, echoing between growth rings of the trees, laughter is held captive.
Over time it dies, or at least settles in the hard wood, and many don’t really remember laughter at all. We remember moments, the freedom, the feeling, not the laugh itself.
Laughter bubbles up from fresh water wells that runs deep in the soul. It spills over, runs across the ground, even the stony parts of the heart. If there is enough joy, the water rises soaking even the high, arid places of the heart allowing lush green fields of Spring grass to once again grow.
In its sincerest form, laughter is kind and gentle. It happens when the heart is full, safe, secure.
It’s the kind of laughter children have when wrestling the family pet, and to their delight, the dog plays back. It’s baby laughter when they first become old enough to respond to silly faces that cause hysterical laughter. It’s a toddler’s uncontrollable belly laugh in a fullness and purity that we adults often crave to experience again. Continue reading Laughter in the Mind
She remembered an incident that happened years before and burst into laughter. Instinctively, her hand went to the rocking chair beside her. The blade of reality cut as she returned to the present.
She took a deep breath, closed her eyes to regain her composure, and settled quietly back into the rhythmic rocking of her chair.
For years she sat each evening with her husband rocking at sunset. Sometimes they talked non-stop; sometimes they sat quietly. Sometimes they even bickered back and forth like two school children, but there was never a doubt that they were on each other’s team. In fact, they were each other’s biggest fan.
The years since he retired were some of the best and enjoyable evenings of all. Each knew, however, that the sunsets they watched from their front porch rockers were similar to themselves.
Even so, when he was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer six months earlier, it seemed like a short time was cut shorter, for it was all too quick, too sudden, too complete. Continue reading A Rocking Chair of Life