Healing Journey in Alabama

Pneumonia of the lingula of the left lung on CXR.
Image via Wikipedia

We all drove from different states,

To see, to see…

We didn’t know what we were

Going to see when we got to the hospital.

 

We knew you had been in a car accident:

At least two broken ribs and possible pneumonia;

We called on the cell phone on our way out of town

Just like we always do, but we caught Bonnie listening

To the nurse say you had pneumonia.  They hung up,

And Jackie lost it.  Grief set in.  Fear set in.  Doubt set in.

 

We talked about what would happen if you died.

What where our responsibilities?  The kind of stuff

You never want to think about until it’s too late.

 

It was a long drive.  Not distance, but emotional.

Jackie was miserable.  She didn’t know if this was
it.

She started thinking back about the good times;

no more of that.  And the horse you had adopted from

the animal shelter, Jackie named him Nugget.  Should

we take him, and how?  We had already talked about

the aged parrots—they would go with us, too.

We’d need a moving van for all this stuff, but whatever.

 

Then we got there.  You were helpless, drugged out on

Painkiller.  Always asleep or on the verge of sleep until
they stopped the drugs.  You started talking out of your
head, nonsense.

Some glimpses of experience, people, but not able to put it all

Together.  You could never figure out where you
were.  “At the old house”, you’d say, or “the house on Weoka Road”.

Never “hospital” or Baptist East Medical Center.

 

But each day, with plenty of prayers, in baby steps, you made progress.

With Bonnie, who had never left your side since the accident, never left

The hospital for anything, taking care of every little need of yours.  With

Family and friends coming to see you, praying for you, even back in Florida, New York, and California, they were praying.

And the very next day, your mind starts coming back, and you sit in a chair, your first time out of bed.  You have gone back and forth with pneumonia, but the staff have been on top of it, doing tests, moving you around, giving you oxygen.

And then you do the unthinkable.  You walk down the hall.

 

You are home now because many others were strong when you could not be strong for yourself.  And God was strong for us all.

 

Sometimes I Freak, Part II

Sometimes I freak when I walk into a room because I know I will be in that room for the next 8 hours and be faced with tasks with impossible deadlines and impossible expectations for how those tasks are to be done. Yes, I’m talking about my job. I am an indexer and an administrative assistant. Well, I can handle the latter easier than I can handle the former sometimes. As an indexer, I create complex reference material for legal material that is published by my company. The only problem is that most of the time either the job comes to me already late or, if it is on time, it still must be done yesterday because we don’t have enough people in our indexing department to handle all the work that comes from two or three times as many editors and is proofread by twice as many proofreaders. Yeah, we indexers are the red-headed step-children of the Supplement Department. And as far as the administrative assistant duties, well those have to be kept to the minimum, despite my boss’s duties which are enough for three or four people, her being the Indexing Supervisor, Deputy Director of the Supplement Department, and serving practically full-time as a regular indexer, just to keep our inventory moving for those impossible deadlines. And let’s not forget the impossible expectations. No mistakes. This, despite jobs that come to us full of mistakes and in styles that vary almost as much as the thousands of customers we have. It’s fun stuff, really.

Sometimes I freak when I go to a party. “Why?” you ask. “Parties are fun!” Well, they are partly fun for me, but it is very inwardly forced. First of all, remember that I am an introvert. Second of all, did I mention that I am bipolar? Well, if I’m in a good mood and manic, it’s cool. I can move with the masses. But if I’m depressed, anxious, or in a mixed episode of manic-depression, meaning I’m depressed, excitable, anxious, sad with racing thoughts and intense energy—not a good recipe for party-going. And I really can’t control how I’m going to be. I don’t like crowds, and I don’t like pretending to be happy when I’m not, which is exactly what people expect of you at parties. Otherwise, you get lots of questions like “Are you okay?” and “What’s wrong with you?” More fun stuff, I assure you.

Sometimes I freak when I visit family. And this goes for blood-relatives just as much or more than in-laws. Visiting family is really a mixed bag for me because I live pretty far away from my blood-relatives so I have to use annual leave, and either have to drive a long distance (from North Florida to South Florida) or fly on a plane (San Rafael, California for my aunt, uncle and grandmother or Rochester, New York for my brother and his family). So I’m taking a vacation to see people I want to see because they are my family, but who I don’t want to see because they are my family. Wouldn’t it be fun to take a cruise, just my wife and I? Or travel to the Grand Canyon or something by ourselves? The last three big vacations I took were all with family: San Rafael, Davie (for my dad) and Miami (for my mom), and then a while back there was the big trip to Disney World with my wife’s whole family. In between, I did go to New Orleans for the Jazz and Heritage Festival which was headed by Pearl Jam (I’m a big fan), but there was the fact that we stayed with my friend’s family and spent some time visiting other family members—always got to be some family in there. That was okay, of course, because my friend is like family to me, and her whole family is so gracious and welcoming that you feel like one of their family, but then again…they are family. There just seems to be no escaping it.

(To be continued…)