Tuesday, September 29, 2009
A couple days later, while I happened to be out running an errand, he showed up at the window by our computer room and asked my wife for a cigarette. This window faces our neighbor's house. There is a walkway in between and a gate into the neighbor's yard. It turns out this guy is an acquaintance of our neighbor's son.
I asked Joseph, the son, about the guy. I told him the guy was creeping us out. Joseph said he was feeling the same way. He said the guy is someone he used to know that was in a car wreck and had a brain injury.
Saturday morning, the guy showed up on my back porch again asking to borrow a smoke. My son actually answered the knock. I told the guy to stop coming around. I told him I can't have him showing up on my doorstep.
So far, he's complied.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
I was getting ready for work just like any other Monday morning. It was about 6:20 a.m. The sky was just starting to brighten.
I had to go out and fill up the flat tire on my car. There is a slow leak so I have to do this every couple days.
After that I came back in the house to get my thermos of coffee. I left the back door open when I came in. I went into our computer room adjacent to the kitchen when I heard this tapping sound. I turned around to look at the storm door to see a guy standing there.
Startled, I yelled, "AH!" "What the...who...what are you doing on my porch!"
The guy says, "Calm down, calm down...I'm a neighbor, I saw your light on. I just wanted to see if I could get a cigarette."
So, calming down from the adrenaline rush, I step back and assess the guy. He seemed harmless enough. He was all shaky like he was in need of a drink or something. Maybe he was as freaked out as I was. Regardless, I decided it was all cool.
I apologized for freaking out. I'm not used to seeing random dudes on my back porch at 6:00 in the morning. I shook his hand and introduced myself. He told me his name, which I promptly forgot. I asked him where he lived, he said 72nd and Madison. That happens to be our old neighborhood. So, he's not exactly a neighbor, but at least if anything weird happens I know where to look to check things out.
I walked with him to the garage where we keep our smokes. My wife and I hide in there to smoke because we don't want the kids to see us smoking even though they know we smoke.
I gave the dude two cigarettes and sent him on his way. Then locked everything up and went to work.
Monday, September 7, 2009
We went up to my dad's in Mayville to spend the night Saturday night.
All afternoon and evening my son, Matt, was just lethargic. All he did was lay and watch T.V. We thought he was coming down with something. The only time he is quiet and still is when he is ill.
We kept asking if he's alright and he said he's just tired. He didn't really eat anything. We had a ham dinner Saturday night, he just laid on the couch.
Sunday morning. We were going to go to church. The kids got up, except Matt, and found their Easter baskets. Adam and Natalie were thrilled. They came up and told Matt what he got. He still didn't want to get out of bed. He was just lying there, didn't want to talk, didn't want to move. I could see his pulse in his neck. His whole body was moving with his heartbeat. It was weird. We knew something was wrong.
We decided to go home right away. My wife, Laura, was calling our clinic. They have an on call nurse thing. While I was loading up the car, they asked her to take his pulse. She got like 112. They didn't think that was too bad.
So we get home. Matt seemed to perk up a little, but then he just sat on the couch and kind of dozed off and on. He had no energy. I take his pulse and get around 185. Laura calls the nurse again. He says we should take him to Children's Hospital.
So we pack everyone up and head to Children's. We take him to Urgent Care. They check him out and send us down to Emergency. They get us in a room right away and hook him up to an EKG machine. I see on the screen that his heart is going in the 190's! Holy shit! (normal heart rate at rest is around 90 give or take for an 8 year old) Matt's either being a trooper through all this or he's just too exhausted to complain. Probably a little of both.
So now we wait. They put in a StarWars movie for us. We watch some of that. Finally, we talk to a doctor and they tell us he's dehydrated, they're going to start fluids and shit. I ask if he's going to be there for awhile, they say yes. So I make arrangements to have someone watch Adam and Natalie while we're at the hospital.
I drop the other two off at home with Auntie Jan and come back. Matt's got an I.V. in his arm. He's hooked up to another EKG or EEG, whatever, there's like 25 different wires coming off him. His heart is down to the 170's A slight improvement from the fluids. But it's still high. They are playing around with the EKG trying to get a printout to see something.
So they tell us they called the cardiologist to come in because he's not in a place where they can fax him the printout.
The cardiologist shows up. He's very nice and explains what he thinks is going on. I nod and say "Uh-huh", like I understand what the fuck he is saying. He says they want to try a "push" of some drug that will allow Matt's heart to "pause" and reset at a normal rate.
Wait a minute...pause?...what do you mean pause?
We say, "Okay, do what you gotta do." We explain to Matt that they don't have to stick him again, they'll push this stuff right into the I.V.
They do this push, the first time they don't get the desired result. They didn't see the pause. I saw his heart rate jump up over 200. They hit him a second time. This time the poor kid kind of groans. He freaks out a little. Later on he described it as feeling his shoulders getting really hot. Anyway, the second push did what they were hoping. They saw the "pause" and his heart rate went down to the 120's and below. The docs are saying, "I like that, that looks good.", "Very good". Things you want to hear when your son's lying on a gurney in the E.R.
They call in a technician to do an echocardiogram, an ultrasound of the heart. That shows his heart is normal and working fine. That's a relief.
So, the bottom line is this. He's got a supraventricular tachycardia. Which is basically a short circuit in his heart. The electric signal just took a shortcut from its normal path and made his heart beat too fast. It is not life-threatening. He is being treated with medication to prevent it from happening again. Eventually, we will likely have a procedure done to block the short circuit so he doesn't have to be on the meds for the rest of his life.
My children are my beating heart. They are the rising and setting of my sun. This was an ordeal that brings me to appreciate even more deeply the blessings that these children are. This could have very well been a serious, life-threatening, heart condition. Thankfully, it turns out to be a treatable, correctable inconvenience, a nusience. Not to mention one hell of a medical bill.
Image by MIKE QUICK via FlickrThis is another re-post from my Myspace blog.
I lost my best friend, Mark Scneider, on June 1, 2006. I posted this after I visited his grave a year later. His death was the final link in a chain of events that led to the near destruction of my marriage as well as my own self-destruction.
Current mood: sad
So, so you think you can tell Heaven from Hell,
blue skies from pain.
Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?
And did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
And did you exchange a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?
How I wish, how I wish you were here.
We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
What have we found? The same old fears.
Wish you were here.
I went up to Beaver Dam on Friday. I went to stand by my friend, Mark's, grave.
I never understood the point of visiting a grave. Even my own mother's. I drove an hour one way to look at a headstone?
I did it anyway. Friday was the one year anniversary of his death. It was a year ago that I started on this blog. This was my way of coping with the grief and the loss.
So. I'm standing there, looking at the grave. When I first walked up, the grief welled up and a had a few tears. Then nothing. I kept thinking I should have brought something...A flower, a card, whatever. Like I said, I don't see a point. There is a dead body there.
So I left and went to the Shopko and got a stuffed penguin...He liked penguins. And some beer.
I came back, put the Penguin and a bottle of Leinie's Red on the grave. Then I stood, looking, waiting for the tears. They weren't coming. Had I lost the feeling all together? So soon?
Uncomfortable, I looked around at the other headstones. Next to Mark is a soldier that died in 2004, I don't know if it was Iraq or Afghanistan. There was stuff on his grave. I noticed a little, flag...I guess. On it was, I supposed, some kind of religious poem. I looked a little closer and picked out the words, "Hot ashes for trees." Then I broke down. Just those words made it come. They are, of course, lyrics from "Wish You Were Here." by Pink Floyd. There is so much attached to that song in my past lives. I can hardly listen to it. "Fade to Black" is the same way.
Anyway. I got this urge to take that little flag and put it on Mark's grave. That's something he would have appreciated. I know he would have gotten a kick out of that. Understand that back in...um...1987 or so we went to see Pink Floyd at County Stadium. That night had Enormous significance for all that went. I won't go into it, but it was one of the memories that I keep from that life. One treasured piece of a past I've chosen to forsake.
The only thing stopping me from taking that little banner was the fact that it was a soldier's grave. I could not disrespect someone who died serving this country. Regardless of how I feel about this war.
Mark's memory represents something for me that I cannot have again. The time in our lives that we were the closest of friends is like a snow-globe. I can look in, shake it up, and see the scenes like snow falling around. But I can't reach in and touch it. It is fragile, and I keep it in a safe place. I pull it out once in awhile and remember.
I miss you my brother.