“You Learn Something New Every Day”

 “You Learn Something New Every Day”

On July 26, 2014, I learned something new.

I learned that there is a monster called Intracerebral Hemorrhagic Stroke.

It is possible I had hear of it in passing, but until that day, it lurked elsewhere.

It wasn’t when I went to my father’s apartment because he didn’t show up to the planned picnic.

It wasn’t when I was knocking loudly on his door, or after I heard what I thought was loud snoring.

Or once the door was open and the firefighters and I discovered my father on the floor fighting to breath.

It wasn’t on the ambulance ride to Mass General Hospital, or in the waiting area of the emergency room.

It wasn’t among the myriad texts and conversations with others trying to find out information from me while my phone battery was slowly dying.

But, later on in an exhausted moment, that I learned of the horror of Intracerebral Hemorrhagic Stroke from a young physician who drew the short straw and was tasked with explaining to my Sister and I, that our Father‘s life had been irrevocably changed.

However, that wasn’t the only thing I learned.

I learned that despite the irrevocable change to my Father, that there resided small graces and victories within the experience as it unfolded.

I learned of the extraordinary compassion and care that can be delivered by nurses, doctors, and staff.

I learned of the lengths and actions to which family and friends would go to support us, and my Father.

I learned that it is imperative to create a healthcare proxy and designate people to make decisions about your health if you ever end up in position where you are unable to do so for yourself.

I learned that when you suffer and Intracerebral Hemorrhagic Stroke that if you can survive past 30 days, then the chances of a long hard road to recovery could improve.

On August 23, 2014 I learned something new.

I learned that 29 days can seem like a lifetime, and that nothing is promised.

I learned how fast I could get to a hospital from my home. 15 minutes 20 seconds. 

I learned after years of working at a hospital, what it was like to be brought to a family grief room before you could be brought into the room of a dying parent.

I learned that death doesn’t happen like it does in the movies, or in books, that it is actually quite anticlimactic and that sometimes it is unclear when the actual moment of death occurs.

I learned that when an attending physician asks you as a healthcare proxy, what you want to have done for your Father, that all else falls away and you are locked in the eye contact of a moment, and you need to decide hard for the life. 

I learned that I could do what needed to be done for my Father, as he had done for us all his life.

I learned that when the dust settled, and the doctors and nurses cleared the bay to give us our last moments with our Father, that it wasn’t the words I love you, or that it’s okay Dad, but just two words forever: Thank you! Thank you!

I learned that in the staged moment of death, that whatever I brought to the table in the way of preconceived notions, it all succumbed to a need to express my sincerest gratitude to my father for so many things, and a simple thank you was all that was needed.

On June 25 2016 I learned something new.

At my son’s pre-school graduation, I learned that Atticus wanted to be a ninja when he grows up.

On December 7, 2018 I learned something new.

When I was cleaning out Atticus’s first grade folder of the weeks completed work, I found a butterfly craft that had a number of paper folds with a question on one side and the answer on the other. As I went around the butterfly wings I saw a familiar question. What do you want to be when you grow up? And I was certain that it was going to say ninja, but when I turned the flap over, it simply read: A Daddy. I feel nothing but the sincerest gratitude that I learned that today.

POEMVEMBER 2018-DAY 12: “Day In Day Out”

“Day In Day Out” ©️ C.P. Hickey 2018

“Day In Day Out”

If I paddled upstream,

I would remain in place.

Everlasting lines at the grocery,

Folks fighting tooth and nail over clipped coupons.

The is no clear cut winner in that scenario despite whomever wins.

Facebook comments are often misleading and misinformed.

Ranting and raving is rewarded with a higher blood pressure.

Some salad bars are filthy.

The sneeze guard is filthiest.

That is of course, until you pick up tongs that may or may not have fell on the floor.

Day in day out, disappointment looms large.

I remain impressed by how bad it can get, and how quickly that can happen.

And then, somehow, I remember everything I forgot

“Parenting S.O.S”

“Parenting S.O.S”

With all due respect to others that won’t admit so,

Parenting really crushes a soul.

Try as one might,

The only antidote is to temper your own expectations,

So that disbelief at the ordinary can become as sublimated as one’s ego needs to be in order to raise little versions of yourself.

Ego, must go, be gone,

Ergo: let go.

Somewhere along the line,

You realize how impossibly frustrating it must be for your partner to deal with you,

As it becomes evident that three foot versions of yourselves that share genetic material, are enough to send one to the cold slumped embrace of a worn body pillow.

Tears are friends,

Screaming into a howling wind is your best friend.

The best time is when everyone is asleep,

Unless of course, you awake to disembodied eyes an inch from your face saying in a stealthy whisper, “Daddy…Daddy…Daddy”.

Give away all your “good” furniture, and don’t warm to the idea of any type of boundary.

They find you when you poop.

They find you…when you poop!

The first few years are dedicated to just keeping em alive.

The next few are populated with a litany of negotiations, and then someday, you have strangers that look like you, hating you because you became your parents and asked them to be accountable for their behavior.

There is no experience quite like the raising of children.

Nothing so hard and fraught with uncertainty, but also nothing so deeply imbued with a sense of the possibility of imminent loss just when you hold onto it the hardest.

So much to lose, so much to do, so much to prove.

We’re all screwed.

Mayday! Mayday!

Play date! Play date!

A parenting S.O.S, from one in distress.

I’m doing my best.

I’m doing my best.

“Sugar Daddy”

Image Link

“Sugar Daddy”

One time when I was a kid,

I woke up with enthusiastic hiccups.

I woke my Father, he was nearest the bedroom door.

He walked me down the hallway,

To the kitchen.

Turned on the light,

And grabbed a cup from the cupboard.

Then, he grabbed the sugar jar,

Spooning out three teaspoons of granulated elixir.

He ran the kitchen faucet,

Then filled the sugared glass three quarters of the way up.

I kept hiccuping enthusiastically throughout.

He encouraged me to drink the filled cup.

And then walked me back down the hallway,

Stopping at my room to tuck me into my bed.

Somehow, the hiccups lost their enthusiasm,

And I was able to go back to sleep.

If there were such a thing as a time machine,

I think, I’d like to go back to that particular moment, and thank my Father for his magic.

40/40: Summer Poem Slam-a-bam! – Day 40 – “strength, change, adversity, starting over, love, childhood, future, healing power of laughter, parent for the first time”

Long-Straight-Sunset-Road
http://www.johnlund.com/Images/Long-Straight-Sunset-Road.jpg

“strength, change, adversity, starting over, love, childhood, future, healing power of laughter, parent for the first time”

Strength

change
adversity
starting over
love
childhood
future
healing power of laughter
parent for the first time

Change

parent for the first time
strength
healing power of laughter
adversity
future
starting over
childhood
love

Healing Power of Laughter

love
future
parent for the first time
starting over
childhood
adversity
strength
change

Love

future
starting over
adversity
strength
parent for the first time
change
healing power of laughter
childhood

Adversity

future
strength
starting over
childhood
love
change
parent for the first time
healing power of laughter

Childhood

healing power of laughter
change
love
childhood
starting over
strength
parent for the first time
future

Adversity

change
childhood
starting over
strength
healing power of laughter
future
parent for the first time
love

Future

adversity
healing power of laughter
change
parent for the first time
love
starting over
childhood
strength

A very special thanks to Paula H, for an abundance of words that change depending on your perspective.

40/40: Summer Poem Slam-a-bam is a project in which people have joined me for 40 days and 40 nights of on-demand poetry. They have submitted the concepts, ideas, and subjects; I’ve done the work.