September 6, 2010 Leave a comment
A couple entries from my old Xanga blog I wanted to preserve here
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
It’s mid-afternoon on Tuesday, coworkers are chatting and laughing in an adjacent office, oblivious to the storm raging in my head. The muffled but steady sound of traffic rising from the street can be heard as I glance toward the door … I don’t want to be here. I should be focused on work but the echoing words of my younger brother keep crashing against the inside of my skull.
“… Dad is in the hospital, he’s had a heart attack!”
It had been an active weekend and was winding down Sunday evening as I set my parking brake, turned the ignition off and locked my door then briskly moved up the steps of my brothers home. The smooth handle of the front door was chilled from the evening air as I pushed it open and the warmth and light from inside spilled across my face. My mind had been running over a checklist of tasks I needed to complete to prepare for the coming work week. I was planning a trip down to Southern Utah over the coming Memorial Day weekend and there was much to do.
At the soft sound of the door latching behind me, a conversation from the kitchen abruptly stopped and my brother called out to me. My young niece was asleep on the oversized couch as I quietly stepped into the front room and smiled glancing toward my brother as he entered from the kitchen. His approach was direct and his face did not even attempt to cloak his anxiety, “… Dad is in the hospital, he’s had a heart attack!”.
Though I heard his words clearly, I strained to absorb the shock of the moment. Time seemed to suddenly suspend and my mind began to race as I starred at him blankly in disbelief. He took a half step toward me as the only thing I could mutter was a fumbled “.. what did you say?!”. He again repeated himself and I blinked hard as I realized I had not mistaken his statement. My father had just had a heart attack.
Dad has never really had any serious health problems that I am aware of. He is still young, now in his early-sixties, and aside from some bad kidney stones a couple decades ago and a back injury around that same time, I can not recall him hospitalized, sick or injured. Now I was wrestling with the fact that he may be starring death in the face. The whole moment seemed to be like a bad dream and I wanted to wake up.
With a panic, I quickly realized it wasn’t a bad dream. I had a million unanswered questions and wanted to instantly be at his side. The problem was, there was much we still did not know and with him thousands of miles away, I could not instantly be there. After a flurry of questions, emails and phone calls, some of the missing information was gathered.
My tension lowered slightly after finding out he was in stable condition but he was not out of the woods. Email blasts were sent out to concerned family and friends and prayers were requested in his behalf. They had moved him to a larger hospital in Houston. His cardiologist had reported that it had been a minor heart attack and they had operated on him, placing a stint in the blocked artery. The physicians did not think he was going to require a bypass. He would be on a variety of medications they felt would effectively treat his condition but he would remain in the Critical Care Unit for at least another day before moving to a room where we could contact him. Sleep was elusive Sunday evening as the waiting game began.
Fast forward …
The waiting game continues. The last day and a half has seemed a blur and struggle to maintain my routine. I find myself constantly checking my email for any updates and wrestling with emotions to keep them in check. Dad is still in critical care but in stable condition and showing improvement. I wish I could speak with him.
While going through my emails this today, I came across a message dad sent me not long ago. He shared some words which brought me comfort and some peace and I’d like to share it with you …
“… I have just done something I can
highly recommend. It’s sure to put a smile
on your face and a lift in your step.
Take 5 minutes (or more) and make a written
list of all the things you are grateful for. (or if
you’re an English major, shall I say: for which
you are grateful.)
Stop your hustle – Do It Now. Then Smile.
Wishing you a weekend of joy, peace, hope
for the future, gratitude for the moment and
massive success on this journey.”
I am grateful for all the special family and loved ones who have touched and molded my life. I am grateful for my faith and the comfort and direction I receive daily from our divine creator.
I am grateful for a father who took time to be there for me as a child. For the long drives, talks and walks and the quiet moments we’ve shared. For the campouts and outings and stories as we gazed at the heavens. For his loving words and proddings when I needed direction or corrections along my journey in life. I am grateful for a dad who has always been my friend.
Though painful, I am also grateful for the moments in life such as this. They help me remember the things that matter most and give me strength to face the unknown of days yet to come.
I pray they bring many more memories with dad.
Friday, 04 May 2007
As noon approached, I noticed the usual water cooler gang had migrated just outside my office and were in a heated debate over where to go for lunch. I choose to tag along and soon we’d come to a consensus on a local Italian deli and we headed out darting into a couple cars while trying to avoid the cold wind and sprinkling storm which was still lingering from yesterday.
As we gobbled down our lunch we got talking about roadtrips we each had been on and cool places to visit. My mind started running through some of the many trips from my youth and settled on one of my favorite destinations, Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico.
This is a great destination spot for family and friends alike and particularly for those who have an interest in the creatures and geography which lurks beneath the earths crust.
Public tours of the caves range from large guided walkways designed for group and casual family exploring to hard core belly mud crawling through narrow passage ways and nooks.
I remember at the entrance of the cave I was able to pick up these headphones and upon fitting them to my head, a virtual cave ranger greeted me and prompted me down the cavern paths as I listened to the prerecorded tour.
The air was cool and damp and the caverns were spacious enough to even make Batman a little envious. The formations were way cool to examine from the spiky stalactites jutting down from the canopy overhead to the dark pools and endless shapes that lined the floors.
I remember starring up at the ceiling more then a couple times at the stalactites which were three and four times my size, and thinking to myself, “This is probably not the best place to be standing during an earthquake!”
The caves formed over a period of thousands of years according to my little virtual cave ranger. I remember the guide talking about areas in the cave where they had found all types of prehistoric bones and animal remains. After hearing of that fact, I was constantly scanning the ground for some cool saber tooth tiger claw or skull to discover. Unfortunately I was not allowed to wander off the path and find any hidden treasures but I had a blast inspecting the countless other stalagmite formations that appeared to be growing up from the base of the floors.
With many of the diverse forms, it was not hard to imagine them as little sentry rock creatures sprouting from the base of the caverns. I was using all my self control not to reach out and poke them to be sure. Apparently, physical contact with humans would destroy the growth and formation as the oils in our skin break down the minerals which they require.
The caverns are a natural habitat to thousands or bats across the park.
Local legend has it that Jim White, a young teenager around the turn of the 20th century, found one of the main entrances to the caverns by following what he thought to be a smoke plume early in the morning. It turns out that the smoke plume was not smoke at all but instead was a colony of bats which lived in the caverns. Now to see the bats in formation, you have to be up bright and early in the morning. This was the first cool sight I observed upon arriving to the park as we’d arrived late in the prior night while I had been catching some sleep.
Overall, the park has a ton of fun and cool things to do and explore and I’d recommend it for anyone who loves a little adventure in their road trips. It was a place I will be sure to revisit again and again. Well … time flies and I have about a dozen more emails to knock out before the end of the day.