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Archive for the ‘life story’ Category

“Those first days I felt so helpless.”

I knew right away that my daughter wasn’t like normal babies, she seemed weaker, less alert, less capable. These feelings made me want to help her all the more and increased my feelings of helplessness. What the hell could I do for her?

She was put under an oxygen tent immediately after being born. Her mother wasn’t able to hold her for more than a minute before the nurses whisked her away to her plastic tent. My daughter was in the hospital for two weeks before the doctors told us it was ok for her to come home. Every day was an exercise in super-human patients; Isabelle would take one step forward and one step back, then another step back, and another.

I was at work when they finally told us we could take her home. I didn’t believe it, neither did her mother. We had been waiting so long for her to come home but we didn’t want her to leave too soon. In the hospital she was surrounded by machines that told us exactly what was going on with her heart, nurses were on hand twenty-four-seven, doctors came by in scheduled intervals to check on her; she was in the best of care. What hope did we have of offering her that kind of care at home?

 

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“…Isabelle was born right on time, in the middle of the night, in the middle of winter”

Now winter in San Diego isn’t a real winter so get the images of cold, storm filled nights out of your head. When my fiance told me her water had broke I rolled over in bed and asked if it could wait till morning. Then I asked her to double check and repeated the late hour. She just stared at me till I got up.

The pregnancy was fairly routine, more checkups than a normal pregnancy would have: the doctors wanted to keep an eye on my daughters heart. Lots of reading up on Down Syndrome and what to expect, lots of meeting with my daughters Cardiologist learning what to expect. A lot of talking and expecting, and expecting.

When we  got to the hospital they had to induce labor. What followed was 18 hours of increasingly painful contractions for my fiance. Or at least they seemed to be from my point of view; not much was happening so I kind of nodded off in the middle a bit (never gonna live that one down.) But I was wide awake for the big part. Isabelle’s heart rate started to dip so things became very hectic very quickly.

The doctor attached a giant suction cup to Isabelle’s head and told us that my fiance had about four big pushes before they were going to do a c section. She did it in one. I was terrified. I was frantic, I didn’t know what to do, what to think, what to …expect.

Isabelle was born right on time, in the middle of the night, in the middle of winter. She took my breath away and then she was rushed to the NICU.

Her heart was weak, it had holes in it and couldn’t properly oxygenate her blood so the nurses took her down to the NICU(Natal Intensive Care Unit) and put her under an oxygen tent. I followed along, never letting her out of my sight. I thought to myself that this is what I’m supposed to do, I’m supposed to keep watch on her.

Those first days I felt so helpless.

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It’s been so long since I’ve written anything. My writing chops have become stale, worm-eaten and moldy. Time to dust them off and write something, anything.

So:
The last two years have been uneventfully eventful; by which I mean a lot has happened in my life, a lot of changes, but nothing spectacular or particularly special. I have become a father and then a fiance and someday soon I will be a husband. To be sure that is not the normal route, but it’s not that unusual either. We talked about our relationship when we found out a little one was on the way, we wanted to make sure we were on the same page, we weren’t going to stay together just for the sake of the child. I mean how back-ass-wards would that have been? If we didn’t have any other reason to stay together than a child how horrible an example would we have set for my daughter? Especially as neither one of us mince words or is of a sparkling disposition. So we stuck together, intent on seeing where our relationship was going to go. Then the big news hit us, our daughter was probably going to be born with down syndrome and she would definitely be born with a heart defect that would require open heart surgery before her first birthday.

Yikes. Ouch. Ugh.

Time to bear down and prepare myself for a long life of disappointment, for all my expectations falling short and the fun of having children sucked out parenting. Big breath fella, man up, suck it up and soldier on, she’s still going to be your child, you’ll do what you have to.

Isabelle was born right on time, in the middle of the night, in the middle of winter. 

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I have discovered the three insect laws of the motorcyclist:

Insects are better than a doctor at testing your reflexes; they will home in on your knee like a marine sniper causing you wildly kick your foot in the air while loudly exclaiming “Yow! What the f*$%k was that!”

Which brings us rule #1:  Bugs f*$%king hurt.

Some of the larger insects, moths, dragon flies, giant effing bees, will eschew the practice of their smaller cousins and instead of aiming for your more vulnerable points (shins, fingers, etc.) they will fly straight at your face, splatting spectacularly all over your visor. This causes you to silently cuss all of insect kind and squint through the smeared bits while praying you don’t hit anything.

Rule # 2: the larger the bug the more likely it will splat all over your face. (And if you’re not wearing a helmet, God help you)

There is a species of insect out there that is the green beret/navy seal of its kind. This insect is known as F.B.B. or “fucking bastard bug”. This name arises from the chant issued after you, the victim, have just had said F.B.B. fly up your sleeve and wage unholy war on your now unprotected flesh, biting you approximately 40 times and working its way perilously close to your waistband before you even realize you are under attack. This causes you to start issuing war cries and flail your flesh like it’s the last thing keeping you from Heaven while simultaneously clamping the brakes and swerving to the side of the road. Once safety parked you proceed to swiftly undress and flinging your cloths about while jumping around and slapping at yourself; looking somewhat like a masochistic chicken attempting flight. This provides no end of amusement for the fucking bastard bug and various passers-by.

Which brigs us to the final rule , Rule # 3: Bugs are assholes

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When she told me I didn’t react. I stood there thinking to myself “Is the part where I laugh? Or where I cry?” I didn’t do either, instead I sat down next to her and said, “ok,” and let the world wash over me.

Time seemed to both stop and rush forward, my breathing became shallow, I stood up and wandered around the hotel room… Why does life altering news have come to me in a hotel room?
She left to take a walk and I, I went to the bathroom to puke, ended up hyperventilating and falling into the bathtub; all-in-all a better choice. That done I went back to the bed and sat there. “I’m going to be a dad.” The thought rolled ’round and ’round my head forever. “I’m going to be a dad.” with each repeat of that thought new emotions and ideas crept up. “I’m going to be a dad. I am not ready for this. Me? A dad? Oh man, the world is not ready for this. How could this happen to me?! Well I know how it happened… I’m going to be a dad! This is so cool. I can’t wait to teach the kid all about old cars and baseball and… wait, what if it’s a girl? I’ll still teach her about old cars and baseball and fishing and… What am I going to do?! I’ve never done this before! How do I do this? What do I do now?”

She came back into the room and we looked at each other. “We’re going to be parents.”

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Parting is such sweet sorrow, so they say. The only sweetness is the taste of your lips lingering on mine. The remembered touch of your finger tips. The scent of our sex. I hate parting, I hate this loneliness that wasn’t there before. “See ya” you said, I was quiet.

Don’t look back; don’t see me sitting, staring at nothing, don’t feel sorry for me. I’ll miss you and you miss me too and sooner or later I’ll be free if I’m free and and and and… Another beer please.
I want to steel myself to lose this. I want to harden myself, to become the asshole, to not care. If I lose this, when I loose this, it will fuck me up.

She’s so deep in my gut we breathe together.

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My father was a writer. He wrote once.

He created a world where, even now, people live and breath, love and laugh and die. He created the entire universe, all that would sustain life in his world, which, even now I don’t know the name of. Then he stopped, he quit. He put the world away, the fascinating cascade of characters and their stories. All locked up in a drawer now, put away in a filing cabinet along with his tax returns and mortgage papers.

I think about  that world every once in a while. I wonder if Loden or the Tanklen are still around, if they are angry at being forgotten, being shelved, filed away. I still don’t know what happened to the children, nobody does, not even Loden and he’s the one who most needs to know. That great mystery lies hidden behind my birth certificate and the title for the jeep. I asked my father once why he stopped. He  said he felt there was no merit in it; he felt that it wasn’t unique enough or that there were plenty of other stories out there.

I wonder how Loden feels about that; his bones were cast in gold and nobody knows why. Well my Dad does, but he’s keeping it to himself.

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