Since she got sick almost 12 years ago Suzie has had seizures.
Sometimes she has runs of big,nasty greasy seizures, other times it
is little more than an inconvenience. Like "oh look...Suzie just dropped her pencil had a seizure. That sort of incidental seizure.
Which really sounds funny. But we have been round and round with
these things for years, and so I guess you can get a bit blase about
the whole thing.
Especially since the implant.
A bunch of years ago, maybe six or seven, Suzie had a vagal nerve
stimulator implanted. Somehow, and the doctors are really not sure how.
And in some cases, and the doctors are really not sure why in some
people more than others, the vagal nerve stimulator tricks the brain
into thinking that it just had a seizure so that "hey no reason to have
a seizure here...nothing to see...just move along."
And for Suzie it has worked like a champ for the past six or seven
years. She still takes a fistful of medicine twice a day, but the vagal
nerve stimulator seems to have done some pretty cool things.
You can tell when the thing is working because every few minutes,
when it fires off and does its brain-tricking-thing,it cause her voice
to flutter. Like she is talking into a fan. Very cool stuff cause it is
a sign that this little wonder is doing its job.
But recently the every-three-minute-fluttering seems to have
stopped. Seems that vagal nerve stimulator's have batteries that
eventually give out. We knew this from the start so we will need to go
back to the doctor for an official test - hook her up the the VNS
battery tester and find out for sure. And we all know that dead
batteries are not a big deal - you just pop open the flashlight or Game
boy and change out the batteries.
Except in this case, the Gameboy is buried in her chest cavity.
So we got some figuring to do - all the while walking the seizure
high wire with no electronic brain-tricking-thingy do its little
flutter dance in her chest.
Which is frankly giving me a little flutter dance in my chest...
I got called up to "big church" on Easter Sunday. Normally spend many Sundays being silly in front of 250 kids.
But I got called up from the minors on Easter - the worship pastor just said "to write something to kick off the Easter Service."
So I did.
I was really intrigued by the difference between Easter 2009 and Easter 1.
So this is what I did...
Easter in the year 2009 is a time of celebration, rejoicing,
of incomparable hope.
It is interesting to me that our Easter today is so
different from the first Easter Sunday. Scripture tells us that the first Easter
Sunday began not with cries of celebration but more likely cries of
desperation. See the first Easter started with a handful of women gathering at
dawn to take short walk to the tomb where not much more than 36 hours before
they had seen Jesus, their King Jesus, laid to rest.
So on this dark, chilly morning the women gathered up the
baskets of spices and perfumes they had prepared on Friday evening and quietly
headed out to do the task they dreaded, anointing the dead body of the one they
had thought would save them.
I imagine that the conversation they had was so much
different than the conversations or greetings we had this morning. Instead of
the general buzz and exicitement we had about life and hope and joy, they
probably walked along quietly, their feet scuffing the hard dirt of the path to
the rocky hillside where the tomb of Jesus was.
No “what a great day this is.”
No “what a beautiful dress she has on.”
No…it was probably just some muffled tears and whimpers of
“what happened” and “what’s next.”
The women trudged through the pre-dawn darkness,
arrivingwith the rising sun at the tomb
of the fallen king, their bags filled with spices, their hearts filled with
We all know the story. Just when the women think it could get
no worse, it does. The stone at the openingto the tomb was pushed aside and when they peeked inside…no Jesus. No
body to anoint. No friend to lay to rest.
There was nothing except a handful of clothes.
And an angel.
Telling them “He is not here. He is risen.”
I can almost see them standing there, incredulous, amazed,
thinking “what…are you sure…we were here on Friday and…could it really
be….don’t you remember, He told us, it would happen this way…but…”
And the angel told them to “Go…tell the others.”
Then take a final glance at the empty grave clothes and run
down the hillside to tell the others what they had seen.
“He is risen.”
“He is alive.”
And this is where the story of the first Easter becomes like
Easter today. Because in the blink of any eye despair turns to dancing, grief
becomes hope, death is conquered by life, and joy…oh joy...joy surprises
everyone…and because of the empty tomb…and because of the love of God…and
because of the jpy of Easter morning, we can say forever and ever and ever…
to bring some sunshine to the darkness) Well I am glad that you are able
to…uhm…listen Mr. Rutledge just called, and guess what…
you know how I said that he liked my report on the performance of the overseas market, and that…
Hang on a minute…(to the baby) Oh did you spit up again…
(bigger sigh, but to no one in particular) I just got a shower and now you
threw up on my neck and it’s…
just spit up on my neck, and I just got a shower cause
she finally laid down…
You just got out of the shower? It’s like 3:30 in the afternoon.
him off) because Snookums finally settled down and then I got a load of
laundry started and then before I could even dry my hair she was up
screaming, so I had to go get here, and then the phone rang and so I was carrying
her talking to you and then she barfed
on my neck. And so now I have barf all down my back so I need
to get back in the shower, but Snookums is hungry so I can’t so I guess
I am getting ready to sit down and nurse her with my back covered in baby
yack and my hair still wet which really doesn’t
matter since I have to get back in the shower at some point and
Holly and Jeff want to come over and see the baby and the house is a wreck and we don’t have anything
to drink and I smell like
baby vomit and everythinbg I won smells like baby vomit except for the
clothes that smell like baby poop and I just can’t seem to get her on any
kind of schedule and all the books and my mom
and your mom and my granny all they ever talk about is how important
it is to get Snookums on a schedule and the only schedule she wants
to be on is to be up every minuteof the
every minute of the day and I thought that babies slept a lot. So
what did you want?
uhm, I was asking…I forget.
you call your mother?
again) Uhm…call my mother?
You said you were going to call your mother to come keep Snookums for a couple of hours one
night next weekend so we could
go out to dinner. Do you remember talking about that?
I remember. I just forgot to call. I’ll do it …
you not want to go out to dinner with me? Do you think I am gross because I smell like baby
vomit and baby poop and baby everything
else every minute of the baby day? Is that it? You know you are…
DaddyNo it’s not that. It’s
just that remember I said Mr. Rutledge called and
he wants me to go to a meeting with him next week and talk about
that sounds good.
and the meeting is (said very quickly, like a machine gun)
and I need to
fly out first thing in the morning and I’ll be
back on Thursday afternoon and we…hello…hello…are you there…hello….
I saw the clip of your recent performance on The Tonight Show. (and just as a sidebar, the country is in a pretty difficult place right now, I am not really sure that the time you spent on the photo op with ESPN for your NCAA tournament picks or your jaunt across the country were the best use of your time...but I digress.)
I was amazed and dismayed at what your handlers said was an "off-handed" comment about Special Olympics.
Like you I am the father of daughters. We have three, ages 10,11, and 12. Your are about the same age, I think. So we have many things in common.
What we do not have in common (other than the fact that you are most powerful man in the world and I have a small business in Tennessee) is that one of my daughter's is disabled and participates in many events and activities like Special Olympics. And I am fairly confident that If one of your beautiful daughters had ever been a participant in the Special Olympics I daresay that you would have never made the comment you made.
Because stereotyping of any type (racial, gender, heritage, etc...) is repulsive and most often comes from a lack of understanding.
So, dad-to-dad, let me offer you this invitation. Grab your daughters and wife, hop on the plane, and run down to Brentwood some Saturday morning this spring and join us for the Challenger Baseball League.
So I thought maybe we could just drag out this hospital
thing awhile. Like maybe eighteen years. Think about it…they have food, they
have TV, they have people that are nice who help with things, and most
importantly the place is fat with people who really actually know stuff about
Stufflike “which end
is up,” and what kinds of screams are ok and which kind of screams are not ok
and most importantly of all they know why you must always and forever PROTECT
THE SOFT SPOT ON THE TOP OF THE BABY’S HEAD LIKE IT IS FOUNT OF ALL THAT IS
TRUE AND PURE AND HOLY. I didn’t even know that there was a soft spot, so you
can see how important these people were to me.
But much to my chagrin, the hospital people were not to keen
on my extended-stay plan. They had a plan too. Which, simply stated, was “you
are going home tomorrow.”
So much for my thought about the
hospital being a place full of people that are really nice who help with
With almost Twilight Zone timing, just as I had finished the
last trip to the car, the previously helpful nurse appeared at the door and said,
(like we were checking out at Wal-Mart)“Here you are, one beautiful daughter.Keep her wrapped tightly so she’ll think she is still in the mother’s
womb. Be sure you don’t drop her and be especially careful not to touch the
little soft spot on top of her head.”
with the soft spot? I mean really, we live in
. Surely, we could find someone with a background in manufacturing or
engineering or logistics to address this
national soft spot issue.
The nurse smiled,
wished us luck, said, “She’s beautiful,” smiled again and nodded towards the
door. “You can go now.”
And with a sense of “I hope my wife knows what to do with
this sweet-smelling bundle of humanity cause I sure don’t” we were off.
wonder our society is in such trouble. Leaving a hospital with a baby is easier than renting a video. No background check, no
psychiatric eval, no deposit required.
Just a happy smile, a gentle push out the door, and a thousand warnings
about the soft spot.
think of something…anything…maybe if we keep asking questions she won’t make us
leave and go out into that harsh, cruel world where they don’t bring you popsicles whenever you push a button….uhmm…
happens if we drop her pacifier on the ground?” I asked.
“You may want to wipe it off,” she
said, mostly kindly.
“Wipe what off? The baby or the
“I’ll let you decide that.”
“Well then, how long?” I said.
“I’m sorry I’m not following you.
How long what?” she replied, a bit less kindly this time.
“How long should I wipe it off?” I
”Are we back to the baby or the pacifier question?”
“No, just the pacifier,” I
said.“How long should I wipe it off?
Are there government regulations for things like this? You know put together by
some sort of sub-committee or parental oversight watchdog group or something
"No, just long enough to get it
“Oh, thanks. That helps.”
Again, another smirky-faced nod
towards the door. So with baby-daughter in hand, a fistful of papers, and a bag
full of left over hospital stuff we were (sadly) out the door.
note to all the cheap Dads. I have learned that hospital policy is if "you open it, you keep it,” so you should “accidentally” take
a bag of diapers to the car in
one of your first 12 trips to load all the stuff.Then, just before your final trip with the baby, you could
innocently ask the nurse for a brand new jumbo ultra
know” you say to the nurse, “for the 15 minute ride home…just in case.”
So that was it. Nine months of
waiting. Weeks of anticipation. Hours of labor, and then just seconds of
instructions before we head off into the great unknown.
the crying began. Not the baby’s, she was great. Not TheBeautiful Bride’s
because she was composed.
I was the
one crying because I was not ready for any of this.