Sunday, December 25, 2011


Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
-Emily Dickinson
We returned with our family intact, Caleigh decidedly thinner; and frail, but ok. The whole experience taught us all different lessons, Caleigh knows that she has to maintain basic nourishment for her body to sustain health, Cindy now has been empowered to ensure the little one eats all the food she lovingly prepares, and that the side dishes of vegetables aren’t optional choices but mandatory staples. And I learned that even though I eat everything on my plate, it is my duty to ensure little one follows suit.
It was a humbling experience dashing through the tiny French villages, following the ambulance, numb with fear and painfully being aware how insulated my feelings were. My only thoughts were getting there safely and praying Caleigh was going to be alright. It amazed me how appropriate the words to Emily Dickinson’s “Hope” kept coming into my mind, to be comforted for a couple days, as hope gave me little respites of comfort. Once there, while they were running all these tests, it was frightening to think of what the problem was as they were going from one extreme to the other with their myriad of tests. The imagery of the little match girl kept reappearing in my mind as I thought of Caleigh, all by herself through some of the tests. In retrospect the problem was her body had deleted any available resources in order to continue functioning, the flu, stress from school, her worried state about relationships in her life, and her lack of any appetite combined for the perfect nutritional storm. She will have to have another couple tests to finalize their complete analysis. I do apologize for the alarm that I sent throughout the family and friends by not summarizing in my last posting that Caleigh was alright, I had two days of nonstop fear and was a bit heavy handed. Merry Christmas; Love the ones your with.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Tis the season

The fields were layered with a coat of frost, and it struck me how cold the light from the sun was, a bright morning but cold. Cindy and Caleigh were probably just waking up in Marmande at the hospital, Caleigh had fainted a couple times and the first fainting was accompanied beforehand with a short seizure. We had called the local fire department paramedics, and they took all her vital signs and deemed it necessary to take her the 30 kilometers to the local hospital emergency room, so Cindy and I got ready as quickly as possible and followed the speeding paramedics van through the small narrow towns to Marmande. We arrived and Caleigh was transferred from the gurney to one of those hospital kraftmatic rolling beds. We filled out a bunch of paperwork and waited a couple hours for our turn. They were thorough, to the point where the tests they ran were everything from a couple gallons of blood , a cat scan, a full body x-ray, and a spinal tap. After eight hours all tests were negative. Because we mentioned that we thought there was a small seizure episode, they decided to keep her overnight and run some brain activity tests the following day.(today) During some of the battery of tests Caleigh had the presence of mind to take a cell phone picture of herself on the adjustable bed with all the tubes and wires, then proceeded to send it to her friend Theo. With all of the days tests done, we waited another two hours in one of the exam rooms for Caleighs room to be completed, it felt like they were literally constructing it. Cindy drove home and picked up changes of clothes and other vitals, and Caleigh and I were shown to the room. Caleigh ate a little and Cindy returned with the camping supplies, I wearily drove home and took care of the animals and tried to sleep. I will drive back to Marmande this morning, but wanted to post this.
It is the holiday season, so for me this Christmas as you are with your family occasionally steal a glance at all the ones with you, and think how much they enrich your life. You don’t have to say anything but manage a smirk as you look at them all and think how lucky you are, and they are. Remember, perspective is a gift of the present based on the past histories of you and your loved ones.