On the Eve of Thanksgiving – 2010

me, Addy, Zach, Pam, and my mom. Please note the big head on my boy...

I always think I should make lists of things I’m thankful for around this time of year and when I do I realize they are lists of things that just are chance happenings, things that no one really has any control over; like my being an American (it can’t get much better than that, can it?) or being a guy (I think if I was a girl I would answer the same – but I’m a guy). Then I jump to other stuff that makes me feel lucky (a friend from high school who was always better in English than I was pointed out that what I call lucky is really being appreciative – Thanks, Betty – I appreciate that). Things like gardens in bloom, the seasons, sunsets and sunrises, really good corn, the beaches and mountains and the places in between – all that kind of stuff.

But this is Thanksgiving and that means that you give thanks to someone; someone who did something for you, otherwise the holiday title doesn’t fit. Who do I give thanks to? And for what?  Should it be Steve Jobs because without him I wouldn’t have my iPhone, iPod, iPad, iBook and iMac (I have ‘em all – Maybe Steve Jobs should be thanking me, hmmmm…)? Should it be my good friends at NPR? They don’t want my thanks, they want my check and that’s OK with me. How about friends and family? Think about it…Have you ever met me? Those are the people who really deserve my thanks – they put up with me and I just want you all to know I appreciate it.

First, to my old friends that I rarely, if ever, see in person, but keep in touch with via occasional emails or Facebook updates – You are kind enough to have forgotten so many embarrassing episodes or polite enough to not bring them up – Thank you!  To all the great people I’ve met through MINIsOnTop – Thank you for your confidence and trust, as a group you are proof that people are, for the most part, giving, supportive and will do anything if you promise them a party. To the people at the Quabbin Middle School – Same as the MINIsOnTop folks, but without the party. I did not realize what a perfect setting you were for a first year teacher. Thank you for the lessons learned (and that goes for both staff and students). To Zonkaraz, not only the band, but everyone involved – You helped me grow up and were tolerant of my growing up in your midst, thank you for that and all the things I’ve listed for other folks (especially the embarrassing episodes bit and as to the party –  we were the party). Another reason to thank Zonkaraz is without the band, I would not have met my wife.

Without her, I would not be a teacher or a pilot. I would not have my sanity and the nice home that I keep it in. I would not have traveled. I would not have kids from A to Z (just two, Addy and Zach, but my mother likes that joke. She has grandkids from A to Z twice with Amy and Zoe being the other two).

Right now I am most thankful that the mother of our children is a nurse. Zach had called us at 3AM saying his head hurt, what should he do? Pam did not miss a beat. Get a cab, go to the hospital and call me when you are in the ER. He lives and works in Washington, D.C.  We are in Massachusetts. Pam and Addy were on a plane the next day to take care of him. As Addy put it, her brother broke his head. Zach fractured his skull from the right temple to the crown causing a loss of memory, smell and taste. He has gained stabbing pain in his eyes and ears, the sensation of ants crawling under his skin. These are not good trades. The long term prospects are so uncertain according to what I can glean from all my iDevices; everything could be OK, but things could also be very different for Zach.

Quoting from the Merck Online Medical Library:

Amnesia may persist and be both retrograde and anterograde. Postconcussion syndrome, which commonly follows a moderate or severe concussion, includes headache, dizziness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, variable amnesia, depression, apathy, and anxiety. Commonly smell (and thus taste), sometimes hearing, or rarely vision is altered or lost. Symptoms usually resolve spontaneously over weeks to months.

A range of cognitive and neuropsychiatric deficits can persist after severe and even moderate Traumatic Brain Injury, particularly if structural damage was significant. Common problems include amnesia, behavioral changes (eg, agitation, impulsivity, disinhibition, lack of motivation), emotional lability, sleep disturbances, and decreased intellectual function.

Neurologic function may continue to improve for a few years after TBI, most rapidly during the initial 6 months.

For a guy who has made his living based on his extreme motivation, near photographic recall, and high intellectual function (did I mention he takes after his mother?) these outcomes could be devastating. We will just have to wait and see, but patience is a virtue that neither Zach or I have (did I mention he takes after his father?).

I’m also thankful to my daughter who went to keep her mother company and help with her brother in any way she could. She has given up time with her fiancé to do this for her family. She has a wedding to plan (I can give her thanks for that while I’m at it – She is finding the best deals and scooping them up, saving tons of money while also making the wedding just right). Addy has always been there for her friends and family, sometimes I tell her that she is too giving of herself. This time I’m glad she didn’t follow my advice and my hope is that this event becomes no more than a story to share around the tables or in the receiving line on her wedding day.

So that’s who I am giving thanks to this Thanksgiving – my friends and my family. Thing could always be worse, but with you the worst is always made better. Thank You All! (with maybe just a little going to Steve Jobs for making it easier to keep in touch)

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2 Responses to “On the Eve of Thanksgiving – 2010”

  1. susie q Says:

    i love you lil ‘ brother.

    as usual ,very well said….sniff,sob,sob

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