It Started With a Question

John Parks-Coleman

It Started With a Question

John Parks-Coleman
Before I write this particular post, I would like to clarify something about my last entry.  I do my absolute best to make sure that every date I bring my Wife on is perfect; however, as a Caregiver, there is always the voice in the back of your mind. That voice that asks you, "Are we too far from home or the hospital?" and "Is my Wife comfortable?" and "Are there too many people, and are they too close?"  With that being addressed, on we go:




question-mark-460869_640During our initial months together, Yvonne and I both discussed a lot of things that couples should talk about (A LOT) but don't bring up during their conversations. People think that they can always bring something up later. Later. Before you know it, later is here and, you didn't take the time to ask something, say something, or do something in the event that "something" should happen.  So in that context, in that frame of mind, we did everything right -- we talked.  It started with a question.  Yvonne asked me one morning, as I was getting ready to go on a mission for my unit to refuel and resupply our teams in the field.  She asked me, "Baby, if anything were to happen to me, what would you do?"

I braced myself.  "What do you mean?" I asked, already knowing what she was referring to; this is how we stall for time in order to think of an appropriate response.  Before she could verbalize what she was thinking, a news report began.  That news report was about the nightmare situation that Terri Schiavo was in; and, what her family and Husband were going through.  Now, I don't wish to bring up the legalities and everything associated with what happened (that's what Twitter is for), but it prompted a conversation.  That conversation that every couple should have.  Not only was a conversation prompted, but actions were initiated, and two days later (medical directives, POAs, Wills) plans were put into place.

So, we spoke, as I shaved and dressed.  We discussed what we would do if anything would happen to the other and, what should be done by our Family Friend if something happened to both of us at the same time.  We spent about thirty minutes speaking on this subject; and, as my Wife is wont to do, she took notes on the conversation (bullet points, mostly) so that we could revisit the conversation that evening.   So, in a semi-hurried fashion, we wrapped the conversation up and, I was sent on my way with coffee, a kiss, and my gear loaded into the back of my truck.

At approximately 1930 hours, I made it back to my unit, put equipment away, answered a few e-mails, and after locking up I was on my way home.  When I made it home, I parked and spent a few moments brain-dumping the day so that I didn't have to bring it through the door.  A rule that I set for myself is that work can be discussed at home; however, the frustrations, and everything associated with work, will be left at the door.  The brain-dump consists of actively separating the emotions associated with things that happen at work and, only sharing the details of what happened during my day (more on that some other time).  So, brain-dump complete, I walked through the front door of our home.

"Hey, Baby!" are two words that I can expect to hear when I walk in from work or otherwise.  I've come to love and embrace those two words.  They're like a little reward for making it home, safely.  On this particular night, my little reward wasn't delivered.  I felt almost as if I were standing on a dusty road with saloons and cheap hotels on either side of me; while, tumble weed tumbled and crickets chirped.  What was going on here -- what happened to "Hey, Baby!"?  More importantly, where was my Wife?

I found her, on the floor, in the kitchen; pots of boiling water and vegetables long since burned dry.  I raced to her side and did what any Soldier would do -- evaluate the casualty.  Heart beat...check.  Breathing...check.  Pupil response...check.  Check for wounds...none found.  As I was doing my best to prevent panic from setting in, I held her hand with one of my own while, the other was going into my backpack for my cell phone.  I dialed 9-1...and then I heard, "Hey, Baby!"  The phone fell from my hands.  There was my Bride, smiling at me, from the floor.  "I'm glad you came to bed," she said, "I tried waiting up for you, but I got too tired, and the TV is only showing one channel!"  She motioned toward the oven.  "I know, those cooking shows can be boring sometimes..." I trailed off.  My inner monologue which, for some reason, can appear as the voice of Morgan Freeman was speaking to me.  "John stared at his Wife and marveled at her beauty, while he searched for his cell phone he dropped on the kitchen floor."

Now, let me bring you back a few years for a moment.  When Yvonne and I met, and fell in love, we knew that we both had various medical conditions.  We discussed them and, we spent a lot of time reassuring one another that we would be there to take care of each other.  Now, due to HIPPA considerations, I can't discuss all of the medical conditions in detail in this forum; what I can say is that neither of us knew what was going on while she lay on the kitchen floor.

So, one ambulance ride later, we found ourselves in the emergency room.  The disillusioned "doctor" that had seen it all was unperturbed by the situation.  "Her vitals are good, she can go home now," he said.  Now comes the question that I am REALLY referring to in the title of this posting -- "How the &$%@ can she be OK?!?!"  This is when the "doctor" went from unperturbed to perturbed with a quickness.  It didn't solve anything in the moment, but when all 6'4" of me was in his face asking my "question" his bed-side manner changed.

Later, at home, I got Yvonne tucked into bed which, she admitted was much more comfortable than the bed that I found her in when I got home from work.  She also told me that she was tired of cooking shows, and she preferred to watch "Criminal Minds."  As she settled in, I went into the other room to call my NCOIC and let her know the situation.  I was told to "take as much time as I needed, and come in to work at 0900hrs" the following day.  As I hung up the phone, I marveled at how dumb my NCOIC was (re-read what she said). I tried to curb the panic in my head (Morgan Freeman was busy at work again).

The following morning, as my alarm went off, there was Yvonne, sitting up in bed and smiling at me, "I had the STRANGEST dream, last night..."

More to follow in another entry. The sun is setting which means that I am about to get very busy...

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John Parks-Coleman

I will keep writing so long as I have a story to tell (that means a lot of writing). Thankfully, it comes easy for me; and, if it can help or entertain the rest of the community, I am more than happy to do it.

Denise

Hi--I did roll my eyes when I read what your NCOIC said--take as much time as you need as long as that time doesn't go past 9. UGH.\r\n\r\nIt starts with a question, which always leads to more. One episode, like yours, can throw you to the wolves--the health care system. All of a sudden, you have to become not only a husband but an advocate for quality care even when you're not really sure what problem needs to be solved.\r\n\r\nI, too, am anxious to read what's next.

jan

John, part of me is completely engaged in your story, wanting to know the next installment, and the other part of me is aching to remember it's not a story but real life. Thank you for sharing your experience with us.