Saturday, June 14, 2014

Pondering ...

My father is in the hospital, which I reveal not to elicit sympathy or concern but rather to set up the "What's it all about?"-ness of this post.

Time is warped inside a hospital. And focus is checked at the door for anything that is not related to the situation at hand. I found myself watching golf in one of the waiting rooms. I don't watch golf in any other moment of my life. But I found myself strangely intrigued by the skill of the cameraman (or -woman) who captures the ball in flight.

Boredom and worry become fast friends and pursuits arise, such as venturing down to the cafeteria to check out the day's soup. (Thursday: turkey vegetable. Friday: chicken noodle.)

But "normal" life, the day-to-day-ness that we take for granted until it's interrupted, continues beyond the hospital campus, and so it was that I found myself on Friday morning, about 10 hours after speaking with Dad's surgeon, standing at the edge of a field, staring at the vastness of the pristine blue sky and thinking about Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Mom's car was scheduled for an oil change well before Dad ended up in his present situation, so I drove to the hospital, met up with her in his room, stepped out into the hall to receive an update, swapped keys, left the hospital, got into her car, adjusted her seat and steering wheel and mirrors, and drove to our mechanic's garage, which is on the same property as his home, which is kind of in the middle of nowhere, hence the vastness of the sky.

He was helping someone diagnose a problem – which he did, and refused any money for it, because that's who he is – and I stood by Mom's car, noticing the windmill I'd never noticed on his property before – the kind you see on farms, not the kind you see as cookies – and wondering what, if anything, it powered, and looking at the blue sky, thinking about pictures of Earth from space and how, if someone on the International Space Station, say, was looking down at that moment, or if some satellite was snapping images for the always-creepy Google Earth photos that reveal far too much, that I was a part of what they'd be seeing, me and seven billion other people going about our lives, some awake, some dreaming, some in hospitals, some in offices, at least one standing next to a car adjacent to a field, appreciating the wind.

And I was thinking about the final episode of "Cosmos" that I had just watched the other night and how the final image pulled back until the Earth was just Carl Sagan's "pale blue dot," and wow, yes, in the grand, grand, infinite scheme of it all, things that seem so hugely consequential are truly anything but, except that they are. It's all about scale.

It was a good, grounding moment, a place for my brain to return when I get riled about something, a standard against which to measure an instance and decide whether it's really worth the anger or the fretting.

Scott finished his work on Mom's car and showed me why his garage contains an anvil and he wrote up the bill and I wrote out a check and I headed back to the hospital. Mom and I borrowed some chairs from an office and set up in the hallway where we could keep an eye out for Dad's surgeon if he happened to make rounds, and chatted and snacked and found a few reasons to laugh. Laughter feels a little victory inside a hospital.

This morning, it was nice to wake up and make coffee and listen to the birds and catch up on things online. The grass needs to be cut, boy does it ever. And Dad has been moved off the ICU floor into a regular room. So I'll visit later, once I shower off the aroma of mower exhaust. And Fathers' Day will be spent on unfortunate furniture (honestly, who designs those fabrics?) in a small room and if his dinner consists of Jell-O that will be a big deal. (He hasn't eaten since Tuesday morning.)

And Monday will, with hope, bring some sense of routine with it and I'll resume client work and break away for a visit to his room, grateful that my life is such that that's possible.

And onward we go. Spinning faster than we can fathom and not quite standing still.


Blogger jim marquis said...

Hope everything turns out okay. These really are moments that force you to stop and think about the big picture.

7:26 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Thanks, Jim. We continue to think good thoughts.

And indeed: a whole lotta reflection goin' on.

8:26 PM  
Blogger Kristen said...

Very well said. When Mom was in the hospital, it really was like living in a strange alternate world that existed in parallel with the rest of the world. Best wishes for a good outcome for your father and much love to you!

6:03 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Thanks, honey. And much love to you.

7:40 AM  

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