Saturday, November 27, 2010

Kids+Hospitals+Dinosaurs (Pt.3)

(Continued from November 20, 2010) ..... O.K., now for the rest of the story ……….. with his mother and I living on pins and needles for years after that emergency room and hospital stay, our son, at the ripe-old-age of 13, was discussing his long-ago emergency room visit and hospital stay with us.

We marveled that the doctors could not ever find anything wrong; we discussed the massive pain that did not seem to have a source; and we discussed the fear in which we lived while he recovered, as well as the concerns that had been on our mind ever since that night 9 years ago.

Then my son made an announcement that left us unsure as to whether to jump up and hug him or immediately place him on e-Bay!! Don’t worry, we hugged him!

He announced that he had always been surprised that the doctors could not find the reason for his pain, as he had known the reason at the time (O.K., this was getting interesting now!)!!

He told us that he had been “playing dinosaurs” on that day, imitating different types of dinosaurs on the grass in the yard and even eating the grass, just like a real dinosaur, ……….. AFTER I HAD FERTILIZED THE WHOLE LAWN!!!!!!

So, there you go. After years of living on the edge with the next possible stomach attack for our son, he now revealed that the solution was simple – he just stopped eating the grass while playing dinosaurs!!

Well, of course, doctors with years of training and practice, parents who cared for him, parents carefully watching every bite that he took for years, and the 4-year-old knew the answer the whole time – JUST QUIT EATING THE FERTILIZED GRASS! He didn’t realize that there had been confusion all of those years. If he had known, he said, he would have told us years ago!

Ah, yes, parenthood certainly has moments of pleasure, concern, emergency rooms and hospitals, and even relief! Although our relief came 9 years after the fact, it was welcomed news!

Oh, and one more thing: I now always hang signs in the house when I fertilize the grass, just in case a now 19-year-old wants to relive old times and play dinosaurs again!

So, how about you? Any scares that turned out to be easy cures? Our story gave new meaning to the phrase, WATCH OUT FOR DINOSAURS!

Paul W. Reeves

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Kids+Hospitals+Dinosaurs (Pt.2)

(Continued from November 13, 2010) ..... Well, I quickly left the home and headed for the hospital. Upon my arrival, my wife said the words that are still with us today. She said, “Our son keeps asking me to make the pain go away”. Wow, what a helpless situation for both of us.

We had no previous experience in the emergency room or hospital with our kids and here we suddenly were with no clue as to what to do. Our feelings of helplessness were exasperated by the doctors’ lack of being able to find anything wrong.

My wife badly needed a break; my son was peacefully sleeping; and I decided to stay in the room with him. He woke up a couple of times, but the pain medication was doing its job, thereby giving the doctors more time to figure out the cause of our son’s stomach pain.

My wife came back around midnight, so we stayed together in our son’s hospital room with her trying to sleep in the chair while I was stretched out on the floor. We were beginning to understand our friend’s words of wisdom from a few years before this evening!

At some point during the next morning, our son woke up and requested some water and a visit to the restroom. We quickly accommodated both requests. He seemed to be a little sluggish, but not in pain.

When he came out of the restroom, he announced that the pain was gone and that he would like to go home - with a side trip to McDonald’s on the way home!

We quickly called for the doctors; they ran some more tests; they announced that they still could not find anything; and, since our son was feeling fine, off to our home we went – after the requested stop at McDonald’s!! We were so happy to see him quickly return to health after almost 24 hours of scaring the wits out of us, that we would have been glad to stay all day at McDonald’s!!

We arrived home and he seemed just fine. He even wanted to go outside and play with his friends. WHAT? 24 hours earlier, he wanted my wife to make the pain stop and now he was just fine? Well, we certainly did not want to argue with the results, but we kept his playing to a minimum on that day, just to be sure.

During the next few years, in accordance with the doctor’s orders, we extra carefully monitored everything that he ate at our house and at the homes of other people. Since the massive pain came on suddenly, we were poised to return to the hospital at a moment’s notice. 

However, the return trip never came. Even though the doctors could find nothing wrong, the pain never returned and today he is a healthy 19-year-old with a stomach of steel and no issues!

(Please come back next week for the conclusion!)

Paul W. Reeves

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Kids+Hospitals+Dinosaurs (Pt.1)

Some years ago, when our two oldest kids were 1-year-old and 4-years-old (our 3rd child had yet to be born), a friend of mine, whose three kids were in middle school and high school, began to list the trips, hours, and evenings that she had spent with her kids in the emergency room at the hospital. I made a comment about how her kids must have been injury prone when they were younger.

She looked at me with disbelief and said something along the lines, “Are you telling me that you have never been to the emergency room with your kids? ALL parents send time with their kids in the emergency room!”

When I told her that we had fortunate, she just shook her head and told me that I am the only dad in history who had not spent hours in the emergency for various afflictions! Well, all of that changed when our middle child reached the ripe old age of 4!

One day while I was at work-related conference about two hours from home, my wife called me to tell me that our 4-year-old son was complaining of stomach pain and that he appeared to be quite ill. We discussed the situation, called the doctor, decided on a specific home treatment including rest and medicine, and let time dictate the next move.

A few hours later, she called again to indicate that the pains had seemingly gotten worse and that he really seemed to be in dire straits. We decided to wait no more. Off they went to the emergency room to get his ailing stomach checked out

Since he had never been ill in this manner before, we were quite concerned that the pains had suddenly come on and that they seemed to be of a severe nature.

Well, the doctors checked him and they ruled out all of the major issues (WHEW!), but they could not pinpoint the problem. They admitted him to the hospital, gave him more medicine, hooked him up to a variety of machines, and ran a few more tests.

Hours and hours passed, but no diagnosis came forward. My wife did her best to keep me informed (these were the days before everybody had a cell phone) and I was poised to leave at a moment’s notice. Through her consultation with the doctors, neither of us believed that the issue was too serious.

Near the 4-hour mark in the hospital, we decided that it would be best for me to come home early. My wife’s belief was that, by the time that I arrived home, she and my son would be there, too.

I arrived home and, …….. no family at all! A friend had the other two kids (1-year-old and 7-years-old), while my wife and son were still at the hospital. Again, inexplicably, the doctors could not discover the issue that was causing massive stomach pain with my son. They actually told my wife that they had never seen anything like this and that all tests had come back just fine!

(Please come back next week for Part 2)

Paul W. Reeves

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Dad and Son in Concert (Pt.2)

(Continued from October 30, 2010) ..............  At any rate, I have often shared that story with my son, even dating back to when he was a little tyke. Well, for his big performance with me in public, as we were preparing to leave the house, he told me that he was only going to take the bass drum, snare, one cymbal, and a hi-hat, just like I had to play when I was his age! (See –I’ve told you before that your kids are watching you and they are listening to you at all times -  and they internalize everything, spoken and unspoken!).

So, at the concert during which he garnered a substantial amount of applause, my son purposely forced himself into being a better drummer and not relying on the instrument to carry him through! What a guy, what a dedicated musician, and what a hot dog!

After his performance and after the applause finally died down, I made the same announcement as last year. I told the audience that I had always told my son that he could live in our house until the day came that he surpassed me in drumming. I then announced that he would be packing and leaving after the concert! The audience laughed and a few people raised their hands to adopt him!

And, why not? This young man has earned the admiration of his father, as he has worked hard over the years to be the best that he can be. Hours and hours of playing, listening to recordings and advice, practicing, watching instructional videos, asking me questions, and taking lessons with professionals have all led to him being the drummer and musician that he is today! (Of course, if he would keep his room clean at all times, I would be a little happier!).

So, audience members wanting to adopt him? Of course they do! But, there is no way that it is going to happen. He is mine, I am immensely proud of all that he has become through his hard work and dedication, I am amazed and pleased (beyond what words can describe) that he has clearly surpassed me in the world of drumming and …… he can stay in our house for as long as he wants to stay!!

Am I bragging about my son? Well, not really, although it might seem that way. I am just proud of him setting his goals early, paying attention to details that would help him achieve his goals, working hard just about every single day for years, and then making his dad proud with an audience in public!

And this is what I always suggest to kids: set your positive goals; develop a plan to achieve the goals; and then work really hard to make it. I have never seen a student not make it when their plan is in place AND when the plan is supported by loving parents. So, help your kids adopt their goals, develop their plan(s), and allow them the time to work at it to achieve. The rewards are overwhelming!

Oh, and another reason for allowing my son to stay in our house for as long as he wants, irrespective of him surpassing me in drumming? I need to be nice to him, so that he’ll invite me to come on stage during HIS future concerts!!

So, how about you? Send me a note to tell me of your child’s goals, plans, and hard work. Keep up the terrific work with your kids!

Paul W. Reeves