Tag Archives: Hospitals

Looking Back 25 Years to 2 Days of Terror

Wasp on flower

Took this photo on Ben's birthday--Aug. 5, 2010. White isn't just the color of winter snow!

Why a wasp and flower picture? In 7 months, it will be Ben’s birthday, and the weather will be hot, the hydrangea will be in bloom and I’ll be dodging wasps. Really, it won’t be too long at all—no need to complain about the weather. But today, it’s not Nina’s or Amanda’s or Theresa’s or Ben’s or Katy’s birthday—it’s someone else’s.

Audrey asked me this morning as soon as I woke up whether I remembered what had happened 25 years ago today, and my immediate answer was “Jon was born.”

Turns out, I gave the right answer, which is good.

I do know that 26 years ago and some change, when Amanda was born, it was wicked cold. We were worried about whether the old Nova would start for the ride to the hospital, but it did and it was some time before Amanda entered the world.

The next year, 25 years ago today, on a warmer winter day, Jon entered planet Earth a bit too early. He should have had a March birthday, not a February one—and when he was born, his lungs were not mature enough to supply his suffering little body with oxygen. That led to a two-day roller-coaster emotional ride for his young parents as we got good news, then bad news, then good news—he’s turning blue, he’s breathing on his own, he’ll need O2, he could be on a ventilator soon, we’re transferring him to the U, but NICU at the U is full and he’ll have to go to Omaha (we lived in central Missouri at the time, the U was the University of Missouri Hospital), but we can wait a while.

Then, as suddenly as the storm struck, it dissipated. Jon’s lungs started to kick in. He was slightly wheezy, then less wheezy, and by the end of those turbulent 48 hours, all of a sudden, he was healthy, pink, and ready to go home.


Kathryn Hagy, my department chair at MMU, recently returned from Nepal. At today’s first department meeting of the spring semester, she casually remarked that any problems we think we have at MMU are pretty darn small—after all, unlike any U in Nepal, we have electricity all day long. We even have heated buildings.

It’s worthwhile, I guess, on this bitterly cold winter day, to remember that we don’t have it bad here at all. When we’re cold, we turn up the heat. When we’re thirsty, we have safe, potable drinking water at the turn of a faucet. Our food is so abundant that avoiding some of it so we don’t ingest too much is our biggest eating problem.

Jon’s been breathing well for almost 25 years, minus about 48 hours. Thank goodness; thank you, universe; thank God.

It’s good to remember, sometimes, when the big things work out, the rest is just details.

Jon Thanksgiving Day 2010

Jon unwraps a Christmas gift on Thanksgiving Day, 2010, as his mother looks on. Jon and his lovely wife Nalena were visiting from Seatte, and he had the family Christmas gathering a month early while they were here. A month early--that's Jon.


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