More Torture Followed by Joy–Part Five

The new doctor’s assessment brought me two new tortures: One is a Levine tube, the second a foot board. The first little beauty is a rubber hose, brown in color and very flexible. The doctor inserted one end of the tube into my nose and quickly fed it down the throat into my stomach. Just what I needed another tube: first a catheter, then a cut down, and now a feeding tube.

The second torture was to lay with my feet pointed up and flat against a board. This exercise kept my calf muscles from shortening permanently. Shortened calf muscles would make walking harder. I still thought that one day the doctor would say ‘time to go home’ and I’d jump out of bed and walk out.

Visiting days were becoming a major highlight of each week. The longer I stayed in the CDH the more I wanted to see my friends and family. The half hour seemed so short yet there were times when it was too long. Mom came with a friend most times. It had to be hard on her to get there. She took five streetcars to reach the hospital. That took several hours each way. Selfish me, I never thought about how hard it was for her, I only looked forward to seeing her. Dad came on Sunday. I’m sure Sis visited too, but I don’t remember. My brother Bill couldn’t come because he was in the army stationed in Germany.

Once I could sit up in bed, we began using small chalk boards to write messages to each other. Finally, we communicated again. Mom’s girlfriend Barbara Thomas and our neighbor Mrs. Lihota came with her often. They did all the writing because Mom couldn’t write in English.

After being in for several weeks, Mom and Dad drove Joe Barath and Jack Adams to visit.  It was good to see them, but awkward. They were brave to come into that environment. We separated when we left for high school, and now this new adventure separated me even further from my world of friends.

To be continued . . .

Burning Gas–Driving Through a Cloud

About a year before Peggy and I took this trip to the Northwest, our friends Bill and Lois toured the area by train. Bill couldn’t say enough for the scenery along the route between Banff and VanCouver. Peggy and I did it by car, and I can attest to the beauty of this section of mountains. One of my grandest memories is coming down the QEW-1 into a valley covered by a layer of clouds. Everything went foggy for a few minutes then we broke through the cloud layer and the grandest little town appeared before us. On the way out of town we went into the clouds again to break out into the blue sky at the top of the mountain.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Among the many reasons for this trip was to see this section of Canada, and to show Peggy a real garden.

We arrived in Vancouver during  evening hours, and settled into a hotel near the ferry landing. The following morning we boarded the ferry for the hour ride to Vancouver Island. We checked into the Fairmont hotel and did a walking tour of the historic district. The day was sunny, and mild. We enjoyed the shops and the food.

Assessing the Damage-Part Four

I had been in hell for a long time when a new doctor arrived. My leg still had a tube with fluids running. The bed was still on an angle with my feet up in the air. Why? It was a way to keep fluid from filling my lungs. Unbeknownst to me, I lost the nerves that control the muscles for swallowing. All saliva and drool ran out of my mouth or down my throat. It also meant I could not take food or drink by mouth without choking.

The new doctor asked me to move my head from side to side. He held his hand against my face as I strained to push him away. He asked me to smile. I did. He asked me to smile again; I told him I was smiling. My face muscles were paralyzed. Even though my brain was telling me to smile, and I really thought I was, the message didn’t get to my cheek muscles. During my stay at CDH I became known as the ‘kid who never smiles.’ I couldn’t move my mouth to form words very well either. None of it made sense. I thought I was smiling and talking normal, but no one understood me, and they thought I was grumpy all the time.

My arms were next. I was able to move them up, down, around, and to put pressure against his hands. He moved to my legs.

“Bend your knees and hold them together.”

I moved my legs and bent them as he asked. The doctor put two fingers against my knees. “Now spread your knees apart against my hands.”

I pushed with all of my might but nothing happened. At that moment I realized I wasn’t going to make it to tryouts.

Where Is Everybody?-Part Three

I didn’t see Mom or Dad for days, and I wondered why. An aid explained that visiting hours were twice a week for half an hour. Mom had been there to visit, but I was too sick to know it. Because the hospital’s function was to control contagious diseases, visitors were never allowed into a room with the patients. The hospital restricted visitors to a special glass corridor. Each room had glass walls separating it from adjacent rooms and the corridor connecting them. Parallel to the staff corridor was another corridor separated by glass. Visitors were restricted to the space behind the second glass wall. When I was able to see Mom it was through two walls of glass and across a space of twenty feet. We couldn’t talk to each other because the voice wouldn’t carry through all the glass. At first, it was a lot of waving and lip reading. Visits became frustrating because of the difficulty of communication. Visits also ended in what seemed like a second. When visiting hours ended, the security staff moved visitors out. The time machine went back to ultra slow where one second was a minute, one minute was an hour, and one hour seemed like a day. Now more than ever, I wanted to go home and play football.

Talking to the Devil–Part Two

After going to hell for a long conversation with the devil, the ice bed began bringing my temperature down. It lasted for what seemed like eternity during those first seven days in the Contagious Disease Hospital. When the fever finally dropped, I began to notice strange things all around me. The rooms and hallways are separated from each other by windowed walls. A huge, beige colored tank with glass port holes stood in the hall along the window outside my room. What is it, I wondered? I never asked, but later learned that it had my name on it.

A few months ago I asked my brother Bill to tell me about the death of our older brother Joe. Since I wasn’t born when Joe died, the details of his story escaped me. Brother Joe died at age seven of scarlet fever in the same hospital. Wow! It finally dawned on me. Here I am at age 64 finally realizing the agony that Mom and Dad must have gone through when they took me, their second son named Joe, to the same hospital where their first born son died. They earned their way into heaven with the suffering and mental anguish. I apologize, Mom and Dad, for having put you through that horrible wringer again.

After the ice-mattress, the doctors invented a new torture. Two aides came in and raised the foot of my bed with blocks. Now, I had to lay there with my head down, and my feet up in the air, and my arm tied.

The IV-line in my hand blocked, and it needed to be moved. A doctor came and started doing something to my leg. The next thing I knew, the tube was in my ankle. He cut my ankle open to find the vein and inserted the tube down there. The nurses referred to that as a ‘cut-down’. They tied my leg to keep me from pulling it out.

Time slowed to a crawl in that fish tank of a room at CDH. An hour seemed like a day, a day like a week, and a week like a month. Still, all I could think about was getting out in time for tryouts. The start of a new school year drew closer, and I realized it would take time to regain my strength from being in the hospital.

Once the fever subsided I felt much better and more mentally aware of the surroundings. When a doctor came in, I asked, “When will I go home?”

“Soon,” they replied. That is not the answer I wanted to hear.

Out of My Mind–Part One

The Length of the ride in the ambulance to the Contagious Disease Hospital is all I remember. I don’t recall how fast they drove or if a siren sounded. The attendants moved me into the hospital, and slid me off the cart to a bed in a room alone. The room seemed dark but I didn’t care one bit. My head pounded, and it hurt like heck to move my neck.  My throat felt like fire and I couldn’t swallow. The fever made me delirious. I wanted to sleep, and make it all go away.

A steady stream of doctors and nurses came throughout the night to examine me. Each one asked the same questions. Each one tested the stiffness of my neck. One nurse stuck a glass thermometer into my mouth another stuck a needle into my hand and taped it there. She hung a bag with fluid and started it flowing. A male nurse inserted a catheter. I wished they would leave me alone and let me sleep. When they finally left, I lay in a hospital gown tossing and turning, the fever cooking me from within; my arm tied to the bed so I couldn’t jerk the needle out.

After what seemed like an eternity, two nurses came. They rolled me to the edge to spread a rubber mattress on the bed. A male aid came with a tub full of ice cubes. I wondered what they were going to do, but didn’t really care. I was hot and my mind was everywhere.

The aid began pumping ice water into the rubber mattress under me. At first the coolness felt good. After awhile on the chilling bed I began to shiver uncontrollably. The nurses kept replacing the water in the mattress, the aid brought more ice. My teeth chattered from the cold, my body shook uncontrollably. Lying on the ice mattress made me cold, but the fire in my body raged on. They threw a blanket over me to help, but I kept shivering under the covers.

Many weeks later, I learned that my body temperature went over one-hundred-five degrees as the virus worked its evil in my body. The torture of the ice mattress was necessary to save me. As uncomfortable as it was, I couldn’t care less.

During the endless hours of delirium, visions of Mendel and football tryouts played through my mind. I needed to get out of this place to make it to the tryouts. Plans for an escape filled my mind.  Each time a doctor came to check my condition I asked if I’d be home in time for the tryouts. None of them ever answered.

Burning Gas-Lake Louise

We left Calgary on a sunny warm morning for Banff National Park. I expected Banff to be similar to the National Parks in the USA. It isn’t, yet it is. The place is huge, and it is beautiful, but Banff is a city within a national park called Banff. The QEW-1(Queen Elizabeth Way), the transnational Canada highway runs right through the park on the way to Vancouver. The city of Banff population is eight thousand souls. The economy is dependent on  tourism in the summer and skiing in winter. The main drag through town has a distinct European look with Swiss style buildings side by side. Shops of all kinds abound and cater to the tourist. Every street has great eating places. We stayed in a small hotel near the central district. It was ninety degrees when we arrived.

Grandma Peggy and I settled into the room, and looked around for the air conditioner switch. We were wilting and needed some cool. I called the desk for help. A nice woman knocked on the door and proceeded to pull a large fan from the closet, and plugged it in. “Banff has about three days like this every year. We don’t have air-conditioning,” she explained as she opened the slider.

Early the next morning I sat on the balcony drinking coffee while watching people going about their business. It was a joy to see kids walking to school with book bags on their backs. I don’t think anyone lives more than a mile from the school, or for that matter from anyplace within the town. A strange quiet envelops Banff. Other than the birds singing, there are few motor noises to pollute the atmosphere of the town.

We left town to see the park, there were no overlooks like there are in the states. We tooled along on the QEW-1 at one hundred km per hour. A curious cyclone fence borders the road along each side of the divided highway. The fences occasionally dipped toward a culvert, or up to an overpass. We learned that animals migrate  from the mountains across the highway to the lakes at lower levels. Every year there is a huge road kill. The government built the fence to direct the animals toward underpasses or overpasses to keep them off the roads, Conservationists like to think that the Canadian government is on the same page as they are, but the simple fact is that when a car or truck hits an eight hundred pound animal on the road, death occurs; both human and animals with an enormous dollar cost to freight and transportation. Between Banff and Lake Louise, our destination there were at least six of these crossings with several more in construction.

Lake Louise is what we came to see. Banff is a cutesy town, but Lake Louise is nature in all its splendor. This glacial lake is at the foot of mountain top glacier feeding it. The water is crystal clear, but has a gray cast to it. It is not as clear as I thought. The color is the result of glacial till. The till is a very fine powder of granite rock ground off the mountain by moving glacial ice. The particles of powder are so fine they become suspended in the water. The result is the beautiful blue-gray color.

Several months before we left on this trip, the Chicago Tribune travel section featured a story on Lake Louise. The leading photograph showed a couple sitting in the Fairmont hotel having lunch while looking out on the view. What a great view, I thought. I never imagined seeing that same view for myself. In fact, we sat one table away from the couple in the Trib photo.

Banff National Park is beautiful, and compares to our own Glacier National Park in Montana. They are adjacent too each other. Banff the town is a fun tourist town worth the visit, but Lake Louise is a “do not miss” scene of splendorific nature.

Shops and Hotels along the main street in Banff, Alberta

Bridge for animals along QEW-1 enroute to Lake Louise

Stream flowing from Lake Louise

Pollination in process

Pink Poppy

 

Glacier feeding Lake Louise

Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada

Trail to the foot of the Glacier

Trail along the lake to the foot of the glacier

The Fairmont Chateau from across the lake

Flower bed in front of the Chateau

Poppies with bees

Pollination in process

Pink Poppy

Reflections of the Fairmont

The Fairmont Chateau, Lake Louise

The Window View From the Chateau

Fairmont Lobby

Serenity Abounds

Through the Magnificent Trees

Bhutadarma

Nothing is impossible (at least that does not violate the laws of physics). When you can..violate the laws of physics!

I Know I Made You Smile

cartoons/humor/fiction/nonfiction

Attila Ovari

Loving Life and Inspiring Others

galesmind

Come take a journey through my mind

Nutsrok

The humor and humanity of storytelling.

Henry Game

The Next Testament

Gamintraveler

Travel Couple and Digital Nomads on a World Travel

summershaffer

A topnotch WordPress.com site

blogsense-by-barb

at the Re-Birth of America!

The Honking Goose

something to honk about

THE WAKING GIANT

United States Second Amendment Pitbull

Caustic Synergy

United and alone in the world

Aspiring Conservative

Conservative blog with articles about today's politics!

Conservative Kentucky

Reality From my Perspective

Hearing Aid News

HEAR it HERE first! The latest on developments in hearing aids and the hearing industry.

Socialism is not the Answer

Limited Government Is

leaf and twig

where observation and imagination meet nature in poetry

Just Cruisin 2

Where Intellectuals and Rednecks foregather.

allaboutlemon-All Around, In, And Out Of My Own Universe

Greed is an ugly default... Sharing is Caring

Nhan Fiction

"Hope is my catalyst."

prophetbrahmarishi

Just another WordPress.com site

NuVote Reach

Political Co-Dependency Intervention

The Baggage Handler

I made the impossible easy in both worlds!

David Emeron: Sonnets

If I swore not to describe my heart, would it stop beating forever?

silkroadcollector.me

An International company that offers private antique art sales to clients around the globe.