Wild Life

Chippy In The WallPeople drive SO FAST along this stretch of road...

Last Thursday night I was visiting my folks up the hill as I often do when I am home. We were having a bit of a glass-o’ and waiting around for the 8 o’clock re-run of Jon Stewart when I remarked to my dad that he sounded a little whistly and was he all right?

Of course I’m all right, he wheezed, and then my mom who is hawk-eyed on the question of his health asked my resident aunt the retired physician to have a look, and she listened with her stethescope and then all of sudden calls were ricocheting up and down New England to my brother the doctor, my sister-in-law, the vacationing doctor, my dad’s actual doctor and his partner who was taking his call that night. One thing led to another and by the same time Friday he had ping-ponged from the middle of the Northeast Kingdom where he lives to a clinic on our east coast (near St. J) and back across to the Big Hospital at Burlington, 80 miles away on our left coast where he has been ensconced ever since, hooked up to monitors and drips and what-not, under treatment for atrial fibrillation.

But I’m not worried about him. He’s got little metal radio-pickups pasted to his chest and four people in front of a bank of monitors down the hall watching every breath he draws, counting every beat of his heart and measuring everything that goes into or comes out of his body. He’s being attended to beautifully, and progressing — albeit slowly. But then he’s 85; his sprinting days are probably behind him.

I’m worried about my mom. She came home for one night (Friday) then packed a bag and headed back over to camp out in his room. Of course I don’t mean literally camping out; he has a roommate so she has to leave at a certain time at night and go to a local hotel.

The local hotel is GREAT, by the way. They offer a HUGE discount (about 60% off) on room rates to relatives of hopital patients, and they run a wonderful little shuttle van from 7 in the AM to Midnight, that takes you over to the hospital and brings you back whenever you want to go visit. WHen she checked in, the concierge asked for my dad’s name also, and always refers to him as “Mr. [vermonter]” when he asks about his progress every morning and night, and even added him to his sunday prayers, which means a lot to my mom.

She spends the day with my dad, and then goes back to the hotel, where she is by herself in the dark. So she gets very lonesome and very worried. At one point we thought he’d be coming home today. For a night or two or three, she’s fine. But now they say not til tomorrow at the earliest — and probably not til Thursday really. And that’s a lot for my mom to manage. She’s almost 80 herself, after all. So I think I am going to go over this afternoon after I do the horse chores and just hang out with her tonight til she falls asleep.

5 thoughts on “Wild Life

  1. Hi. What a nice story about your parents. They are so darn amazing, I happen to be lucky enough to know about that. Mine are in the 80s too and I do worry about them but they are pretty much fine. Thanks for your story, it’s great to know about others’ experiences.


  2. I just found your new blog! I love it, and I love the turtle. It’s definitely a snapper; I know, because I’m scared of them, but I love the photo. I’m hoping your dad is doing well. I think it’s wonderful your mom’s hotel offers discounts to hospital-related guests. Very good Karma-gathering on their part.

    Thanks, Wendy! Nice to see you here! My Dad is infinitely better now. Awkwardly enough, I find it is not my story to tell. So I am wrastling with it.


  3. I hope your father is OK. Doctor Dave knows something about congestive heart failure too. Nice that he’s got such good caregivers!

    This nicely crafted post has touched me in a subtle way that I can’t quite describe … The chipmunk shot is really cute and the turtle (snapper?), amplified by B&G’s commentary, makes me think of two things- 1) if it IS a snapper, then its shell looks smoother than they do down here (in southern northern New England), and b) I haven’t seen the turtles in the road that have usually appeared by now on their egg-laying missions. Odd.

    yeah, i think there is def. something odd going on…spring was way late here…i think that’s part of it…but something’s just Not Quite Right. And that chipmunk shot is just the first of a planned series :o) I am courting him like I courted the one last summer; I don’t think this is the same one, but he’s a quicker learner.

    Somethiing about the peril in which the turtle had placed herself (and who can guess how clearly she grasps it as peril) seemed to go with the story –


  4. Oh my gawd! I can’t believe you have a turtle crossing the road header. Last week, two days in a row, my girlfriend found and relocated two different turtle near the house. There’s a water source down the hill and they are going to live happily ever after.

    Cut to Monday night. We were going out for a beer when she decided to change her mind and go to a place we’d just passed. So she turns into a banks parking lot and, yep, there’s a turtle.

    We leave the truck and, during a thunder and lightening storm, we’re standing in the rain and she’s flipping out. This turtle is larger than the other two (but not as large as the one we moved a year or so ago) and a fighter. When she decides what to do with it we put it in the back of the truck (with her telling me the whole time not to get cut because she doesn’t want to deal with that. She doesn’t want to deal with it? I’m sure I’m not that fond of the idea myself).

    We get to the pond and it’s raining harder with lightning flashing all around us. We get out of the truck and can’t find the turtle. I climb in and it had hidden under some stuff in the bed. I get the don’t be an idiot and bleed on the turtle warning, pull him out of his hiding area, lift him up, jump out of the truck, and start walking toward the waters edge.

    I get to the edge, the turtle is fighting me, my girlfriend is warning me (less about my being bloodless and more about not harming the turtle. That’s usually how this story flows), and I notice, not to far away, bolts of lightening filling the sky.

    As you’d expect, I want to expedite this matter and get my ass a tad further away from the water. The turtle, maybe also not wanting to be in water during a storm, is fighting me. I start to put him down and he backs up towards me. So I walk, yes, closer to the water. Water is slapping on my sneakers as I lean as far as I could and lay him on top of the water. Slowly, as if he was just letting the current take him, the turtle floated away.

    wow! thanks for the exciting story!

    the turtle I snapped — yuk yuk yuk — is the 2nd of FOUR I saw that day — the first one was in my folks’ driveway – i came out of the horsebarn after chores and I saw this big piece of what looked like ledge sticking up at an odd angle and i went over to step it back down into the gravel and it BLINKED AT ME…!

    anyway, i think there must have been a memo. i didn’t get it though. They were ALL out, all over.


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