Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Beginning of a Long Journey

Today is the five year anniversary of Josefina’s first surgery. None of us realized that we were embarking on the beginning of a long odyssey for our family that has lasted to this day. It started with her seven month stay in the hospital and then continued with my subsequent flare-up of chronic Lyme disease and aggravated psychiatric problems which I have often discussed openly in this blog.

I had been in remission in 2006, and had felt better than I had in years. Most of the year had been a remarkable time of recovery, energy, and vigorous re-engagement in the work I loved best: classroom teaching. During the whole time that Josefina was in the hospital, I was in crisis mode, and with the help of Eileen's mother, we were able to keep everything running at home and at school. I thought I still felt good, but, really, my engine started to "overheat." The stress was enormous.

Thus, when Josefina finally came home and everything settled, I stopped functioning on adrenaline and had the physical and psychological meltdown that I describe in the first pages of my book, that ended up putting me in the hospital. I remember the sense of irony I felt when Eileen came in with the baby, and I realized that Josefina was visiting me in the hospital. After all those months of seeing her in a hospital crib on tubes and monitors, here I was, suddenly, in a hospital bed on tubes and monitors with a healthy Josefina in her Mommy’s arms looking down at me! It was like some strange dream.

By Josefina's first birthday I was back on medical leave, and on my way to "retirement." I still don't understand all of what happened, or exactly where I am now. Physically I feel much better, but I'm on a very reduced regimen. Medication, therapy, vitamins, diet. Somehow a book got written in the midst of all these recent years. For the past year, I've lived one day at a time, and most of the days have been pretty good.

I don’t take anything for granted, but I am grateful for so much that I have received. Life is precious and amazing. I pray that God make me the husband, father, teacher, mentor, and friend that He wills me to be. Oh yes, and as my parents get older and begin to be needy, I have suddenly remembered again that I am somebody's son (and somebody's brother too).

It keeps me going.