Monday, December 22, 2008

Journal Entry numero Dos

This is another journal entry. We were suppoused to write it about a place. Any place at all. Somewhere we were happy, somewhere we were sad. Somewhere that mad us angry, somewhere that made us joyful. Somewhere we went on vacation, somewhere we went everyday. Just somewhere.
This is what I wrote.

One place I will always remember is the ENT, outpatient surgery, and library wings of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. They hold good memories, and bad. A good one, the best, is from one day, about a week before the start of my ninth grade year. I traveled with mom, dad and Jonah to Cincinnati Children’s to see Dr. Shot, Jonah’s ENT. Once Dr. Shot saw Jonah and did a mini evaluation she was done with him, ready to talk to my mom about the upcoming surgery.
I had to take Jonah and do something with him. Dad was sitting in the waiting room, playing games on his HandHeld, so that wouldn’t keep Bug (Jonah’s pet name) busy. And he kept pointing out the door. He wanted to go. To leave. To be out of this place.
So for the next hour or so, we ran. Jonah was in his stroller and we ran up and down the wings, me pushing, him enjoying the ride. Back and forth, up and down, left to right, wherever. We stopped at the end, or when a doctor gave us a “you-ought-not-do-that” look. The whole time, the only sounds I remember were Jonah’s giggles.
Jonah doesn’t laugh like most people. His laugh is different, sticks out to everyone. He doesn’t laugh from his stomach, but it’s not from his nose either. The only way I can describe it is from the back of his throat. It’s almost like a bowl of rice crispies on steroids. It cracks and pops, very quick, and is always a giggle. There is no way for anyone who has never heard Jonah laugh to comprehend how it sounds. But I remember that day, the only day in the past year he has laughed so hard. The only day in the past year I have laughed so hard. I was breathless and sweaty. But I was content. Really and truly content. And there is no way I could ever forget that feeling.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I have had an epiphany.

Now, this doesn’t happen often, and when it does I usually get a good bit of writing out of it, but we’ll see. I don’t like to promise those sorts of things, because you all come to expect them of me. What kind of writer can write on expectations? None I say! No one can write with readers bearing over their shoulder, breathing down their neck, bursting the imaginary bubble. It’s impossible.

So I’m not promising anything good to come from this epiphany. Nothing at all. In fact, this post may be so horrible that you want to stop reading right here and now, never to pick it up again. I wouldn’t blame you if you did, really. You never know what sort of turn it may take.

Then again, it could be a marvelously wonderful post, the most amazing one you have ever read. And in that case I would not advise you to stop, as you may never run into anything as breath taking. Who knows the next time you will see something written so amazingly? Who’s to say the next time you’ll run across something so superb? I surely can’t.
My guess, though, is that this post will run down the middle. It will just be okay. Then again, I am a little biased as I have written it. So my opinion may not mean much. Take it with a grain of salt, eh? Which is something I’ve never understood. Why would you only take it with one grain of salt? That won’t make it any better; it will just make it the tiniest bit gritty. It won’t add flavor, it will just be a pain to shake the salt shaker and only get out one piece of salt, but I digress.

Actually, I am way off topic. What was the post supposed to be about again? Oh, right.

I have had an epiphany*.

Today is my grandmother’s birthday (happy birthday, Nana.). And on my way home from school earlier, after being thrilled because I got to leave early (as I didn’t have to take my afternoon final) I was wondering “Why is it that we wish other people Happy Birthday?” Is a birthday really any different then any other day? You wake up, roll over, turn off the alarm, go back to sleep, wake up again, turn off the alarm, force yourself out of bed, fall face first onto the ground just like any other day. There’s nothing special about a birthday, really. There’s no bubble around you yelling “THIS IS A PRINCESS, IT’S HER BIRTHDAY.” That just doesn’t happen.

So why is it that people feel the compulsion to wish others a Happy Birthday. And then I got to thinking some more, and I was contemplating the whole birthday idea. We’re another year closer, another year closer to being 6 feet under. We’ve lost yet another 365 days, never to be able to get them back. Another summer, another winter, another fall and another spring are all gone, now only a memory. Really, this is an occasion for mourning, not celebrating! We should be sad to lose all this time, for it to slip by so quickly.

About this time, I had the epiphany. I realized, that when people wish us happy birthday, they don’t really care about the birthday. They just don’t want us to be sad, because we’ve lost the time. They want us to be happy that we’ve had it, and that we can reflect upon it. They want us to rejoice in the things we have been given in that time, the relationships we have made, the good times we have shared. Yes, it is truly sad that those things are gone, but more will come. We must remember those good times, and look forward to the ones ahead.

You know, people are really thoughtful.

*That is a BUGGER of a word to type.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Journal Entry

I wrote this last year, as a journal entry for english class.
We had to recall a childhood memory.

I scarcely recall my childhood. There are few things that I can recall in full detail. I do remember very thoroughly when Jonah had his second heart surgery. As it was seven years ago, I don’t remember much of the conversation, but the events come back like they happened yesterday.
What first comes back is being picked up from my aunt and uncle’s house. Excitement flooded through me. We were getting to see Mom and Dad and Jonah! Finally! Nana warned us we may not get to see Bug (Jonah’s pet name, the whole family uses) as he was still very sick, and if he got a cold or some sort of infection, he could die. Adults could see him, because their healthier then kids. But with our age, we don’t fight of sickness as well. Thinking back, this is kind of scary. Not about our immune systems, but because we understood what she meant. At the tender age of six, we knew how little our immune systems worked, and how much less Jonahs did. Of course, being the children we were, my brother, Jacob, and I assured her we were in no way sick. We didn’t get sick when Jonah was. It didn’t happen. Or at least, that’s what the adults wanted to think.
After we left my aunt and uncles, we scurried home to pack, and were off to Indianapolis. This is one of the first memories I have of calling hospitals by the cities they are in. Riley’s Children’s Hospital is Indianapolis. Kosair’s Children’s is Louisville, Cincinnati Children’s is Cincinnati. Now days, when I’m musing to myself, something commonly heard is “wonder if mom talked to Cincinnati today…” and people are often rightly confused. ‘She talks to cities?’ is the most common inquiries, with a ‘Not exactly…’ to follow.
So we were on the way to Indy, ready to see mom and dad and Bug. I have fleeting memories of the drive up there. High spirits, morning sun, longing for the day to go by quicker, the joy of seeing a soon to birth mother. I remember mom being VERY pregnant when they left for the surgery, due in about a month. That was one of the most exciting things about them coming home. The new baby. The most exciting part for me was the fact that I would be able to remember this baby. But not just remember him. I remember when Jonah was born. He was sick, and kind of scary looking. I didn’t get to see him until he was about two weeks old. And then, we couldn’t touch the baby. Couldn’t play to loud, the baby was sleeping, or mommy was sleeping. Couldn’t look straight at the baby, the incision on his chest was icky (after he was 3 months and had his first surgery). This baby I would remember. This baby we would have happy memories of.
The next scene I recollect was walking into the hospital. A big open area, decorated as a children’s hospital should be. I remember feeling satisfied, like this was the right hospital for Jonah. We’d done good this time. Upstairs was the waiting room daddy usually slept in. Mom couldn’t sleep on a leather couch in her condition, so dad drew the infinite short straw, so to speak.
Jonah looked so sick. Laying in his hospital bed, he just looked so helpless. One of the biggest things this heart surgery did for Jonah was take away some of his speech. His vocabulary of 30 words went back down to 11 or 12 words. One of the words lost was my name. I went from ‘Arah to yeah. Which I was up until about a year ago, when I went back to ‘Arah, or ‘Issy. It broke my heart, when Jonah couldn’t say my name. That kid is my light, my joy. And when he couldn’t tell the world who I was… it was awful. I recall that more and more today then I did then, and it bothered me bits and pieces at first. But now it pains me terribly. He just recently had another heart surgery. I didn’t tell anyone about it, but I was so scared he would lose it again. That he wouldn’t be able to say my name. That I would never be ‘Arah again. Always Yeah. Always. It scared me to no end. And there for about a week, two weeks or so after his surgery, he did. He called me Yeah. And every time he did I almost cried. But only for about a week, and then it was ‘Arah again.
When we were younger, and to this day, anytime Jonah is in the hospital, we go to some sort of museum, or zoo, or aquarium. Usually it’s a Children’s Museum. The one in Louisville is the most prevalent. I recall going to the one in Indianapolis a time or two, and I’m pretty sure we went now. I don’t have many of those memories logged in my data bank. Though, I do remember feeling guilty. Poor little Bug had to lay in the hospital sick, while the rest of us went out, and had a good time. It made me sad to think my little brother had to go through the pain of surgery to begin with, and then to be deprived that chance too.
Staying in hospitals did the same thing. We always had a pool of some sort growing up, and staying in a hotel did the same thing. Jonahs favorite thing in the WORLD was swimming. Still is. And being in a hotel meant we got to swim. Which made me feel awful. Jonah couldn’t swim with us. My poor little buddy, couldn’t come with us.
The only other thing I remember about that trip was the way home. We were driving with my grandpa. Dad and Nana stayed with Jonah, who came home two or three days later. But on the way home, either just before or just after we stopped to eat, mom went into labor. It was very light, contractions pretty far apart, but they came quicker as the evening progressed. She went in the next day and had doctors slow it down with medications. A baby was a family thing, and the whole family should be there for it. So there would be no baby until dad and Jonah got home. End of story.
My memories of childhood happened mostly at other people houses, or in different cities. Though this is sad, I was a happy little kid, making the best of the time I had with my family and with my friends. Jonah will always be a big part of my life, sometimes the only one keeping me in high spirits, and his hospital days will always stay stored in the filing cabinet known as my memory.