Wednesday, February 15, 2012

No Wonder...

When I was four years old I was riding in our big white station wagon with a green stripe. I was on the front seat sitting on my feet, almost kneeling. It was just my mother and I and we were heading to Sharon School in Orem to pick up Brian. At least I think that's what we were doing. I was four after all. Anyway Mom slammed on the brakes for some mysterious reason and launched me into the windshield. Seat belts in 1961 were optional and if you had them at all they were usually tucked into the seats themselves. Car seats as we know them today did not yet exist. It would be years later before it would be an automatic response to buckle up--even after this incident.

So anyway I hit the front windshield and it broke. Lots of little cracks where my head hit and spider-webbing out from there. I think my mother said, oops and mildly told me to sit on my seat the right way. Ok she may have shown a little more concern, but my mother doesn't rile. Years later Mom  visited Sweden and felt right at home. She said she understood why the Swedes were neutral during the war. That Swede demeanor made it always seem like nothing was worth making too big of a fuss over. We continued on, picked up my brother, and did not go to the doctor. There were lots of jokes made at church and in the family about me being so hard-headed that my head broke the windshield but hardly a bruise on me.

Fifty years later--Valentine's Day. Yesterday. I lay on a table to get at MRI on my neck. Years ago I had one on my head because of a life-long problem with migraines. Now its discovered that I--at some point in my life--had whiplash so severe that it damaged my neck. My neck not only doesn't have the gentle curve its supposed to, it actually curves the wrong way. Doctor Clegg says it's no wonder I've had headaches my whole life. Well lots of people have headaches in my family, so it can't all be from whiplash. But if you've ever had an MRI and if you're the least bit claustrophobic as I am, then you'll know understand the following tips for making your MRI a bit more pleasant. If you haven't had an MRI know that you lie down on a table that moves into a space ship like tube--or a casket--take your pick. You have to be immobile for up to 40 minutes and you have a cage around your head, at least in this case. The tips would have helped me.

1. Wear comfortable and just the right temperature of clothing, not binding and women preferably no bra, then you won't have to undress.

2. Wash your hair before so that your scalp doesn't itch. Reaching up and discovering the cage on your head is freak-out time.

3. Don't think about any space alien abduction movies. Don't think about any movies where they replace your brain with someone else's or do any other kind of operation about mind-control. Don't think about Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Stepford Wives or Close Encounters. Don't think about any medical thrillers either.

4. Don't think about what it must feel like to be put in a casket alive.

5. No matter what don't open your eyes! Freak-out time. You see the cage around your face.

6. Don't eat Mexican food the night before--really poor choice. 

7. Choose a radio station that doesn't have super annoying commercials. (They will pipe this into your ears for you--I recommend it. I also wonder if you could bring your own play list. If I ever have to have another this is what I'd do.

8. Remember if you hit the panic button, you'll just have to do it all over again. This one though kept me from squeezing the button in my right hand. And believe me it isn't like they can pick up where they left off. They really have to start over. If that doesn't freak you out I don't know what will.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Remembering Joshua Discuillo's smile . . .

Grief is a personal journey. I know this. Being on the fringe of young Joshua's happy life reminded me. Three years after someone I didn't know lost his life, I still grieve. I still feel his loss as physically as if a rock were lodged in my chest--never knowing when a memory will spill up to the surface. Leaving me hollow. Do all witnesses of tragedy absorb loss and the images into their physical and spiritual beings? I doubt it. Or I hope not. If they did we wouldn't have emergency responders, police and firefighters. Or maybe they've just learned how to sort through and honor their experiences and tragic events and file them away for safe-keeping.

It helps to know he was happy. I know he was because we sat on a couch with his family and watched his happiness flash on a television screen. Dozens and dozens of photos showing him as a toddler with a mischievous smile and on and on until the DVD ended at an image of him with a special friend at temple square taken just two months before his life ended. It was obvious he brought light to his family and friends. You could see that in his face and in the faces of each family member. The pride and joy. The hope.

I was counseled to replace the images of the accident with those of life. Now when I think of Josh, the thing that stood out from every picture of him was his smile, a great big smile. My guess is that he shared that smile with everyone. It helps me to have spent a special day with his family to honor him. It helps to exchange emails and Facebook exchanges, posts, and messages with his oldest sister over the course of many months after her brother's death. Though I haven't met her in person, seeing her joy as a young wife and mother must bring that magical smile to Josh's face now. I have to believe he sees that. His sister told me her brother was her best friend. What an honorable thing to be your sister's best friend. That is a great example to me. Know that this Valentine's Day, I will once again be thinking of Josh Discuillo. Not his death, but his smile.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Taking a Break

I have been spending a lot of time since Christmas, writing, studying, editing, and reading. It's been great. Today however, I took a break and went skiing with my other potter friends. K & Kerri Rasmussen. We met a hundred years ago--well when we were students at USU which was almost a hundred years ago. Anyway over the years Kerri and I have become really good friends. We put up with K. I know Kerri will read this to him and they will laugh about that. It's great that they include me whenever I can tag along. We had a nice day.