94) Noticing People

Welcome to  my blog!

I am happy you are here.

In the previous post I took 4 giant steps back from the events in my life and pointed my camera instead at what I could see through the lens at the world around me in 2004. In this post you will read at how a visit to Denver Children’s Hospital helped me begin to appreciate the suffering of – not only kids with pain, but parents of those kids that may have lost hope.

Opening Up

As a result Stevie’s disease, I started seeing the world  differently and really open-up to people in similar circumstances.

During one of my son Stevie’s dozens of hospital visits, the one where I realized I couldn’t stay in his hospital room while he was writhing in pain, without Nadine being by my side, I began to wonder what it was like to be a single parent in our situation.

Still Wandering the Hallways

What if I were forced to sit by Stevie’s side while he held my hand, even if I my anxiety induced dizziness and I eventually blacked out? Instead of making a lame excuse and wandering the halls of the hospital when I couldn’t watch him anymore, what if Nadine was not in the room with us and Stevie begged me to stay by his side? Could I?

A Room in the Hallway

On May 2nd of 2004, while visiting Stevie at Denver Children’s Hospital I became aware of other pancreatic patients on the 4th floor – so many of them, in fact, most of an entire hospital wing was allocated to their care. Wondering the hallways, as I often did, I looked into some of the young patients rooms where I observed what appeared to be a young, single, Hispanic Mom sitting bedside – grief-stricken – as only a parent of a child suffering in pain or hopelessness can understand.

Passing by her son’s room – not yet ready to stop and try to support them – a few questions popped into my mind that morning in Denver:

  • Did she have others to help her with her son?
  • Was she aware of the horrible progression in the disease and the pain that lie ahead for her son?
  • Had her calendar become meaningless and instead did she live her life between episodes of pain and hospital visits?
  •  Did she have enough medical insurance?
  • Could I be of service to her to help her understand what lie ahead?
  • With our own problems with Stevie, was I crazy for even considering reaching out to her?
  • Had I grown as a man as a result of my empathy with her and others like her?
  • Was I going soft?
Finding Balance

Free spirit, adventurer, risk-taker, explorer, thinker, man of action, dreamer and screw-up, I was still seeking that balance that would allow me to go out into the world unafraid, purposefully and unapologetically, yet with enough sensitivity to be aware of the suffering and hopelessness of others without myself becoming paralyzed with them in their despair.

So at around the age of 54 – through Stevie’s chronic pancreatitis – I began to really notice people.

Maybe there was hope for me.

Next – An Opportunity to Search for My Life’s Work (My Incredible Good Fortune)


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