Monday, July 27, 2009

Knight Gathering: It's all fun and games...

Until someone gets hurt.

Editor's note: I recorded audio for this post because my good friend, Leslie, wrote to tell me - "What I like best about your blog...your could be on radio." And as a guy easily influenced by flattery, I had no choice but to resume recording ASAP. Hey, I need all the fans I can get!]

I have long felt that one certain measure of success in any endeavor is whether all participants have emerged unscathed. "Not getting hurt" are words by which I try to live. And while I'm the first to admit that Jim Morrison was speaking pure truth when he wrote the lyric - "No one here gets out alive" - he did not write "Everybody here is going to end up in the Emergency Room".

But sometimes Life takes us there anyway. I was there just yesterday morning.

To bring you briefly through the weekend at my family reunion: After a Friday night filled with cards and drenched with alcohol, Saturday dawned cloudy and rainy. But the forecast called for better things later in the day, so we proceeded with our plan to spend the day at Kenwood Heritage Park in Cadillac, MI. Cousins B4 & S drove over from Houghton Lake with their mom (Aunt-D) and their families. Sister-S and her family stopped to pick up Grandma on their way to Cadillac. And by about 1 PM, we were all assembled at the park. The Boy and I made a quick run to the local grocery store to pick up the 30 hamburgers, 30 hot dogs and 24 bratwursts I estimated we would consume - along with buns and condiments. As usual, I overbought - but we were able to keep the leftover meat cold and send it back to Houghton Lake with my cousins at the end of the day. After a second straight night of cards and drinking, there was some quick pool time for the kids Sunday morning after breakfast, then packing to check out.

Here's where the excitement begins. When my mom brought Uncle-R some breakfast to his room, he complained of feeling lousy. I stopped by his room a little later to check on him and he said he was starting to feel much better. He told me he'd slept most of the previous night in Cousin-A's room (so that his room with the kitchenette could be used for late-night card play) but had woken up early that morning feeling poorly and decided to head back to his room to try and get a bit more rest. Unfortunately, his room key was giving him problems and he nearly passed out in the hallway - but in the nick of time, the key opened the door and he barely made it to his bed.

Uncle-R told me things had taken a turn for the better around 9 AM - and by the time of our visit (between 9:15 - 9:45 AM), he was feeling better. So I left him to pack up my room, load the car, and get cleaned up for departure. When I emerged from my shower not quite an hour later, The Girl told me that a doctor was in my uncle's room. By the time I had gotten some clothes on, an ambulance had arrived and they had him on a gurney for transport to the hospital. He was shaking and clearly agitated (although he told me that he was not in great pain), so I put my hand on his shoulder while they waited for the elevator and urged him to do what he could to calm himself. When the ambulance headed out of the hotel parking lot a few minutes later, I was the only family member in a position to follow (since most of the others had children to look after or had been interrupted in packing the cars for checkout), so I headed to Mercy Hospital Cadillac with the Girl and The Boy.

I was able to provide the hospital staff with some of the information they needed to formally admit him and after a few minutes was allowed to go back to see my uncle. Although it was unclear what, if anything, the staff there had been able to do for him, Uncle-R was clearly feeling better. He was no longer agitated - but seemed in good spirits, teasing The Boy about wearing his baseball cap at an odd angle - very much as he had seemed to me when I visited his room earlier that morning. Both The Boy and The Girl got a chance to see Uncle-R (to ease their minds); soon Cousin-A and his wife (BK) and two sons had also arrived. I watched their boys so that A & BK could see The Patient, sending The Boy and Girl out to get some food after a bit (since The Boy had slept sufficiently late that he had missed breakfast at the hotel).

At around 1 pm, the medical staff had still drawn no conclusions as to whether Uncle-R would have to spend the night at Mercy Hospital, if he would be discharged, or some other alternative. I offered to BK that I would take their kids and mine to my Grandmother's house (about 45 minutes away) so that they would not need to worry about hospitalized parents and bored children all at the same time. This turned out to be a good plan since the decision to hold Uncle-R overnight and move him to a regular room was not made until very late in the afternoon. Although it was suspected that some malfunction of his pacemaker caused all of Sunday morning's excitement, I still can't confirm that as a fact. Doctors are also concerned about the function of my uncle's kidneys (or lack thereof) and think he may have had a heart attack.

So, at present:

- My uncle remains at Mercy Hospital Cadillac,
- My mother spent the night at her mother's home outside Evart, MI
- The last we saw Cousin-A and his family, they were passing us heading south on I-75
- The Middle-Aged Woman arrived safely home from Chicago before 5 PM local time
- The Girl, The Boy and I arrived home about 9:45 pm from the 2009 Knight Gathering...

Where almost nobody got hurt. So don't you go getting yourself hurt. Or should I say -

Take care.


Cathy said...

I hope Uncle R makes a swift recovery!! Seems like the rest of the weekend was a good time though. I spent about a week up north in indian river after the 4th of July playing euchre got ridiculous

Jim Styro said...

Thanks for sending a positive thought this way. Uncle-R is due to be discharged from the hospital later today and I will provide a further update as I am able. The weekend was nice overall. Hope your time in Indian River was too.