Mrs. T Sounds off on Immigration

Two posts by a former Facebook friend of my wife’s caught her attention this evening.  I was up in bed reading and about to fall asleep, when Megan came upstairs hopping mad.  What she had to say was interesting and important enough that I thought I should share it all with you:

Picture from the CBS Story

Megan wrote…

A girl I went to college with, posted a news story about a Hispanic woman that came to the US illegally to give birth to her child. The woman did this so that she would now be a US citizen. The “college friend” was posting this to say how awful it is that “these people” are doing this. I can’t believe that people can be so insensitive and callous. Only after I watched this news segment did I realize how I feel about this situation. Her post led me to write the following, which in turn caused her to “de-friend” me:

It is interesting that you “liked” “don’t judge…you never know what a person’s story is…leave that up to God,” and then you put this up. I feel for this woman and all of the other women, men and children that live in a place we can not even comprehend. I would do everything in my power for my child and I not to be sent back to a horrific situation. If I ever even began to have a rotten attitude about an immigrant, illegal or not, I would quickly ask myself if I would live in the country they are so desperately trying to escape. I guarantee that answer would be “NO”. Do I have the answer for how the US should handle illegal immigrants and the financial issues that come along with the situation? No. But I do know that if God were to one day ask me how I treated people who were trying to come into a free, blessed, wealthy country only to leave a country of heartache, poverty and dead-ends, I would want to be able to say that I showed sympathy and did not turn them away.

Dear Josie, (dad takes daughter to hit golf balls)

Dear Josie,

Last week I picked you up from preschool, and we went to the driving range to hit golf balls.  It was one of those places with softball cages, miniature golf, and laser tag inside.  You’re four now and it was your first trip.  I think your favorite part was right at the start.  You have a little pink bag with three clubs and the bag straps on like a backpack.  You liked carrying your bags into the pro shop like that.  A woman said you were “too cute.”  That was probably the highlight of the afternoon.

So that we would have less chance of bothering people and maybe not firing any golf balls their way, we went to the far end of the line of mats to hit.  The entire range was netted in and there were flags and little greens to aim at.  You said you didn’t want to aim at anything.  You were just going to hit the balls.  You also remarked that it was too bad there were so many balls out there because it would be a good place to run.

Your golf swing varies.  Usually you hunch way over too far and if I try to help you stand up straight, you go all limp and fall back into my arms.  Most of the time, you have about a two-inch back swing that is not so different from your grandfathers, but occasionally you will do a huge, back-twisting one where you pause at the top of your swing and look at me as if it’s some sort of challenge.  In general, you “push” the ball out, twenty yards when you really get hold of one, a foot when you don’t.  I was impressed with how few times you whiffed.  Maybe only three times.  I tried not to think that we paid $13 for the bucket of balls when there were ten or so right in front of us.  We could hit balls for free at the beach, but if we went there you’d rather go play on the playground or look for creatures in the water.  I understand this.  I know to be very patient and am trying not to be “one of those dads.”

I’m not taking you to the driving range because I have great sporting aspirations for you.  I am taking you to the driving range because I’d like to be able to take you as soon as possible out to the local par three so we could spend some time walking up and down the fairways together.  I’m having a hard time at home when what you seem to want to do is play act Disney movies over and over or have me pretend to be the Evil Queen.  We are a lot alike, always on the mental and physical move, but at the moment, we haven’t found a lot to do together.

I think golf can be an enormous waste of time and money, but not if it’s you and me getting to walk and talk.  Golf would also give your mom a break.  You have boundless energy.  The more tired you get the more demanding you get asking to do something else, to play one more game, read one more book, or run a few more laps around the circle of our downstairs.  That’s something you, me, and your sis do together:  we run laps around our downstairs.  Sometimes we even set up obstacle courses.  If you happen to take a nap, your mom and I know we are in trouble.  We will run out of energy way before you.  You and your sis tired us out so much the other day, that we went to bed at 7:58.  I’m sure we were both sleeping by 8:15.  You occasionally announce that we are all going to stay up all night.

Sometimes between your golf shots, you sat down in front of the bucket right there on the mat.  You’d take a long time to put the next ball in position.  I felt like telling you to get up and hurry up, but I kept those thoughts to myself.  We alternated hitting five balls at a time, and when we got down to the last four or so, you asked me if we could go when the balls were all gone.  I said yes, and then you rapid fire hit the rest of the balls out into the range.

On the way back to the car, you decided that you wanted to putt on the putting green.  It was empty of patrons and so I said yes.  I tried to explain that on the putting green, you have to hit the golf ball much more softly.  It is here that you connected with some of your most powerful shots of the day.  You sent the first ball zipping off the green and into the wall of the pro shop behind.  You hit your first few balls completely off the green.  Then, after I tried to coach you again to hit the ball more softly, you hit your next few an inch or two.  Still very determined to be calm, I said it was time to go.  You dropped your putter and took off on a sprint away from me yelling that you didn’t want to go yet.  Once I caught you, you said that you wanted to putt some more.  Back on the green, you got the hang of it and you lagged a few putts up close and putted them in. You were very excited about making the putts and threw one fist up into the air when the ball rattled home.  On the way out to the van, you told me that you never wanted to hit balls again.



Colonoscopy: Part II

I’d call myself—among other things—a nervous urinator.  By this, I mean that whenever I’m a bit anxious, whether it be leading up to giving a talk before a large audience, getting ready to run a half marathon, or sometimes even before going to bed (what?), I feel as if I have to go to the bathroom even though I know I really don’t.  All of these feelings were amplified the Friday at 7:30 in the morning when I was walking past the men’s restroom in the empty second-floor hallway of G.I. Health Specialists of Trumbull, Connecticut.  My nerves were not at all related to what might go wrong.  I believe, to some degree, that a person gets to choose what they think about, and so I tried to interrupt myself every time I caught myself beginning to imagine a perforation or something worse.  Additionally, I think writing and thinking about events can sometimes draw those events into reality.  According to that philosophy, if I’d have thought too much about all that could go wrong, then I might have increased the chances that something would.  Call it superstitious, but that’s my theory, and I believe it works the other way round too, for good stuff.

Following my posting of “Colonoscopy Part I,” I received quite a few messages from people who have a colonoscopy scheduled and what they want to know is what to expect.  I’m thinking—with a nod to the pregnancy book by Murkoff and Mazel—that this piece needs to be more of a What to Expect When You’re Expecting a Colonoscopy. It won’t be the full out book-length version but I’ll go into a little more detail than I first planned.  If you’ve got your upcoming procedure and have a non-medical question, look me up on Facebook, and I’ll see if I can help.

First off, the day before the procedure, there is no eating.  I drank water, a couple cups of coffee, and many many bottles of Gatorade.  I was told that I could “eat” Jello and broth but what’s the use of that?  There’s like 15 calories tops in a serving of Jello.  The day before a colonoscopy is at best a day for a sugar high.  The very tricky part for me was that I was supposed to take the tornado-strong laxative at 3:00, the exact time that I finish teaching my last class which is followed by a commute home which takes over an hour.  The directions called for me to take two pills, wait an hour, and then start drinking this big tub of solution that came in a sort of colonoscopy care package.  The mixture, as my doctor explained, tastes nasty but the good part about it is that you forget that you are very hungry.

My original—VERY BAD—plan was to mix the tub of solution to drink the night before, leave it in the fridge, and then take my pills when I got in the car and be ready to sit next to the toilet by the time I got home.  I had been thinking that the time-delayed laxative would work on a schedule the way I do:  right down to the very correct and planned second.  Fortunately, my wife Megan (who knows even more than my old cross-country buddies that my intestines work on hyper-speed) talked me out of this idea.

My revised plan was to let my students out of class a little early, then take my pills halfway home, giving myself thirty minutes or so to make it into the initial vicinity of my toilet.  Even with this revised plan, I was unable to pull the trigger of popping the pills into my mouth.  In my mind’s eye, I could see traffic slowing to a stop just as the pills went down my throat.  Would I just go in my pants?  Pull over to the side of the road and look for cover?  I didn’t take the pills until I was rounding the final corner of my last curve on Interstate 95.

Fifty three minutes later—I timed it—I made my first trip to the bathroom.  That was followed by my first chugging of the cleansing.  I chose the cherry flavor and am not sure it was of any taste benefit.  It was like spraying potpourri into a stanky bathroom.  The stanky smell stays but now it hints of rotting wildflower.  I went to the bathroom ten or so times in the next three hours and drank from the tub every fifteen minutes.  I was chugging the stuff well over an hour.  I went to bed early and then rose to go to the bathroom around midnight.  Then I went again around 6:00 a.m. and right before I left for my 7:30 a.m. appointment.  Only the first and maybe the second was really anything like having a bowel movement.  Actually my hiney had turned into a kind of nuclear power water gun which I fired into our toilet.

In that empty hallway of my G.I. specialist, I stood there looking at the “Men” sign on the restroom door, then I started to go in.  Next, I told myself, you don’t have to go.  You’ve had practically fifteen bowel movements in the past twelve hours. I walked ten or so steps down the hall to where the office was.  I didn’t even have to go to the hospital for this, just a special room with what I’d imagined to look like a dentist’s chair or one of those ones where a women’s legs are put in stirrups so she can be examined.  (I think I remember something like this from when my wife was pregnant.) Of course in my imaginings I’d have to be placed face-down in this special colonoscopy chair.

I stopped walking to office, turned around, and came back to the restroom door.  I almost went in.  I’d heard that I’d be given something to help me relax and that short term memory loss was a likely side effect of this drug.  I thought of women being given this drug for childbirth.  I’d read or imagined that bit of info too.  As you can see, I read just enough about certain topics to be dangerous.  I thought of women howling in pain but forgetting later about what they’d felt.  I wondered about feeling intense suffering in the moment but not remembering that you’d suffered.  Would this be a benefit?  Would one want to remember their suffering or not?  It all made me feel as if I was in the Matrix or that other movie, Vanilla Sky. Did I want a dreamy colonoscopy or did I want reality?

Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not trying to connect the pain of colonoscopy (there didn’t turn out to be any) with childbirth.  I’m just telling you what I was thinking about before I went in.  I was also thinking about my bowels and that if I was given something to relax then did that mean that my bowels would relax too?  I remembered that my doc had said he’d done thousands of these.  I figured whatever I might do had surely already happened over his experience.  I might or might not remember.  I decided to go on into the office and forget one last attempt on the can.

For some reason, I’d imagined that it would be my doctor and an assistant that would be in the office waiting for me, but there was a lot more action than that.  There were at least five or six people behind the desk, all of them women and obviously used to being up early on Friday morning.  I was asked who was picking me up and for that person’s phone number.  I told the woman behind the counter that my wife was picking me up, and then without yet realizing it, I gave the nurse my phone number.  She asked me if I had a living will or some other directive. I told her no and shrugged those questions off the way I’d shrugged off signing waivers before running marathons:  I tried not to think of it. I succeeded almost immediately.

There was one other man already there, a lot older than me.  I’m thirty-nine by the way.  Doc says if I was a few years younger then he wouldn’t have even bothered with the procedure; a few years older and he’d have wanted to do it for sure.  I was a tweener, I guess, when it comes to colonoscopies.  A woman about my age came in with her friend after that.  She got into a long thing with the nurse about her husband living all the way across the country in the state of Washington so he could work.  Talk about a long commute.

On the flat screen in the waiting room there were videos of colonoscopies being shown.  Mostly it was just fleshy pink insides with a light worming its way into a dark tunnel in the distance. I thought of this as a sort of “best of” compilation of the doctors previous colonoscopies.  I hoped that once inside I’d get to see my own procedure, perhaps even be able to make some suggestions towards the final production.

Sorry that this has gone on so long. I really do hope that Part III will be the last of this.