Sunday, November 1, 2009
Life Lessons...by Sam Mayer
I was looking forward to a restful 4 day weekend with my family. The kids were off of school Thursday and Friday and the weather was going to be okay but then as I have learned over the years...life happens.
Sam and I headed out on Friday to get the emissions checked on my car. We had gone about 2 blocks from our house when Sam announced that he had to go potty. I was kind of annoyed because I always encourage him to go before we leave, but he was insistent so I turned around and headed back home. Sam went into the bathroom and I noticed there was a message on my answering machine. I played the message and heard my Mom say she was taking my Dad to the hospital, that the doctor asked them to go there right away. I was immediately worried but wanted to hug Sam for his sixth sense in knowing that we had to return home.
I picked up my daughter from her friend's house so she could watch Sam and I rushed over to the hospital. As I drove, I frantically called my husband, my sister and my two brothers to let them know what was going on. I didn't want to panic or panic them but I live close to our parents and I am in contact with them sometimes daily. On Tuesday I had stopped over to bring my Mom a few presents from Door County for always helping to watch Sam, even at a moments notice. She met me as I got out of the car and told me not to bring Sam in because my Dad had the flu. As I drove away, my gut feel told me something more was wrong. I knew my Mom and Dad had their flu shot in September and at their age they would have received the vaccine or would have already been exposed to H1N1. I continued to follow up with my Mom twice a day to check up on how my Dad was doing. My Mom told me that my Dad was very weak, ached and had diarrhea. It sounded like the flu...on Thursday night my Dad ate dinner and said he was feeling better but then woke up at 3:00 a.m. and told my Mom something wasn't right.
On Friday my Mom took him to the doctor and the doctor asked that he be taken directly to the hospital. As I walked into the hospital my mind was racing and when I found my parents at the admissions desk I was completely taken aback by my Dad's appearance. My Dad is 6'2" and always has a tan complexion. Even at the age of 80 most people would say my Dad looks much younger than his years and quite healthy. The man who sat in the chair was gray in color and it is the first time I have ever seen my Dad look frail. The color wasn't just gone from his face even his arms looked white.
They wheeled him up to his room in a wheelchair and the barrage of tests began, blood tests, X-Rays, Upper GI, Colonoscopy and even swallowing a pill with a camera inside. With the IV and the 3 units of blood his color began to return on Friday night. His spirits were good and I left still worried but optimistic. My brother, sister and Mom were in the room when I left and I told him to behave himself and not give the nurses such a hard time. But what I should have done is something Sam would have done without even having to think about it...I should have hugged my father and told him I loved him. But unlike Sam...I had to think about it, if I told him would he wonder if I thought he wasn't going to make it, would my family think I'm overreacting...why haven't I learned from Sam, why didn't I just do what comes so naturally to Sam? I beat myself up about that all night...the what ifs kept haunting me...I even woke myself up thinking the phone was ringing and my mom was calling with bad news.
Sam has been hugging my parents and telling them he loves them from the day he could. We sometimes wondered if he knew something we didn't, like our time was getting short with them. As his speech progressed he would regularly tell my parents he loved them. It's no wonder they have always enjoyed their time with him. Sam may be a boy of few words but his perception skills are not impeded by his lack of speech. When I came home from the hospital Sam gave me a hug, I told him PaPa was better and that he would see him soon. Sam didn't make much out of that and went back to playing. Later when I was putting him to bed, we said our prayers, as we got to the part praying for Grandma and Grandpa, Sam unfolded his hands and hugged me...through tear filled eyes I finished his prayers and again thanked God for sending this amazing little boy to be a part of my life.
The next day when I went back to the hospital I made sure that when I left that night I gave my father a hug and a kiss and I told him I loved him. Today my Dad came home from the hospital and we are thankful that he seems to have stabilized. Sam will be so excited to see Grandpa tomorrow so he can give him a hug and kiss...probably multiple times during our visit. The beauty of Sam is that he never worries about what people will think or say, his actions are honest and sincere. When he hugs you, you know you've been hugged, he says "Hi" to everyone never once thinking should I?? Sam often encourages people to shake hands, hug or dance together. Sam dances whenever he hears music, he sings even though it is hard for him to keep up with the tempo of his favorite country songs, he lives with every intention of enjoying his life.
I always say that Sam is desperately trying to teach me so much. I just have to experience, understand and learn from his life lessons. I often need reminding or a little extra push from him to make the lesson stick. But he never gives up on me...another life lesson that only Sam can teach. Thank you Sam and thank you God!