Boilermaker Blog

A Powerful 4 Letter Word


I thought that would get your attention!
Warning, this blog has nothing to do with the Boilermaker nor with running: I have simply hijacked this blog site to tell a personal story.
November 6th was simply the worst day of my life, I received a hysterical call that my son Jack had been found unresponsive and was in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in a Boston hospital.
The 4 hour drive to Boston was a blur as my wife sobbed in the car.
The meeting with the doctor was grim as he prepared us for what we were about to see in the ICU. Nothing prepares you for seeing your son with a breathing tube down his throat, connected to numerous iv tubes and machines that were beeping and alarming.
That night I was pretty much convinced my son was going to die as I sat in his room watching the doctors and nurses continually working on him.
Listen, both of my parents have passed away, that was really bad: thinking about looking at my child in a coffin would be the ultimate horror.
Twenty four hours later: the first tiny, tiny glimpse of hope as the docs managed to begin to get Jack oxygenating.
So we went through the long arduous process of watching Jack slowly heal. The trajectory was not a straight line but a series of forward, backward and, on occasion, sidesteps.
Being thrust into this new universe I had a few observations…
The power of prayer:
The outpouring of prayers was simply amazing. From as close to daily visits by representatives of various faiths to Jack’s room to a candle lit for him at Lourdes Church in Spain. There were a few events that occurred that fly in the face of simple coincidence (the stories are too long to relate in this blog): something happened to help Jack who the nurses called the miracle child!
We all have problems:
I would eat breakfast at the hotel prior to walking to the hospital. After a few weeks the waitress named Annie asked me why I was at the hotel so long- for business?
I said no, my son was in the hospital and I was from out of town- she offered her sympathy and said she would pray from him.
The following day, as I was eating breakfast, I heard a tremendous crash behind me. I turned and saw Annie, the sprawled on the floor: she had tripped over a trash can.
I ran over to help her and checked to make sure wasn’t hurt, I think she was more embarrassed than injured. A few minutes later a waiter came up to me to say thank you for helping Annie- she was going through cancer treatments and this was the second time she had fallen that week.
Every day as I walked to the hospital I would pass: a methadone clinic and a soup kitchen that was a constant mass of folks.
Meanwhile ‘squeegee men’, flower sellers and homeless people with signs worked the street. I always held the squeegee men and flower people in a bit of higher esteem then the beggars in at least it appeared they were offering goods and services!
So it hit me, we are all dragging around our sack of problems: some bags are small some are overflowing.
This fight is personal:
Spending the amount of time as I did in the hospital I began to know a bit about the caregivers.
Many of the nurses (the angels of the ICU as I called them) had kids around my son’s age, and the resident in charge when Jack told me he had a brother Jack’s age.
In the early days at the ICU a janitor came in to pick up the waste containers. He asked me ‘how is your son’? I said ‘better than yesterday’. He replied ‘if there is anything I can do please tell me.’
I was struck by both the honesty and sincerity in his voice.
These people not only cared for my so, they cared about my son.
My son is a huge Buffalo Bills fan and one of his countless friends that came to visit him (bless them) brought a Tyrod Taylor jersey. The ICU nurses put the jersey on Jack and put the Bills game on the TV even though Jack was still a coma. I saw when they touched the jersey they were wearing rubber gloves: I told them just because they were Patriot fans touching the jersey wouldn’t contract a disease. We all laughed!
This experience has produced both those tears of sadness and joy.
So what is that 4 letter word- it’s home (it’s right up there folks with love).
Five weeks after that terrible day November 6th my son came home.
It feels like Christmas merged with Easter I got the most wonderful Christmas present, my son came back to life!
If you have kids- give them a big hug this holiday season!

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