Sometimes We Get A Second Chance-Part 3 Talking To The Dead

Talking To The Dead

I can recall just about every little thing about that night. But ask me about the trip from the emergency room to the operating theatre and I draw a blank. One minute were in the emergency room the next minute I’m standing in front of the surgeon listening to him explain the procedure, that it would take about an hour and that he had a 95% success rate. Fair enough, I signed all the necessary documents and away they went.

I took a seat in the empty waiting area. Dirty Harry had just started on the TV. It was about half an hour later when I was joined by Anne, Ken’s partner and Joyce his sister. They had been given the news. Chances were that he wouldn’t see out the night. I was devastated for them. They asked about my Dad and they were equally sympathetic for my situation. They explained to met that Ken had lung disease even though he had given up smoking and drinking some 25 years ago. His problems went back many years and they noted that they would be happy for him to go if it meant he wouldn’t have to suffer any more. Brave words.

About an hour passed and they were taken in to see him. Not long after my father’s surgeon walked out of theatre passed me a piece of paper,photos of the procedure and said “All fixed!”. I waited a further hour or two before I was able to see him. I walked into ICU for the first time in my life. Not a pretty place at the best of times let alone 3am. Dad looked comfortable and the nurse reassured me that everything appeared to be alright. I stayed for an hour or so before deciding to leave. Prior to doing so I asked about Ken. I didn’t realise but he was in the bed next door and it had been a hive of activity.The nurse re-iterrated Anne’s words. It’s not looking good.

The next morning dad was awake and doing better. He had been in a very bad way and was now on the path to recovery. I told him about Ken his neighbour who was still with us barely.

Dad continued to improve over the next couple of days.

On the third day when I arrived to visit my dad I noticed Ken was sitting in a chair and was talking to Anne. I stayed with my dad for a bit over an hour until it was time to leave. I stopped outside Ken’s cubicle he was seated with his eyes closed though they seemed to open as soon as I stopped in front of him. I said hello and he just looked at me as if to say “who the fuck is this bloke”. I moved towards him and quickly explained how I had been in the emergency room when they brought him in and that I had also met his partner and sister. I asked him how he was doing. He said that apart from the “ambos” breaking his ribs he was feeling alright. I told him that I wouldn’t be putting all the blame on the “ambos” that chances were that one of the ten or so doctors that took turns on him may have something to answer for. He looked at me surprised “really?”

“I really didn’t expect to be talking to you” I told him. I wished him well and was on my way.

I won’t forget that friday night for as long as I live I was fortunate enough to see a man brought back from death’s door and as an added bonus I got to chat to him a few days later.

My dad is also back at home and doing fine.

Sometimes We Get A Second Chance-Part 2

It’s about to get very crowded in here.

I didn’t think much of it. I had spent the last 7 hours with my Dad and just making sure he was being looked after as best as possible. It had been decided that he was to have a surgical procedure done and all the doctors were confident that this would eliminate the source of the infection plaguing his body.

It was some 5-10 minutes later when the doors flung open. A bed was wheeled in completely surrounded by doctors. The patient,Ken was in his mid to late sixties. One doctor was operating a ventilator, another was performing chest compressions whilst another kept count all whilst moving. When they settled into position Mark, the senior doctor on shift took control. Handing out instructions with a professionalism and ease which just blew me away. Cool under pressure would be an understatement.Here was someone who had clearly been in this role on more than one occasion.

They continued to administer CPR for well over an hour. During which time they administered numerous injections of adrenalin, hooked up a multitude of sensors, inserted tubes down his throat, in his arms, all the while continuing the compressions. A queue of doctors had formed at the end of the bed and they were lined up to take turns at doing the compressions. At one stage I counted twelve doctors. Whilst some of them were waiting for their turn to do compressions they helped keep count. Others ensured that nothing had been missed. They were all covering each others arse. Nothing like the movies or TV. A few compressions a quick zap with the good old “CLEAR” pads and we all live happily ever after. It was clear to me that this was going to be a long and exhausting process that would go on for some time.

I turned to Jenny “the Gem nurse” and asked what she thought.

“It doesn’t look good” she replied.

This was the closest I had ever been to someone who was “knocking on heavan’s door”. I felt certain that the door would soon open.

We chatted somewhat casually whilst all this was going on.

“It can all change just like that hey” I said to her.
“Yep. People in the waiting room don’t understand that when something like this is going on all the docs are helping out. Imagine two or three at once.”

I found it hard to imagine but the likelihood was all to real.

Whilst all this was going on. I heard a loud moaning coming from the corridor outside. A few moments later an ambulance officer stuck his head in.

“I’ve got two bottles of Vodka, a swim at North Beach and washed up on the rocks for ya”

Shortly after they wheeled him in. Jenny went over to attend to him at which point all she got was “FUCK OFF” which was shortly followed by him spitting in her face. He then got up and took off down the corridor in only his underwear. I couldn’t believe it. I wanted to give chase and knock him out. How dare he do such a thing.

Quite frankly it was all becoming a bit too much for me. My father was delirious with fever, the guy next to him had just spent the last couple of hours having his chest pumped by a team of doctors and now this pisshead maniac had come in and caused havoc in the middle of it all. I would be glad to see the back of this place.

They soon had the maniac back…. with the aid of two security guards. They proceeded to sedate him and look after his various injuries. It was around this time that I overheard a discussion between Mark,the head doctor and one of the others. They were going outside to talk to Ken’s partner and his sister. It was around this point that we got the call that theatre was ready for my dad. Jenny,myself and an assistant began to make our way out just as Ken’s partner and sister walked in. I turned and watched them as they stood for a moment at the end of his bed turned and walked out.

I had arrived at 3pm it was now 11:45pm.

to be continued.

Sometimes We Get A Second Chance-Part 1

The last time I attended the emergency department of Wollongong Hospital was back in September 2012. I had taken my mate Bob there to get looked at. Unfortunately his time was soon to be up and he left us 10 weeks later. So when my mum rang me at 3pm on Friday afternoon to tell me that she had called an ambulance for my father and that he was on his way to Wollongong I thought to myself here we go again. This thought lingered, whilst I waited to be permitted to see him. … Never a good sign. They told me they were getting him settled… Yeah Right

Thirty minutes passed and I was permitted to go through. This time I was greeted by a doctor at the entrance to a Room separate from the rest of the emergency department. Another ominous sign. He told me that he was in a bad way and that they were just trying to get him settled. He had a bad infection somewhere and they had just pumped him with everything they had. He allowed me to enter. My father looked like he was possessed by some demon. His temperature and blood pressure were through the roof he clearly had no idea what was happening. The Fever had him.

It wasn’t long after first entering that the Doctor looking after him, Denson introduced himself and proceeded to ask me “THE QUESTION”. For those who haven’t been in this situation before. “THE QUESTION” is….If something further where to happen or go wrong with your loved one, how far would you like the medical staff to go. It’s quite standard practise these days. For me there was no hesitation. You do whatever it takes. Break ribs stick tubes in whatever… you do it. He’s been in hospital before but never in this type of situation. I felt it would have to be first time lucky for him.

Over the next four hours some 6 doctors came to asses my dad. They concluded that there was a stone lodged in one of the ducts that runs between his Bladder and Liver. They felt that this was the most likely cause of the infection that was terrorising his 75 year old body and that it had most likely been festering for about a week.

Approximately 7 hours after arriving steps where being taken to have him go into surgery. The on-call surgeon was on his way along with the anaesthetist and two theatre nurses. It was around this time that a nurse stepped into the room. Up until this stage it had just been myself,my dad,Jenny the Gem(Champion Nurse) and the doctors who were treating my father.

She cast a gaze over the room which had room for another two patients. Turned to Jenny and said.

Its about to get very crowded in here.

The Weekly Train Ride

For the last 10 weeks or so I’ve been making a mid week pilgrimage to Sydney to do a screenwriting course,and also a couple of blogging seminars. You see I’ve had this dream for as long as I can remember, from around the time I learnt how to read and write. I distinctly recall saying to myself with reference to the bible. “If the written word is the truth then one day I will write my own” or words to that effect. I dreamt of being a writer.

Like so many of us that’s where my dream remained, lost in a childhood memory. About 10 years ago whilst travelling around Europe I tried to make a start and that’s all it was. I wasn’t in the right place. I couldn’t remain settled enough to do anything worthwhile. Andorra, Spain(Ibiza),Ireland to name a few have a lot to answer for. But I still had my dream. It remained lost for another 5 years or until I attended my first screenwriting course, again it was only a start. The distractions of a so called “normal everyday” life drew me away from chasing my dream and back to reality. What was I thinking? Stick to what you know. Slug it out and you’ll be right. That may be so. Though for me what can be distinguished as right doesn’t necessarily equate to happy.

My day starts as normal around 6am I head off to the Servo(Petrol Station)Cringila first. I then go about dealing with the day to day grind of paying bills, chasing money,placing orders and generally dealing with any other issues that may arise. I then do this at my other site at Corrimal,time permitting.There are always dramas when running your own business. ALWAYS!

So around 3pm I jump in the car and drive to Waterfall Station from Wollongong. It’s at this point that everything changes for me. I am able to relax, I can have something to eat without being disturbed, I can catch up on some work or I can WRITE! I am chasing my dream.

Chasing your dream is not without its dangers. I have to contend with the dreaded “Hunchbackers”.They are as the name suggests a species that are relatively easy to detect as they are constantly haunched over, head down all focus and attention on an electronic device of some kind.They come in all ages,shapes,colours and sizes and the closer you get to the city the greater their numbers. Town Hall station at peak hour is almost a no-go zone for Straightbackers(me).The problem with being surrounded by Hunchbackers is that you can be overcome with an irresistible urge to take out your own electronic device, so as to not stand out from the crowd and maybe accidently engage in a conversation which would disturb the other Hunchbackers. A big NO-NO. I change trains at Town Hall I only have two stops to go before my destination. I am still surrounded but I know that I am close and I know that if I can make it to Wynard I’m home free because once we start to cross the bridge there’s nothing that’s going to stop me from looking out over the harbour. I often find myself being the only passenger looking out the window as we cross the bridge first gazing out towards the Opera House and then Luna Park. Regardless of the time of day or the weather it always looks amazing.

Once I land at Milsons Point I know that I am safe. I am closer than ever to my dream and the Hunchbackers have made way for Straightbackers going for an evening stroll,walking the dog or just going about their business.

Travelling to Sydney each week is only part of the equation for me, there are many others, diet and exercise to name a couple. They all work together and none are easy on their own. You need a co-ordinated effort in order to chase your dream and my weekly train ride is a small but integral part of that chase.

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View from writers centre. Not bad! Photo doesn’t do it justice.

Fill her up please.

Hello and welcome to my very first post. Most exciting!

About me and what I hope to achieve through this blog.

Antonio(Tony) Barea 40 year old single white male. Aussie born Spanish heritage. Never married. Yes I know this isn’t a dating service. Service station operator(two of them as if one wasn’t enough)part time screen writer, writer ,story teller,now blogger, depression  and anxiety sufferer(recovering),former regular binge drinker and gambler. I currently live at home with my parents although this hasn’t always been the case. Yes I can cook but I am currently not required to do so thanks to my caring Spanish mother.

Perhaps its just me,  but I’m finding that most people are looking for something…… something extra from life, from the day to day to grind,the way they feel physically, mentally, spiritually. I see it every day, people from all walks of life just waiting to be engaged to feel like someone has done that little bit extra to even just have a chat, a kind word, a smile.

On occasion I will fill one of my customers cars with petrol for them just like in the “good ole days.” The response I get is remarkable, and whilst it is only a simple act you get the sense that there is something deeper to this whole concept of doing something for someone even this simple courtesy which was once the norm. I get a buzz from it along with a sense of connection with my customers which is on a completely different level.

I want to share some of my experiences both past and present as I feel that by doing so I can help both male readers faced with similar difficulties that I have faced and also women who may have a partner, friend or relative that they would like to help or at least better understand.As a bonus I will also be able to let you know if and when petrol prices are going up or down.

I’ve undergone a complete transformation in the past 3 months. I went cold turkey from my anti-depressant medication Pristiq (thats a story in itself) I stopped drinking alcohol completely, stopped smoking which I had taken up again over the last 6 months after having been off them for almost three years. Reduced my three sometimes four double shot short black espressos a day to zero. Completely transformed my diet from a pizza,potato,pie eating monster to simply meat and veg(no potato) or bread. Iv’e lost approx 10kgs without lifting a weight or jumping on a treadmill and as a result I’m feeling better than I’ve felt in years. Physically and mentally.

But this journey is at its infancy and its important to mention that I haven’t got to were I am at on my own. I’ve been fortunate enough to have been able to engage the services of a life coach, Coach Dee, make that Super Coach Dee. I will share more of what I have been through with Coach Dee in future posts.

There are many steps involved in transforming ones state of being many of those are baby steps and require some assistance. In an effort to feel good about ourselves quite often it may just be the case of letting someone do something for you. Like fill your tank!