[ThisDay] Caught In A Snowstorm!

It is a beautiful, snowy day as I write this. Large, puffy snowflakes drift quietly to the ground, piling higher and higher—much to the Campbell children’s delight! Apparently this time of year is a snowy time of year! Two separate posts on January 23rds over the past decade have been about notable amounts of snow. Below is the story some unexpected fun while attempting a walk to the library on one of these snowy occasions. (If you’d prefer a topic on “going to church”, see the links at the bottom!) Enjoy!

snowy

Caught In A Snowstorm!

January 23rd, 2008

Last night I took our four kids up to the library to return some books, and to pick up a few new ones. The library is only half-way around the block, so we bundled up for a nice winter walk. It was even lightly snowing, so it was more fun than usual!

We even sang a song on the way there:

“Going for a walk in the snow to the library,
Going for a walk in the snow
Going for a walk in the snow to the library,
Going for a walk in the snow!”

It was perfect, and the kids did pretty well in the library. We got the books we wanted, and some stamps from the nice librarian. We bundled back up and headed out the door.

What we discovered was astonishing.

Swirling, blowing, blinding SNOW! Where did this come from?!? I just laughed! It was like a joke! What happened to our light flurries??? Well, we had no other way home, so I made sure faces were as covered as they could be and we set out into the storm.

And this was a storm! The wind was a constant 10-15 mph I’d guess, with stronger gusts. And the snow was collecting on the ground – and on us! – at an alarming rate. The worst part was, a third of our trip was heading west, directly into the wind! At one point during that stretch I turned around and pulled Julia in the stroller backwards (which helped a lot I think) and saw poor little Kirstie just closing her eyes and leaning into the wind as she pressed ahead into the blizzard!

It was crazy!!

Once we were able to turn south, and find a bit of shelter behind a giant brick church building, it got a little better. We laughed all the way home through the still rapidly falling snow.

Red cheeks, faces, and other exposed skin greeted Mom when we got home. Mom actually met us in the driveway, as she had seen the fierce winter storm and was coming to get us. But we managed to brave the elements and make it back home safely.

I told the kids as we were fighting the storm that we’d have hot cocoa and hot baths when we got home! And we’d also read a couple of the library books we just worked so hard to get.

And we did. 🙂

OTHER POSTS from JANUARY 23rd

  1. This post was also very interesting, and discussion-worthy, if you’ve the time. It refers to a podcast posted in late 2012, or early 2013, regarding the trend toward not attending weekend worship gatherings by many who would definitely align themselves with Jesus. So, if that’s more your cup of tea…

[ThisDay] City Living… Or Not

There were not too many posts published this day in GregsHead history. In fact, there were only four total. That made selecting a favorite a bit easier, but I believe I would have chosen this particular story against most competition, anyway. Please enjoy this little anecdote from a bedtime just a couple years ago. 🙂

City Living… Or Not

January 21st, 2012

we Campbells live in a thriving rural metropolis.

Nestled on the outer eastern edge of the once-vibrant technology town of Rochester, NY—R.I.P. Kodak—our town is home to nearly seven thousand people of various ilk. This is the place to be if you want to experience cultural, ethnic, religious, and economic diversity. We’ve got it all!

But for some reason, Kirstie decided this week that she wants to live in NYC.

“I am going to live in New York City some day,” she proudly announced to her Mom. “I just really want to live up high in the air, overlooking the city,” she explained to her Dad.

Neither Mom nor Dad can even stand the thought of visiting the Big City, so the expressed hopes and dreams of our seven-soon-to-be-eight year old daughter were (more than) somewhat repulsive to us. “New York City, eh?” we slowly pondered a loving response, “Well, that’s a long time from now, so we’ll see what God has in store when that time comes.”

(We were at least partially, and quite deftly, employing the fine art of deflecting/distracting from/deferring the less than desirable, far-off dreams of young children.)

Fast-forward to bed time.

It was a very windy night. This strangely warm winter has seen a few brief cold spells, and each time they’ve come, they were ushered in by a fierce wind. This night’s wind was particularly powerful—and noisy!

As I was hugging and kissing the girls, tucking each under their warm, fuzzy blankets, I could tell that the wind was very much on their minds. The house was creaking and various scraping noises could be heard on the street outside as sundry items were dragged great distances against their will by the forceful gusts.

“God,” I began, “Please protect this room tonight and its inhabitants from anything that might harm them in this wind.” I started to go into detail about what things God could protect us from, but at the first break in my thoughts I was interrupted.

“Do you think there could be a tornado?” Kirsten asked, with a hint of real concern in her voice.

“No, Kirstie,” I reassured her, “There really aren’t any tornadoes here where we live. It’s pretty crazy, but pretty cool, huh?”

The three girls nodded, and verbally affirmed my mostly rhetorical question.

A moment later, after giving some thought to what I had said, Kirsten asked, “Are there tornadoes in New York City?”

Jumping at the chance, I quickly replied, with great conviction in my voice, “Oh yes! There are always tornadoes in New York City. Really bad ones! All the time!!

“Dad!” Kirstie scolded, in the way only Kirstie can do. Her twinkling eyes looked up and met my big, silly-Dad smile.

I was still smiling at my innocent, yet clever, yet loving jab at my oldest daughter’s earlier proclamation, when the brief silence was interrupted by her younger sister, Julia.

“I am never going to live there!” she said in her very tiny, very matter-of-fact tones.

Caught a bit off guard, I enjoyed a deep belly laugh—we all did!—and then I gave Julia a big hug and said, “That’s my girl!”

If you know Julia, you know that this was perfect is so many ways! She knows what she wants, and she just says it!

I love seeing the personalities of our kids shine through, even at the earliest ages. Julia is a very “black-and-white” person; very matter of fact. And she’s incredibly cute! That response was just quintessential Julia, far beyond what I can relay in a few sentences.

I don’t know if we swayed Kirstie any that night, but we all did have a great laugh. She might still be on a mission to live in the big city. Or not. Time will tell.

But one thing’s for sure: Julia is never gonna live there!

OTHER POSTS from JANUARY 21st

Thoughts on Motivation

Not feeling motivated?

I have been working on a post titled, “Motivation” for a few weeks now. It’s something that’s been on my mind for a while. What is it that motivates me? What motivates anyone, really? What causes people to get up out of their beds each day and do anything they do, let alone some of the great things that so many do each day they breathe. This world and seemingly all of its inhabitants constantly fight back against us at nearly every turn … why do we keep going?

It really poses some interesting questions, and I’ve enjoyed putting into words a lot of these thoughts already.

But then… I just can’t ever seem to find the motivation to finish it…

My Indirect (and Disastrous) Encounter(s) with Endurance International Group

Endurance International Group, Inc. (EIG)This is a “for the record” kind of post. Perhaps you’ll find it as appalling interesting as I have while following all of the connected trails in my research.

A good while back now, in what was the early childhood of the “internets“, I began what is my current career of website hosting management and development. It began innocently enough as a desire to share our music online. (Did you know that there is a website that preserves previous versions of the web—like, the entire web?? Have a look at one of the earliest versions of our music site.)1

It Started Off So Well…

When I first moved into the world of web hosting, somewhere around 2004, I found a company named iPower (or iPowerweb) which offered very inexpensive packages with more features than I had seen elsewhere. What really convinced me was their reseller package, with a small team of tech support people who were available 24/7, knew me and my websites, and were very knowledgeable/helpful/professional. I was sold. This company was a relatively small “start-up” out of Phoenix who offered technical service and expertise, and excellent customer support.

(In the meantime, I found another small company who had a slightly better reseller package which allowed me to purchase a large server space and apportion it as needed, in my own packages, to clients as they needed. I signed on with them around the same time, too. Their biggest sell was the company’s owner/operator—a one-man-show—who was great at customer support. There’s a theme here!)

Meanwhile…

While I was merrily, blissfully plugging along in my burgeoning little web business, giant shark-like companies were smelling blood (or, money?) and swarming around these small-to-medium sized hosting companies, gobbling them up in large chunks.

Unbeknownst to me at this time, a company named Endurance International Group was acquiring small hosting companies left and right, and becoming this large conglomerate of very cheap web hosting solutions under various brands. You can see a rather comprehensive list (with sources) at the Wikipedia page for EIG.

But again, this was actually still unbeknownst to me.

Troublesome Signs

Somewhere around 2007, after a few years of great service from iPower, I noticed a sharp, nearly instantaneous decline in their service. I began to have all sorts of issues (email issues, server slowness/downtime) and on top of that, I would sometimes be on hold, waiting to chat with that stellar support team for 30-45 minutes! What?! When I was finally able to speak with one of the tech guys with whom I had built a working relationship over the three years or so, I was informed that they were making changes, and greatly reduced the size of the support team—which greatly reduced their support to their customers!

I was definitely saddened, but pressed on because I believed in this small company that had provided such great service to me and my clients for so long. What I didn’t know was that these changes were due to iPower being acquired by EIG.2

(Sadly, at roughly the same time, that other hosting company I was hosting the majority of my sites through was expieriencing their own failures—one after another! I endured this for longer than the trouble with iPower as I understood the difficulties of running your own business. That company was essentially a one-man operation, so I stuck it out as long as I could. But eventually, it was such a melt-down I had to exit that situation, too.)

The First Big Change

With the frustrating circumstances of this time period sufficiently endured, I endeavored to make another change, hoping for something similar to what I had found in 2004. I wanted a small company who had excellent customer/tech support as their primary characteristic.

I think it was somewhere around 2010 when I learned of HostGator through a web-development friend (and colleague). He vouched for their excellent service, including their customer support knowledge and availability, so I investigated and found them to be just what I was looking for. Within a short time (well, OK… about a month) I had moved over all of my large list of clients’ sites and domains to their service.

And I was pleased. Their servers were faster, tech team was available within minutes of calling, and generally very knowledgeable/helpful. I would get quick replies to any tickets submitted through their ticket system, and all around I was very much satisfied. (Even to the point of promoting them to anyone who was seeking hosting, or asked.)

And then…

Not Again!!!

Last summer there were bumps. Server down time, slower response to tickets, long hold times to get through to tech support, many “blunders” in server configuration causing trouble for my clients sites (as well as my own) … all VERY worrisome signs. They were just like what I had experienced with iPower.

I was growing frustrated again. How can this be happening? It’s only been two or three years that I’ve been with this company and the same thing is happening???

In the infamous words of Gru, “Light…bullllllb!”

Connection Established

Was it possible that these events were connected? I began digging. One clue after another led me to the company mentioned above: Endurance Group International, Inc. (EIG).3

Ah ha! I’m not crazy! thought I, somewhat relieved. Though, I was equally peeved that the companies with whom I chose to do business were “selling out” to this crazy web-hosting company eater, EIG. First iPower, now HostGator.

My experience is not unique. Another poor soul chronicled his experience with EIG, when his hosting company, WebHost4Life, was acquired by EIG. Oh, and look at their Better Business Bureau page… over 400 complaints! Ugh…

“The Blackout of 2013″—August 2, 2013

pulling-hair-out2Fast-forward to this past weekend. August 2nd, 2013. It has actually made it to the EIG Wikipedia page as part of their company’s entry! After months of trouble, I awake to find all of my sites are offline. Email, websites, everything. Here we go again! I dial up the tech support line and… busy signal! Ha! As I am discovering this, I am chatting online with my aforementioned colleague, who is equally affected by this August 2nd Blackout, since his sites are all still hosted by HostGator. We both decide right then, that morning, that we are jumping ship, NOW!.

A couple months prior, the HostGator changes had become unbearable for my biggest client and his websites that we develop/host/manage, so I spent a week investigating hosting options. I found a few that I liked, and settled on one that, again, seems to be a small company, committed to excellent service and customer support. I have had good success with them so far. (My praise for them is justifiably guarded (jaded?) by my prior experiences, as you can well imagine!)

I called up the fellow with whom I had spoken those months before and asked him very directly, “Will your company sell to Endurance International Group? I need to know, because that has happened to me twice, and causes so much trouble, wastes so much time!” His response was that the two owners of his company were actually on-site that day, and had been discussing specifically that potential scenario. He assured me that they had already rejected such an offer, and would steadfastly continue to do so.

SOLD!

Within hours I had set up the account, moved ALL of my sites over to the new Virtual Private Server (VPS) account, and began working on all that is involved with migrating hosting accounts.

This is never fun. Never.4

I emailed all my clients and told them of the emergency change. There have been a few bumps, but mostly we’ve made it through unscathed. I will be shutting down my HostGator accounts by week’s end, and ending any business relationship I have with EIG… until the next time?

Moral: BIGGER ≠ better

The moral of this not-so-short-story is that BIGGER IS NEVER BETTER!

(Unless you’re trying to make a point, with big letters?)

Somehow we have this idea that the “mass model” is best. Giant factories, mega stores… it never leads to good. It usually leads to bad service and meltdowns like I have experienced each time this has happened!

Stay small, folks. Focus on service, support, and relationship … even in business.

Because business still involves people. Doesn’t it?

My experiences with EIG (though I didn’t realize it was them until this year) have reminded me of that.

Stay small, local (when possible), and personal.

And don’t sell out to EIG!

  1. Note: this was actually probably a third or even fourth iteration of our website! Earlier versions were hosted on the free hosting service Tripod.com. Which amazingly still exists! Archive.org used to have the 20th century version of our website! Wow! Now the earliest version is August 2000, very similar to the 2001 link above.
  2. Read the article from May 2007. It calls the move a “merger”, but my experience in 2012 with a different “merger” with EIG would suggest that it was more of an acquisition. (Especially when contrasted with my initial experience with iPower, before “merging” with EIG.)
  3. One more connection, in 2011, EIG was “bought” (or funded?) by Warburg Pincus and GS (Goldman Sachs) Capital Partners. There are big piles of money changing hands here.
  4. I found a couple pages detailing what is involved. Besides all of these steps, (1) something inevitably does not go as planned, and (2) it just takes time. Lots of time. Up to 72 hours of time. Most of that is the DNS propagation, meaning, the change of address for your domain name. Once that filters through all the checkpoints, you’re OK, but a lot of grief happens during that time!

Stopped On A Dime [Memory Lane]

This week we’ve been taking a trip down Memory Lane! Each day this week I’ve posted one of five of my favorite stories ever published here. Some were taken from books (like today’s) and others have only been published online thus far. These are some funny, some sad, some heart-warming moments from the life we’ve lived. If you missed any, you can use the series navigation at the end of this post. I invite you to enjoy them with me, too.

This last post is one of our favorite stories ever! It features our oldest son and one of his first visits to the emergency room.

But I don’t want to give too much away, so…

Stopped On A Dime

May 3rd, 2005

DimeSaturday had gone pretty much as planned. We were just finishing up a long day of serving at our church. With sound checks and two complete run-throughs of the service, coupled with a half-hour commute each way, those Saturdays are long and tiresome. Especially for small children.

On our way home, Ian (our six-year old) complained of pain in his nose. We were curious, as it was not a normal complaint, but chalked it up to a strange case of sinus pressure and continued on our drive home.

I was putting away some things that had been left out in our rush to leave the house that afternoon, and getting ready for a bed-time snack and perhaps a little Star Trek with my wife, when I heard a commotion in the boys room. Jen was putting the boys in bed and Ian was loudly complaining about his nose. When the situation had my attention, I heard him say frantically, “There’s something in there!“

This piqued my curiosity of course, and I peered around the corner to see what in the world he was talking about. He was standing on his bed holding the left side of his nose with a very concerned look on his face. Still asserting that there was something in his nose. Then a look of resolution washed over his face. The light went on, and everything was ok. That’s when Ian revealed to us what had happened.

“Ohhh…. It’s probably the coin.”

Those were NOT the words I wanted to hear. Just by the way he said them, and the look on his face, his previously hidden childish mistake had been quickly and very certainly brought into the light. I left the room as my blood pressure went through the roof. The next morning was coming early enough… a hospital visit was NOT in my agenda for the evening!!

Ian continued to explain a bit to Jen what had happened. Those moments, truthfully, were a blur, as I was trying to just get a handle on my anger. Once I had a bit of control back, I picked Ian up out of bed, and laid him on the floor of the bathroom. I looked for the tweezers Jen had recently gotten from a garage sale, and began to perform exploratory surgery. Ian was crying, and blood started to appear at the base of his nose. I had not felt anything like a coin, and was not willing to pursue any farther this on my own.

“Get your shoes on, Ian, we’re going to the hospital!”

I was not happy.

On the ride to the hospital (which we made in record time… adrenaline is a marvelous thing…) I was trying to process everything, and scolding Ian for his insanity. What is it that makes kids stick things up their noses?!? In utter disbelief, and still quite fiery anger due to the late night visit to the ER, I continued my steaming. Finally, God got a thought in there I believe. I realized that it was really a great thing that Ian felt the coin before he laid down to sleep. Who knows what might have happened if he had gone to sleep with a coin in his nose? So, I quietly thanked God for that, while still making a few incredulous comments in Ian’s direction.

We arrived at the somewhat desolate hospital roughly 10 minutes after leaving home, and proceeded through what looked like the most obvious entrance. We found ourselves in the treatment rooms hallway, with a few nurses looking on. I figured that was not the right place, so we continued to look for a registration area. Finally made our way through some automatic doors and into a lobby/lounge area. There was an older gentlemen sitting with a teenage boy across from a tough-looking lady with glasses who appeared to be in charge. There was no sign saying “Registration” or “Sign In Here”, just a sign saying “Do Not Disturb”. Not being one to always follow signs, I peeked around the corner and quietly asked, “Is this where we register?” The lady at the desk fired the quick retort, “I’m with a patient, have a seat!” I sheepishly admitted I had not been to this hospital before, and was just looking to sign in. She reminded me to have a seat.

So we sat. And we waited. The bespectacled woman was lecturing the young man about his sexual practices as we waited quietly for our turn to face the tongue lashing. It was quite sometime, and perhaps a good chance for Ian to think about what he had done. He was growing visibly concerned. I tried to assure him, and we did pray together that God would make good out of this bad situation.

After 15 minutes or more, a much nicer looking lady came out from the back. She spoke with the two men in the registration room, and the other lady behind the desk, and offered advice and information in a decidedly softer tone. They seemed to resolve something after a couple minutes, and the gentler, taller woman with the stethoscope retreated from the office and seeming to almost debate in her head whether or not to approach us, she stepped our way.

“So how can we help you, young man?” she asked, directing her words to Ian.

“I stuck a dime in my nose.” he said matter-of-factly.

“You did? That’s not the best place to keep your money…” she said with a smile. She continued to figure out the situation a bit, and kept the mood light and reassuring for a now scared little boy. After a brief moment, she had a plan, and we were taken into another room.

We waited, and then were greeted by another nurse. She took down some information, quizzing Ian for any details he could recall. We laughed with her about the things she had seen other kids put in their noses. It was quite a list! After about 10 minutes there, we were directed to the office where the previously rough-looking lady greeted us with a smile.

I knew that she was not going to be as gruff as we were now supposed to be there. At least, I hoped she wasn’t! I was right. She laughed a bit – just to lighten the mood – at Ian’s predicament, shared some similar stories, and reminded him that it’s better to keep your money in the bank instead of in your nose. Ian agreed.

By the end of our little information interrogation, she plopped a little stuffed Fozzie Bear down in front of Ian. A little treat for a tired and still slightly concerned boy… with a dime in his nose.

We were ushered to the last room on the right – room number 8 – past several nurses and other hospital staff, and the occasional occupied room. There is no shortage of hurting people in the world. Not even in Wayne County. When we got to our room, we were told the doctor would see us shortly. I looked at the clock, it was 11:15 already! This was not good. I was just hoping that they would be able to dig out the dime fast so we could go home and get a little sleep!

The clock continued to approach midnight, and we were not getting any help. I kept wanting to call Jen to give her a progress report, but signs continued to warn me that cell phones were a no-no in the emergency room. So, we waited, and we talked. I kept trying to reassure Ian that they probably wouldn’t have to cut off his head this time. Not this time.

Finally, a tall, dark-skinned man came into our room, and began asking Ian about the dime that had found its way into his nose. After a few questions, the doc dove right in! He had a nurse bring him what he called the “nose tray” and once she had, he grabbed the tools and started diggin’!

First, he took a look with that lighted pointy thing they always stick in your facial orifices. He looked up, moved it around, looked down. Ian looked a bit uncomfortable, and the doc looked perplexed.

“I don’t see it in there yet. Did you feel it fall down in your throat?” he asked Ian.

“Nope. I felt it in my nose,” Ian stated matter-of-factly. He’s good at that.

“Oh.” To the point, but not reassuring words from the kind doctor.

He began digging in Ian’s nose with some interesting looking forceps. They could stretch open the nostril whilst the light continued to illuminate the nasal cavity. He dug for a while, then repositioned the light, the dug for a while more. All making Ian squirm a bit. Still, no luck.

“I think it may have fallen back down into his throat and he may have swallowed it.” The doctor was fairly certain that this was our explanation. At this point, I believed him, but had a nagging and really annoying feeling that perhaps Ian had made this whole thing UP!?!? I didn’t really think so, but that was certainly creeping into my mind…

“I am going to send him over for some x-rays to see if he swallowed it. Stay here, and someone will come to get him for the x-rays.” And with that, he was gone. I checked the clock, and we were right at about midnight. Two hours… no coin.

After a bit more waiting (there seems to be a lot of that in a hospital) an x-ray dude came and took us to the room where they would take a look inside my son. A rather strange phenomenon, but I hoped it would get our heads to our pillows a bit more quickly.

We followed him into the room, and he began to set up the machine to take its photos. I found it curious that he appeared to be setting it up to capture Ian’s chest. That was what the doctor had relayed to him – check to see if he swallowed it – but still, I thought surely they would have to check in his nose, since that’s where he put it. The technician flawlessly captured two images of Ian’s innards. He and another x-ray dudette took a gander at them on that little LightBrite thing they use and surprise! No dime! It was then that the other tech offered the brilliant idea (with a hint of sarcasm) that we scan Ian’s head, to see if it’s still in there!

So, we did.

Ian stood by the face x-ray machine. They prepared him for the photo, and snapped a shot from the back of his head. After processing the film, and placing it on the LightBrite panel… THERE IT WAS!!!!! We have first contact! There was very clearly a white slash in the middle of Ian’s head that was not supposed to be there! The second tech said we should take a profile shot to verify where it was located. They proceeded to set Ian up one more time, and after processing the film, this is what we saw…

A dime in a boy's headRight in the very middle of my 6-yr-old’s bony little head was stashed exactly 10 cents. Not the first place you might look for loose change. Perhaps under the couch cushions, or in his pockets – or even better, in the washer after forgetting to check his pockets. But usually not the CENTER OF HIS HEAD.

At this point, after the hour of 12:00am, we are all a bit amused by the whole thing, and happy to have located the wandering currency. We return to room number eight, and await the official removal procedure from the doctor.

It was at this point, about 12:15am that I was able to finally call Mom and let her know that we found the coin. Unfortunately, Mom had long since fallen asleep. But, the message was left, and with great anticipation of returning home shortly following the call. Little did I know what was about to happen next!

The doctor told me that the coin was lodged at the back of the nose, just above the throat. He could approach the coin through the nostril, or from underneath through the mouth. He preferred the nostril, and looked at me as though asking, “Do you concur?” To which, if it had not been 12:15am following a painfully long day, I might have responded without a verbal cue, “I concur.” Alas, I was only able to mutter, “Uh, yeah. Sounds good.” Leaving me mumbling to myself afterward, “I should’ve said concur! I should have said, “I CONCUR!!!”

(See Catch Me If You Can to fully appreciate the above paragraph.)

So we found ourselves back where we started, in room number eight in Newark-Wayne Hospital, with Dr. Nwokonko sticking very long metal instruments down Ian’s left nostril. This was not a pleasant experience for Ian. He was definitely learning the cost of putting a ten cent piece up your nose. It was clearly a painful experience, so the doctor used some numbing gel on the end of a 10″ swab and after what seemed like a token swab of Ian’s nostril to numb the pain, he proceeded down, and down further, and then even further down inside Ian’s nose. He was attempting to dislodge the coin, and hoping it would fall into Ian’s mouth, and we could get it from there. No luck. That coin would not budge. He couldn’t see it, he couldn’t grab it, and he couldn’t push it out.

A bit stumped, he said, “I think we should go back to x-ray.”

I thought, “Oh boy! Are we going to keep taking pictures after every attempt? Just to see where it is now?” Thankfully, Dr. Nwokonko let me in on his plan, by explaining it to the x-ray technician.

“I’d like to do a [insert big fancy medical word here] on him so we can see where the coin is and be able to reach it that way.”

Cool! An x-ray video!!! Awesome, Ian!!! They’re going to shoot a video of your skull!!!

(Sorry… I was tired. And easily amused.)

So, as they prepped that machine we got to talk a bit with Dr. Nwokonko. (By the way, exactly how much do all of these fancy procedures cost, anyway? I know in Star Trek they are free… but this ain’t no Star Trek…) We found out his name, Dr. Nwokonko. Found out that he is from Nigeria. And that he occasionally works the night shift, but does not prefer it. He is a gentle, kind man. I am glad he was on that night.

After a few moments, we were ready to proceed. We went into the room, and got suited up with lead aprons. I thought it was amusing that the doctors and technicians wear full body armor while they shoot laser beam x-rays through Ian’s naked head. Doesn’t that seem a bit strange to you? Oh well…

They turned it on, and there was Ian’s head, and the dime. The procedure began. Having his target in visual range, Dr. N probed deeper than before, and Ian could feel it. My poor little boy was definitely tired by now, shortly after 12:30am, and had less tolerance for this much more aggressive treatment. My previous anger had definitely subsided, and though I may appear at times to be tough-skinned, that was a moment I would rather not relive. There was some pain in his cry, but perhaps more fear, and just desperation. It was definitely hard to remain behind the screen. I just wanted to come hug him, hold him. I offered words of encouragement best I could.

Despite what seemed like endless probing, and screaming, and Dr. Nwokonko repeatedly saying in his thick accent, “Sorry…” we were unsuccessful. The coin was just out of reach. He stopped his attempts to reach it, and just started talking with the tech about what they might try next.

This is my favorite part of the night…

Ian's self portrait of the dime in his head

Ian’s self portrait of the dime in his skull. 🙂

It was at this point that my amazing 6-yr-old son began offering his expert medical opinions. The doctor was saying that perhaps he would try the smaller forceps (thinking that perhaps the larger ones were too wide to reach far enough in.) To that Ian quipped, “I was thinking that bigger ones would work better…” It was sooo funny! The tech looked at him and she said, “You are quite a character!” He is too cool.

Well, despite Ian’s advice, Dr. N left to get the smaller forceps. Ian continued to offer some opinions and a little color analysis of the previous attempts to remove his nasal-stashed coinage. It was late, but the mood was still a bit light. We all hoped that this would be our last attempt.

Dr. Nwokonko returned, with the smaller forceps, and we turned the machine back on for one more try. Not appearing to be as patient this time, the doc dove straight in and Ian screamed again. In between cries, he did manage to get out, “Can you reach it fast, pleeease???” Even in extreme discomfort, Ian is polite to his elders. The idea seemed to be working, and Dr. N was very close to grabbing the coin. He reached and Ian squirmed, and he reached some more.

Then with one quick motion, the coin in the image moved, and was pulled completely out of Ian’s tired little head!

We were all quite relieved, and happy – especially the little boy who started us on this adventure in the first place. As he would later explain, he was “just trying to get a booger.”

We went back to room eight, awaiting discharge. Ian talking most of the time about his experience that night, and how he would never, ever stick anything in his nose again! I bet not! The female x-ray tech got us a copy of the x-ray they had taken with the clearly visible Eisenhower lodged in the center of Ian’s head. Ian also got a little care package from the hospital folk. And, lots of smiles as we walked out.

We drove home quickly, and at nearly 1:00am, Ian hit his pillow, ten cents lighter.

What a night! What a day! One we will not soon forget.

And all for only a dime.

Life in the Rearview Mirror: Reflections on Life Lived by Greg CampbellThis post is a chapter in the book Life In The Rearview Mirror: Reflections on Life Lived by Greg Campbell, available through Amazon.com. If you’d like to purchase the book, please click the book title in the previous sentence. Thanks for reading, sharing, and feel free to add to the discussion in the comments below, or wherever else you can reach me.

Misdiagnoses [Memory Lane]

This week we’ve been taking a trip down Memory Lane! Each day this week I’ve been posting one of five of my favorite stories ever published here. Some are taken from books I’ve published and others (like today’s) have only been published online thus far. These are some funny, some sad, some heart-warming moments from the life we’ve lived. If you missed any, you can use the series navigation at the end of this post. I invite you to enjoy them with me, too.

Today’s adventure was one that little Julia would just as soon forget! What started as a routine, Sunday night visit to the Emergency Room at our nearest hospital, unfolded into a full-blown medical catastrophe! Rather than give away too much here in the introduction, I’ll simply give way to the story as originally told, Misdiagnoses.

Misdiagnoses

August 14th, 2012

It’s been an interesting few days here in the Campbell home.

(I know… when isn’t it, right?)

You see, it all began with a phone call from Grandma. (Well, sort of.)

Last Wednesday, Julia and Dad (that’s me) went out for an OK Night. Just Julia and Dad out on the town. McDonald’s for french fries, games, and play place. Then we hit a couple more places before the night was through. It was a blast!

And the best was still to come!

The next afternoon, Mom drove Julia, her two sisters, and their baby brother, Cam, over to meet Grandma who would take all four youngest kiddos back home with her for three days! They were so excited!

The first night was just wonderful. They love being at Grandma and Grandpa’s house! They even enjoyed a big buffet for dinner. Nice!

(We four back home were having good fun of our own, too!)

But then came Friday.

Now, whether it was the food she ate at the buffet… or the PlayPlace the day before that… or just something else entirely, we still don’t know. What we do know is that that afternoon Julia began throwing up.

(Yes, I said “began”.)

It was probably only a few times, but it was quite unexpected (and messy, according to Julia) so it just caught everyone off guard. Grandma even called us asking, “What do I do??”

“Keep her hydrated and plenty of rest,” was our best advice, not ones to jump to the medicine route. So sad, but Julia wanted to stick it out, and Grandma did, too.

Well, a day of rest on Friday seemed to do the trick. Fever had subsided, throwing up had ceased (though she was still battling the “other end”…) and she even perked up a bit, becoming her regular chatty self.

Whew! Glad that’s over…

NOPE! 🙂

Saturday morning they went to a park. Julia played. And played. When they got back, she was completely spent, hurting, tired, and “out for the count”. She slept on the ride over, and looked pretty bad when she got out to come inside our house. Still had a fever, too.

She went right to the couch and laid down.

We ate dinner (she ate something else… I think?) and made it through the rest of the evening till bedtime.

At this point, as I’m getting everyone ready for bed, Jen comes and tells me that she thinks it might be something more serious than just a little bug, so she wanted to call the doctor and see what they thought. I figured they’d probably just tell us to call them Monday, but it couldn’t hurt. Well, to my surprise (maybe Jen’s, too?) they suggested we bring her to the nearest emergency room to have her checked out, based on what Jen had described to them over the phone.

Interesting. But, they were just thinking it might be some sort of infection thing that could need antibiotics. They just wanted to be sure.

Sure would have been a welcome thing in the hours that followed.

(Yes, hours.)

I’m sure that you, the reader, are aware that late at night on weekends, hospital emergency rooms can have long wait times. Well, as Jen tells it, they actually got in pretty quickly. But, once they did a quick once-over of Julia, they decided (thanks to her not having been “immunized”) that they needed to run every possible blood test. Fun!

No. Not fun.

Jen and Julia left our house at around nine o’clock pm. The hospital is 10-15 minutes drive from our home. They got in rather quickly… but then waited HOURS for the follow up tests.

(Meanwhile, back at home… I have put the other five to bed, enjoyed some quiet reading time, and at this point, started to wonder why I hadn’t heard from the hospital-bound duo. It was 11:45pm and I still hadn’t heard anything! I decided to call and get an update… voicemail! By about 12:10, still having heard nothing, I tried the phone again… and again, voicemail! Worried something had gone wrong, I remembered that I can “Find My Phone” thanks to Apple’s clever technology! I just hoped they weren’t in a ditch somewhere, or worse!! I was relieved to see the phone located in the parking lot of the hospital. 🙂 Jen had left the phone in the van … so a quick call to the hospital and the nurse filled me in.)

BUT THEN…

(I know… how does it always go like this? Can’t it ever just be simple, and go exactly according to plan??? Guess not…)

Around 2:00am, they are still waiting for blood tests, filling Julia with an IV, and now there is some concern that perhaps what she has is appendicitis! In fact, it was such a concern that they ordered a CAT scan for her. That meant, in her very tired, very sick condition, she had to down a large cup of bad-tasting liquid, then wait two hours… and then they would scan her to see if the appendix was inflamed/infected, or whatever it might be.

Two HOURS!? That’s 4am, folks. For my poor, sweet, sick, tired six-year-old Julia!!

At this point, I finally grabbed a few fitful naps… only half-sleeping in case I received a call from Jen, updating me on their progress. I awoke every thirty minutes or so, praying each time I did that Julia could rest, and that God would help the doctors find whatever might be causing this.

At seven o’clock, I awoke again, and found no van, no call.

Time to check in, I thought. So I called our cell phone and talked with Jen, who informed me that they were pretty sure it is appendicitis, and they have scheduled an operation for about an hour from now when the surgeon was to arrive.

!!?

SO, we went from a stomach bug, to a possible minor infection requiring anti-biotics to… emergency surgery???!

It seemed that was the consensus, so I jumped to action.

I definitely wanted to be there—before the surgery—but our van was already at the hospital. And, well, I had the other five kids here! They were all sleeping still, of course, but I couldn’t just leave them, even if I did have a ride!

The wheels were quickly turning in my head. I called Grandma & Grandpa to let them know how the adventure that had begun at their place had escalated. Then I talked with our neighbor about getting a ride to the hospital. Then, deciding to leave the kids in the care of our oldest, Ian, I woke up Alex so that he could stay with Mom while I came back to get everyone else (once Julia was in surgery).

All was going mostly according to plan. We were getting pretty close to eight o’clock. I was hoping that they were running later rather than early.

Alex and I got out and thanked our neighbor for her kindness, bringing us to the hospital so early on a Sunday morning. We rushed inside and asked where to find Julia and her Mom. They said she wasn’t on their list, so that probably meant she was already in the operating room. (No!!) But, they weren’t certain of that, and pointed us in the direction we needed to go.

A brief elevator ride later, we were at the Operating Room area. But… where was everyone? The OR was dark, and there was literally no one in sight?

Weird…

We went down a hall that we knew was not the correct direction or location, but we finally found someone who could perhaps get us to where we needed to go. She tried. She really did. But we kept coming up empty. No Julia anywhere!!

I was really sad that I didn’t get to see Julia before they operated on her! But I just wanted to find Jen at this point, and find out what was going on.

Finally we were sent back downstairs to the ER, where another nurse recognized Julia’s name and took us to the room she had been in that night.

To our surprise—good, happy surprise—there sat Mom, with Julia beside her on a hospital bed. (Looking really, really tired, weak, and sick!)

“Well, hi!” said I. “What is the meaning of all this!?”

I didn’t really say that. But it sounded more fun that way, didn’t it?

Jen explained that the surgeon took a look at the CAT scan results, did his own examination, and he said he was pretty sure it wasn’t appendicitis!

While quite confused, I was certainly relieved. No one wants their six year old daughter to go “under the knife” … do they?

As Jen was explaining, the surgeon returned and explained a bit more that, from everything he observed, and after consulting with another pediatrician that morning, he was fairly certain it was not appendicitis, and that Julia would be able to go home, take a little Tylenol for her fever, and just stay hydrated. “She should be fine.”

Stomach bug… infection… appendicitis/emergency surgery… she’ll be fine.

Hmm. 🙂

And so, we went home. Julia (and Mom!) slept nearly all of the day. As the day went on, she perked up more and more. We finished the day with a movie, and all went to bed feeling very, VERY relieved.

This morning, Julia went back to the doctor to make sure things were progressing as the surgeon had hoped. After her Sunday night experience, Julia was very apprehensive. She really didn’t want to go through all that again!! We assured her (as far as we could tell) it wouldn’t be like that again, and thankfully… it wasn’t. The current diagnosis is some sort of bacterial thing in her intestines.

What will it be tomorrow?!

For now, our little girl had a much better day, was smiling and playing through much of it, and is now peacefully sleeping.

Which is where I plan to be soon…

What a wild, crazy series of events! And all thanks to a handful of well-intentioned misdiagnoses.

Detective Dad [Memory Lane]

This week we’re going to take a trip down Memory Lane! Each day this week I’ll be posting one of five of my favorite stories ever published here. Some are taken from books and others (like today’s) have only been published online thus far. These are some funny, some sad, some heart-warming moments from the life we’ve lived. I invite you to enjoy them with me, too.

Today is Cameron’s birthday! So this day’s Memory Lane will feature two Cam-centric posts! This is the second post for July 30th. Enjoy! (And happy birthday, again, to our littlest boy!)

Detective Dad

February 13th, 2012

Sometimes as a Dad, you find yourself in the role of detective. The cases are often thrust upon you quite circumstantially. There may not necessarily be a victim, who comes to you asking for the mystery to be solved. Often, the clues lie before you and it’s up to you, Detective Dad, to solve the unexpected puzzle.

Today was such a day.

This time I found myself sorting through the various clues in reverse order. I had dismissed them previously, as just a normal part of the managed chaos of a home with a two- and a three-year-old. With such folk around it is not uncommon to find a toy here, a puzzle piece there, an article of clothing pretty much anywhere. Very easy to think nothing of such “clues”—missing the fact that they point to a great, unsolved mystery.

The final piece of the puzzle today was the sugar bowl spoon.

As I began to prepare some yerba mate this morning, I opened the sugar bowl to discover that the spoon was coated in sugar. This happens, of course, when the spoon has gotten wet and then is placed once again into the sugar bowl. Being quite fastidiously against this action, I knew instantly that my sugar had been “disturbed”.

A quick recall of (many) past events allowed me to quickly piece together the evidence and reach a(n easy) conclusion. Pieces of evidence like the cars discovered in the hallway… the sugar bowl on the floor, rather than in its proper place—which I had overlooked before, since on occasion in my haste I have left it there, not properly replaced to its comfortable home amongst my various beverage supplies. Everything was pointing convincingly to the obvious culprit.

You see, a while ago Cameron discovered that there was a quite readily available supply of the white stuff just a staircase away. And often, it was completely unguarded! What more could a two-year-old sweet tooth as for???

Now it seems he has gotten a little better at covering his tracks, though. Previously I would find the sugar bowl, lid off, sugary spoon on the carpet, surrounded by piles of white crystalline evidence everywhere. (Plus, stray crystals in and around the various mugs that surround its normal resting place.)

Once—and only once—I found the lidless bowl ON my comfy reading chair, much of the contents all over the cushion, the footsool, and the surrounding floor are.

As I said, that only happened once. 🙂

Another time, the sugar bowl evidence—coated with dampened sugar—hidden around the corner in a narrow storage alcove, well out of view of any who might stumble upon his enjoyment of the “forbidden” treasure.

He’s no dummy. And he sure loves his sugar!

So today, thankfully (I think?) there was only the mess of a wet spoon returned to my sugar bowl. Otherwise all is well. Not sure how much he ate, but the bowl is only half-full now … could he have eaten half?? Hopefully not, for his sake!

When I next speak to Cam, I’ll remind him again that this delight is off limits. Again. Not sure what effect it will have. I’ll just have to keep a vigilant eye towards all those small evidences of crimes against my beverage stand.

And for now… remember to lock the door. 😉