Of A Healer: Laments To A Father

“Mike, I miss my father,” Jon said, standing at the wide set of windows. He was tall and lean, a man that had been made rugged by the challenges of life. Jon was an impressive size, standing at a six foot, three inches. His stature commanded attention with a military history only served to enforce his presence.

I remember the first time I’d met him two weeks previously. Every aide had been fired from his room or had left voluntarily and that morning the night aide gave me a look worth a thousand negative words.

“It’s going to be a rough day,” she said with raised brows, “good luck.”

Taking a breath I smiled and said, with a bit too much cheerfulness, “sounds good to me.”

“Whadda ya want?” said a gruff voice from behind the privacy curtain as I pulled open the door with a knock.

I took another quick breath, “Hi, I’m Mike, I’m your aide for the day-”

“Get out,” Jon said from the bed. Someone must have removed the footboard to the bed because his feet were hanging almost half a foot off the end of the bed. He looked small to me, as with most people who are half sunk in hospital air mattresses. But then he shifted and lifted a tremendous arm.

“I said, go away,” Jon snarled, trying to roll over. He succeeded in a half roll that shot lines of pain through his body. I knew by the way he legs stiffened and back arched.

“Looks like I can’t,” I said in a matter of fact tone. I sounded surer of myself than I felt as I stepped to his bedside and helped him maneuver a pillow into position.

“I let the nurse know you’re in pain,” I said about to leave and then paused.

“I’ll grab another set of hand so we can boost you up in bed,” I added with an easiness I shouldn’t have felt, “you almost touch the floor.”

For a minute I thought I’d gone too far. He was staring At me with merciless eyes, sizing me up or figuring out how to kill me and get away with it.

I shifted a foot as I continued to hold his gaze.

He suddenly cracked a weak smile.

“Go ahead, I’m not going anywhere.”

That had been the first of his wall to come down. Now several days later, I was watching him stare off into the distance while the rest of him crumble.

“I miss my dad,” he said in a whisper as he turned away from the window and sat down on his newly made bed tears making their way down his face.

I had a pillow half in a pillowcase and was staring dumbfounded at the man’s shoulders shook with emotion.

In a daze, I stepped over to the side of the bed and awkwardly stood next to my patient.

Tears poured down his face as sob after sob came out of him. Automatically I reached out to the tissues at the bedside table and handed him one.

By then his crying had a subsided and he gave me a grateful smile while wiping his nose.

“Thank you, Mike, I’m sorry to do this.”

I gave him a small smile back and said, “it’s okay, Jon, this is why I’m here.”

He looked out the window again for a long moment.

And then spoke as if he were one lost in another world, “you know I’m nothing like my father. He was kind and thoughtful. I remember he was so gentle.”

There was a catch in his next breath.

“I- I didn’t turn out anything like him, you see,” he paused tears again glinting in his eyes, “he died when I was fifteen. One day he was there and then the next . . . gone.”

I laid a hand on Jon’s shoulder, willing him to get it all out.

“And now, after all these years, I find myself here, dying of cancer and being alone,” his voice tightened and I felt his shoulders begin to shake, “and all I want to do is be with him again, feel his hug-”

He choked off into another series of sobs and cries. In that moment there was only one thing to do. I wrap an arm around Jon’s shoulder and let him cry.

-M.E. InkOwl

By My Side

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Love me sweet beneath this falling snow,

As we sit upon this stone.

Lean in close and twine our fingers,

Whisper close so our touch does linger.

Reach my heart with your eyes so deep,

As your heart beats to love’s knowing leap.

-M.E. InkOwl

Parenthood- Growth

Once I held you in the crook of my arm.

You would coo at me with eyes bright and full of wonder.

I remember holding you in the night wondering if you were even real.

Now I find your head reaches the crook of my arm as you stand beside me.

You laugh at me as your eyes dance with mischief.

I sneak in at night to whisper in your sleeping ear how much I love you.

All the while wondering if you are even real.

-M. E. InkOwl

2019 on The Ink Owl

Welcome to 2019 on the Ink Owl! We’ve dived into January already and I couldn’t be more excited for this new year. 2019 has already brought grad school, teaching, parenting, and working (3 jobs) into the mix that is life.

So my theme for writing this year (when I can write) is Self-Compassion.

I think so many people misconstrue this concept as selfishness. Hopefully, I can shed some light on the subject through this year’s posts. Because this year is going to be utter chaos, my writing will mirror that as well. There should be tasty morsels and thought-provoking bits to keep you all entertained. So sit back and get ready for an interesting year!

-M.E. InkOwl

Of A Healer: From The Outside

Sunlight blazed into existence as I stepped from the carefully controlled climate of the hospital. It was mid July and the days were hitting mid 90’s.

“See you next week,” someone called a coworker as they walked towards a waiting shuttle.

I waved and walked down the sloping lawn towards my won bus stop beyond the main parking structure. Behind me my hospital stood, perched upon the edge of a mountain. Blue-green glass windows gleamed in the late afternoon sun.

Glad I don’t have to come back to you for a few more days” I thought with a smile. The sun felt so good on my skin, warming the ache of a day spent in a cold, sterile environment.

I paused for a moment, taking in the main hospital, and beyond it my sprawling city. It was a beautiful moment.

Taking a turn past the emergency department, I found myself walking down the ambulance ramp that lead straight to the ER. My eye naturally began to follow the staggered windows of the medical ICU unit on the second floor.

It was almost too hard to look at the windows as they shifted the suns rays into my face. Temporarily blinded I stopped and blinked for a few moments.

A swift movement caught my eye and I started forward, suddenly curious. There were forms moving by a shadowed window.

Me being on the ambulance ramp I found myself at eye level with the window, which turned out to be another ICU room.

As I watched the movement in the room I found myself momentarily dumbfounded. There before me was a scene I’ll not soon forget.

A team of four nurses stood over an occupied bed. One of the four knelt on top of the bed, rhythmically pushing on the patient’s chest. Eyes widening I watched as someone moves a crash cart into view, and then a third person placed a rebreather mask over the patient’s face.

“Their coding him,” I said to no one but myself. I was exhausted from the day but enraptured watched the familiar dance of CPR play out before my eyes.

My body immediately went into a fight or flight response as I felt my heart rate climb, thundering in my ears. The sun lost its shine for those moments I stood transfixed, staring out at the four people stepping between life and death.

I was there, feeling the patient’s chest move under my hands, feeling ribs pop and chest recoil under my hands.

Yet I wasn’t there, standing beyond the glass, a stranger separated by what seemed an entire world.

Emotions moved deep within my body as I watched nurses switch out. I felt their fatigue, their anxiety, and stress.

But then a distant honk up the ramp reminded me of where I was and the spell was broken.

Glancing back at the I noticed the curtain was pulled shut.

I shook my head and continued following the familiar steps towards home.

-M.E. InkOwl

March On The Ink Owl

Hello and welcome to March in the InkOwl.

This month I will be focusing my posts on selected excerpts from my personal experience as a Healthcare Assistant in a hospital setting.

I am excited and nervous to share these experiences as some come with a lot of emotions attached. There are some tender memories and some traumatizing events I’ll be sharing, so forgive me for any strong language or graphic episodes that are shared.

I’d like for this to be an opportunity to share the unique perspective I have with healthcare and also show a snippet of what experiences we healthcare workers have in this setting. So prepare yourself for a interesting month.

-M.E. InkOwl

Self-love: Love, A Process

“I now see how owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.”
― Brené Brown


Brené Brown holds a masters of social work and is a research professor for the University of Huston. For more than fifteen years she has been studying topics such as courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. You can learn more about Brené Brown by visiting her website here. Here are links to more of her published works on Amazon.com:

Self-Love: Wolves Inside My Head

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You’ll never finish this, you do realize this?

Why are you even trying?

There’s no way you’ll ever change yourself.

You’re worthless,

Stop.

You’re broken.

I am not.

You’re a disgusting mess, an embarrassment.

I am loved.

Why do you still exist?

I am cared for.

I have worth beyond the darkness inside of me.

Who are you to tell me who I am?

I am strong.

I am loving.

I am kind.

I am whole.

I am more than you’ll ever know or be.

-M.E. InkOwl