Sunday, October 2, 2011


When you go over two months without writing a blog post you know what happens? You kind of forget how to make a blog post. But after that much times goes by you start to feel compelled to write something because over the years some friendships have formed and your only point of contact is the blog and it’s only fair to let those people know that you are still alive and that you still know how operate a keyboard. So…I am, and I do.

I’ve often thought it would be kind of cool and useful to start writing little life lessons down that a 34 year old Ben would tell a 20 year old Ben (or some other young dude). I recently made a mental note that when I got back to this blog that is exactly what I would do, but as it is, I’m going to keep that on hold for the time being because something very significant happened a few weeks ago and it merits a mention here.

A few weeks ago I received a message that my two year old niece had had a really bad accident and was in ICU at one of our local hospitals – one that just happens to be one of the best children’s hospitals in the United States. She had fractured her skull and face in multiple places and was on a breathing machine with an uncertain future.

Getting this news was a 9/11 kind of moment for me (and obviously more so for my brother and his wife). I’ll never forget where I was and what I was doing at the time or the tones of voices of the various family members who I spoke to, all within maybe a five minute period. That period was followed by a frantic rush to get out of the house and to the hospital. On arriving at the hospital I saw the single worst sight I have ever seen in my entire life: that precious two year old girl with a hugely swollen face, large black/red circles around her eyes, small amounts of blood coming from her nose and ears, and numerous tubes coming out of her throat and limbs, and the various machinery that connected to those tubes; then of course my brother and sister and law, and the looks of horror and helplessness on their faces.

I’m not going to try to describe the emotion or drama of that whole event. For one, I’d never do it justice but the main reason is because it doesn’t matter now. What matters now is that this is happy post. And these are happy times. These are times that are the little wake up calls reminding you that every moment is precious and nothing is to be taken for granted.

To sum it up, my niece was in ICU on a ventilator machine for about five days. On the afternoon of the fifth day they removed her breathing tube (and the other various tubes) and she immediately began breathing on her own and her body began functioning as it should. It wasn’t an easy journey by any stretch but after two weeks she was released from the hospital, and now, on the third week, she is walking, talking, climbing, laughing, eating, and doing all the things that two year olds do; which is really something considering this time last week she could not walk without falling over or stand up without holding on to something. She is in a large neck brace and still has some physical therapy ahead of her but for the most part is back to her old self.

I do not like the word miracle but this has been an extraordinary recovery and endless Gratitude is the name of the game for this uncle and this family.