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A run of the mill miracle
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It was a Tuesday morning in August. A mild and balmy morning. The call came early. Could we come early? The doctor has a tee time at 11, wants to make sure to get some rounds of golf in with his buddies. Ever punctual, I try to hurry things, turn to Neil to wake him up. He is not well, as if overnight, he’s lost his footing on life. Did you kick me in the middle of the night, he asks. I look at him quizzingly. Whatever do you mean? He tells me of how his ankle aches, how he feels weak. Somehow he gets up, stumbles, gets dressed, and into the car. A blur of activities. You drive, he says. The sickness hits my stomach with worry I do not know. No time to think. Just drive. We arrive and he asks me to get help. I am not used to this, to asking for help, to seeing him so weak. I falter, stutter, swallow my protest, get him inside. They want to check him in but he says wait, grabs the sleeve of the nurse for help. Luck, she knows what an emergency looks like. Thirty years in the ER she says later, telling me she knew that look. Took him back right away. I follow. Watch. See how the machines read doom, read trouble, read things I cannot understand. Watch how he begins to fade away, slip under the surface of things. Under glass, under water, undertow, I call him back. Remember, I say. And suddenly he is back. Doctors rush in, take his pulse. We almost lost him, they laugh. But now he’s back. The doctor does his surgery, slices him up, leaves him a big scar that nurses later talk about. I imagine he also might of talked about it at golf.


The mix of life-threatening symptoms and the leisure of golf is strikingly paradoxical.

The intensity of life and death, contrasted with the return to mundanity of ordinary habitual life, as evidenced in the last line, give good pause for reflection. 🙂

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