Sunday, September 09, 2007

Of the Rambling Variety

Whoa, I'm posting with slightly more regularity! I miss posting, and I'm glad to be writing again.

This morning our band at Rivendell was awesome. I mean, it's not like we normally suck, in fact, I really like what we have going on. Today we were really on. The music was great, the worship was great, and I'm still buzzing from it.

Joined facebook, and it's a lot of fun. I've connected with people from my past, and I like the conversational side of it. It's a nice addition to blogging.

Don't want to make hair a consistent subject on this blog, but I got to say this. I kind of understand that for some of us, the process of our hair falling out is just a part of the normal trajectory of life. I mean, life is a span, with a beginning and an end, right? I get that for part of it you grow stronger and bigger and then you start down the other half. I don't mean that in a depressing sort of way, just, that's human reality. I do have a question or two that are buggin' me. Why is it that as hair loses interest in growing on top of your head that it gets interested in growing elsewhere? I have a hair or two growing out of the middle of my forehead. Like a freakin' unicorn. No, it's not remnants of my old hairline, it's new growth. Some springing up on my ears, too. Now don't expect to see it either place, I cut those bad boys off immediately. But still, the question remains, why? If the hair wants to fall out in the natural progression of life, fine. But, please, don't get some, uh, hair brained idea to just grow at random in other places. Is that too much to ask?

Friday, August 31, 2007

The Lost Isle

It was once a continent, thick with growth, ever changing in color and density and length. Then, it began to look like a peninsula, as the sides narrowed in. Now, it is just a lonely island, surrounded and by itself. What am I talking about? The little island of hair that sits alone at the front of my head. I've been thinning for several years, in fact, I grew my hair out a couple of years ago, kind of one last hurrah. When it first started thinning, I had all the terrible feelings. Now, I mostly just miss messing with it. I used to grow it out, color it, spike it, just generally look for cool cuts and let my stylist go to town. For a while, although it was thin, I left it longer and styled it and it looked alright. Then, for whatever reason, more of it decided to go on permanent vacation, and it became pointless to try and make it appear thick. So, I made the move. Is there a story coming? Naah.

Ok, ok, I was giving my son a haircut. Yeah, I cut it, because the little warrior, so appropriately named, goes in to full scale battle mode when the clippers come out, and I will not subject a stylist or barber to that insanity, nor will I subject my pocket book to it. So I cut it. A couple of days ago I was trying to trim up the sides with the clippers, then use the scissors to trim the top so we could spike it up or faux hawk it, or whatever. It became a Braveheart or Helm's Deep type battle. So, I just used the clippers and buzzed his whole head. I don't mean bald, just real tight and close, which is a cool cut these days. He went from looking like he was two to looking like he was five. My wife was thrilled by that! (Read previous line with dripping sarcasm)

Well, if it's good for the baby goose it's good for the daddy goose, right? Yep, took the clippers after myself next. Geez, i hadn't seen that much of my head in a while. Isn't your forehead actually supposed to, well, stop? You know, I LOVE IT! I feel like I can run real fast, you know, no wind resistance! It takes like, 3 seconds to wash it. If I don't shower and fix it, guess what? It looks the same! Yes, no more showers! (Kidding baby, I'm all about being clean : ) )

Now, do they make clippers for your waistline?

Friday, May 18, 2007

One Rocked Rooster

About a week before our wild ride with my son's sickness my dad read an article about a local festival, Rooster Days in Broken Arrow, needing bands to complete their lineup. He called me and I was game and he decided to check into it to see what they wanted/needed. They indicated to him that our band might be a good fit, and said all they needed was a demo tape or cd. "No problem" says dad, "when do you need it?" "Tomorrow." So after a little negotiating, and their desperate need for acts, we bought ourselves a few days, the weekend. We got together at our drummer Robb's church and "recorded" a few songs. Recording in a live setting without proper gear as opposed to a studio is a difficult thing, and, to not mince words, our demo sucked. Hard. However, we were out of time, and we turned it in. I couldn't help laughing at imagining their faces as they listened. I quit laughing when they called and said "can you play the Sunday 3:30 slot?" "Sure!"

Then my son got sick and everything rightly took a back seat. Suddenly, we were home and gaining health and we were playing our first true public event in three weeks and we hadn't practiced a single thing. After a few false starts we finally got together and started getting some stuff down. Did I mention this was Thursday, and we were to play Sunday? Yeah, well, it was.

Surprisingly, we actually began to get our short set of music pretty decent. I went out Friday night to check out the sound system. Quick background, I worked a booth for the ceramic studio I was employed by at this festival about 9 years ago. It was boring, lightly attended, and just a nice little small town carnival. The weather was really poor that year, and I was misled by the attendance. Friday night, I get there to see a really cool stage, large sound system, and like a jillion people. There were rides, fair food, everything. I began to feel the panic.

The Sunday previous I had begged our fellowship to come support us, and they came in force. I had also sent emails out to my family and friends, and they too, came. It was great! They screamed and behaved like we were actually good! Without pay!

There was really only one controversial undercurrent. Since my dad was the original contact, and because we hadn't had time to come up with a name, the festival had listed us with his name: "The Dan Quinten Band". We tried to no avail to come up with something we liked, but, frankly, we were busy panicking over how we were going to sound on minimal preparation. As we stood waiting to go on stage, Robb says "Lost in Translation". All four of us loved it! That was to be our name. One small problem, it seems some folks were a little "emotionally invested", shall we say, in the "Dan Quinten Band". Two guys made homemade T- shirts declaring their loyalty. When the emcee welcomed "Lost in Translation", I'm pretty sure I saw people pick up rocks and the like. This blog chronicles one fans heartbreak (just a note to those not there, not everything happened exactly as portrayed here, you'll know what part I'm referring to). It was an awkward moment.

That debate continues, but it was an amazing time, and I loved being on that stage and in that moment. And, actually, we were okay. You know how we are, us musicians, we can pick ourselves apart. Unless they were straight lying through their teeth, most of the folks in attendance had really positive things to say.

Up top's a shot of Lost in Translation's first bonafide public gig. That's Chad at the right on lead guitar, Robb in the back on drums, Dan to the left in the cool hat on bass, and your's truly up front on guitar and vocals. Thanks again to all who supported with their presence as well as with their good thoughts and prayers. Here's hoping that was just the first of many...

Saturday, April 28, 2007


Catching up on a few things. If you've not used my links to Dino or Heather in a while, they both have new things going on and the links are updated to those, so go and enjoy.

Tonight I went and visited a guy from our fellowship who had an appendectomy among other things. I decided to drop in on the PICU where we had lived, so to speak, to see if any of my boys nurses were there, and, in fact two of the ones who had provided most of his care were both working. There were hugs and good reports to go around. In the room right next to his when we were there a little baby was dying. When we were transfered to St Francis, they estimated the baby had five to seven days left. Even in the midst of our struggles that was a sobering reminder that things could get worse, much worse. One of his nurses, Crystal, came out of that room when she saw me there, and I got caught up visiting with her. I did finally glance toward that room to see who was there, and, shock, it was still that mama and little baby. The mama waved at me and held up her little girl, who was awake and looking around! I was just blown away. His other nurse summed it up best: "miracles still happen". Wow! That baby is getting better every day, just amazing.

The road back to eating well has been slow. It's been a lot of factors, including that it's just more expensive to eat healthily (is that just bass ackward?), and just finding our stride and sense of normalcy after our experience has been a bit slow. I've gained back a small amount, but my resolve feels the same. This weekend we will once again restock with more appropriate foods and reembark on our journey. I will resume reporting and posting pictures.

Well, truly that is a short and sweet version of life in the poet lane, I look forward to a bit more frequent posting.

Oh yeah, a couple of my favorite bands listed to the side have had big events. I'm saddened much like everyone else on the untimely passing of Boston's Brad Delp, he of the pristine vocals that were a hallmark, along with the famous Boston guitar distortion, of the band. I'm also saddened at the rumors and accusations floating around regarding this, and hope that it all settles and we can remember Brad with a sense of peace and soberness at how he left us. (This happened during our hospital stay, and I'm just getting a chance to post). Also, much to my excitement, The Police are reunited and touring, here's still hoping that Chad and I will catch a show. If you'd like to contribute to the "Buy Chad and Lindy Police Tickets" fund, just let me know: )

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

17 Days

"I wish the ring had never come to me." "So do all who live to see such times."

My son acted like he didn't feel well, it was Friday, and he had a little cough. By Saturday, he was good and congested, mostly in his chest, and we started with over the counter meds to clear him up. Wasn't the first time he'd had some congestion, certainly wouldn't be the last. Sunday his breathing seemed a little more difficult, and throughout the day although he continued to play, we knew something wasn't right. We called his doctor and he gave us instructions to do through the night and we were to be at his office by 8 am. By about 11:00 that night we knew there was something really wrong with the way he was breathing, so we went to the ER. We expected to get a couple of breathing treatments and probably a shot and go home. At 2:00 am we were informed we were being admitted into the hospital. We would live and sleep in that and one other other hospital for the next 17 days.

That first night we didn't sleep, our little warrior wouldn't let us put him down, and I don't blame him. His breathing continued to labor and get worse, and I began to have real fear inside of me for his health. After two more breathing treatments, he was struggling even more, and I was feeling angry. Why wasn't God doing something, this is my son! Why is nothing working, where is the doctor, this can't be right! Our respiratory therapist decided to try a different breathing treatment, and, finally, he seemed to make some progress. Still, after a pulmonary specialist had seen him, they decided to admit him to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, or PICU, so they could more properly monitor him and give him more frequent breathing treatments. It seemed that Tuesday passed and he continued to improve. Then came Tuesday night. He quite quickly began to struggle to breathe, with even more difficulty than when we checked in. We spent another sleepless night watching his breathing slowly deteriorate. At that point we had slept for six hours in a 72 hour period, and we were filled with anxiety and worry and had the heartbreak of watching our precious, beautiful boy fight for every breath.

By 7:00 am Wednesday morning the specialist prepared us for the fact that he may have to be intubated and put on a ventilator so he could rest and his lungs and throat get clear of the croup and pneumonia. At a little after 10:00 we walked out of the room knowing it would be 3 to 5 days before he would be awake again and we could hold him. I felt empty, exhausted, angry, afraid, and deeply saddened. Good thing we didn't know it would be 12 days before he was carefully lifted off of his bed and placed in his mommy's arms.

He finally began to rest with the breathing tube, and seeing him no longer labor had a degree of relief to it, even though we couldn't hold him. Throughout this process our friends and community wrapped their collective arms around us and refused to let us crumble. That first night we were unsure if we could go get sleep (the hospital had a room for us) and leave him alone in the PICU, so Kyle came and stayed up with him all night, reading and praying over him every thirty minutes (my computer screen is getting blurry from my tears as I type that). What also blew me away was that Kyle's wife Cathy and Steve and his wife Cathy were willing to do the same thing, to take turns taking night watches so we could rest. Dear God, I hope I'm that kind of pastor and friend to those in my life.

The next five days became quite frustrating for us. He just hit this plateau and quit getting better, and no one knew why. Everything they tried didn't work. I stood at my son's bed alone begging God to do something. Look, I know you work through doctors, but dammit! Do something! I felt so impatient and angry! And in the midst of those angry moments, cussing, crying, I would feel this peace begin to creep in, and I felt my trust and faith begin to stretch. You know, I never felt compelled to confess and ask forgiveness of my Heavenly Father, it was like He said, "About time you trusted me enough to be that honest".

At six weeks old my son had a procedure done on his heart, and the doctor at St John's decided it needed to be checked out. After a test and after speaking with the Intensivist at St. Francis, they decided to transport us. Those couple of hours when they believed that maybe it was a problem with his heart felt like someone tore something out of us, my wife put words to what we both felt "I'm afraid we're going to lose him" (blurry screen again). That night, a big group of people showed up at St Francis, our friends, our family, the voice, hands and feet of Jesus. Once they had him hooked up at the new hospital, we went to check on him and visit with the intensivist. He decided to clean him out, an intimidating procedure to watch, but I stayed in there. They squeezed air into his lungs then pumped on his chest to help him cough then sucked out what he was coughing. My teeth were clenched so tight they should have exploded. Then, boom, after they finished, his stats began to change, the first actual positive move in several days. Then the doctor pointed to one of the readings, and said basically "if there's a heart problem that would be different, but I have found a patch of pneumonia that is still really bad. We're going suction him like this every hour, and give the antibiotics time to work." Relief began to flood over me, a sense that we would be okay hit me for the first time in several days.

A little less than 24 hours after that the turn happened. One particular stat they were monitoring, his oxygen saturation, suddenly shot up to the levels they should be at, and they began to ween him off the ventilator. Over the next four days they weened the settings until he was essentially breathing on his own, then, out came the tube, or, in their terms, they extubated him. Shortly after that, they had some oxygen running to his nose and he had several iv's connected, they carefully handed him to my wife. By the next afternoon, which was Sunday and two weeks exactly from our original trip to the ER, he was free of all but one IV.

Three days later, on Wednesday, my wife and I's 10th wedding anniversary, we walked out of St Francis and came home, and our 17 day journey was complete. I had missed 3 weeks of work, my wife would miss two more. We have an appointment one week from today to do what should be our final chest X ray to make sure his lungs are clear, and he will be cleared to go back to church, to go see the fellowship that wrapped him with prayers warmer and softer than any blanket, and to bring to an end this chapter which will have stretched into nearly two months.

I'll do a follow up post to talk more about community and relating to God and each other in a crisis.

"You are bigger than songs, greater than words. And if words escape us now, you will still be God. So hear, hear our souls crying to You, for You, You are good, faithful King.

You are good, You are good. We are free, You are good. You're alive, we're alive and You are good. You are good."