Monday, November 16, 2009

Angels in Disguise

Following the shooting at Fort Hood, I heard a retired military officer -- it might have been Jack Jacobs -- tell a TV commentator, "In the end, it's the community that can tell quicker than anything that you need care."

He was referring to others noticing but not mentioning or urging more attention to the mental health of the shooter.

When I initially prepped this post a week ago, I said he could have just as easily been referring to me and to my recent pulmonary issues that have been worsening, acknowledging the community of my colleagues and Rick to urge more proactive care. The idea of the post was to tell you that I am slow checking blogs these days, but please keep coming back as I'll have some posts here and to be patient with me if I don't comment on every item of yours. (And fyi, the new meds are helping; not to worry for now.)

But that's small potatoes compared to what happened this weekend when Rick was in a bicycling accident. He'll be fine. And he's very lucky. More on that in a minute.

I have long felt that the visual image of angels is beautiful and we like to think of our guardian angels watching over us. But no one really sees diaphanous beauties in long white gowns with feather wings flying about us when we're having a bad time. If we believe in such things, and I do, angels are a matter of the heart. Faith.

But I also believe that angels walk the earth. We all can be angels, while at the same time we never know when the angels we need will come our way. To get a real-life human glimpse is a breathtaking, almost heart-stopping moment.

This weekend I met two of them. In bike clothes.

Some of you know Rick is a passionate cyclist. He used to be a racer and rides long rides and often. He's a good rider, a good handler. Sure, he's crashed and been hit like a lot of folks who have been riding for 40 years, and some of those have been hairy (both before and after I came in on the scene). He topped 6,100 miles this month and would be closer to 7,000 if we hadn't had rain most of October.

So, when we had one of those glorious, Indian Summer days -- a true rarity for a Michigan November -- you can bet he'd be out on his bike, savoring every second as we anticipate the long northern winter.

He had companions this day. One, Jef Mallett, you may know as the cartoonist who draws the comic strip "Frazz." The other, Jimi, is a detective with Michigan's State Police. Both are triathletes and both have had EMT training. You can read Jef's account of this at this blog.

The guys were cruising down a country road about 20 miles from Lansing. There was no traffic and apart from gravel edge, the road was pretty nice. Bopping along at a brisk 24.6 mph, they were having a great ride.

That is, until Rick hit a piece of petrified horse dung a little larger than a croquet ball. There was no "give" and after struggling, went down.

"In the end, it is the community that can tell quicker than anything that you need care."

About that community -- or, as I see them, angels -- Jef and Jimi kept him going when his breathing was failing -- he was "out" for a good five minutes and struggling. Jimi wrote later: "I have seen quite a bit of death as first responder to head on accidents and such in the UP. He fought hard to stay alive for those first 5 minutes. You are doing something right as he just didn't want to let go."

The paramedics, generally not close to this area, had been on training runs and responded immediately. He was taken to the hospital where a scan showed a small brain bleed in the head, a badly cut eye area (14 stitches) and lots of bruises. The bleed subsided by the next day and he's home with me now after a night in Neuro ICU and lots of outstanding nursing care. More angels.

Jef and Jimi both came to the hospital (they also rescued Rick's bike, which wasn't badly damaged and next to being alive and kicking, probably his greatest relief.) They filled me in on the details, which were scary to say the least. But they also said Rick did as fine a job of handling the bike under the situation as anyone could. And, that the passers by (including a doctor and someone who blocked the road with his car so no one would interfere) were a real testament to positive, non-gawking help. More angels.

Jef also brought his wife, Patty to the hospital, too. I have a photo of them so you can see a real-life angel in the flesh. I don't have one of Jimi, but believe me, he's a vision, too. And it was good to have hugs because I really needed them at that moment.

You see, we never know, do we, when someone will happen into our life to save it, to make a moment easier, to change our perspective -- something that makes a major difference to the rest of our life as we live it. (Below -- the good side; some photos are best not posted.)

We never know when or if we'll be that person who is the angel, either. Sometimes we don't even know after the fact. We just go on, do our best, try to say the right thing or be with someone at the right time.

Those angels help us find our inner angel. I believe we all have one.

I just want to thank all of you in the family or Facebook loop who have already responded, sent get well wishes, and shared your concern on behalf of both of us. Your thoughts, prayers and positive energy are great comfort to both of us. Keep 'em coming. The initial problems may be under control but the recovery isn't going to be fun.

Rick's exhausted (me, too) and sorer than anything. But he's the toughest guy I know and I suspect he will move heaven and earth to get in another ride (or more) before the snow settles in. (Just as long as I can keep the pet therapist from jumping on his sore spots!)

As regular readers know, this is my month to focus on gratitude in all my Marmelade Gypsy posts. I guess it would be redundant to say what all I'm grateful for in this one -- I think you already know. I'll visit you as I can.

On a related note, if you want to see a real-life angel in the flesh, those living in the Lansing area are invited to stop by Schuler Books and Music in Lansing (Eastwood) at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 19. It's a book release party for Jef's most recent book, Trizophrenia! He says there will be great food, too! I know we'll move heaven and earth to be there, too!


Wrightboysmum said...

What a lovely thoughtful post and I'm glad Rick was with his angels that day and is on the mend. Take care and sending you both healing thoughts.

Joanne Huffman said...

A beautiful post that illustrates so much that is right in this world. You and Rick deserve angels in your life and how wonderful that you have them.

Ruth said...

It's beautiful from way over here, though it didn't feel that way to Rick, Jef, Jimi, or you, and won't for a while. I'm adding my gratitude to the pool.

Sugar Bear said...

Thank Heaven for angels on earth and that there were two + with Rick. So happy to hear he is home and on the mend. A wonderful thing to be thankful for this Thanksgiving season.

Kitty said...

My heartfelt thanks to God, you, Jef and Jimi. Love, Kitty

Beth said...

Oh Wow,,that is so scary, he quit breathing,,whew,,and yes I have always believed in Angels. I have had several in my life thats for sure. I will keep praying for Rick's rapid recovery. I know he will be back in the "saddle" just as soon as he can! You both have been through alot this month. But I feel your "Angels" will still be watching over you both.

~*~Magpie's Nest said...

grateful for a biker saved and rescued
grateful for wordsmiths like yourself Jeanie
grateful for angels
grateful for having met angels
grateful and honored to be an angel now and then
beautiful post Jeanie ... warm thoughts and healing energy are winging their way to you and Rick for a speedy recovery

donna said...

Jeanie, you really give us some beautiful, thoughtful posts and make us think. I wish both you and Rick good health and will think positive thoughts for you.

Please don't waste a moment worrying about reading/commenting on my blog.

anno said...

Beautiful post... I'm so glad the right people were with Rick at just the right time... saving graces, for certain. All my heart is with you.

Wrightboysmum said...

I'm not wanting you to respond/comment as you have enough going on but I sent a blog award your way. I love reading your posts and your great photos and it's much appreciated. Now make sure you give Rick and Gypsy plenty hugs. Take care.

BONNIE K said...

The "good" side doesn't look so hot! I'm glad he is recovering and has you to take care of him and I'm thankful for the angels that were with him that day.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Like you, I've been slow getting to blogs lately, for less urgent reasons than yours, but a confusing month, nevertheless. I'm SO relieved that Rick is alright, and I hope you're doing better and taking GOOD care of yourself.

For what it's worth, Jef is already one of my heroes through his work with Frazz, which I think may be the best strip on children and educators that's out there. As a long-time teacher, I just love it.

Again, Jeanie, so sorry to hear what you and Rick have been going through!

Pat K. said...

Jeanie, this post touched me in many ways. First, to read more about what happened to Rick and about your gratitude for his angels was both frightening and uplifting. But also, it reminded me of how fortunate my family was years ago when my sister passed out while biking and fell on her head (concussion, but not as badly injured as Rick) - the first passerby was a doctor who took charge of the situation and prevented further injury.

Wishing you and Rick all the best. He (and you) have sure connected with some outstanding friends!

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joyce said...

Dear Jeannie, I am so glad Rick is okay.What a terrifying experience. I do know about guardian angels and bikes as my son broke his neck in a bike accident in the spring, and he thankfully also had guardian angels, taking care of him and his bike. But, this is about you...what a rough time of it you've been having. I'd like to send you an email of a poem I have in my room about guardian angels.

ols1 said...

How horrible - I am so relieved he is alright. I will say my prayers for both of you that strength to survive will see you through. God bless, stay strong. Thinking of you both.

Shelley said...

Sending both you and Rick my best wishes and lots of TLC (gently). Blessings for both of you and a sound recovery for Rick. This has been a difficult year for all of you in many respects and I am so glad you have been able to find the blessings! You're so special.

Beth Leintz said...

Oh Jeanie, What a scary experience-the angels truly were watching over you. I'll have Rick in my prayers for a speedy recovery- and I'm glad to hear that you're feeling better, too. said...

I'm so glad help was nearby! How frightening for you both. Best wishes for a speedy recovery to Rick.

Julie H said...

What a beautiful post in a difficult time, I am so glad that the eding will be a happy one for you both, despite the rough journey.

Rosa said...

Oh Jeanie, what wonderful guardian angels Rick has. I know you were beside yourself. I am so happy to hear Rick is better. Wow. It is so true. We need to be grateful for each and every day that we have with our loved ones. Big hugs my friend. xoxoxo

Linda said...

Praise God!

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