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Farmers' Harvest

The school news site of Lewisville High School

Farmers' Harvest

The school news site of Lewisville High School

Farmers' Harvest

Column: Growing up fast

‘When will this rollercoaster finally slow down and come to a stop? I want to get off.’
“Everyone will one day come to the realization that life is unexpected, and that bad things happen to good people.” Courtesy of AJ Jackson.


Dad was laying in bed moaning from stomach pains Tuesday night. Dad was being incredibly stubborn, he always was. My brother, RJ, and I were at home, sitting in our rooms, unaware of what was about to happen.

Between choir concerts and family dinners, the rest of the week was too busy, so it was now or never.

My dad had been experiencing gallbladder attacks for the previous two years, but this felt different. 

He was in the hospital for only eight days total before he… 

Mom took dad to the ER in Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Flower Mound that Tuesday night, and after a long-awaited visit from the ER doctor, he came to the conclusion that my dad was experiencing liver failure from a Tylenol overdose.

The doctor told my parents Dad would’ve died in two days from liver failure if he wasn’t taken to the hospital. He was given a Tylenol antidote to reverse the effect.

In something that can only be described as a one in a million chance, general surgeon Dr. Patrick Shovlin picked up my dad’s chart from the ER. He immediately knew there was not nearly enough Tylenol in my dad’s blood to cause an overdose. Thursday.

Shovlin talked to my parents on Friday and told them some really scary news.

My dad’s gallbladder died. Septic. Rotting in his stomach. Poisoning liver. Liver failing

My dad’s Cholecystectomy had been officially scheduled for Dec. 17. Life as we all knew had been flipped around then landed on its head in three days. 

Gallbladders should be robin egg blue… his was dark black.

While recovering from his cholecystectomy, my dad experienced “complications” in the form of tied tubes surrounding his liver. Just the following day, he had a second surgery – an Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography

Sounds scary right?

When will this rollercoaster finally slow down and come to a stop? I want to get off.

Dad sat in his hospital room for about three days after the final surgery, and my mom was with him for nearly every second.

His room was on the fourth floor. It had a window overlooking a roof to another part of the building. The room had a couch under the window, faux leather, but didn’t have pillows – wasn’t a nice enough couch for that. There was a hospital recliner-like chair where my mother sat for the majority of the time she was visiting him. When the surgeon would come in, he’d sit on the couch in the room, put his feet up on the side of the bed as he would debrief my parents on my dad’s health.

As pleasant as it might sound, it was no home away from home.

He left the hospital on the 22nd.

Aunt Bobby came to visit us on Wednesday night, and she put us to bed.

I love Aunt Bobby.

Mommy woke us up Thursday morning, but daddy wasn’t home. She took us to school; kindergarten waited for nobody. 

Mom told us the news – very nonchalant. She was never super emotional about stuff like this. 

Dad’s in the hospital, only for a couple days though.”

My choir concert was that night. My brother’s first grade teacher Karen Mills took my brother and me to the concert, mommy picked us up from the concert and took us home. She put us to bed and took us to school Friday morning. 

Can you believe that mom took the time? 

Mom dropped us off and went back to the hospital. 

It was a half day that Friday. Last day before winter break, Aunt Bobby picked us up from school that Friday. Took us through the Chick-fil-A drive-thru on the way to the hospital.

I was about to walk through those wooden double doors and stare at the sight of the strongest person I know lying in a hospital bed. As soon as I walked in, that notorious hospital smell was overwhelming. There are so many reasons to hate a hospital, and the smell is high on my list.

We didn’t stay long. Hospitals are no place for a 6 year old. 

Bobby took us home, later Aunt Bones joined us. They both stayed with us the whole weekend. 

We waited. And waited. And waited. 

Who knew three days could feel like 18 years?

After the weekend was over, we went back to Mrs. Mill’s house during the days on Monday through Wednesday. She baked us cookies and we played with her sons’ old Legos. Mom dropped us off at her house in the morning, went to the hospital during the day then picked us up on her way home to put us to bed. 

Still no word from Dad. 

Six-year-old me was entertained by all the cookies and games and movies, I’d totally forgotten what was going on.

Mom woke us up Thursday morning – probably eating brown sugar cinnamon oatmeal for breakfast, because it was so cold outside. 

Mom rolled us up to the hospital after we ate and got dressed. We pulled up to the loading zone of the hospital, I looked through the icy backseat window as I sat in my car seat, holding my fuzzy pink and green baby blanket no doubt. 

Nurses wheeled Dad out in a wheelchair, he was wearing sweatpants and a T-shirt. 

They fumbled him into the passenger seat of the minivan, mom sped him out of there like a bat out of hell. We were all ready for him to come home. 

After Dad came home on Thursday, he was still incredibly weak. He was glued, stamped and taped to his tan leather recliner. He didn’t leave till Christmas day, we all hopped into that janky old red Kia Sedona and drove to Farmers Branch to see my grandparents for Christmas. 

Dad slept through the whole day at Nana and Papa’s house, but I have a feeling he was still listening to mt brother and me opening our presents on Christmas morning.

Some children get to grow up when they turn 18, or sometimes later. Everyone will one day come to the realization that life is unexpected, and that bad things happen to good people. I came to that realization at 6 years old. Bad things happen to good people, but if they’re strong enough, they’ll grow past them and serve as an example to those around them, just like my dad did for me.

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