21 June 2007: Bittersweet victory

Category: Photos
Posted by: erin
Dad called this evening to ask if I could please put up a blog entry for him because a) it has pictures and he couldn't get them working quite right, and b) he wasn't at all happy with the little bit he did manage to write, and he wanted me to be verbose about it..

Last night and this morning, Dad, Aunt Marsha, and GiGi went about the business of packing things up for Dad's return to Maineville. There were some moist eyes here and there as bandages and luggage all got packed up and loaded into Dad's wagon. He managed to amass quite a pile of stuff over his stay (not even counting the piles we all sent him), between the new bandaging and its associated tools, new toys like walkers, wheelchairs, and crutches with their fun cushions and accessories.. This must have been like moving a kid out for their first semester of college (who knew you could pack that much crap in a room, anyway?). This is all my imagining, of course, as I was nowhere near the actual packing event. I get a little wistful picturing that room, though: The hospital bed with its trapeze bar will be returning to its home until someone else needs it, the closet that was holding mounds of bandages will soon be hoarding toys again...

Anyway, they did manage to get everything loaded into the car, and after a good night's sleep, Dad and Aunt Marsha did "a really top notch stump dressing" (by the way Dad, or Aunt Marsha-- I'd really love a better description of what this new light elastic-y bandage thing is about-- I've heard some descriptions of something like bike shorts? I'm sure I'm not the only one dying to know..). They had an excellent omelet breakfast (GiGi's cooking, I'm sure), and then got him, his wheelchair, his walker, and the bandage kit all into the car, and off he went.

First stop was at Overload for "another ass-kicking workout", which of course takes only 20 minutes (I still have trouble believing that..), so by 9:30a or so he was on the highway headed south. He stopped off at home (around lunchtime) to unload the car and "change into my almost long pants for work".

He arrived at work, his home away from home, around 2 in the afternoon. He didn't tell me what happened for the next hour (though I can see him getting up to his office, probably talking to everyone he met on the way, puttering around figuring out how to maneuver in his old environment with his new gear..), but at 3pm, he was called out of engineering to find every person in the plant gathered at the foot of the steps to welcome him back. He told me the whole plant was shut down, they were all there ("the only one not at the foot of the stairs was the guy standing next to me..."). He couldn't figure out how they got everyone there, because he would have heard them if they used the PA...

It was another one of those very emotional moments for him. He waved, and either was asked to or felt obliged to say something, except that he couldn't think of anything to say. "I made a short feeble speech and ducked back into engineering because I started to tear up." On the phone, he said his feeble speech amounted to some mumblings and an offhand remark about extended vacation.

Knowing my Dad as I do, I know that work (the people he works with as much as the work itself) serves a very important role in his life. He has been singularly focused over the last months on accomplishing what he did today. I know that while I was with him for all of those weeks, it started to get a little tiring when he recited (for the gazillionth time) the number of stairs he had to climb to get up to the engineering office. This gathering of compatriots, in a place he has been longing to return to for months... The cup runneth over, indeed.

Great job, Dad!
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marsha wrote:

Great job, Erin. I was really anxious to hear about his first day back. What an emotional event, but another hurdle indeed. Congratulations, Mike!
-- 22 June 2007 07:30:59

ruthie wrote:

Great post Erin! As for you, Dad...I am without words. All I can say (and this goes for the whole gang) is that I am proud to call myself a "Haaser" and this is just one example of why. Congratluations Dad, and thank you to all who have given so much!
-- 22 June 2007 08:26:47

bonnie howard wrote:

WOW!! What a great welcome back to work for you, Mike. I can just imagine what all those great folks in Deerfield are feeling to have you back. And Bonnie has to be ecstatic!! Mike, I'm reading about your day....packing up, emotional goodbyes, ass kicking workout, long car ride home, back to work, emotional hellos.... I'm exhausted just reading it all. Was it only just a few months ago that Jim and I stood next to your hospital bed in the Metro Burn Unit and I helped you eat a quarter of a sandwich because you didn't have the strength to hold it?? Once again..... WOW!!!!
-- 22 June 2007 08:56:56

Court wrote:

I was so excited to read that you have returned to work. What a fantastic accomplishment. One of the national news stations does a person of the week -- you are mine! What an inspiration.
-- 22 June 2007 16:14:52

mike wrote:

Thanks Erin, you nailed it again.
-- 22 June 2007 19:12:24

Carolyn wrote:

wow! I can't believe how quickly you got back to work, Erin's Dad! Good on ya!

Erin, nice writing here, as always!
-- 22 June 2007 21:00:11

noel wrote:

WOW! i too, am panting over your busy and emotional day......holy cow. congrats on your first day back, don't worry about 'tanking' your speech, if you went and got all eloquent on everyone then they'd have really been thrown for a loop, right? is there an overload down there? to continue your workouts?
-- 25 June 2007 19:59:22

erin wrote:

Noel: I don't think there is.. It sounded like Dad planned to make periodic trips up there for maintenance. He'll be up that way for the next checkup with Amy/Tammy as well...
-- 26 June 2007 22:30:17
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