January 15, 2013

At the Winter Hawk Café...


... you can talk all night.


traditionalguy said...

A Seattle Seahawk licking its wounds.

AlanKH said...

Hawk - the other white meat.

traditionalguy said...

The Badgers just beat the Hoosiers in a Big Ten Basketball big upset. Watch out for drunks on campus tonight... not that the basketball game would change anything.

chickelit said...

Maybe it's the angle or the pose but that bird does not look well. Its habitat leaves a lot to be desired as well.

Carnifex said...

Hi all.

We had the funeral for my Dad today. I'm not good at funerals...I'm the proverbial deep river, and when it comes out it comes out over the banks.

I couldn't go there today because my Mom and sister were already there, and I had to comfort them. So I sucked it up and shut it down, and we got through it.

But since then my head has felt stuffy...like an emotional cold. It's gonna hurt when it cuts loose, I can tell.

As a carpenter I've hit my fingers with my hammer bunches of times. It always stings, but the most damaging is when you hit it the hardest, a sick numbness flows into your fingers. That's whats in my head right now.

Got to see people I hadn't seen in decades, some hadn't seen me since my early teens, and they still recognized me...have I changed so little?

Physically, I tower over most older people, and outweigh them by hundred pounds or more...My Mom's best freind from grade school teeters up to me, pulls me down to her level and hugs and kisses me. I told her stop when she went to pinch my cheeks...all the women i grew up with pinched my cheeks...what's up with that? My aunt from Scranton did it just a few months ago at my uncles funeral. And I'm 52 damn years old!

My niece's daughter is just 4, but she thought her Grampy hung the moon. every time she cae over to their house she'd run into Dads room hollering for him. Yesterday, when they brought her to the funeral home it was bad, I was watching. She peeked in and saw Dad lying there, her mouth popped open and closed like a fish gasping in the air, she turned around and fled. They finally got her back and calmed down, and by the end of the day she was accepting of it.

At the hospital, I got very angry. I seriously considered burning the place down.(well not really, but I did fantasize).

earlier that day, Dad had just gotten home from a week stay at the hospital.(complications from his cancers). He was so excited, calling me, his buddies and yelling "I'm home! I'm home!" into the phone...

Meade said...

Beautiful comment. I'm sorry your father died, Carnifex.

Unknown said...

It's hard to believe right now, but it will get easier. I can think about my Dad without tearing up most of the time. Saddest for the grand babies who'll never know him. We're lucky to have had great dads. Write down your memories so the grands will have them too.

Carnifex said...

2 hours later Mom called me crying. Dad had a hard time breathing. I dropped what I was doing and rushed over, she already had him on oxygen, and EMS was on the way. I cleared a path through the house for their gurney, and waited on the porch for them to flag them in.

They decided to take him (no surprise) one of the techs came back in to ask Mom if Dad had a living will. He did, and it was a DNR(do not resuscitate) Mom couldn't find so they left, and she immediately found it(of course), but in the ambulance Dad stopped breathing. They intubated him because they didn't have the DNR.

At the hospital Dad was on the respirator, and sedated into slumber. My Mom, sister, and I talked about the DNR. Both my Mom and sister agreed to remove the respirator after the immediate family had a chance to visit Dad. This meant Dad was on the respirator till just after midnight when my nephew got of work.

Carnifex said...

I said my Mom and sister agreed to pull the plug on Dad. They both know that I am 100 percent against that sort of behavior. Mom went so far as to tell me that my sister has HER living will because she knows I wouldn't do it.

Hours pass, Dad starts to wake up a few times from his drug induced stupor, and tries to get up, and he tells us he has to pee.

Then they sedate him again.

Midnight arrives with the arrival of my nephew, and 2 priests. The priests give Dad the last rights. I had to walk out then, because at best Dad was atheistic.

But the shamans waved their beads and told Mom it was for the best and around 2 am they pulled the respirator.

And Dad kept breathing.

After an hour of that, they decide they better get him a room.

Carnifex said...

We stay in the room till the next afternoon. We need a break by then especially Mom, so we go home, clean up, and spend another night in the hospital.

All the while Dad keeps breathing.

He develops a gurgle. Liquid is starting to fill his lungs. They just keep him sedated. But the dosage is weak. They can't afford to get anyone hooked on pain killers. Lawsuits and all that. Even if the patient is dying.

But because the dosage is weak Dad keeps trying to wake up every four hours. And he fights with the sheets, and tries to get out of bed, and Mom has to talk to him to get him to lie back down, until the new drug takes hold. It got particularly bad the second night we stayed. He was waking up, and the nurse wouldn't give him the shot...not for 25 more minutes. So Dad fought and struggled and moaned, while Mom's trying to soothe him. If it would have benefitted anyone or anything, I would have gladly set that bitch on fire.

the minutes finally pased and Dad got his shot, and went back to sleep. Mom and my sister soon followed because they were worn out, so I stayed up and watched Dad in the dark, and chatted with my wife on the computer.

We were discussing how long this might go on, when I realized something. And with that realization came the knowledge of exactly how long my Dad could last like this.

As my whimsy leads me.. said...

Carnifex, I'm so sorry for your loss of your dad. Mine died 11 years ago, and I still think of him every day. For a while, the smell of concrete (his business for awhile), or muddy work boots, or cigar smoke would make me feel like crying. Or in the cereal aisle at the grocery store, because Daddy did most of the grocery shopping when I was a kid. Time will help, it really does, but oh, so hard to let them go.


Before I read your comments, I was going to remark that this photo would make a great jigsaw puzzle. There is also a certain sadness to it's bleakness.

Carnifex said...

Because the nurses were checking his other vitals, we knew he had a strong pulse. His kidneys and liver were doing alright. Or as well as could be expected.

Horror really struck me though when I realized that thy weren't giving Dad any fluids. No IV drip...no ice chips...nothing.

And so I knew how long Dad had to live. No more than 2-3 days max.

And I know my Mom and sister have no clue. No clue about de-hydration, or how painful it is, or how long you an last without fluids.

And still my Dad kept trying to wake up.

Dad's oncologist shows up that second morning and increases the dosage of the morphine...Dad won't be having these wake up spells now. Mom asks the Doctor if she's doing the right thing, and he tells her yes, and I know what's going on. They're not just waiting for Dad to stop breathing. They're giving him a shove.

Mom, unknowing, but I get mad because she's abrogating her moral decisions to a stranger...I admit it's been a tough 2 years but you don't ever quit, and she was quitting. The doctor though. He knows. Or if he doesn't, he should.

I feel a deep dark ember of hatred for this doctor, for the nurse, for the system that would rather let a man suffer while they kill him, than risk a law suit for making the man they're trying to kill, a addict.

And that's why I want to burn this place of lies and platitudes down. The only, and I mean this, the only thing that stops me is that I know it would be futile.

Obamacare, big pharma, wall street...they all won. They get to divide the country up, and put it in their pockets.

But they've made 2 mistakes...one is they have made another,because there are more of people like me out there every day, another implacable enemy who will only be happy when they are dead and buried. And the second mistake is that we live. For while we live, we will grow. And we will see each and every one of you death lovers in the arms of your bitch.

That's the way you want it? Well, you get it.

Carnifex said...

Thank you all for your kindness...I do appreciate it greatly

Just a lot of bleakness in my heart right now

Unknown said...

I'm praying that you find peace. Not much help, I know, but it's all I can think of to do.

Carnifex said...

Sorry for the rant...Like I said a lot of bleakness in me right now. Because of what I knew, and everyones behavior.

Anyway, to finish my story, at 11 that morning we decide to go home shower, and return again. This time in a rotation.

Mom and my sister were talking about how this might last a week but I knew better by then. I volunteered to go first while they ate lunch in the cafeteria, then they would go home and later return. I was hoping that I had time before Dad expired.

I was reaching for my coat when my sister said "He's not breathing".

After all the fighting, and trying to get out of bed he passed so quietly we hadn't even noticed.

Not a sigh, not a whisper,...just silence.

That was my only consolation...that he went so quietly.

I can't tell my Mom or my sister what I know of de-hydration, and what part that played in Dad dying. They couldn't handle the guilt.

Just like I can't tell my Mom about the condoms my Dad had me hide from her when I was 16.(Where did you get these!?! I was hoping I needed 'em, Mom! You ain't gonna' need nuthin' for 3 months!)

Maybe growing up with just dogs for companions made me warped. Maybe the condom incident did...or the nuns...or maybe I'm just different.

I et tired of all the nicey-nice things in todays society, where if you speak the truth you're a racist, or a bigot, or any other label they want to pin on you.

I look at our president, and he's such a little petty man, who is perfect for this society were evolving into. No sharp edges, no corners, everything pillowy soft as a baby duck.

This effeminate monstrosity offends my soul. There are no places for a square peg in this country of round holes. Where liars are rewarded for lying, young girls prostitute their bodies for vanity and fame, and the cleptocracy runs the country. As the hospital, so the country.

Burn this piece of outhouse offal for what it is. Outhouse offal. All politicians tried, convicted, and hanged for treason. All of them!(life in prison without parole, I still have MY morals)

I feel liike Jesus at the Temple with the money changers. I want to drive them out, lashing at their avarice, and shortsightedness, and lack of human compassion.

Carnifex said...

And my own compassion fools me. They can't be all bad, can they? And then they prove over and over again that yes they are all bad.

I feel like Descartes, only my torch has been extinguished.

I feel like my Dad as they put him to sleep...fighting to get out and live, but being betrayed by my own body, my own family.

I don't want to embrace this darkness. I don't want to sleep with death.

I'm afraid. Ultimately, I am afraid of what I could become again. The drinking...you people have know idea. Imagine this...they create a drug that produces the chemicals in your brain that make you feel happy. And then sell that drug in every convenient store and Walmart, and grocery store, and even stores that just sell that drug.

That's what alcohol is...to me at least. And I don't go there because of fear and pride. Fear of what I might became, and pride in not going back to what I was...

But it pulls me. Sings in my blood. like the devil tempting Jesus in the desert(Jesus theme tonight)

I'll see you guys later... I think the rivers starting to peak, and I need to release it....byeee

kentuckyliz said...

Carnifex...I wish I could hug you right now.

rhhardin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rhhardin said...

This guy gives great physics lectures, in English from India.

For comparison, wastewater treatment is more challenging.

AllenS said...

Carnifex, sorry to hear about the loss of your father.

Quaestor said...

My condolences, Carnifex.

BTW, that's an adult female Cooper's Hawk. Historically the Cooper's has been a rarely seen and secretive species, however over the last few years I've noticed that they have become much bolder and tolerant of human culture.

pm317 said...

Carnifax, I feel your grief. I lost my dad in 1995. It is a very good day when he comes in my dreams now and he does when I need him the most.

pm317 said...

Lot of hawks everywhere. I saw one in my backyard the other day, sitting on the fence and the big tree.

edutcher said...

Carn, it's OK.

Sometimes, you gotta let it out and you've got friends here.

Robert Cook said...

WE'RE DOOMED! Really...we are.

Robert Cook said...


I'm sorry to hear of the pain you're going through because your dad died. As for your worries about alcohol...try to stay away, for your dad's sake, if not for yourself, in memory of him.

I don't mean to sound glib, or assume it's easy; I know it's not. A close friend of mine has been fighting alcoholism these past few years and is in her last month or so of residence at a halfway house for recovering addicts, (following her third stay in rehab). I have never had a person so close to me go through addiction problems before, and it frightens and appalls me what it can do and how destructive it can be. I never before noticed how intimately alcohol and drinking are tied into virtually every aspect of our culture, how omnipresent it is, how much it is assumed that we all drink as a natural part of social conviviality.

Anyway, my friend is doing very very well and I have hope she will stay sober. I hope you can resist the temptation, as well.

Clyde said...

For Carnifex, I want to repost a comment I put up a couple of days ago deep into a thread where most people probably didn't see it. Right now, it sounds like you're in a dark place and maybe you could use something to show that the world isn't all bad (even though I share your disdain for the president).

We have a citrus packing house here locally that ships Indian River fruit around the country. Their signature fruit is the honeybell tangelo, a cross between a grapefruit and a tangerine that is large, sweet and juicy. They are only available in January, although they have a package that sends honeybell marmalade before Christmas and then a box of honeybells in January. I send these Honeybell Express packages to all of my friends and family Up North as a Christmas present.

Anyway, on Saturday morning, I got an email from my friend Barbara in Chicago:

Hi Clyde,

My sister Julie, in Sarasota. called yesterday to tell us that her sister-in-law passed away after her 2 -year fight with cancer. Cathy was the first of the 6 S------ kids. Julie's husband is 2 years younger. So Julie & her family are driving up this weekend for the funeral.

From time to time, my sister Gail (the nurse) would drive to the south side of Chicago to help care for Cathy. Gail was there Thursday, the day before Cathy died. She brought Cathy one of the honeybells. She peeled it and fed each segment to Cathy. Gail told me that Cathy really enjoyed the orange and said. "This is how an orange should taste".

I just wanted you to know and to thank you. One of her last earthly pleasures was that delicious Florida sweetness.

Well, that hit me like a ton of bricks. I was very sad about the death of a woman I'd never even met, but glad that even in the most indirect way, I'd helped to bring some light to her last days. It just goes to show that we don't always know what positive effects we can have on other people, even indirectly.

And to add to what I wrote the other day, I'm not the hero in this piece. My friend Barbara generously shared with her sister, and her sister generously shared with Cathy. I just provided enough honeybells that Barbara wanted to share them with those she loves.

Rusty said...

I'm sorry for your loss Carni.
Not a day goes by.............

It is a very good day when he comes in my dreams now and he does when I need him the most.

I thought it was just me.

Paddy O said...

Here's a winter hawk next to a winter hummingbird (picture taken just outside my house)

I saw the hawk, started taking pictures, and the hummer just showed up to see what the fuss was about.

Paddy O said...

Carnifex, thank you for sharing that in how you said it and here. When the river floods it's often a great benefit to the growth of others.

Very sad news about your dad. I pray you and your whole family find peace in the midst of the mourning.

Ann Althouse said...

I'm sorry to hear about your dad, Carnifex. I'm glad the cafe was here for you late at night and people found you mourning.

Lem said...

Sorry for your loss Carnifex.

lemondog said...

Carnifex thank you.

As other have said the pain does ease over time.

Patrick said...

All the best, Carnifex, I'm very sorry for your loss.

Patrick said...

Clyde, I saw your comment in the other cafe where you posted it. What a nice story.

Reminds me of Mr. Edwards, of Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. this was a guy who was probably in his mid to late twenties, and did a couple of kind things for some young girls in the middle of nowhere. I'm sure he never considered the possibility that he'd be remembered 150 years later for those acts of kindness.

Things like that can take the edge off of life.

lemondog said...

The color composition of Meade's beautiful Winter Hawk photo put me in mind of a Gustav Klimt

Patrick said...

Robert, I read the Doomsday article. Stuff like that always interests me, even though I read it as a skeptic. I find it interesting that they state that complex civilizations fail in familiar patterns that lead to breakdowns (about which I have no real doubts), but then go on to refer to the impending collapse as "this final collapse."

No, I don't accept that whatever causes us to "collapse" (if that is even an adequate characterization), will be at all final. Civilizations rise and others will take the places of the fallen. And so it will be until the sun explodes.

ndspinelli said...

Carnifex, This forum has served you well to vent your emotions. I only pray for the living believing the dead are w/ God. Having gone through a very similar experience w/ my dad, I had a very male reaction like you. I too processed the blow by blow horrible details. That will last for awhile. Here's my only suggestion. I've given it several times to people very close to me and all have thanked me later on. Let the grief flow over you right now. Don't try and suppress it, embrace it. It serves an important function that will get you through this.

Unknown said...

traditionalguy said...

"A Seattle Seahawk licking its wounds."

I was looking forward seeing round 3 between the Niners and Seahawks at Candlestick this Sunday (and thought we'd win), but think the road to the Super Bowl became that much easier with Atlanta's win.

Anything can happen, of course, but I like the match up. Nor does the previous week translate to the next week. But, at a minimum, Ryan will face more pressure from the Niners' pass rush than he did from Seattle's, and the Falcons should not be able to run as easily as they did against Seattle.

Vernon Davis should have as good, if not better, a game as Zack Miller; Gore and James a better game than Lynch and Turbin; Kaepernick should have as good, if not better, a game as Wilson; and the Niner receivers should do as well, if not better, than the Seahawk receivers.

The one thing I do worry about is Ryan hitting his receivers, but he shouldn't have much more success than Rodgers did; nor as much success as he did against Seattle.

But, we'll see, won't we?

Otherwise, go Ravens!

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...


Sorry for your loss.

I know it sounds trite, but it does get better.

Not our politicians though.

That gets worse, always.

But you knew that.

Carnifex said...

Thanks again guys... it did help venting.

I'll see you all later

Robert Cook said...

"No, I don't accept that whatever causes us to 'collapse' (if that is even an adequate characterization), will be at all final. Civilizations rise and others will take the places of the fallen."

That was, perhaps, a bit of rhetorical overstatement, but, whereas, in past collapses, they have been localized, and the rest of the globe has lain verdant and available for further development, we have now circled the globe, and our exhaustion of available resources is total.

Humans will survive the impending collapse of our interconnected globab systems, but in far reduced numbers and circumstances. The resources won't be there to allow for a revival of society or life as we know it today.

As my whimsy leads me.. said...


Don't feel bad about them not giving your dad fluids. When someone is actively dying, that is better, and actually natural. Giving fluids makes breathing more difficult at the end. Hospice nurses give meds to decrease oral secretions, which cause gurgling and the "death rattle". When the patient is not hydrated, that is often not necessary. Also, fortunately these days, there are very few doctors who will withhold medication due to a fear of addiction in a dying patient. (And those should be fired.) Addiction is not an issue when pain medicine is used in such settings. The goal of morphine, sedatives, and other medications at the end is to control pain, improve breathing, reduce anxiety, and just make the patient comfortable. When I worked with hospice nurses (as a pharmacist), we had ways to monitor patients so they would be comfortable but not overmedicated. Occasionally a patient will get restless with morphine or another medication, and then we would change to other options.

I just hope you don't feel bad about how your dad's end came. Our nurses told patients to keep their advance directives in a packet attached to the refrigerator to have them handy in case the squad had to be called (which we also tried to avoid, if possible). But, at least you got a few more days with him your dad.

I'm from Kentucky, too, and I wouldn't steer you wrong.


Freeman Hunt said...

So sorry, Carnifex.

Jeff said...


My wife was admitted to a famous hospital here when she could not stop vomiting any and every thing she ate or drank. They kept her for four days with nothing by mouth and no IV. Then they sent her home. (Don't even get me started on how doctors treat middle-aged women when they can't figure out what the problem is.

The doctors evidently did not think her life was in danger from dehydration after four days, or they would have hooked up an IV. Nor was she in unbearable pain, although her kidneys did hurt. Based on that it seems unlikely that your father suffered as much from dehydration as you feared.

(My wife is still around, no thanks to any of her doctors. I found out from Wikipedia how to do oral rehydration therapy. Two weeks ago, after 8 months of barfing multiple times every day, her Internet research paid off. It turns out the problem is excess oxalates. She's now on a low-oxalate diet and taking supplements of Biotin and a probiotic with a bacteria that destroys oxalates in the gut. She's been barf-free for 11 days now.)

Michael said...

Carnifex. I would like to add my deep regrets. When I got sober twenty plus years ago I always told myself that I would have a drink "tomorrow" which, of course, never came because every day tomorrow was a day away. Trite and silly but it was useful to me. Lean into your strength.