prune picker

This is the blog of a prune picker. (Native born Californian) Retired oilfield. I am an old man. (91) I blog a lot about my body and getting old. As I approach death life gets more interesting. More interesting is not good. I still drive. I attend sports, music, and civic events. I am writing my memoirs. I attend swim class three times a week. Some of my blogs might be interesting. A lot of my blogs are silly and trivial. None are very long.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

(Waterflood 5) My heart is heavy when I think of the life of Chris, my first son.

I am heartened when I consider how much of a life Chris did have in spite of the tragedy that befell him at the early age of 20. Chris was driving to work on the San Diego Freeway on his motorcycle. It was before daybreak in the fog. A person had stopped their car in the driving lane. Chris hit the parked car at full speed. He flew through the air and landed spread-eagled on his back. He broke both arms and both legs. (We learned months later that he had also suffered a concussion)

When a person has many bones mending they have a high temperature. Chris had sheets over and under him that had ice water circulating through the sheets. He was unconscious for several days.

This was the start of a lifetime of medical problems and procedures for Chris. Casts on all four limbs. Some healed fractures had to be broken and set again.

I can not believe that Jackie and I did the following. Boy! we were green in the world of patient care. When the doctor said Chris was to be released, this is what we did. I painted his bedroom white. We borrowed a hospital bed. It was heavy. I had to have help to move it. I rented a hoist and sling for moving Chris around. We brought him home and put a catheter on him. We proceeded to care for him in his bedroom. The county visiting nurse came. She said right away that this will never do. She told us that we must get Chris into a professional care facility. She checked him into Rancho Los Amigos. This is the Los Angeles County facility where my Dad spent the last years of his life. They had a ward full of people in like condition to Chris.

What made Jackie and I think that we could take care of a large, six foot plus son with four broken limbs?

Chris was a Rancho Los Amigos for several months. I could visit him at lunch time from work in Long Beach.

Finally Chris came home again. We were driving to somewhere. The car was full. I looked at Chris and he was having a tough convulsion! Seizure. I was on the freeway in the center lane. I manuvered the car to the shoulder and parked. I ran around the car, in a panic, and pulled Chris out onto the ground. He recovered from the seizure on his own. This is when we found out that Chris had suffered brain damage in his accident. He faced a lifetime of careful medication to keep his seizures under control. For some time he qualified for a driving license. You have to go six months without a seizure to get a license. He studied in college and became a Licensed Vocational Nurse. Do to his large size he was very useful in mental hospitals restraining unruly patients.

I was and am proud of Chris for obtaining this degree of expertise and usefulness in nursing, despite his severe injuries. In his last days Chris was disabled and living at home alone. He had a seizure and hit his head very hard on a cement floor. A few days later he was brain dead and in the hospital. I requested that he be disconnected from the life support machines and in a few moments he passed away.

Chris was an intellectual. He wrote a blog for several years. Chris was much smarter that his Dad. He obtained fellowship and a circle of friends from his blog. It was a political conservative blog with the title---snaggletoothie of the Loyal Opposition. The blog is still posted and can be reached via this link. I have tried to discover the significance of the blog title, no luck so far.

A few years ago I wrote a blog about Chris and his life. It contains many photos of Chris. Here is the link. Chris


  1. It breaks my heart. So many what ifs.

  2. With the title of Chris' blog, he voices and gives to me an insight or outlet of his life struggles and views: snaggletoothie (not capitalized) being himself, and the Loyal Opposition (capitalized for respect) being God, family, friends, government, leaders, blog respondents.


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