See You When I See You

Dear Camden,

It is Saturday evening April 11th, and I am sitting here trying to put the finishing touches on this little note that I started over a week ago.  I write a little then put it away. Every time I return, I change something, and I add more thoughts. So, this is probably much longer than I had originally intended.  

I wanted to let you know that I enjoyed our facetime visit earlier today.  We have been doing a lot of facetime recently and everyday your mother sends me snap chat videos and pictures.  I am glad to get them.  

That damn virus has changed just about everything for everyone.   

It has been almost two months since I have been with you and Adalie.  I know for now we must keep our distance, but it is so hard. I just want to drive up to KC and give you and Adalie a big hug.  It will have to wait for now. At least we have facetime. I imagine that some do not.

I realize that you really have no idea of what is going on out in the so-called real world.  All you know is that you cannot go to preschool and be with your friends. Even before the governor issued the stay at home order your preschool was shut down and your family was in quarantine.  

One of your teachers was being tested for the virus.  Then a second teacher was tested. I do know that no one at your house got sick.  For that I am very thankful.

As for the silver lining you have gotten to spend more and more time with your mom and dad.  Has your mom at least washed that robe of hers? Has she taught you how to take the cork out of her wine bottle?  Does she still have wine? Oh well I will figure all that out later.  

What questions might you have for me?  Or might I ask what questions has your momma whispered in your ear that she wants you to ask?  I know she does that. She does it right in front of me when we talk. I may have selective hearing, but I am not blind.  I might also have selective eyesight, but I saw that.

As I said I am going to take a few moments to share some thoughts about what is going on in the world.  Might as well talk to you about it now. Not sure how old you will be when you understand. Someday you will.  

I have no idea where this is going to take us.  You know that once I get started it is hard for me to stop.  I think that I often have diarrhea of the fingers. I better learn to get over that, because there is not much toilet paper left in the house.  I cannot find any at the store. At least no panic buying of ice cream, yet. They can have the TP. Just stay away from my ice cream. It is a crazy world in which we live.  How is your ice cream supply?

Okay your turn to ask a question.  Now I know that we are not talking, so I am going to pretend that we are.  The questions we are going to go over are ones that you might ask. I know your mother would ask them. A few of these are the standard questions I get every few months.  I mean every few months if not more oftener. I just made that up. I think.

Cheering on the Cards between dippin’ dots at your first Cardinals baseball game.

What have you been doing Papa?

In March I started working in the garden.  I planted potatoes, lettuce, and spinach. I was busy and I sure could have used your help.

I remember last March, you were here, and you helped with the potatoes.  We had fun that day. But when I was in the garden this year you and your family were in quarantine.  

How are you feeling Papa?

Camden, I know your momma told you to ask this question.  It is always asked, and it is never the first question. Never.  The second or the third most often. She is trying to strategically place the question.  Like she is going to surprise me with it or something, and I will then bare my soul and tell her the most intricate details about how I feel.  Sorry. That is probably not going to happen. So, let me give you an answer.

Well I am feeling fine Camden.  Thank you for asking.

No Papa!  Mommy said that she did not want the standard bullshit you give everyone.  She wants to know how you are really feeling. She said that you need to keep it real.  Whatever that means Papa.

Camden, that is not a bullshit answer.  It is the socially acceptable answer that you give people, and unless they see me bleeding then my answer will always be that I am fine.  Unless I am hunched over in pain. Sometimes that is hard to hide. Recently I admit that I have been hunched over in pain more often than I like.

What are you talking about Papa?

Well Camden about two weeks ago my back problems started to once again become an issue.  I figured that it would get better over time with enough rest, alcohol, and ice cream. But that did not happen.  So, I figured that I should address the problem now before it got worse, so I went to the doctor.

What did your doctor say?

Well the first thing the doctor did was have an x-ray taken.  She showed me the x-ray and she pointed to the rib area on the right side of my body.  She said that I had a mass there that she was concerned might be cancer.  That area did look bigger than the last time I saw it. Anyway, her peoples were going to call my peoples to get that mass issue worked out and then we can all do lunch.  Right? Hopefully it ain’t no big deal.

The doctor told me that the degeneration of my discs was very noticeable on the x-ray.  None of the discs up and down my spine looked like they should. They are all in different stages of degeneration.  

I was told when dealing with prior back problems that what she was seeing would happen.   

This time things are a little different then the past Camden.  My previous back surgeries have been in my upper back and neck area.  The pain now is in my lower back.

Based on the x-rays she thinks it is most likely a disc problem.   But she cannot yet rule out Brutus. Whatever it is, it is hitting my sciatic nerve which causes great pleasure.  Not!! Where is the ice cream?  

Well they then gave me steroid shots.  They did not work. They gave me drugs.  They have not worked.

I had an MRI a few days ago.  Waiting on the results.

So, for the first time in my life I am hoping they find a herniated disc.  I do not want it related to the other problem.

So, when we get the results of the MRI, I am hoping that we can skip the physical therapy.  It has never worked in the past, but I guess I am willing to give it another try.  

What has worked in the past were the epidural shots.  So, if it is a disc, I want to move to the shots as soon as possible.  I would like to avoid surgery.  

Papa it sounds like you have recently hit a patch of rough years.  Did you have broken bones or surgeries when you were younger?

No Camden I did not.  I was a healthy guy. At least I thought I was a healthy guy.  Things can change as you get older. As they say getting old is not for sissies.  

Camden, I do remember a time about twenty-five years ago when I almost had a surgery.  Almost.

Go on!

Well it was after Amy was born and Gaga asked me my thoughts on having a vasectomy.  It did not happen. (One day someone can explain that to you. Ouch!)

Why not?  

I told Gaga that my next wife was going to be much younger than her and that she would want children.  I could not deprive her of that.

How did that go over Papa?

Ooooh, it went Camden, it went.  How do you think it went Camden?

She kicked your ass huh Papa?  

You might say that.  What I will say Camden is that Karma is a bitch.  Brutus came along and took care of that. Damn.

I ended up having to go through what I will call the Christy re-education program.  I now know how to say, ‘Yes dear’ and make it sound like I mean it. It did take me a while to stop flinching when I said it.  I learned.

All kidding aside the last almost 36 years have been wonderful.  

Enough questions for the moment.  Let’s move on.

Channeling our inner Hulk.

I wish we could share some ice cream, but for the time being we will have to eat our ice cream together over facetime.  Not sure when we will be able to get together again since we do not know how long the governor’s stay at home order will be in place.

Camden the governor has taken a lot of criticism since she issued the order.   I think that it was a wise move. As each day has gone by it appears that was the correct action to take.  The critics I do not understand. I ask myself if this is what happens when people do not believe in science.   

Now the virus was going to happen here in the U.S.  I do not think that it could have been stopped in our modern world.  Unfortunately, we have probably not responded in the best way. That does not mean we cannot start.  

One of the doctors on my medical team has said to me more than once: “Kevin, we can be early, or we can be late.”

He was talking about my treatments, and his belief that being able to predict the exact and most optimal time for treatments is very difficult or even impossible.  You are either early or late. Being late can turn out to be very costly.

I think that what he said is true in many different aspects of our lives.  I believe that as nation we are going through one of the most difficult times of our existence.  Maybe not the worst, but things will get worse before they get better. But they will get better.

If you have a problem, you must deal with that problem as soon as you can before it becomes a bigger problem. Like my back.

“Let’s see what happens…..” Well that is a response.  Probably not the best response.    

Unfortunately, some people will decide that the issue at hand is not a problem at all.  They will not listen to the advice of others. They might not like what they are hearing or do not want to believe them.   So, they think: Let’s just see what happens.

I know what you are thinking, “Well Papa when did you start listening to your doctors?”

Camden, that is a very valid question.  Contrary to what others think I have always listened to my doctors.  There have been times in the past when we have not been on the same page on what our/my treatment goals should be.  I feel the need to have a balance between the quality of life and just being alive. It has taken a while, but I think that we are on the same page now.

As a country dealing with this virus we have often not been on the same page.  Many states have done their own thing. Some really have not done much at all, but each day some attitudes change.  Each day someone decides that contrary to what they originally thought this is really a big thing, and we need to have a coordinated plan.  We can’t wait to see what is going to happen. We know what will happen. Is it too late?  

By not preparing for the worst, and hoping for the best, are we too late?  

The answer to that Camden is the following:  Yes, we are late. Too late? We are too late for some people.  We will be too late for others if we do not get our shit together.  We are late, but not doomed. 

The story about this virus is written each day.  We cannot change what was written yesterday. We can change what might be written tomorrow.  We have an opportunity to change the ending. 

Now is not the time to lay blame.  Now is the time to get everyone on that same page with a detailed plan on going forward.  If plan A is not working, then plan B. This we cannot lose.

Unfortunately, some have already lost.  Moving forward others will lose as well.  That is why it is so important to follow the rules/guidelines suggested by the medical people to try to slow the virus.  

Your parents were wise when they self-quarantined after learning about your preschool teachers.  Now everyone in the state has been asked to stay home unless they are an essential worker. I am not sure what an essential worker is, but I do know that Gaga and I are some of those people.

Gaga goes to the hospital every day.  Fortunately working as a laboratory scientist, she has limited patient contact.  She is with people who have direct patient contact. I worry about her.   

If they ever get the testing issues figured out it would be her lab that would analyze the test to see if a person had the virus and report those results.  

Gaga can talk to you about antigens and antibodies until you brain is goo.  Believe me I know. Maybe my brain was already goo.

She has always been the smart one in the family.  I do not correct her when she is wrong, which makes me the wise one in the family or maybe that is the re-education training.  Anyway, your momma calls me wanting me to share some of my “wise old man knowledge.”  Enough said.

Camden, I believe that everyone will be affected by this virus.  Not everyone is going to get sick, but life as we know it is going to change.  For many people it already has. The world most likely will come out of this with a true new normal.  

So, for now Camden we cannot be with one another.  We have facetime and of course snap chat. It is not the same but will have to do for now.  I guess I will see you when I see you. I hope it’s someday soon.

I do need to ask you a favor.  Lean a little closer so I do not have to type so loud.  Could you ask your momma to get off my back just a little?  (Maybe that is my problem) That would be greatly appreciated.  Let me explain.

Your mom keeps calling wanting to know if I am staying home.  “No” is the answer I must give her. I follow that up with “but” …. she is not interested in the but explanation.  

You see Camden bad things sometimes happen to people.  When that happens, someone needs to step in and help. We cannot stay at home.

I did have a meeting with my new supervisor.  She would prefer that I figure out a way to work more from home.  She would like for me to limit my people contact. Gaga and your mom will be happy to hear that.  I wonder if they called her.

At work they are trying to change things so that we might be able to do more from home.  They are trying to figure out a way that we can have home access to the information we need to do our job.  

I have worked a few days from home.  It is not the best situation for me work-wise, but case files get reviewed and reports are written.  I guess I can do that anywhere.

Now I am trying to limit my people contact when I can.  Recently I had a family of six coming to the office for interviews.  The father called me the morning of the interviews letting me know that one of his sons had a fever that started the day before.  I told him that we would need to reschedule the interviews. Camden, I think your mom will be happy. I am trying.

People worry about my contact with others because of Brutus and the virus.  Brutus is growing. My body is trying to do what it can to stop Brutus. My immune system is already on high alert.   It’s unknown how well I would deal with Brutus and the virus at the same time. So, it is preferred that I limit my contacts.  

That is why it did not upset me when the Big 12 tournament was canceled.  Yes, you are right Camden the Tigers are no longer in the Big 12. Your mom and dad are Jayhawk fans.  I wanted to be with them. I wanted to go down to the Power and Light District for some fun and then see the joy in their faces when their team won.  If they were still sober? I was looking forward to sharing that experience with them. Don’t worry I would have had my Tiger t-shirt on. A man has got to remember where he comes from.

This past week I was supposed to be in Arkansas fishing with friends.  We decided a couple of weeks ago to cancel. Maybe later in the year. I wonder if it will happen at all.

I do not think this is going to end soon.  Until a vaccine is developed, we most likely will have waves of new cases and deaths.  Once we have a decline in new cases from week to week many will demand that the restrictions be weakened.  Then new cases and deaths will grow again. Then more restrictions. This will continue until we have a working vaccine.  

Until that vaccine arrives, I wonder if we will ever be at a testing level where we can safely open the economy.  I wonder how people will react to the idea or necessity of being tracked through their cell phones. I wonder if our politicians will be truthful with us then make the tough decisions and not worry about their approval ratings or the next election.  I wonder if we will reach a point where the majority no longer cares.

In order to succeed we must together support a plan.  I wonder if an oligarch or several oligarchs will disagree with the plan and throw so much misinformation out there that we will never be united as a people.

I have heard and read many times over my years this Ben Franklin quote: “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”  Let’s not make that mistake.

I wish I had the answers Camden.  I do not. 

You will grow up studying the history of these times.  You will look back and see what was done and what happened.  I hope we did good. Until then I will try to do my part and heed the recommendations.  

I do not think I will be doing much traveling if any this year.  Our trip to New York in October, and my trip to New Orleans in November will be re-evaluated along with other adventures.   Most likely they are not going to happen.   

Those are just a few of my thoughts today Camden.  Maybe we will wake up one day and the virus will be gone as quickly as it came.  Now I doubt that, but maybe. Remember, we will get through this.  

I hope that my ramblings have made some sense. (I took out over 800 words)

I want you to know that I love you and will always love you.

See you when I see you.  I hope it is someday soon.

Sounds a little like a song.  Music can lift your spirits so enjoy this little tune.   

Now go wash your hands.


1 thought on “See You When I See You

  1. Crossing my fingers it is a herniated disc Kevin, not damn Brutus! I think you should stay away from others on the “outside” – this is a brutal virus, not that you haven’t handled other medical maladies. Here in Michigan we finally dropped from 3rd highest in the nation to 4th – we’re still a hot spot though. I am happy I’ve worked from home for years (2011) and I stocked up on pantry items for Winter because I drive like a little old lady in Winter. 🙂 They said we’d have a very snowy Winter – we did not, so I have food left. I have no family, so no germy souls are coming into the house. If I could, I’d buy you a big bowl of ice-cream, hand it to you and say good luck in your journey. – Linda


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