Echoes of Joe

If you’re new to the blog you might want to check out this recent post. It will help you understand this one.

The noises that Joey generates stay with us, even when we’re not around him.

There’s a quiet early service at our church. I was there, looking forward to the tranquility that comes with its worship style. I was really looking forward to it – Joey threw up his breakfast and I was frazzled before I could even put on my socks and shoes.

So I’m there settling into the peaceful sanctuary, when all of a sudden there’s a din. It’s some of the regulars – sweet, faithful older folks who get there early, go downstairs to the kitchen, get a head start on coffee drinking, and are LOUD. Loud greetings, loud small talk, loud laughter.

I found myself winding up like a spring. Tension set into my jaw, neck, shoulders and lower back.

These dear people have their pre-service coffee klatch every week. This isn’t new. But the recent Joey noise seemed to amplify it. The sound penetrated me and shook my soul.

A few years ago, I was on an eliptical trainer at a local gym. The row of cardio contraptions looked out on a slough, with lots of birds by day and fireflies on summer nights.

The local metal station was on the radio, fueling all the pushing and pumping. I didn’t mind – the music, the view, and the physical exertion were all elements of a brief escape.

All of a sudden, there was a BOOM. The tension fused neck and back muscles, bones and connective tissue in a mass spasm of tension.

It was some of the super buff guys working the free weights. The would push massive amounts of steel and then simply drop it to the floor when their muscles fatigued. No matter how many warnings the gym owners posted, they kept on a-boomin’.

When I calmed down, I realized that the sound was not new to my gym experience. Gyms are loud (good ones, anyway). But the BOOM sounded like Joey hitting the floor during a seizure. The noise of his condition had permeated my physiology.

I tell people that when Joey finally moves into residential care, I will have a permanent twitch. I’ll be hearing and feeling his presence in all kinds of ways, well after he’s out of the house.

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