Love Those High Notes

September 4, 2008

The most beautiful music ends on a high note.

Pausing For a Moment (McGuire, 9/4/08)

Pausing For a Moment (McGuire, 9/4/08)

This morning a troubled and withdrawn Mariah was taken for an unexpected MRI while I was away working. A drug she was given to relax her before going for the MRI may have had the opposite effect. Whatever the reason, she lashed out at the nurses while waiting for the procedure and the MRI was postponed. Back in her room, she was visited by her doctor and burst into tears – the first huge cry she’s allowed herself in someone’s presence. After the outpouring of fear and anger and anguish, a different Mariah seems to have emerged. Far more cheerful, talkative, joking, engaged, and endearingly sweet than I’ve seen since this began nearly three months ago. I don’t get it, but I love it.

When I returned she was on the patio chatting amiably with two of her good nurse friends. Almost unconsciously, she moved her sunglasses from her face to the top of her head as she described how she used a laser to excise tumors from giant sea turtles during her 4th year vet rotation in Key West.

This evening, Mariah, Clay and I took a trip to Target (pronounced Tar-schay) to buff up Mariah’s wardrobe (my treat) and to simply get some time together away from the hospital. It was the first time in nearly three weeks that Mariah was allowed to operate without a nurse being present, and we all appreciated the freedom.

Mariah propelled herself through the store alternately using her hands (another first) on the wheels and her feet on the floor. She moved gracefully among the racks of clothing, stopping to touch and comment on the pieces that caught her eye and to hold up alternatives for closer examination. She unfailingly checked the price of each item that she chose, once asking “Are you sure, Dad?”. I’d give her my life if I could, and she was concerned about spending $9.99 for a pretty shirt.

An hour ago (8:30 pm EDT) Mariah, Clay, nurse Linda, Colonel Atchison, and I were sitting on the newly opened 2nd floor roof deck. Under a vault of stars a Chesire moon-slice grinned at us over the darkening silhouettes of the surrounding buildings. We dined on cheeseburgers and fries that the colonel smuggled in. We talked and laughed in the dark like old friends spending the evening together. It was all so refreshingly .. normal. Something wonderful is indeed emerging.

Playing on the Lokomat

Chatting With Friends


4 Responses to “Love Those High Notes”

  1. Leah said

    Mariah’s progress is inspirational. I will let you in on a secret that Mariah already knows. I don’t know what sedative was used but let’s say it might have been a benzodiazopene. These drugs sedate people, but Mariah is superhuman. Maybe superhumans are like dogs. Benzodiazopenes sedate sick dogs but they can excite and abolish inhibitions in healthy dogs. Long and the short is that I’m going to interpret this (right or wrong) as Mariah being healthy. And for that I’m thankful.

  2. Haynes Contee said

    Hi Mariah!
    I’m sorry this is late, but I just read the news about your starting to talk and it’s fantastic! I’m glad you talked all night. You are obviously making great progress down in Richmond. I know there will be ups and downs along the way, and I’m so sorry for the pain and depression you must feel at times. But you will make it through this. You have an amazing spirit, and everyone knows that. And I can’t wait to talk to you later on so I can congratulate you in person for the amazing journey you’ve made. You’ve inspired all of us. Lots of love. ~Haynes Contee

  3. Maureen and Rich said

    We’re so glad Maruah is staring to have some fun. She is an inspiration to all of us. Mark, thank you so much for keeping the blog going. We read it all the time. As parents we can only encourage you also. Mariah is a wonderful person we had only started to get to know last April. We can’t wait to get to see her again. If there is anything she wants that we can get/bring her, just let us know. We are home for a while, and painting the house, so sometimes it is good for us to take a break too.
    Maureen and Rich

  4. Jennifer Brennan said


    You are awesome!! I mean it, you are truly incredible!! I would love to come for a visit and introduce you to my son who is now 8.5 months old.

    Jennifer Brennan(previous prego Greenbelt bootcamper)

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