Tuesday, November 2, 2010


November 11 - Poncho has woke up and is trying to speak. Great news.

Update: Poncho had a turn for the worse last night and had another bleed in the brain. A different part of the brain so they had to operate again. As of this post, he is still not up yet. The doctors have taken him off medication to see how he will be when he wakes up. This is November 8th. 

After visiting Poncho in the morning I went over to the Compassionate Friends meeting place. They have drop in meeting on Monday afternoons. I went over to eat cookies and drink tea. The people are so understanding and very nice. Some new parents today. Very sad to hear about the loss of their children. Compassionate Friends is a support group for Parents that have lost children. Four of the parents at this meeting had children that passed away due to suicide. Very bad times for them. It is a good place for people to share with no worry of judgment. 

Feeling pretty sad tonight. My brother Poncho is not looking very well. I tried to get him to squeeze my hand. Asked him if he could hear me. He didn't respond. Thinking of how much death is around our community these days. My brother has to hang on and be well again. I don't like it right now. My wife is still struggling with the passing of her Mom and I am not much of a comfort for her. She is quiet and cries softly and doesn't like to burden others with her sorrow. Me I tell everyone that I am in a world of hurt. Well I will wait for him to better. In the meantime I will continue to tease my brother Don, my sister-in-law Jeannie and anyone else for that matter. It is something to be in the waiting room of the ICU. Lot of families waiting for some good news. Me and Don constantly bugging Jeannie about signing the death certificate of Poncho even before he is gone. It is the way to deal with stress and hurt. False humour. Make them laugh. Get them off the hurt. At least for a little while. 

My brother Poncho is the stuff of legends. He is kind of like that guy in the movie Sin City: Marv. Good stories for friends and family to tell. He is one of those guys that likes to help you. He is the type to be always doing something, working. My brother spent most of the seventies and a bit of the eighties in jail. He was not a criminal. He was a drinker.  A guy who liked to have his beer. Never ever did drugs. He doesn't like drugs. He was a bit of a hot head. He would get into fights, get in trouble that way with the law. End up in jail. Do his time, get out and start over. He didn't go to jail for stealing or any of that crap. He was scrapper and a very good one. He was the type of guy that would throw Mr. Bone out of the house by way of the window. He then got one of his cousins to drive Bone to the hospital. Not to worry about Bone, he is not a good guy. He was a notorious bully in the inner city and he even used a knife to cut my friend Earl in the face while his passed out.  Poncho is pretty powerful from working hard jobs and doing time in jail. He likes to laugh. I remember this white construction worker was at the pub in the afternoon giving some guys a hard time. Poncho got called to come over to the bar. I saw Poncho come over and get a beer. He talked to one of the Reserve guys, who pointed out which construction worker was acting up. Poncho walked up to him and the guy gave Poncho the look. Poncho grabbed him, slammed onto the floor, kicked him in the chest. Drank his beer and left. The guy was going around crying about him being set up. That is Poncho. He's old now and doesn't do those things. But a lot of his young life was like that. He is the guy. He is more than that to all of us. He is the oldest brother. The one we look up to. We know he is always the guy who will help us if we need some work to be done. He won't say no.

Well I just got home from the Hospital.

My brother Poncho ended up in the Pine Falls hospital, back home in Sagkeeng. He was not feeling well and his blood pressure was very high. He started to lose consciousness and then he was unresponsive. He had tried to speak to his wife, Jeannie but he could not talk. He could not wake up after that. He was taken by ambulance to the Health Science Centre in Winnipeg. It was learned from a CAT scan,  he had a blood cloth in his brain and it has caused some brain damage.

My brother Poncho just completed his surgery last night. It was surreal. The doctor was talking to us about the choice to make: let him die, or operate. He has underlying health issues. He has Hep-C from the tainted blood he received from the Red Cross. His liver is not too good. He likes to drink and he has high blood pressure. If they operate he may not be functioning. There is brain damage due to a blood cloth in his head. It happened so fast. I stood there trying to process the consequences of each choice. It did seem like the Doctor was pushing for the first option, let him go. My brother Don, just took charge and said "operate, give him a chance". My sister-law Jeannie was in shock so she couldn't make a decision. With Don not accepting the alternative of letting his brother die without a fight,  he voiced for an operation and to "quite wasting time asking questions".  Jeannie also wanted Poncho to have the operation. Rickie, Jeannie's oldest boy was also not willing to let Poncho go without the operation. He wanted the operation right away as well.

Me, I seconded guessed everything but am glad that a choice was made. My brother Poncho is in the surgery recovery unit. He is still out of it, and the nurses want him to have rest and not have so much visitors coming in. Lot of family members crowding around the waiting area and trying to get into see him. In addition lot of his friend and relatives are calling. He is a popular guy that Poncho. The good news is that he has been removed from the ventilator, he can move his arms and legs and has even uttered a swear word at the nurse.

I am talking to Poncho's oldest daughter, Shirley out in Calgary. You can tell she is very upset, being so far from her Dad. I will keep her informed of Poncho's progress.
Poncho and Jeannie have 5 children. They are all worried, but positive.
Me I feel bad that I even considered letting him die without a fight. That kind of decision is made everyday in hospitals all over the world. You never consider being in that situation. Think I will make a living will. I am not sure I want to be in the position not to be able to decide my own fate. I don't want to put my wife and kids through that as well.

The waiting room is a mixture of sadness, laughter, crying, hoping and waiting. I spoke with the father of a young woman (20 years old) that was in critical care. She had been a passenger in a car accident. A young girl of seventeen that may have been drinking, hit a car of young people in an intersection on Halloween night.  There were five young people in the car. One has been critically hurt and two people have died. The father was in a very somber state, but he was hopefully. He said that his daughter had a tube removed from her head. I can only guess it was a tube to alleviate the pressure of fluid in the head. I don't know. I shook his hand and told him I was thinking of his family. He had so much family there to hold vigil.
I do not like the drinking and driving. The poor families and the poor girl who took that route of drinking and driving.


  1. Sending you and your whanau (extended family), especially your brother, arohanui (big - love, healing, support) from Aotearoa. It is good that there is support there for you all. I have been through a similar scenario when my mother had a stroke - it is a challenging journey and every step along the way is important.

  2. We are pretty hopeful about his recovery. Thanks

  3. Hi Steve ! I am happy to have found your blog . My friend Mary sent it to me thinking I'd like it ☺ she was right !
    she of course sent me to the post she had been reading Feb of 2010 which you wrote about struggle & judgement etc. wow what a great statement " learning to be a Human Being, is where we need work " is that not so so true !
    This is a great blog You created here Steve .
    reading now Your latest post is it not a blessing although there are those who judge each other ( we all do it at times don't we ) your hospital expereince meeting others there at that specific time you all are there for each other . what a gift ☺
    I just participated in a blog for peace project I found online it was so beautiful because it reminded me of how we all have choice and we can choose to pass on that hope , joy , peace or our fear resentment , hate to our young .I love reading from those who inspire peace in my heart .
    I so hope I can do it .
    I like you am a parent & grandparent now .The older I get the more importance I see the need to pass on the healthy choices ☺
    I am at my mums right now across the lake from You on wanasing ☺ using dial up . ☺
    my spiritual struggle is so up & down too and find it hard to stay being who I am created to be and not get caught up in what spiritual person society tells us we should be ☺
    my blog is the natural catholic if you'd like to visit ( I actually have many blogs as I love to write )
    thanks again for sharing your wonderful blog & life

  4. Well Poncho is still under 24hour watch but we think he is going to be alright.
    Rox. Thanks for the kind comments. I think we all have those lapses in our own beliefs and how we conduct ourselves.
    I think we should just try our best to be happy. Live honest and everything that comes along with that. take care.