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Don’t be a hero…

Mike thumbs upAbout 9 weeks ago, I was sitting “more or less” in this same spot.  At home, on oxygen, and trying to bring myself back to life.  How did I get myself in the same position you might ask?  It’s a legitimate question and a good segue into one of my parables: “Don’t be hero.” This time I Iistened to myself, and practiced what I preached, and so far it is doing the trick.

Last Monday, June 3rd, my body gave out.  The perfect storm for a setback was created – the physical trauma I had previously experienced mixed with the exhausting but fun (!) trip to Santa Barbara, and in particular the altitude from the flight was the final straw.  Fluid had been accumulating in my lungs and my oxygen saturation was falling below 80%. I couldn’t even walk to the bathroom, and I looked at Jen through the tears running down my face, and said, “It’s time.” It’s time was code for calling for the ambulance.  So without a second thought the call was made, and despite our reserve about scaring the new neighbors (this was night #2 in the new house), and scaring Charlotte, we decided we couldn’t do it ourselves and we called in for reserves.  We couldn’t do it ourselves. Recognizing you do not have do everything yourself, instead you ask for help, is a big step.

You can’t do everything yourself.  Ask for help.

Mike caregiver 1Within minutes I was back to where I was 8 weeks ago, the ER at Swedish Hospital. However this time I was in for a new treat. My oxygen level was so low that we had to pump it into my lungs with some force.  To do this required a machine that was doing the breathing for me, and I was having none of it.  In essence, it freaked me out so much that they had to knock me out with morphine.  Needless to say, I missed all of Tuesday, yep absolutely no recollection, and woke up sometime late Tuesday night, with the sight and smell of my love, Jennie.  Of course it was the middle of the night, and of course she was there.  As I tried to piece together the events of the last few days, she just said, “stop.”  That whisper was the most comforting sound I had ever heard, and I knew then and there that I was going to be OK, and Jennie was right there beside me.

I spent the next 9 days (5 in ICU) being nursed back to life in the hospital, and came home on Wednesday afternoon to a rousing homecoming from Charlotte, Nana and Papa, Grams, Meagan, and massive licks from the Poke.  Nothing felt sloppier or better.  We are in the “keep doing what you are doing”…diagnosis.  Time will do the trick.  And the trick is to suck enough fluid out of my lungs so that I can breathe.  In its most simplistic form, that is it.  I’ve got too much fluid in my lungs to breathe normally and we are using every trick/device possible to get that done.  Everything seems to now be working properly, we just have to go through the slow process of “liquidation”, and that’s working great now.

Mike caregiver 2Throughout my hospital stays, I have learned some valuable lessons.  The most important is how you treat the hospital personnel.  Hospital personnel includes everybody from the doctors and nurses to the guy who pricks your wrist for blood in the middle of the night.

My motto is “compassion is contagious” and I try to demonstrate it in all points of contact I have.  Despite the hardship you are going through, there is a good chance that someone has it worse.  This can easily be accomplished with a please, thank you, good morning, or have a good day.  Try it; it goes a long way for a most enjoyable stay!

So that’s the latest and greatest.  I’m staying in my new house, and not moving this fat arse for a solid period of time.  Got the U.S. Open, a beautiful day, and my special day coming on Sunday (I’m guessing it involves a Friker and a Q).

 

 

XO

Mike, et al (Nana, Papa, Grams, Charlotte, Jen, Poke, and Meaghan)

 

My beautiful caregivers.

My beautiful caregivers.

 

My daily bread. Ew.

 

Hannibel Lechter

Hannibel Lechter

 

Is that you, Stef?

 

 

44 Responses to “ “Don’t be a hero…”

  1. Siobhan says:

    Michael, I think of you often! Stay put, put your feet up and don’t do anything! For awhile. So you can heal those lungs and get them clear. Compassion is a way of life and you’ve got it! Sending love and healing thoughts from Colorado. And tell your mama “hi.” xoxo

    • Mike Dougherty says:

      Don’t we have to be in good shape for the dog days of summer and 5-6 year olds? I’m resting up for sure :)

  2. Jan Irons says:

    Sending healing thoughts to you Michael! With your great attitude and awareness of what your body is doing tells me all will be back to normal soon. Give hugs to Mom, Dad, Jen and Charlotte!

    • Mike Dougherty says:

      Hi Jan, I think I finally learned what my body is telling me, I think the trick now is to listen to it. I will, I promise :)

  3. Tracey says:

    I noticed all the caregivers are pretty women! (Of course, they don’t hold a candle to your Jennie.) So happy to hear you are home with your girls and family and learning to listen to your body…. so, put your feet up and let your girls and family spoil you for Father’s Day! We were at the Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay for brunch with my Dad and family and your name came up in conversation. My parents wanted me to send their love to you. As a healthcare provider, compassion is key and I’m sure you are a dream patient. I know you are a dream father, husband and dear friend. I love you and all the Musicks and Dowies are sending love and healing prayers your way. Happy Father’s Day! Oh and nice goatee!! xo T

    • Mike Dougherty says:

      Dear Tracey, nice to know that I still resonate at Dowie dining tables. Would love to join you live at the next one.

  4. Annelle says:

    Hi Mike:

    You give us reports and we see with our eyes – your life! But – it is so hard to truly believe, as you look wonderful. So glad you are home for Father’s Day. You just need a moment to let your body do its healing process, so don’t talk to it for awhile – it needs quiet and a smile. I am waiting for the next note that will talk all about your bein’ – up an’ at ’em..You go – Mike Dougherty – we need you to lead the way, teaching us to be better people and considerate to those who reach out and help us.

    Love, Annelle

    • Mike Dougherty says:

      I promise to rest up so that I can go spread all the good compassion that I learned from you growing up :)

  5. Susan Wayne says:

    Hi Mike – It’s Jennie’s former co-worker from Old Navy. I’m rarely on facebook, and just happened to go on it for some reason this p.m. and saw your name and the link to your blog post. I read several of your blog entries and am very touched. It was wonderful to see the pics of you and your two “girls”. Please give Jennie my love. You are in my heart and prayers as you continue this mysterious journey together. May your body get stronger. May your spirit sustain you. May you receive and let in the support and love you deserve and need, May you heal. Amen, Susan

    • Mike Dougherty says:

      Hi Susan, so great to hear from you, are you still in SF? I hope you and Diane are doing well. Jen and I miss SF dearly, longing for one of those great neighborhood Italian restaurants that serve the best spaghetti and meatballs this side of Sicily :)

    • Mike Dougherty says:

      Hi Susan, so great to hear from you. Your message reminds me of how much I miss SF, and that little whole in the wall Italian place (not!) Delfina. I remember discovering it when it was young, and carefree, like us :) Jennie and I send our love to you and Diane.

  6. Bonnie Fredricks says:

    Hi Mike, I can see by the pictures that you are feeling better! Your spirit is awesome and I am sure contributes to the amazing comebacks that your body does. Charlotte and Jennie are lucky to have such a resilient and tough guy in you. And you, in turn, are so lucky to have them. I miss you all here in Glen Ellen but hope that you will be down here again in healthy circumstances. Just know that you are all in my thoughts and prayers. We send hugs and good thoughts your way always!

    • Mike Dougherty says:

      We miss you and Glen Ellen so much, and your message so reminds me of all the happy times we spent there. We will be back soon, I promise!!

  7. Freddie Greene says:

    Michael, our whole family has been watching your progress and praying for you. I check your blog regularly. We’re all so glad you have overcome this crisis not to mention all the others. Your fighting spirit is amazing. Keep it up. We’re all rooting for you. We think you’re a winner.

    • Mike Dougherty says:

      You are right Freddie, I am the winner, because I have friends like you pulling for me and wishing me well. Thanks for all your love and support through the years, I really can feel it :)

  8. Chris Mihm says:

    Great post and great recovery. We are looking forward to the US Open over here too. We have a tradition that started when my daughter noticed that everytime golf was on the TV it was just a matter of time before Dad was cashed out on the couch. Soon Natalie started requesting “golf naps” too. Now both kids build beds out of cushions whenever there is a big tourney and the three if us have a nap slumber party. We invite you to join us virtually this Father’s Day to nap to the soothing whispers of pro golf. Happy Father’s Day !

    • Mike Dougherty says:

      C mihm, our W’s let us down, but it was a good run. A little down time, rest Curry…hey wait, that’s sounds like my RX. I’m ready for my golf nap, and I just made my golf bet with Frank Williams, go Jason Day!!

      • Chris Mihm says:

        I think thats a good bet. Day is fearless. hunter’s mustache won’t last. Rose is your big threat unless Lefty starts making putts.

  9. Shelly Thompson says:

    Mike,
    I am so glad you are home and breathing easier!!!! Happy Father’s Day to you!!!!!!

  10. Mike Dougherty says:

    Thanks Shell, now I need to get you engaged on a immuno-therapy research project for me. I will make some sense of it for you later this week as I get me energy back

  11. seanbeaudoin says:

    Great Stuff, Mike. Can’t wait to take you out to Canlis!

  12. tom bleakley says:

    Mike –

    Where can I get a pair of those socks?!?

    Happy Fathers Day! (glad you’re home for it)

    Love,

    Tom and Cristin

  13. Stacey Isaacs says:

    Happy Father’s Day Mike! Hope you had a wonderful day with your beautiful blondes! xoxo Stace

  14. Marisa says:

    Mike
    I have been meaning to write for so long now but I have been so busy. In January, I took a job with American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. I was hired to plan and execute the New England Division’s largest fundraiser, the Research Breakfast. Gues what the theme was at this year’s event – innovative therapies for treating lung cancer. The Breakfast was this morning. Our keynote speaker was Tom Lynch from Yale. A woman named Diane Legg spoke as our survivor. I wonder if you ever met these people when you were here in Massachusetts.

    I hope that your time at home is treating you well and that you uplifted by all the love and support there. Your upbeat personality is such a breath of fresh air. Thanks for sharing.

    Your friend in MA,
    Marisa

    • Mike Dougherty says:

      Hi Marisa, great to hear from you. I can think of nobody better at taking the hill than you. Knock em dead, and tell them what’s important. Thanks for doing what you do, and invite me out to DC one of these days to kick some political butt.

  15. Gill Newton says:

    Mike,

    Thank you again for your gifts of living life courageously by leading with your heart. I hope you had a restful Father’s Day, and I pray for your recovery.

    Aloha,

    Gill

    • Mike Dougherty says:

      Thanks Newt, hope you were spoiled for FD too. Be looking for the Dougherty Family Hawaii tourbus coming to your island soon. It may be a good time for you to leave the islands :)

  16. Jeanine Thompson says:

    Hey MichaelDee!

    Your spirit and strength never cease to amaze me! I’ve been sharing your blogs with our kids and so appreciate the wonderful life lessons that are in them all. You are such an inspiration to all of us! Sending you lots of love and healing thoughts.

    Bean

    • Mike Dougherty says:

      Thanks Bean Bags, so glad that I can touch your kids, thank you for sharing that with me, warms an old mans heart. Sending the Dougherty love to all of the Thompsons, including your big golden ball of hair :)

  17. Chris Winquist says:

    Mike – it’s been years, decades perhaps but Ed Delfs sent me a link to your blog and I am all caught up on the amazing journey you have endured.

    I am reminded of a day, long, long ago on the soccer fields at Awalt High School. As boys do, several of us were prattling on about how good our team was and how we were going to win every game. A kid whom none of knew sidled up to us and proudly stated that there was no way we would win our next game because his team had a player the likes of which AYSO had never seen. He was so confident in his proclamation he actually predicted that this mysterious wunderkind would score 6 goals. Low and behold that super star was you and I’ll be damned if you didn’t score 6 goals that next week against us. For different reasons, you were as inspirational then as you are now. I wish you and your lovely family the best, get well my old friend.

  18. Judy says:

    Mike,

    I’m so sorry to hear about your horrible experience but am not at all surprised with the courageous way in which you and Jennie handled it. You both truly are amazing. So happy to hear you are back at home, I wish you a smooth recovery. As always you, Jennie and Chartie are in my thoughts and prayers.

    With Love,
    Judy

    • Mike Dougherty says:

      My dearest Juju, we were just talking about you the other day, and how much we missed you. Either you come here or we come there, we’ve got to make it happen. Love you like crazy cakes :)

  19. Rebecca says:

    Hi Mike – What a great approach you have to this madness. So happy to hear that you are able to find all the goodness out there. There’s a lot of it. And you’re spreading it around which touches so many people. I’m also totally impressed with how you can pull off the O2 mask with the hospital gown look so well. Having spent much time in hospitals I can say with great confidence that the nurses were surely fighting over getting assigned to you. Sending love from VT. xo Rebecca

  20. Mike Dougherty says:

    Ms Rebecca, so great to hear from you. I think of you and Chris everyday when I see pictures of those beautiful boys of yours, and melt at how happy they seem. I would really love to meet them someday as would Chartie. And thanks for the comment on the “lechter look”. You know where my good taste in clothes comes from :)

  21. Barry Thompson says:

    Doe:

    The Thompsons have been sending you huge love, positive vibes and prayers for a speedy recovery. Can tell you are getting stronger by the minute and it makes us so happy. Keep fighting tbe good fight and preaching your words of wisdom.

    We love you.

    -Barry

    • Mike Dougherty says:

      Hey Bare, I actually can feel the positive vibes working and they are making me stronger every day, with the slight exception of falling and breaking my nose (on Sunday). Don’t ask.

  22. Chris Winquist says:

    Mike – it’s been years, decades perhaps but Ed Delfs sent me a link to your blog and I am all caught up on the amazing journey you have endured.

    I am reminded of day, long, long ago on the soccer fields at Awalt High School. As boys do, several of us were prattling on about how good our team was and how we were going to win every game. A kid whom none of knew sidled up to us and proudly stated that there was no way we would win our next game because his team had a player the likes of which AYSO had never seen. He was so confident in his proclamation he actually predicted that this mysterious wunderkind would score 6 goals. Low and behold that super star was you and I’ll be darned if you didn’t score 6 goals that next week against us. For different reasons, you were as inspirational then as you are now. I wish you and your lovely family the best, get well my old friend.

  23. Mike Dougherty says:

    Winkie, thanks for the old story, you sure know how to make a couch-ridden slob feel special. Those were the days of summers spent at Cherry Chase golfing, LACC sludging for balls, or in your backyard channeling our inner Greg Louganis. Don’t forget pizza runs at Skips or Jakes or whatever the name of that place was. And let’s mix in an occasional orange or christmas light car present. Good clean fun, right? Miss you buddy, great to hear from you, all of our love to you and your family.

  24. Shana & Rick Daum says:

    Mike – Rick and I can’t let any more time pass and wanted to check in and say “hi.” We wanted to let you know how much you inspire us and remind us not to take this life for granted. It was fun to hear about your reunion and some of the old gang. We just celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary this week. Our oldest, Ellie, is going to be a sophomore at Bishop O’Dowd and Grace is 11 and going into 6th Grade. Where has the time gone? Weren’t we just their ages? Thank you for sharing your most personal moments with us as there is so much we can learn from them. You are the real champion! I know how much of a Giants fan you are so if you ever feel up to coming to a game with Charlotte and Jen please, please let me know. We love ya! xoxo

  25. Mike Dougherty says:

    Congrats on 18 years you guys, that’s quite an accomplishment. I remember when the two of you first started together and the lesson I learned from you was how important it is/was to be friends first. Because you guys had a great friendship that developed into what you have now, how very important. Between you and McCormick, I’ve got my bases covered (Ha) for Giants tickets. Charlotte will make us go next time we are in town, although she is very loyal Bosox fan. Happy Anniversary, and thanks for all your kind words. All our love to you.

  26. ALWAYS THINKING OF YOU. Stay strong, Love strong.
    ~ALOHA~
    Karl

    • Mike Dougherty says:

      Karl,

      Your are my role model for living la vida loca, be waiting for a knock on your door soon. Peace out brother.

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