80. Baby in A Tent

The hospital staff had been very attentive monitoring his condition and doing whatever they could do.  I kept vigil by my son’s side late into the night, eventually slumped over in a bedside chair.  

At some point after midnight the night doctor entered the room.  He looked over his little patient -who was nearly one year at this time- and then told me he felt Alok was out of immediate danger.

He advised me to go home and sleep awhile.  I was rather hesitant but at last I gave in.  We lived so close and that was something of a comfort.

I slept hard, the phone didn’t ring (we saw that as a good sign) and after a light breakfast Diana and I headed to Alok.  Before we stepped into his room we were at the nurse’s station to let them know we arrived.

The on-duty nurse said he looks real well considering all he went through …she then told us that during the night he took a turn for the worse!

What??  What is the reason they didn’t call us?  She said because it all happened so quickly and just as fast they brought him back out of it, they were getting to the call.  “…oh but he’s doing so much better now!”  We were beside ourselves with shock and saying no more went straight away to the room.

No sooner we walked in when Alok saw us through the tent.  He then leapt up and with his little arms extended and fingers wiggling frantically he repeatedly said in his baby words, “My daddy, I want my daddy!”  and this daddy knew exactly what he was saying!

Well not only did that squeeze my heart bringing tears of joy to both his parents’ eyes, it was reassuring to see all that energy -especially after what we were told about earlier that morning.  Seeing him looking so well we all but forgot about the missing phone call.

It was advised Alok stay in the hospital one more night for observation.  We embraced him through the tent; I wanted to squeeze him so tight.

Not understanding his surroundings he repeatedly cried, “Go home!”  For such a little guy he tried desperately to get out of the protective tent.  

Diana and I stayed with him most of the day.  We played with him and read to him and watched him sleep.  Alok’s condition was rapidly improving and I’m sure it had much to do with his parents’ presence.  

That evening we went home after constantly assuring him that he’d go home with us in the morning.  Admittedly it was very difficult to leave him and we had to wait till he was napping again.  

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79. Heart Wrenching Fever

I’m feeling the need to recap slightly.  

Seven and a half years have now passed since I left my island home of Fiji to settle in America.  I’m feeling desperate to see my family.  I needn’t reiterate the hefty price tag attached to this desire of mine.  

A seed planted in my brain way back in my youthful Fiji days came to mind.  There was a friend of mine who had told me, “If you want to see the world, work on a ship!”  He worked on the SS Mariposa and if you can recall I did actually take his advice.  More to the current situation I previously stated the possibility of my working on a Merchant Marines ship going in that direction.  

This would make the visit a reality and at the same time I’d earn money for the support of my children as my family is my first and foremost dedication.  I’m seeing it as a win, win!  C - theatre dtlaSusan and Lisa right next door made it extra comforting.  Then Diana wouldn’t feel lonely and she’d have help with the children; the family is there for one another.  So let’s pick up from there.  

During this time, I asked around to people who may have worked or are currently working on passenger/cargo ships.  

I was advised to take a trip up to San Francisco where the Seafarers’ Union was located.  They would help me land a job on a ship a lot easier than if I tried without the Union in the Los Angeles area.  That was the word at the docks.

Again Diana and I had a serious discussion to reiterate my determination and what all would be involved.  The plan was made to go up north and clearly I would be taking this trip on my own.  I would move around faster and get straight to the points, not to mention financially, it would be easier.

As fate chose to have its way, a couple of days prior to my leaving for San Francisco both of our sons somehow became very ill and with rising fevers.  

We took them to the family doctor who after looking them over and in all his current wisdom made his diagnosis,  “… so keep them cool and be sure they take in as much clear fluids as possible.  Constantly check their temperature and if it doesn’t break bring them immediately to the emergency room!”  It was pneumonia and he wrote a prescription.

We returned home with the boys and their prescribed medication.  I prepared a large bowl with ice cubes and cold water, putting in some face towels.  We placed the cold towels on their foreheads and patted down their little bodies in hopes of relieving their fevers.  

For whatever reasons, this wasn’t working; Diana and I didn’t hesitate for a moment in getting them to the emergency room at Saint John’s Hospital.

Straight away they took in both of the boys.  Amar our eldest, was placed into a bath of ice cold water in hopes of reducing the fever swiftly.  They had taken the younger Alok into a different room.

The emergency room staff’s efforts with Amar worked and soon after, his fever broke.  They would release him after a couple of observation hours.  Diana and I were to say the least, relieved in that good news.  In the same moments we were being informed of their efforts with Alok in that, they were not so successful.

Of course we knew it was absolutely necessary to keep Alok in the hospital overnight at the very least, he simply must win this battle with the unrelenting fever which reduced itself only ever so slightly.  

We quickly talked it over and Diana took Amar home while I stayed in the room with Alok.  His tented bed was oxygenated and at the same time would keep out any nasty germs.  I promised my wife I’d call before bedtime and update her of his progress.  

I was so completely distressed to see my little baby boy lying there, knowing that I was helpless to do anything more but pray.  In light of my traumatic heart ache a few years back, I admit, I was scared.

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70. Loving Favour Delivered Into Our Home

Once we were settled into our 20th Street home, the first thing I wanted to have done was get my wife set up with an Obstetrician.  Time to use that excellent insurance I protected and worked for.  We went to this first appointment together.

The doctor we were hooked up with was very patient and kind.  After the initial check-up, a clean bill of health and approximate due date given for the end of May, he provided Diana a prescription for prenatal vitamins along with simple advice.

The doctor also handed her list of sensible nutrition (for what was known to be ‘best’ at the time) for the mother and baby’s most favourable health and the to-dos & the no-dos at the various stages of pregnancy.

I continued working happily at the Hotel Miramar making good money still, that wouldn’t change and Diana was happy, glowing and taking great care of herself and our baby.  I’d come home in the evenings and spend some time talking to the baby, waiting for it to start kicking … one day he did and it was full go after that!  

Hopeful for a sononce again.  

Our joint excitement was mounting tremendously!  Diana had everything ready that she could think of so that our child’s arrival and new life would begin in the greatest comfort and surrounded by all the love in the world.

Ralph and Doris were right here all along helping out.  Now they were also ready to greet and become a part of our child’s life.  Other than my Indian side of the family, we were almost complete. Diana’s mother and sister were still out in the Midwest with definite plans to move out here by the end of the year.

My Diana was a great writer and very good at providing regular, very detailed letters to my family back in Fiji.  She’d tell them everything and I knew they weren’t feeling too left out!

They’d wait patiently and anxiously (if it is possible to do both at the same time) for news from California – just as we’d await news from them.  Their love and support of my new family was very much felt by the both of us.

What a whirlwind of emotions I experienced as the time of arrival drew closer.  Imagine … I’d have sudden thoughts in anticipation, reflections from my previous engagement with fatherhood.  

I told myself this time it would be different; everything about this child’s arrangements (save for me being the father) were different.  I’m older and stronger and living in a country where there’s more modern capabilities. My child will make it!

Spring was upon us, life was good.  The belly was nice and round, solid as a watermelon.  And as May put in an appearance, our little slice of heaven provided what I considered to be the best possible weather, absolutely perfect.  We were averaging upper 60s to low 70’s, oh so comfortable!

Monday, Memorial Day was now upon us, no wind and just the right amount of sun.  The unofficial start of summer decided to give us a present.

We were both at home in this moment; sharp pains, gulp, water breaking!  Diana kept a cool head and picked up the telephone receiver to call the doctor.  After her very quick description of events he ordered her to get going, he’d meet us there.  The cab arrived in an instant and off to Saint John’s Hospital we went. Fortunately it was real close by.

Once admitted, I was directed to the waiting (torture) room.  I was able to make a call into work to be excused for the day.  Anxiously I waited.  And as I sweated it out, my child arrived healthy and perfect.  

I still hadn’t been told of the child’s birth.  As Diana tells me later: she held our child pressed to her breast as the nurses beginning cleaning up.  The baby was measured, checked over, weighed, documented, cleaned and wrapped.  She’s been moved into a room already.

Finally my suspense is relieved by the nurse entering the waiting room to announce the healthy birth of my son!  Thank God. I was led to her room.  I see a swaddled bundle cuddled by Diana.

My heart skipping beats, I approached them and I kissed her.  Diana smiled brilliantly and I asked her how she was feeling.  She said she was doing pretty great all things considered and told me it all seemed to happen rather quick.  Grateful.

I walked around the bed and took a little peek.  I pulled the blanket away a bit to see more of my son and I immediately recognized a precious beautiful child, our son.  I wanted him to know right then and there just how much I will always love him.

I lifted him out of her arms and embraced him in my heart.  I walked around the room with him without any outside thoughts.  I then took a seat in a chair near to her bed and simply absorbed and adored him.  

My heart was reminding me that I really wanted to give this child the name of my son before him.

Prior to getting married I had shared with Diana all that was my life before I knew her.  Especially the moments which included my firstborn son.  However I hadn’t said as much with regard to carrying his name and spirit forward.  I knew she completely understood my heart. ♥️ 

Diana had already been thinking about this on her own too.  In hindsight (there it is once again), she may have saved this thought for the momentous occasion of naming the child should it be a boy.  She quietly observed me as I swooned over my son.

When she saw the happiness in my eyes she made her offer.  “We could name him after your 1st son … would you want that Parma?”  My soul was overcome with fulfillment and pure delight.  Why yes, it’s exactly what I wanted!  What a gift, what a blessing, what a day.

Diana and our son remained in the hospital for 3 days with me visiting everyday of course.  I went back to work and was the happiest man there I’m sure!  My fellow employees and the catering manager all came around to wish me congrats and toasted with a cup of coffee, several handshakes, hugs and slaps on the back!

Ralph and Doris weren’t far behind on their visit to the family’s first grandchild and with lovely flowers for the mother, the abundant baby’s gifts were to come.  

And it started with my son’s first car ride, the ride home in his grandfather’s car.

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I’ve never stopped even to this day, believing that my first son had returned to me and not once was there the doubt of what his name was to be.  My wife was following Catholicism at the time and asked if I wouldn’t mind allowing her the middle name of Saint Stephen for our son. Granted.