Harvest and Reaping Good Fortune

Last Thursday morning, things were as they normally are during the mid-month of September that also happened to be very hot.  It was our day off from running around elsewhere and we were catching up at home.  Around noon, my dad asked me to pick him up from the field a couple of times as he dropped off grain trucks in the field.  He harvested the soybeans until my mom got there to run theDad and Bridge combine while he switched over to driving the loads into the grain elevator.  Final passage of the crop into a safe place away from wind and weather is always a gamble for a farmer each year.  So far, so good even though the beans were not as plump as they had been in past years. 
Dad mentioned that he’d had a bad morning filling out paperwork with an office for farm transactions.  He also mentioned that he’d had his checkup and his blood pressure had been high.
Yes, it was a bit high and proceeded so after he later climbed in the oven-like grain bin to scoot around the beans to "make more room". 
My mom called me to come pick my dad up in the middle of the afternoon as he wasn’t feeling well.  That call got me moving very quickly even as it seemed like it took forever to find my keys and get to the field adjoining our house to see what was happening with my father.  He doesn’t get sick during harvest. 

He was very hot and after hearing about his grain bin steam bath, we thought he might have heat exhaustion even while being wary about his blood pressure.  He was wanting to just lay down on our couch for a bit and then take the truck into the elevator.  That’s what he said, but even he knew that wasn’t such a great idea.  Mom cajoled him into calling his doctor, and after his startling disclosure to the nurse that he was having a little pain in his chest,  the recommendation was to call the ambulance and get to the emergency room.  He’d have none of that much attention and I ran him over to the hospital where his grandson, our son works as a phlebotomist.  Mom stayed to put the machinery away so that Dad wouldn’t worry about that. 
I reminded Dad that the last time I’d run him over to the emergency room was when I was a newly licensed 16 year old.  A St. Bernard that was a ‘gift’ from my sister’s classmate had attacked Dad as he’d walked into the garage.  His arms were ripped up by the schitzy dog.  I was the only driver available and his standard shift pickup was the only vehicle available.  I told him on the way last week that if teenage me could master the jumps and jerks of driving down the interstate and shifting gears into ‘town’ all while he was losing lots of blood next to me then…..  I could handle anything.  But please, Dad, don’t have a heart attack on me.  
I parked in the ambulance bay for the 2 minutes it took to walk him in and sit him down with the receptionist. I knew they had wheelchairs there.  By the time I’d parked across the street and came back, they had him hooked up to the blood pressure cuff and it was beeping a warning loudly and frequently.  They took him into the emergency room where the critical patients go. 
By that time, Dillon was with us letting me know what was what.  I was so glad to have him there for his grandfather and me, as he was probably the coolest head there in the family. He’s been there and done that in the same emergency room waiting to do his job for many others.  Mom arrived soon after.
Long story shorter, my dad had a catheterization and angioplasty with a coronary stent inserted that night for a 100% artery blockage.  The other 90% blockage on another artery will be dealt with in a couple of weeks.  He stayed for 3 days in the hospital, which was 1 day too long for him.  The fields waited while he healed those few days.  To relieve his stress level, he has been supervising since.  The soybeans are now finished up and we’re on the last field of corn. 
There were offers to finish up the harvest as happens often in the farming community.  Our church friends would have finished it up in a day.
From a recent article about farming family/community close by:

"It’s the way the farming community is. You see it everywhere. If someone needs someone to help, they’re there. You always know you may be the next guy who needs help."

My folks decided they wanted to do it themselves, with a little help from family and friends.  Our cousin planned a trip up from Texas to help harvest before all of this happened. He has been a Godsend as he knows and understands all my dad’s original widgets and whatnot that make everything run smoothly.  My brother flew in and helped out Sunday and Monday before heading back home.  My other brother was pitching in over the weekend driving the grain trucks.  I just spent yesterday driving the trucks back and forth in the fields to the farm’s grain bins.  Our boys really helped out by doing their thing at home without any supervision from me.  (For some reason, the couch always seems to be scootched back when I’m out for a bit.  Don’t know if I should blame the dog or the twins for the possible gymnastics.  The talking ones would place the responsibility squarely on the dog.)  I now have an official farmer’s tan on this beautiful fall day.  Hopping out at each stop to make sure the hot muffler doesn’t start a field fire touching the corn stalks are great for the legs too.  (MyHarvest Moon dad’s instructions cover every worrisome detail as there was that one field fire around here about 15 years ago or so.)
[Update- he was right, of course.]
Corn crop looks good.  Prices don’t look so bad either.  Everyone is pretty happy with the days’ work. 
The best is that all are in good health.  A little artery reaming seems to bring back color to faces and a little more zip in the step.  Much better than the alternative possibility that was offered by the cardiologist after Dad had a little visit to the hospital one recent September day.  These warm days and chillier nights won’t be here much longer.  This fall, good fortune was reaped in more ways than one in our family.


Harvest and Reaping Good Fortune — 9 Comments

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  2. I’m so glad your dad got the care he needed and that he is back to supervising the harvest!

    When I was growing up north of Normal, I remember the farmers in their fields until way late on those moonlit September nights. The other image the word harvest brings to mind for me is the corn falling golden from the chute of the combine into the trucks to be hauled to the grain elevators.

    Good luck with the rest of the harvest! May the weather hold out and the prices be good.

  3. Thanks Pam and Elisheva. I get such a kick out of your Normal (normal 😉 ) roots, Elisheva, while you’re having such a great life in New Mexico now.
    It’s strange now in what’s happening to the farmland around here. A family who owns the adjacent fields farm 3,000 acres and they live in the Chicago ‘burbs. 2 and 1/2 hours away and there’s no connection here other than moving the soil or plants around a few times a year. They bring down a mobile home, harvest and then they’re gone. A few years ago a German family made an investment over here in the states with farmland 3/4 of a mile from here.
    Most of the farmland close to the university towns (which we’re in the middle of) like Champaign-Urbana or Bloomington-Normal is being sold off for subdivisions.
    The family farm is turning into a rarity.
    But right now the corn is definitely looking a lot more golden coming out of the combine chute then a few years ago.
    Thanks for your good thoughts.

  4. Susan, I’m so glad to hear that your dad is recovering well. It is times like these that families really show what they’re made of. Best of luck with the rest of the harvest. Hang in there.

  5. Thanks for the kind thoughts. The crops are in as of today.
    All that’s left is getting the fields put away for the winter where necessary. He’ll be able to take a good long (and healthy) look around for a few hours on the tractor. Can’t seem to keep him off his tractor, but I don’t blame him a bit as he’s pretty satisfied.

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