Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Diving Into Peril - Guest Blogger Nate Miles-McLean

"Realistic Fiction"

As my son Nate's 5th grade class moves toward promotion (next year he'll be in middle school?!) they have had a flurry of assignments. In addition to a science report on an animal (cockatiel, of course) and a power point on the 60's (Motown) he had to write a "realistic fiction" story. A story where the the protagonist faces an enormous challenge, but triumphs. When he read me the story of his big brother's injury and recovery - told from his brother's point of view - I was stunned and really moved - especially since he wasn't even alive at the time. And I can't yet believe this is the same kid who struggled through language delays and who just a few years ago had trouble putting together two sentence paragraphs. Wow! (I've left his formatting and typos as is for authenticity)


“Mom, dad! C’mon were ready, let’s go!!” I yelled. I bet that mom was ready first; dad is really slow when he’s getting ready to go somewhere. Allow me to introduce myself; my name is Jacob Colder Thomason, Jake for short. I live with my family; me, my sister Haley, my mom (Erica), my dad(Thomas), and a little one on the way, who I want to name li’l Jimmy. Now I’m going to tell you about the time me, and my family dove into peril.
My story will now continue. Let’s see now, where was I… Oh yeah! “C’mon were ready, let’s go!” I yelled. Dad replied the same answer he’d been saying for fifteen minutes “Bee down in a minute!” Finally after ten hours (though my watch said five minutes) we were ready to go. We were going to a pool as miniature break to celebrate the end of school. I love to swim, so I was really excited to go and jump of the high diving board. I was so eager to get there that I complained ALLOT when I remembered that we had to pick up some of our friends to join us. When we FINALLY picked them up and when we FINALLY got there I nearly exploded that the pool was RIGHT THERE and I was still waiting to get out of the car. When I FINALLY get out of the car, I rushed to the back of the car and opened it as fast as I could. I had to muster ALL my strength to heave most of the pool equipment. Thankfully dad caught me and helped me grab the pool stuff before it all fell on the hot asphalt. After a quick “Don’t take things out of the back of the car,” kind of lecture, we got our stuff and went inside.

When we opened the big brown wooden doors, the fresh smell of chlorine, water, and wet plastic filled my nostrils. And then, as I was looking around the pool room, I saw… THE SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEEXPIALIODOCIOUS HIGH DIVING BOARD!!!!!!! To set the mood, I swam a little before running up to mom to ask “Mom, may I go on the high dive?” After a couple seconds of thinking, mom replied “Yes you may. But be very careful ok?” I let out a sigh of relief and said “Yes mom, I will! Thank you!” As I walked towards the high dive (because running at a pool is a very foolish thing) my heart started beating harder, and harder. When I got to the ladder, it felt like that my heart started to skip beats. By the time I had gotten up to the diving board my heart was beating to a beat that no musician in the world could explain it. “Keep it together Jake.” I thought, trying to calm myself. “Mom and a whole lot of other people are watching. DON’T LOSE IT!” So I toughened up and yelled down to mom “Mom! Look at me!” So she looked up from her news paper article and replied “Ready when you are!” And I still remember that great feeling, the feeling you get when you’re facing your fear and that you will not regret the outcome of facing that fear. Well that feeling was quickly overcomed by a feeling called regret and fear. I had slipped. The last thing I remember was seeing mom and dad, running. Running like I have never seen them run before. And their faces, filled with horror and fear. And then I saw Haley. Poor Haley who could only merely watch, as her brother plummeted towards his doom. And finally came the floor, the wet, solid concrete. I closed my eyes, and everything went blank.

The next thing I know, for some apparent reason, I wake up on the ceiling of what to appears to be a hospital room. It took me a while to realize that I was looking down at my own body, with mom and dad sitting next to my bed. I looked at myself, and I looked pale, pale as a sheet of paper. I looked at my legs, they were also very pale, and I detected no movement from any part of my body, except for my stomach. Even though I knew that I was breathing, something was very unsettling to me about it. Its rhythm was random; sometimes fast, sometimes slow. And my eyes didn’t move at all, neither did my mouth. After inspecting myself the question of “What the H E DOUBLE HOCKY STICKS IS GOING ON HERE!?!?!?,” came to mind. I was still transfixed about how I was looking at myself when I’m on the ceiling, but I’m not dead. Then I realized what was happening; mom had just told me the other day that people, who were on the verge of death, would see themselves from a ceiling view, as if their sprits had left their bodies. Knowing this, I became frightened. Was I going to die? Was I going to the spirit world? If I did die, would my family kill themselves to join me in the spirit world and li’l Jimmy wouldn’t be born? As these thoughts whizzed around inside my “head,” I noticed that a descending sort of feeling that I had begun to “feel” at the pit of my “stomach.” Then I realized that I was falling very slowly back into my body. I didn’t know if this was a good thing or not, so I didn’t know what to do. But by the time I had made up my mind, I was reentering my body. A tingling feeling came over me, and everything went blank.

Once again, I woke up in the hospital room, thankfully in my old self. But mom and dad were still asleep, both in a little folding chair. It made me feel special, knowing that two people, just two could show so much love and affection towards one person. For some reason I could see two things at once, but I didn’t really care at that moment. When the doctor came in to check on me, I could roughly hear what he was saying, because for some reason my hearing had failed allot. So I “heard” this “As you sadly know, your son had just had a dramatic brain injury.” Mom cupped a hand over her mouth and managed a weak sob. The doctor paused with respect. After Mom had regained herself, the doctor continued “We and you shall do our best to regain his abilities. Even though your son looks like he’ll never be the same, but with a lot of hard work, and a lot of labor, we will be able to regain his abilities to eat, walk, talk, and as you can see, his eyes are misplaced, but we will definitely be able to rework that bug as well. And one more thing, his temper has or will change as in getting shorter.” I was absolutely terrified. My actions, my appearance, and a whole lot of other things that my body needed to survive in order to take care of its self had been damaged. To take care of me. As if dad had read my mind, he asked in a shaky voice “Will he live Dr. Krum?” Dr. Krum paused again to make sure that what he was about to say wasn’t taken too lightly or too assertive. After a long pause, he finally replied “If we work fast and hard, the abilities that he needs to survive, and other abilities that will please him will be restored. But if we don’t work fast enough…” Dr. Krum in respect did not finish his answer. After that he left the room to leave us. Mom began to cry, then dad…Then me. Mom when she looked up and saw that tear, she was absolutely flabbergasted. Two abilities had just been restored; the ability to cry, and the ability to care.

So for the next six months we were stuck in the hospital doing nothing but taking care of me, feeding me, and putting stupid flash cards in my face that didn’t make any sense to me! Finally, after the doctors had a lot of “this kid has major learning disabilities” kind of crud, mom finally stepped in and said “This is not accurate. He doesn’t know what those things are and neither does he find interest in them!” I thanked god at that moment for giving me such a great mom! “He’s more interested in this.” And she pulled out a poke’mon card and asked “Jake, is this a charmander?” I nodded my head. She gave an “I told you so” look to the doctors and continued. “Is he a fire type?” I nodded my head again. After going through a couple more poke’mon cards, she said to the doctors “see, this is what we need to be doing, tests that take interest on him.” The doctors looked absolutely flabbergasted. They had just been beaten at their own game by a mom. After the six months of hospital inspection, they said I was free to go. I had missed home a lot so I nearly exploded that the house was right there and I couldn’t do or say anything. I had to muster all my strength to make an excited cry. When my parents heard that cry they smiled at each other and said “Yes Jake, were home.”

So now instead of the doctor treatment, I got the Thomason treatment. The last two abilities that I had to regain were the ability to see correctly, and the ability to feel. First up, we had to make me see correctly. We did this by putting on a TV show, and then move me from one chair (or angle) to another. It took us a couple months to do this, but we eventually got it down. Next was the ability to feel. It took us a long time to do it. We tried tickling my feet, nothing happened. We tried blowing on my feet, nope. And just when all hope was lost, my aunt Kathy stepped in. She got a garbage bag, put a lot of cold pasta in it, and told mom and dad to try putting my feet into the pasta filled garbage bag. When they put my feet in, I didn’t feel anything at first, but after a couple seconds, I could feel the cold, wet pasta and the cold, wet plastic. I shot my legs out of the bag as soon as I could manage. After a couple more of put in put outs, mom and dad gave themselves high fives. I don’t have the time to tell you all the other abilities I had to regain, but I can say that to this day since then I have been able to take care of myself, I even have my own apartment now! And by the time Nat was seven, all of the abilities that I need to survive had been restored. I’m still not the same as I was or will I be, but at least I’m still alive, happy, and well. THE END.


  1. Wow! What a wonderful paper! Great job Nate!

  2. Great post. I like it. I will always remember this post.
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  3. A well-written story: both on Nate's & Jake's parts. Nate used a great pseudonym for himself. I also appreciate the reminder of alternative uses for pasta, garbage bags, and shock therapy!

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