#TBTMemory 55: Dealing With Crisis

Lauren, despite being one of many victims in Southern California of a blackout and high temps, has managed to get today’s Throwback Thursday questions to us. This week’s topic: Dealing With Crisis…

How well did you deal with a crisis in your youth or as a young adult? Not well. I was always having some sort of academic trouble in high school and my first two years of college. I was a smart kid but a lousy student, so I brought it all on myself. Knowing I was going to catch hell for a bad grade only made the problem worse.

Were you involved with a sudden disruption to your normal life that resulted in stress? Probably my dad dying when I was in fifth grade. It kind of screwed up the rest of the year. About a week after I got back to school, I was trying to answer a question, and just burst into tears. I guess it finally hit me…

Were you the worry wart or did you let things roll off your sleeves? Did you follow the example of your parents? I guess I was kind of a worry-wart, though I can’t really think of any examples. I really didn’t know much about how my parents reacted to stress, but if I had to guess, neither of them dealt with it well.

Were you able to discuss your fears and worries openly, or did you keep your concerns to yourself? I kept things to myself until Mom dragged them out of me. She was good at that. I was afraid of some of the silliest things (fire drills, public restrooms, Emergency Broadcast System tests, water heaters etc.) and some that I’m sure were the result of my Catholic school education (doing something inadvertently that would result in my eternal damnation). I kept a lot of those to myself.

It wasn’t really the best thing for my health. I was having some digestive issues in college and was sent to the doctor at Mom’s urging. He scheduled me for an upper and lower GI exam. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, in an upper GI they x-ray you while you drink a thick barium “milkshake” so they can see on the x-ray if there’s anything going on with your esophagus, stomach, and the first part of your small intestine. With a lower GI, they check the colon. Guess where the barium goes there?

Several days later, I get a call at the dorm from my mother, who informed me that the doctor discovered that I had a duodenal ulcer. “A duodenal ulcer, Johnny, is caused by stress. Now, WHAT ARE YOU STRESSED ABOUT?” “Nothing Mom, really…” “COME ON, THERE MUST BE SOMETHING!” Well, there had been: two years at Northwestern, my GPA teetering on the brink of academic probation. But I didn’t say anything…

Did you have a good support system to deal with your worries? I believe so. Grandma Holton was a good sounding board, as were several of my friends. My immediate family (Mom, Jim and Kip, Tex) were good as well. Kuala, The Dog From Hell? Not so much.

Do you, as an adult, still respond the same ways? I did until my stroke. Now I’ve learned not to worry, especially since retirement.

That’s all for now! Time to blow this popsicle stand…

Tally-ho and away we go!
See you next week with a brand new show!

Hope I’ve used enough flair…

23 thoughts on “#TBTMemory 55: Dealing With Crisis

  1. You suffered the death of a parent way too early which can gave a profound effect I ones’ life as you very well know. I eas always able to deal with a major stress. I just hunkered down and plowed through but little stresses would get to me. I am a worry wart and always have been. My mom was my rock. I could talk to her about anything and she listened, gave advice when needed and always a hug….so needed. Funny, I can keep things to myself but that was more when I was a teen. I pretty much open up now.

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  2. Thank ypu for joining in John. I can’t imagine coping with the death of a parent at such a young age. An ulcer surely showed the internal conflict you were dealing with.

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    1. The ulcer was due more to school than anything. We had pretty much coped with Dad’s death. Mom moved on not long after that (she was, after all, an attractive 35-year-old woman). Had to wait a few years for her eventuial husband to leave the priesthood… but that’s a story for another day…

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    1. There’s a lot to be said for the way things were in the ’60’s and ’70’s. I read the other day that a teacher in Ireland was arrested for not using the right pronouns when referring to one of his students. I see how crazy things have gotten and I feel better about never leaving the house…

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  3. Hi John – ours were the day when we weren’t encouraged to open up … I felt that – I’m glad I pottered along, independently coping with the ups and downs … that independence and positivity helped me through – and so it goes. I’m glad you’re at peace now … all the best – Hilary

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  4. You did a great job with flair – the gifs are always so well
    Chosen and enjoyed learning more about you – that must have been tough with an ulcer like that-
    My sister had one removed when she was 25! A stomach ulcer and they did a case study about it

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    1. For some reason, years ago they thought only men got ulcers. Grandma Holton had really terrible ones where they ended up removing 80% of her stomach. This was after losing her husband and having four boys to raise on her own…

      Liked by 2 people

  5. You are very nice John, but feel free to say it: I was no support for you at all. No bandwidth to be a good brother at all.

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