Saturday, September 28, 2013

East Wind

I used to have a big tree in my backyard, a giant river maple that was about fifty feet high. He shaded half of the yard for a season every year and dropped leaves into it for another and then just stood there for another, arms raised. I never really thought about him much. Not a particularly beautiful tree -  I think river maples never really are - but a tree nonetheless, and one that broke up the grassy monotony of the backyard.

One late summer during a particularly vicious Tennessee summer storm, all howling straight-line winds and singing electric wires, I sat on the back steps and watched the wind do a number on the river maple. Nothing it couldn't really handle, but it certainly wasn't very interested in hanging onto its leaves for a while. Then, quite quickly, the wind changed direction and came from the east, a very unusual occurrence. So unusual, in fact, that you could smell it - it was a different wind, from somewhere other than Arkansas or points more westerly. And within a minute of the wind changing direction, there was a deafening twist and crack and whopping whumph! as the tree was uprooted from its very base and knocked over with such a force that mortar fell from between nearby bricks and the strings of the wind-up clock in my living room shuddered and vibrated a minor chord for a full minute.  Fascia board was ripped from the house; phone poles were brought down on the back property line, a fence leveled. All that drama and damage simply because the wind changed direction.

I am thinking of this tonight because at a meeting this evening, a friend from in-patient therapy told me that another friend from in-patient therapy, T, had relapsed and returned to the rehab facility, this time for the longer, 30-day stay.  To say I was surprised would be a massive understatement - I was so distracted by this information that I didn't hear a word the speaker who spoke for thirty minutes said, nor did I listen to a single other person who raised his hand the other half of the hour.  All I could think about was T and what his relapse meant.  T was the alpha male of our group while I was in rehab. It was an elastic group in number - anywhere from ten to sixteen at any given time, depending on intake and discharge dates - but there was always a core of eight or so who all got there at roughly the same time, and T was large and in charge the time he was there. He took it very seriously; he had a lot to lose if he couldn't make it work.

One of the things a counselor told us - and we were never sure if it was a scare tactic or the truth - was that only one in six of us would succeed. One in six. It seemed easy to look around the room or listen to what people said during group discussion and know which five wouldn't make it.  People are either ready or they're not; the timing has to be right...sometimes the first time through, sometimes the third time through's the charm for people....sometimes they have to leave in the middle of the night and get picked up by the police after committing eight felonies within six hours of leaving.  But I was convinced T had it, so to hear this evening that he didn't quite, not just yet, was a little bit of east wind stirring up and heading my direction. A momentary swaying, a creaky branch here or there, leaves swirling all whichaways.

But no up-rooting. I took deep breaths and thought about the positives - T knew to check himself back in the next day after his relapse, this time for a longer and more rigorous program. He has a supportive family and a job worth keeping. I am still certain he is the one in his six. I am the one in mine, and I'll fight anyone who says otherwise.

But I would like the jet stream to behave itself for just a while longer.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Summer Song

You know how every year there seems to be a sort of unofficial "summer song"? Like the song that is on everyone's radio or iPod, whether they like it or not? I always like to review the summer and think what song it might have been, even if it's a type of song I would normally loathe. I remember the year of that TLC "Waterfalls" song and lord, I sang that thing in the privacy of my shower until tiles fell off of the wall, even though I hated it (sorry, Left-Eye!). Sometimes, it's a really terrible song like Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl," but you still go with it because somehow a particular song hits all the Zeitgeist buttons and there's no sense fighting it. And there's no use trying to be ornery and pick something obscure to be your summer song; you will fail. I love you, Uncle Tupelo, but nobody ever chose any of your songs to define a summer of throwing themselves down a Slip 'n Slide in the backyard. Nope. That was time for "I Want Your Sex."

I've been thinking about what this past summer's song was because the tail end of my summer was spent in rehab, where there is virtually no music at all. I was not allowed any music player - no iPod, no phone, and no access to television (except for a single monitor that played Hallmark Hall of Fame's My Name is Bill W. in an endless loop. Someone told me that they used to alternate it with another movie but that another someone stole the other movie, which upon investigation turned out to be....Robert Altman's Popeye, the very idea of which is so deliciously strange that I kept meaning to look into it).

Anyway, music was hard to come by. There was a morning meditation that - depending on who was running the show that day - would sometimes be accompanied by music, but it was almost always some sort of whale-bleating twiddly-twee-ing to make my mind go elsewhere from the place I was. Frankly, it made me want to go to a gun shop. There was one weekend counselor who would play interesting things during meditation, but even that was only for three minutes or so. Other than that, no music.

A few times a week, some of the patients residents would be rounded up and volun-told to go on the bus that would cart us to various recovery meetings around town to get us used to the idea of attending meetings. So thirteen people would cram into a short-bus and the first thing that would happen was the radio would get turned on. No talking! We were listening to music! And it was invariably the really bad kind of country music, that weird sub-genre that is always about pickup trucks and rope swings and dirt roads and Sundrop and cut-off jeans and, oh, I don't know, hookworm.  And with those songs, you are never more than one verse away from a big bottle of something or other, so it was always funny to me that we'd be a baker's dozen of alcoholics careening down a two-lane road in a bus singing boozy love songs at the top of our lungs. I mean...I didn't think we should be three-part harmonizing "Bringing in the Sheaves" or anything, but it was, well, weird.

There was one song, though, back at the ranch, that did turn out to be the official "summer song" of late August...or at least the time that I was there. For some odd reason, one morning the meditation song was Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine." It was an unusual selection, what with it having little to do with sounding like the mating call of a lovesick whale, but it actually engendered pre-meditation conversation. We were asked in advance how many times Withers sings the words "I know" in it. Think about the song for a second and you'll remember the part - he repeats " I know, I know, I know...." and let me tell you: he sings it 26 times. 26! That's a lot of "I know"s.  But somehow the song stuck in everyone's mind and for the rest of my time out there, I couldn't escape the song. I'd hear it late at night on the way to get my last iced tea of the evening, or someone would whistle it while peeing on the seat in the bathroom or it'd jump from lip to lip in the lunchroom line. One night a couple of people who could really sing dug into it and sang it on the smoking porch so loudly that it echoed down the field and bounced across the bluffs across the river - you could hear it twice if you paid close attention.

I still wasn't sure why that song cropped up in meditation that day, so when I got home I looked it up on unimpeachable Wikipedia, and this is what I found:
Withers was inspired to write this song after watching the 1962 movie Days of Wine and Roses. He explained, in reference to the characters played by Lee Remick and Jack Lemmon, "They were both alcoholics who were alternately weak and strong. It's like going back for seconds on rat poison. Sometimes you miss things that weren't particularly good for you. It's just something that crossed my mind from watching that movie, and probably something else that happened in my life that I'm not aware of."

Who knew all that shit was going on in that song?  None of that got explained that day, so I wonder if the person who picked it even knew. If not, it's yet another astonishing coincidence. If so, well, maybe they know what they're doing out there. They're sly.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Each part and tag of me is a miracle. - Walt Whitman

Rehab out-patient therapy is a completely different thing than in-patient therapy. In-patient therapy has a clang to it, like a really heavy metal door slamming behind you (for better or worse) and you spend a lot of time staring at the door, thinking of ways to get the door open, or learning to make a key out of soap or whatever.  Out-patient therapy is more casual, like you are on probation, picking up trash on the side of the road and your mind can wander a little bit but then you get to the end of the day and you think "oh, look, I just cleaned up five miles of garbage."

That's not to say I disliked in-patient treatment. It was a little bit like a slightly sad, all-inclusive cruise ship that didn't serve booze, but ended up being fun anyway, even though there were a lot of power-point presentations about STDs.  But I ended up being sort of sad when I left.

But out-patient is completely different. In a lot of ways, you have to focus more because Real Life precedes and follows it every day. Wake up, eat, work, run errands, REHAB, get dinner, sleep. So you have to change gears and get all selfish and egotistical for a few hours right there in the middle of the day, which is - no pun intended - sobering. Nothing like a good sob-fest in a strip mall on Donelson Pike. There's a Subway next door.

I was in a session the other night and somehow, we started adding up time. Lots of different kinds of timetables - time spent drinking, time spent throwing up, time spent trying to figure out how the Shoney's Big Boy ended up on the roof of the house. But I started adding up my actual time spent in active recovery since August 16, when I entered rehab. I was in a 14-day in-patient program, but I subtract the first day and the last day, because they're mainly paperwork days. Subtract another day for detox (if you're lucky, just the one) and then subtract two more for Sundays, which are usually family days and you either hang out with your family or you sleep. So that original 14 days is now 9 days of actual brain work.

Now let's move on to out-patient therapy. Twenty sessions, three hours each. Sixty hours. So two and a half more days. Let's add that to the in-patient time. Eleven and a half days. THAT'S IT. That tiny amount of time is what I got to figure out how to reset the clock on my life. I know, I know, meetings forever, that's where and how I get more time. But still.

My out-patient counselor says all the time to people who are wavering in their commitment to recovery, "don't leave five minutes before the miracle happens."  Well, you know what? Me sitting in that chair, feeling the way that I do right now and being able to clearly see a path through the brambles after that tiny amount of time is fucking miracle enough; if there's another one coming, bring it.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Out of Control

If you've ever been on a camping trip with me, you know that there is a certain amount of, uh, direction that you are going to get. Put the tent here. Make it face this way so you get the morning sun/sunset/moonrise. Put this kind of yogurt on your granola. Use this hiking pole. Walk behind me. Walk in front of me. Choose a color of napkin. But don't choose the green one, that's mine. Any other color. Here, choose blue. Do you know why witch hazel is called witch hazel? Well be quiet while I tell you. Let's go on this trail until I decide to not be on this trail, then we will go on another trail and then later I will lament not finishing the other trail. When you sign up for a camping trip with DG, you sign up. You actually get a dossier with menus, itineraries, nearby sights, star charts, moonrise schedules, hiking options, printed maps, etc, etc. Be ready for near-daily e-mail updates regarding our upcoming adventure. It's a lot. A friend once called a trip we were on "a really well-planned, well-catered death march."

I get why I do it. It's all about control, an issue I have struggled with a lot. Even in social situations like dinner parties, I tend to go into "dance for Grandma" mode, where I try and be the "glue" that holds everyone together. It's not usually necessary; everyone in the room knows each other. But I want to control what's going on in the room, even if it isn't my party.  And sometimes that takes a lot of, uh, fuel.

One of the contradictions of the rehab process is this whole control thing. When I made the decision to go, I thought "oh, I am making this decision to be in control of my life." And then the first thing I noticed when I was there was that a large number of lessons and activities were about me relinquishing control, surrendering. The way those two conceptions of control brushed up against each other was eye-opening and it's something I'm working on. I am consciously avoiding social situations where there might be more than two or three people present out of fear that I'll start the darling pet monkey routine. I can't make the lady in front of me at the red-light go any faster when the light turns green. I just can't get upset about things I cannot control anymore.

So here's the thing. Let's say we go camping together sometime this fall. We might finish up our dinner and let the fire die down and lie down on our sleeping bags and look up at the night sky. I will know that we are looking at Camelopardalis the Giraffe and Auriga the Charioteer and Cassiopeia, the Queen of Ethiopia. You can just look at them without me telling you in excruciating detail what you are looking at. Unless you ask. I will have a star chart in the car.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

We Are Family, IfyouknowwhatIamsayin'

You meet a lot of interesting people in rehab. Sure, there's a large contingent of spoiled frat boys who partied too hard for too long, and there's a particular group of house-husbands who all seem to come from the same place (hello, Kentucky!), but there are doctors and lawyers and Indian chiefs too. Real estate agents, college professors. Welders, writers, waiters. All types, all sizes, all of whose very best thinking led them to addiction and then to rehab. Me included. But during my time out at the ranch, one gentleman rose above them all: Tony the Enforcer (name changed to protect anonymity. And maybe my safety).

There was a lot of lore surrounding Tony the Enforcer, a lot of whispered hubbub. The general consensus was that he had been an, um, employee of a certain type of capital-F Family, if you know what I am saying. He was intimidating, terrifying and completely charming. He became the Den Mother to almost everyone under the age of forty and for those of us longer in tooth, he became a very bizarre and unlikely role model. We all either wanted to be him or be close enough to him that we could steal some of his stories and pass them off as our own. (By the way, remind me to tell you about the time I had to get rid of an eighteen-wheeler full of hot potted meat.  Oh, wait, uh, ssshhhhhh.)  He could remember everyone's name and that's saying something for a drug addict in a room with sixty-five other people. But if you were very very lucky, he would bestow a nickname on you. On Day 8 of my stay, my nickname was granted: Señor Bashful. (Bashful, eh, I know. Hey I didn't say he was a genius at figuring out personality traits accurately). For the next week, I could rely on a hollered "Hallllo, Señor Bashful" echoing across the common spaces at all hours of the day or night. Getting a nickname from Tony the Enforcer was the second-greatest thing I accomplished out there.

I collected my 30-day chip today. I had delayed picking it up for a day so that I could do it at a meeting along with some other people from my time in rehab who have stayed in touch and helped each other with meeting attendance. I really wanted to get the chip in front of people I knew...or rather, people who knew me. I met my friends outside and when we walked in, there he was! Tony the Enforcer! Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, he walks into mine. And best of all, the part that made me almost explode with happiness, was that he was getting his 30-day chip as well. Just the two of us! Entwined forever, Tony the Enforcer and Señor Bashful. 

So don't fuck with me. I know people now.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

New Math

The arithmetic of recovery is mind-boggling. Numbers, numbers, numbers. Everywhere I turn, numbers. Blood pressure: 144 over 85. 120 over 80. 188 over 135. Pulse: 100. 96. 72. Weight: plus 4, minus 11. 5 days of detox. 3 days of detox tapering. 3 roommates. 14 days. 13 days. 12 days... 3 months to 2 years before dopamine levels in the brain behave normally again. 5 weeks of outpatient rehab, 20 sessions. 1 sponsor. 12 steps. 12 traditions. 1 dollar bills in baskets. A bill for $6.88 for 1 pill not covered in rehab.

Everything in medical terms measured in milligrams. 200 milligrams. 100 milligrams. 50 milligrams. Peeing in a cup 2 times a week. List 20 consequences. List 10 more consequences. List 10 reasons to stay sober. Meditate for 4 minutes, minimum, and please don't slam the door if you leave early. Be on the porch at 7 to catch the bus to a meeting with 12 other guys.

Rate the headache pain on a scale of 1 to 10. No, "ow" is not a number, we need a number please. So: 6.  Meetings at this location are at 8, 12, 5 and 8. 90 meetings in 90 days. 2 meetings in 1 day counts as 1 meeting; don't try and cheat it. Medical can only dispense 1 ibuprofen every 6 hours, and only before 9 and after 8. 3 people in each room, 6 to a bathroom. We are moving you from Room 205 to Room 206. Lights out at 11.

Another number popped up today. 30. 30 days. That's how long I've gone without a drink. Don't feel like you have to comment.  1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30. It takes a long time to count to 30. But not as long as it took to get there! Now let's see how 40-60 treat me.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Souvenirs of Rehabilitation

Rehab has a gift shop, you know. Mine had an actual store you could go in and buy inspirational recovery books and t-shirts and some uplifting sayings carved on rocks sorts of things. There were also practical things that the inmates, patients, residents (I never figured out what to call us) might need: pens, pencils, legal pads, fudgesicles, lanyards (to hold our must-be-visible-at-all-times ID badges), wristwatches (an extremely popular thing to have; there are not a lot of clocks in treatment, but you have to be ON TIME to everything, so you feel set up to fail right off the bat until you figure out to just follow everyone else, since everyone is doing the exact same thing you are at the exact same time and then you don't feel like such a failure).

There were also various stickers you could purchase for your car - "Friend of Bill W." or that weird little triangle in the circle thing that I never knew the meaning of until now; I always thought it was something Masonic. Someone on the smoking porch told me to not get one, though. He said those stickers were "cop bait" and if I put one on my car, I'd get pulled over daily by some hopeful cop with a quota picking all the low-hanging fruit. I thought it would be funny if they had a sticker that said "My Child is an Honor Student in Alcohol Rehab" but on the whole, I have found that early recovery stuff isn't big on the jokes. Anyway, I resisted all of these things. I went into rehab with a ten dollar bill and a roll of quarters and managed to spend almost all of it on M&Ms and Cokes. I came home with change.

But I did come home with some souvenirs, all of which are way better than anything that was in the gift shop:

There was a sweet, unusual kid from Chattanooga who roomed with me for one night who spent all of his free time making origami. I was never sure how he talked the Powers That Be into letting him have his origami paper and the instruction book, since almost everything not recovery-related was forbidden. But he spent his time making boats and frogs and cranes, one of the latter of which he gave me.

Another roommate who was a bank president left a clean, neatly-folded handkerchief on my pillow when he left while we were all in group one day. He had seen me struggling with allergies.

I came home with a copy of a Jose Saramago book that arrived quite unexpectedly; again, surprise that something made it past the censors. Sure, "The Gospel of Jesus Christ" sounds like an inspirational title, but it's pretty clear they didn't thumb through and run across the juicy bits.

I also have some natural bits and bobs: a rock from the trail that rings the property and a flower nipped from a vase-full that a friend sent me. I pressed it between some journal pages and gave the sweet nurses in medical the rest of them.

All of these things seem like the right things to have; all personal and connected to real people and a real, particular place. I've boxed them all up - along with all the letters I received and my rehab journal - in a little box labeled REHAB BOX and maybe when I am feeling unsafe or vulnerable or if things get a little shaky, I'll pop the lid off and rifle through all of those things just to remind me of the comfort and safety of the bubble of rehab and then get back to my real life, assured for another day by a rock, a crane and a handkerchief.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

On 'and.'

One of the things that has recurred over the past few days is people asking me "and?"  Like, ok, DG, you are doing this recovery thing. But then what? And? 

It's a good question: What does come next? What is the thing that comes after the thing I am doing now? It's a bit of a puzzle because it's never really going to be done; it'll always run along the edges of whatever else is happening in my life, piping around the edges of big piece of cloth.  But I also get the meaning behind the question. It can't just be this. It has to be for a period, but eventually (to stick with the fabric metaphor), my recovery will need to be strands woven through my larger swath of fabric.

So I have been pondering "and."

There's a lyric in the musical Into the Woods that I've always loved:
Must it all be either less or more,
Either plain or grand?
Is it always 'or'?
Is it never 'and'?
I love that final line, that plea for compromise or open-mindedness or in-between-ness. It's about multi-tasking and not controlling things and letting other things crowd in without sacrificing the larger things that matter or freaking the fuck right out when they do crowd in. We can have "ands" in our lives and still have lives.

A few years ago, I got involved with a project called "Skin." It's a short story written by Shelley Jackson that only exists as a series of single-word tattoos on the bodies of people who volunteered to receive a word at random from Jackson. There were some ground rules: you had to get the tattoo in a typeface that might appear in a real, published book and if you got a word that was a body part, like say "hand," you could not get the tattoo on that body part. Then you were supposed to take a picture of yourself and the tattoo and send it to Jackson, who would then send you a typewritten copy of the completed story. But nowhere would the story actually be published or readable for anyone not involved with the project...that is, only the "words" would ever know the whole story.

Needless to say, I jumped right on it and sent an application to Jackson and was accepted. I've had the reply hidden away in a box for years, waiting for the right time to get the tattoo (there's no time limit). I was never really sure when that right time might be, but I think it's finally here. I'll choose some upcoming anniversary - my 47th birthday or my 60-day-sober mark, something like that. I wonder if you've figured out what word I got back in 2005. Eight years ago.

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Spiritual Thing

I knew when I decided to enter rehab that I was going to hit a roadblock pretty early on - I was sure the "spirituality question" would trip me up.  Most successful rehabilitation programs involve a spiritual component, and this particular one was no different.  I fretted over it, having never really been at all religious (and not ever being a believer in the Christian brand of it at all), but I decided to dive in and see what people more successful at being non-drinkers might have to say about it.

I needn't have worried too much; it's really not a "conversion" program, though if what you're looking for is a group to read scripture with, you can find that pretty easily in any corner of any room. There's as much Official God Talk as you could ever want. But I had more than one conversation with more than one counselor/advisor/case manager where there was plenty of support for and approval over the idea of a non-traditional higher power.

A few years ago, I had a chance encounter with a bear when I was on a solo hike in Calaveras Big Trees State Park in the Sierras of California. The bear came crashing noisily through the thicket of ferns to the right of me, stepped into the path directly ahead of me and froze, staring at my face for a second. He shook his head as if to clear a thought from it and then continued down to the left of me toward a stream, where he was headed for water. I finally thought to breathe and continued on my way, sure that I was safe from any danger. And I was safe. Nature did not have it in for me that day. Nature was just trying to get water to the bear; that's the only reason the bear was put in my path.

I thought about this encounter a lot the first few days before I entered rehab and the first few days I was there - I was trying to put my finger on the thing, the power that was higher than me, that I could turn my unmanageable life over to. And it finally occurred to me that I was spending a lot of time trying to define this nebulous, abstract thing and not a lot of time going and looking for it.  I only had to walk outside and watch the snake of morning fog lifting up from the river hidden just past the first row of distant trees to know there was something larger than me, and I didn't have to figure out what the fuck it was called. It was right there and that was enough.

I pick up a chambered nautilus and look at how it's formed and I recognize Math as a higher power. I watch a leaf trace a Jacob's Ladder arcing back and forth through the air as it falls from branch to ground and acknowledge Architecture as a higher power. I think of a particular alpine lake fed by a glacier in eastern Nevada (yes, Nevada) and I know the possibility of snow in July signals the presence of a higher power.  I remember that yards from that same lake, I held a ten-thousand-year-old bristlecone pine cone in my hand and acknowledged the existence of a higher power too abstract for me to attempt to articulate. I string these little beads of acknowledgement together and that strand of beads becomes my higher power: The Natural World.

I have known all this for a long time, but I allowed my alcohol abuse to veil my senses for years and now each day that I am another step away from it,  I catch the scent of something I forgot about - the strange allure of a faraway skunk or the sweet, funky smell of mountain galax - even if it's just a memory. And each time that happens, I know that there is a power higher than me.

One thing I learned about spirituality in rehab is that I don't have to go form a church about it; I don't need any converts to agree with me. I can just have it. And now and then I do get a little jealous of the people with a lot of organized religion under their belts, because it's easy (and acceptable) for them to start going on about Jesus or Buddha or Whoever and they can quote things chapter and verse to prove their connection to a higher power. And I'm sometimes not sure how to "prove" mine. Should I just rustle up a campfire right there in the middle of the table at group therapy and say "SEE?! It's called FIRE!"? But I know I don't really have to do that. I should, though. That would be funny.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Coincidence and Metaphor

If you ever enter a rehab program, one thing you will need to pack is your suspension of disbelief because coincidences stack up like firewood pretty quickly. 

One day when I was there, I had to list a few trigger things that might have contributed to my current condition. One of the ones I listed was the death of a friend a while back. Within five minutes, I discovered that the person I was sitting with in a grief group was the person who had been cutting my friend's hair for the last year or so of his life.  On the third day, I learned that one of my roommates was married to my sister's high school math teacher. And just last night, in my outpatient therapy session, my counselor played a cover of Stephen Foster's "Hard Times" to point out a lesson. If you scroll back just three posts in this blog, you'll see I'd already cited it as a favorite thing a few years ago, before I put this blog on hiatus.

But there were dozens of them; my little rehab journal is full of coincidences, and I wondered quite a bit about the nature of them. Were all of these little frissons random? Or had they been happening all along and I was just too drunk to notice? Was my new-founded mental clarity responsible for me seeing the patterns that were working behind the scenes all along?

Another thing I noticed quite quickly while I was there was that the language of rehab is largely built on metaphor. Almost everything they say and do means something more than you think it does. "You have to drive your car all the way to the bank." "You don't get off the donkey until you get to the top of the summit." We stumbled blindly through a rope maze.  We held taut ropes until we were able to "let go" of one end.

 And everything you see takes on meaning that might not even be there. On the final day, I was sitting on the porch watching the sun push up over the heights across the river and I noticed a little bird hopping around in front of me. It had tiny, fluffy useless wings, obviously fallen from some nearby nest. He struggled and struggled to fly but just couldn't do it. I watched him for about twenty minutes, the whole time thinking "no wonder this place costs almost a thousand dollars a day!" I baby birds to hammer home the recovery point on my last day! It was too much to think about.  Do I even need to tell you that by lunchtime the baby bird was flying around just fine? No, I do not. You wouldn't believe me.