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Be Careful About the Storm You are Warning About: Advice from a Cuckoo Bird 🐾

Updated: Nov 8, 2023


Advice from a Cuckoo Bird from The Whine Bar by Ally Brown CPC

In the animal kingdom, a cuckoo bird will cry its call before a storm and continue its call dependent upon the intensity of the storm.

Those of you who are regular followers of my Feline Friday may have noticed that I did not post last Friday. Although it was not my intention, that is where life took me and that is why today’s post is brought to us by the cuckoo.

In truth, it’s more like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest than cuckoo clock but if I put a bird in a straight jacket on the graphic, I may have ended up with a list of complaints from the animal rights folks. As an animal lover, that wasn’t the path I wanted, so the bird in the clock works.

Confused? Let me explain.

Last Thursday morning started like any other. I woke up surrounded by cats and my wonderful husband. Then it was coffee, a shower a quick read of my horoscope, a daily motivational quote and a perusal of emails. Finally, breakfast time.


The text comes from my husband’s brother to my husband. “Dad can’t move his left arm or hand. His girlfriend is taking him to the hospital.”

There it started.

Had we been there, we would have driven to the hospital to meet them and see for ourselves what was going on. BUT, we are a thousand miles away. We had no choice but to rely on the information of my 87-year-old father-in-law’s 70-year-ish-old girlfriend, and my brother-in-law.

Now, having worked with doctors for the majority of my adult life, I instantly, but calmly started asking stroke-related questions as that was where my thoughts went. Given that he was walking and talking, I knew it could not be all that serious. A TIA I thought. A TIA is a Transient ischemic Attack – a common mini-stroke many people have but only some notice. Any stroke is serious, but it at least it would set parameters for me once I could determine the severity.

My husband, worshipping his dad and not wanting to think anything was wrong, went to “he probably slept wrong”.

At this point, all information was pointing to TIA. We could arrive in Boston as scheduled on June 23rd to see our grandson for the first time.

And then what I can only describe as the Shit Show started.

My husband started to panic. His hero had fallen and there was nothing he could do.

Information coming from those we relied on – my father-in-law’s girlfriend and my brother-in-law - was that things were very serious. He was being transferred from a local hospital to a major hospital in the city. Tests were being done. Concern was growing.

I viewed the transfer as a good thing. So did my husband, on the outside. On the inside, he was freaking out. I wanted to make the decisions on what to do, as I was of sound mind. I had skin in the game so to speak, but I have the ability to compartmentalize in order to do what needs to be done, to think on facts versus emotion. But I thought it only right to leave decisions to my husband. After all, I did not want to say that we didn’t leave immediately, and live with consequences if we were not there and my husband did not get to say his goodbyes. Once my husband talked to his father, it was set, we were to leave the next day to head to him. A week before we were scheduled to leave. Nothing packed. Life was put on hold. All pre-planning needed to be canceled- nails, hair, important meetings. Things that were due to arrive that we needed for the trip, were left behind. Cats left in the care of our son for more time than we would have liked, including our newly “found” pregnant Dina, not socialized yet with our other cats, segregated in a room by herself save for visitations by us and now our son. Panic raced through us. We packed clothes for a funeral. I had hope, but I prepared my husband for the worse.

We drove and talked. Everything that had been brewing in me came to a head. But stuck in a car for hours we talked and we felt a closeness that I had not felt in many months. We connected on the level that brought us together in the first place.

We had the talk we had been skirting for years but now was front and center. How do we handle the debilitation and potential death of our parents? His mom passed away many years ago, and he has had guilt over that, and it has been affecting him, and us, since. I feared that the loss of his father would bring him somewhere I am not sure I could bring him back from. I believe he found peace on our drive. I believe in my hearts of hearts we both did.

However, our arrival back in New England was delayed. This brought us more turmoil. Two days of cryptic text messages and phone calls about conversations that needed to be had. Emergent topics that needed to be covered. The conversations between my husband and I turned to long-term care planning for my father-in-law, and to how we would get my not-so-capable brother-in-law involved in the mess that is likely to be unfolding and the reason behind the much-needed conversations we have been told we had to have.

And then we arrived.

To find my father-in-law sitting in the living room watching a baseball game and socializing with his brother. Like nothing ever happened. At first, I was thrilled…. And then I was pissed. And so was my husband.

We were led to believe his father was a cripple on his deathbed. However, he was as we had last seen him, with the minor addition of a little weakness in 2 fingers.

It was a TIA as I thought. There was no brain damage. There is very minimal residual effect and they believe that will return to new. Thankfully.

We were warned of a life-altering storm and we got a drizzle.

We arrived prepared but frightened by the Cat 5 hurricane that was forecasted.

Polly Panic and Danny Dreary could have lessened their emotion and cried out facts to us. They could have put the gremlins in their head aside instead of sharing them over a bullhorn. We probably would have headed to them a few days earlier than planned – more prepared, and much less emotional. And definitely without funeral clothes staring back at us from our overstuffed suitcases.

On the bright side, we were able to calmly have the conversations that needed to be had to ensure if anything did ever happen to my father-in-law, we could follow his wishes regardless of emotions.

So if you ever are in a stressful situation, and you need to share pertinent information with others, please follow the advice of the cuckoo bird and not the cuckoo people. Share the actual forecast of what is to be, and not what you believe it to be. Not only will you possibly help others to escape emotional torment, but you may also help to level set yourself.

For more information on signs and symptoms of strokes, please visit:

PS- In the good news department:

My Feline Friday post will be part of something much bigger in July . . . The Whine Bar- Self Care with a Twist. What is it you ask? Life will give you lemons, and you are supposed to make lemonade, but sometimes you just need to add vodka! It will be a jigger of a blog, a double pour of conversation, a splash of humor, a shot of wit, and a dash of bitters at times. The result, is us, getting through life together, stirred, not shaken.

Find out more at:

Got a topic you want me to cover? Please email me at: and put Topic Ideas in the Subject Line. Looking forward to hearing your ideas!

Cheers Friends!


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