Saturday, January 30, 2010

The first forty years of parenting are always the hardest.

My wife and I, having shepherding two kids through visits to various colleges throughout the northeast (cold, damp, gray), finally have one who wants to go someplace interesting. His application filed, he now needs to audition at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami. Great! we think, a long weekend trip to visit the school, audition, and see a part of the country we've not yet toured. What could be better than Miami in January? Our itinerary set, we're headed for "the U", South Beach, and the Everglades on our latest 2-1/2 day ADD tour. Jeff auditions at the college, and we have a nice dinner after walking around South Beach and dipping our toes in the ocean. Then...

... the phone rings at 10:45 pm, with our college sophomore daughter bringing news that she's broken down outside Gettysburg with a flat tire, a dead battery, no cell phone, no AAA card, and only her laptop with Skype with which to communicate. Then...

... Jeff is having cramps and pain in our hotel room. First we think it's gas, but after a couple of hours we realize that we need professional treatment, so off to the emergency room we go. Chris, meanwhile, has gotten our AAA number, and used Skype to get a tow truck to get her back to Carlisle, PA. After five hours in the emergency room, Jeff is diagnosed with acute appendicitis, which will require immediate surgery. Then...

... after the surgery, which took a bit longer than normal because his appendix was tucked up high, touching his liver, his temperature shoots up, as does his white blood cell count. No trip to the Everglades today! Then...

...we wait, day after day, for some information from a doctor. The surgeon drops by once each day sometime between 11 am to 11 pm, while the infectious disease doctor makes her visit between 9am and 2am! Communication is difficult, and there seems to be little sense of urgency. As one IV after another is hooked up, we have little knowledge of what progress is being made.
Finally, on Friday, a week after arriving, Jeff is released, and we can try to figure out how to get home before the snowstorm hits and has us diverted to Newark!

A few lessons here: hire good people so you don't have to be at work for the place to run well, be flexible, the DC area is blessed with great medical care compared to some other parts of the country, a good health insurance plan is critical (come on, Barak), and paradise isn't so great if you're spending it in a hospital room.

1 comment:

  1. What a sad photo! I'm glad everything worked out well, and I know it's a cliche, but all it takes is something bad to happen to our child(ren) - and it can be anything - to put everything else into perspective.
    I'd go on, but I have to go yell at my children to make them clean their rooms . . .

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