Monday was my birthday. Originally I was going to take a vacation day, but a number of internal and partner meetings came up and I had to work. I compromised by working from home. I had a plan. Lunch at home with my wife and then for dinner out together in the evening after my work day was done.
It was a good plan. A plan that started off very well…up until around lunchtime. Lunchtime was the first time that day we heard from our son (away at college) that he had suspected appendicitis and that he had been sent by his GP to the local hospital.
Denial can be an immediate response to any big event – and sure enough neither of us “could believe it”…and both of us assumed we would hear from him later that it was a false alarm and that he had been sent home.
Fast forward to 9:00pm Monday evening and we were in the car driving to see him after hearing that he had been admitted to hospital and with a plan to have his appendix out the next day.
It’s strange how your mind responds to news such as this – especially as a parent – and despite your son being an able and healthy young man. All sorts of unrealistic (and not in the least common) scenarios come flowing into your mind…as you drive three hours late at night to be there…still wearing your birthday present T-shirt.
Fast forward another 24 hours and everything is sorted and none of these worries have come true. It was the simplest of appendectomies with the whole procedure – from leaving the award to returning – taking a little under 2 hours including pre- and post-op.
Fast forward another 2 days and we were home and I am in awe of (or do I mean jealous of) the healing powers of a healthy young man. And last week seems hard to recognise let alone reconcile.
I had to cancel or decline many meetings – internal and external…individual and teams…old and new colleagues. And not only did nobody mind…and not only did everybody understand…but everyone was so generous and so helpful. Friends and family. At work and at home. When you need them they are always there for you…unconditionally. Thank you.
And everything worked well without me. Good people, good teams and good allies stepped in, sorted and supported. And they all volunteered. Everyone asked to help…wanted to help.
And the medical professionals were very good…even though they all seemed very young (another artifact maybe, of Monday being my birthday). But their dedication and desire to help, to make better and to reassure was impressive. I even had opportunity to listen as my son was asked for his ‘informed consent’ to the operation and for those components unique to a University teaching hospital replete with medical students.
And there was – inevitably – a lot of waiting around. Waiting for him to go to theatre…and to come back. A lot of time to sit and think and remember. I remembered the last time he was in hospital (wisdom teeth)…and the first time (being born). I appreciated the fact that we were able to be there with him.
Those thinking times are the most unusual – a mixture of great rational and strong emotional…illogicality and common sense. Overall of course, everything was straightforward and problem free. Any time spent we spent worrying about unrealistic or infrequent events helped no one.
The answer was more instinctive…and in this case parental instinct. Our best decisions have always been ones we make instinctively together.
Once a parent always a parent…