It turns out we didn’t go to Minneapolis for Christmas. Everyone save the two of us seemed to be down sick, three of them dealing with cold/flu symptoms and one with an appendicitis! I have to say that getting messages into Christmas evening that a grandkid is in hospital awaiting an appendectomy wasn’t something we planned for, but then its’ probably best that Mel and Drew weren’t loaded down with a house full of company when all this happened.
We have been a fairly healthy lot. Mike has been the one in hospital most — with foot surgeries. Four months ago Katy fell and broke her wrist too. I had my few day stay when they were sorting out my heart meds a couple years ago — but aside from that we’ve been staying out of medical facilities for the last 10 years.
But then Christmas eve we started off with an 8 p.m. message that Mel was going to Urgent Care because of abdominal pains. That got changed to “off to the hospital for scans”, followed by “it’s her appendix”, and scheduled for surgery, followed by emergency came in, they pushed her surgery off by several hours, to maybe by 4 or 5 a.m. and here I am 12 hours later not entirely sure if she still has an appendix or not.
All of which reminded me of the complications of having family spread all over the country. A few years ago life would have been very different. There would not have been smart phones and all those messages would probably have been condensed down to one phone call at the end of the event.
I have a friend who emigrated to this country, leaving his wife and children behind. He’s been here for 7 years and he has been sending every spare penny that he makes back to his family back home. They hope in another year or so to be able to join him — although they have no idea what the immigration rules may be at that time.
In his case they only have contact a few times a year. I can’t imagine what that must be like. I’m not sure I would cope with that at all. As much as I love my wife, when I was the age of this friend I’m not sure I could maintain the sensation of being married to someone if we were apart for years on end. It’s a miracle of human affection and commitment that people feel as strongly as they do for each other.
Affection, care, compassion, these are parts of the human being that are hard to quantify, hard to describe, hard to explain, and yet we tend to lump them all together under the single word “love.” There are things about us humans that defy rational explanation but are true nonetheless.
Of course what’s really important is that you don’t have to understand everything. Sometimes what’s important is that you feel it. In what ways are possible, when they are possible, people reach out to you and touch you — and you know you are cared for, cared about and the world looks very much different as a result. You arise with renewed energy to fight whatever battle you have to face.
And now, I’m going to wait to hear how the surgery went.
It was a 20 hour experience for Melanie. Going into the hospital on Christmas Eve might be the worst time ever to get a rapid response and seeing as there was no fear of her appendix bursting they put her off, and put her off, and put her off while attending to much more acute emergencies. But… She went into surgery about 11:30 a.m. on Christmas morning and the surgery was finished by 1 p.m.. They had her drinking and eating to get over the anesthetic more quickly, and by 7 p.m. she was on her way home.
Drew’s Mom and dad are going to keep an eye on her Tues. & Wed. Katy & Mike will drive up Wed. and be her nursemaids for Thurs. and Friday — getting in a little Christmas celebrating while they are there.
All turned out well, and coincidentally we don’t have to drive another 700 miles in a year when we made 5 trips to Texas. I know Peggy’s disappointed at not seeing the kids but I’m ok with seeing them in a couple months when we get to feeling housebound and itching for a trip of some sort. 🙂
It all works out. 🙂