On Sunday I took one of my sons to Emergency, on Tuesday we got home again. This is not unheard of, one of my sons has a medical condition, hydrocephalus, that carries with it unfortunate realities. A system of shunts with a valve keep the pressure in my son’s head normal. A great step forward, but mechanical systems have a way of failing. It’s not unusual for children with hydrocephalus to have several surgeries a year.
We’ve been lucky, only five surgeries in thirteen years. It’s hard to look at that number and feel fortunate, but I try to remind myself that in could just have easily been thirty-three surgeries in thirteen years. I don’t tell my son he’s lucky, however. He’s not. He just happens to have a fewer systems failures than some.
Normally at the hospital I’m very patient. Things tend to move slowly once the initial emergency is over and normally I go with the flow. This time however I found myself to be impatient. I know how long it takes to get discharged, but this time the wait wore on me. Heck the whole process was tedious and sleeping on a bench was painful. If you can call it sleeping.
We were in the hospital only three days, but it felt like forever.
So I’m trying to figure out what I learned from the experience this time, and I’m not coming up with anything good. I’m having a hard time feeling grateful for the expertise of the medical staff. They are darn good at what they do, and they’ve kept my boy alive and well.
So what’s wrong with me that I’m feeling like life’s unfair? Of course life is unfair, I’ve yet to see anyone come into this world with a guarantee that life would treat them fairly. I’m feeling put out. I’m doing my part to be kind, warm and generous (I think) and what I’m getting in return is three days in the hospital with a child who was terrified that he would die during surgery.
So you see I’m having trouble. I’d like to be able to find some nugget in among the crap. And I guess the real nugget is that my son is alive, his headache is gone and we are back to normal. But what I want is some kind of personal revelation. Something to take away from a bad situation.
I guess I’m not getting what I want this time. And maybe that’s what I need to learn. As the Stones sang – you can’t always get what you want. Only this time I’m not even sure we’re getting what we need.