Got a phone call from my Dad a little while ago. My mother is in an emergency room for possible problems with her gall bladder after a visit to her doctor earlier in the day because she hasn’t been feeling well recently. My sister and brother-in-law are with her as my Dad’s eyesight isn’t good enough at this point to be driving. Details are scarce at this point and Dad is sitting by the phone for more information as it comes in. For the moment I’m sitting by my own phone and waiting for word from Dad.
First thing I did is the same thing I always do when I hear about stuff like this and don’t know much about the potential problem, I hit WebMD and started looking up information on gall bladder problems. It’s one of those things you hear about with other people all the time, but don’t really know all that much about. Sounds like the major problem tends to be gallstones and that could mean surgery, but it sounds like they’ve managed to get the surgery down to as minimally invasive as they can. Of course it’s possible the problem could be something other than her gall bladder…
I hate situations like this because I always feel helpless. In an emergency, say someone falls off a ladder, I tend to be the sort who responds immediately. I don’t take time to be shocked that something bad happened, I just go straight to the dealing-with-it stage and do whatever I can to help out. In a situation like this, though, there’s nothing for me to do but to sit and wait as patiently as I can manage. It makes me feel helpless and useless and brings back long buried feelings from when my father passed away when I was five. Yes, the man I call “Dad” now is actually my step-father.
I don’t remember much about my father’s passing other than I knew he was sick and there wasn’t anything anyone could do about it, including me. I would’ve given anything at the time to have the knowledge I needed to cure him and I didn’t understand at the time how it was possible there was nothing that could be done for him. I felt helpless and stupid and I think it was this experience that makes me so good at responding to emergencies these days. It also still haunts me when I find there is nothing I can do to help.
So I sit and wait for more news. I may end up taking tomorrow off of work to travel up to Otisville depending on what comes from all of this. I’m cautiously optimistic that this will turn out alright, but it’s never easy when a loved one is suddenly in the hospital.
6:24PM UPDATE: Just got off the phone with my sister. She and Mom have been sitting in the ER waiting room for some time now and my mother has just gone in to fill out the paperwork. Still hasn’t seen a doctor or had a diagnosis yet, but the fact that she’s doing the paperwork on her own is a good sign. On a scale of 1-10 Mom says the pain is about an 8. Mom’s a tough old broad (her words, not mine) and if she’s not flat on her back then I have good reason for optimism. Thanks to everyone who have already sent in well wishes. Always very much appreciated.