What a Difference a Day Makes by Robin Gorman Newman
A week ago, I was preparing to go into NYC to attend our first MotherhoodLater.com outing to a Broadway musical. …the show MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET. I was excited and looking forward to meeting everyone, and reconnecting with those I already knew. My husband, who was coming as well, had driven into Manhattan that morning, so we’d have the car to return home after the show.
We arranged for a sitter for my son. My senior dad was coming over as well to spend the weekend with us (his live-in aide was going home), so things felt like they were under control and looking good.
Well…..as my beloved mom used to say (may she rest in peace)…..”We make our plans, and G-d makes his.”
Just as Seth stepped off the school bus and entered the house, I was beginning what would be a night of acute abdominal, pelvic pain such as I have never know. Out of the blue, I was doubled-over and barely able to walk. I quickly called my husband and told him I didn’t think I could make the play. My hope was that whatever this was would subside and I’d be ok. That wasn’t the case. I placed an emergency call to my gastro doc who I had just seen that week, and left a message with their afterhours service. Disappointingly, no one called back in a timely fashion, so in the interim, at the urging of a good friend, I reached out to my neighbor (who we are friendly with) and asked if he would do me a big favor and run me over ASAP to the emergency room of North Shore Hospital, which is fortunately within easy reach.
He readily obliged and waited with me until they took me in. At that point, I was alone, aside from the doctors, nurses, etc., who pretty quickly sprung into action. That was comforting, though the ordeal was very scary since it was 24 hours before we knew the source of my pain and all kinds of thoughts ran through my mind. And, it was at least an hour before they gave me IV painkiller which didn’t kick in immediately. So, I spent considerable time digging my nails into my hands and groaning. Luckily, I was given a private room in the ER, and ultimately, my husband joined me for what turned out to be an entire, sleepless, anxious night of tests and waiting. At least there was, surprisingly, a tv in the room.
It turned out I have a urinary tract infection (not the pain source) and a very small kidney stone (definitely the pain source) which we hope was passing at the time, and that I’m now done with it. We don’t know for sure, but since I’ve been feeling considerably better, we want to believe that is the case.
All this said, I found it to be both a humbling and empowering experience. Humbling in that I was totally at the mercy of strangers at the hospital to care for me, and I entrusted them with my life and health, which meant abandoning control, which I always like to feel I have (though we know this isn’t true). Life is a team effort. And, we are all vulnerable, and sometimes it takes the kindness of strangers to help get us through. As a mom, wife and daughter, I’m so used to being in the caretaker mode. It felt a bit like a foreign experience being the one doted on. (I think I’m overdue for a pampering foot massage.)
Additionally, I was hugely grateful for the support of friends and immediate family who were so there for me….mostly via email and text (I had my Blackberry with me)….and it was comforting to know that I wasn’t alone and to feel the love and concern. Amazing how it takes an emergency to reinforce in your (or my mind) who truly cares and is available to you.
I spent a lot of time thinking about Seth and wondered what he was thinking since he saw his mother run out of the house enroute to the hospital. I didn’t want to frighten him, so I put on a brave, if not grimaced, face. He would have found the ER an interesting place, since he is all about helping people and finds medical stuff cool, especially ambulances and paramedics.
I also became highly conscious of the value of time and how I spend it. Life goes on, whether I’m sitting 24-7 at my computer or not. There’s a big world out there, and while I recognize the huge benefts of being online, it’s also important to venture out, take time to be with people, have new experiences, grow, etc. I yearn to do more of all of that.
Treasuring the moment also came up for me. Things can change on a dime. From one minute to the next, life may throw us a zinger we didn’t see coming, and we have to be strong and go with the flow. Things can also change in a good, exciting way, so ya never know what tomorrow may bring. We wouldn’t necessarily want things to remain stagnant, though no one wants to suffer or see a loved one go through a rough time.
All in all, in an odd way, I’m grateful for having had this experience. Not that I’d ever opt to endure a kidney stone episode again, I value the life lessons I took away. And, I’m grateful I was able to go home without requiring surgery or involved treatment….though I have to follow-up with a urologist and allergist (since I had a mild allergic reaction to the antibiotic prescribed).
In the short time since turning 50 (since 8/11), it’s already been eventful. If this is any predictor for the decade I’ve yet to fully experience, it’s going to be a wild ride. I am hopeful it will offer more joyful times than challenges, but I recognize that life has it’s ebbs ‘n flows, so I’m going to focus as best I can on what makes me happy today. I can’t do more than that.