With all the travel and Mr. Quimby and I do, it was inevitable that someone would get seriously ill while someone else was away from home.
I left town Wednesday morning, Mr. Quimby flew in from his trip on Wednesday afternoon, and the phone calls started on Thursday morning. By Thursday evening, he was on his way to the emergency room, our blessed neighbor was spending the night at our house with the girls, and I was trying to get a flight back as soon as possible.
Looking back on it, it was a surreal experience - that feeling of being away, of being disconnected, of not understanding the gravity of the situation.
When I got on the plane in Philly and started tearing up the wifi making plans, that was when it really hit me. The magnitude of it all. The not knowing.
I made arrangements for the girls for the next few days, booked an airline ticket for my Dad, and made it to the hospital in time to spend a half hour with Mr. Quimby before he went into surgery.
It was a bowel obstruction and out of all the 117 things that could cause a bowel obstruction this one (a Meckel's Diverticulum) was relatively easy to treat and there was no long-lasting damage.
Mr. Quimby was only in the hospital for 2 more nights and at 2 weeks post-op he is mostly back to himself although he gets more sleep at night.
What I want to remember about this experience is three things:
1. People are good. In a crisis, caring friends and neighbors are almost just as good as family. I was so touched at all the people who offered sincere help and I took many of them up on their offers. In an odd way, it was reassuring that as much as we hate being so far from our families, people know that and they step in to fill the gap. I was also touched, as always, by the selfless-ness of my parents. One of David's nephews also offered to fly out and help with the girls - I'll always remember that.
2. Being in the hospital is intimate and it felt good that my husband needed me. He smiled and looked at me when I walked into the room and I could see the relief flood his face when I made it in time before he went into surgery. He doesn't often need me like that and it felt nice.
3. Our children are actually flexible and adaptable. We have a lot of rhythms and routines in our life. Although others may call us rigid, we believe that these rhythms and routines create boundaries for our children that make them feel safe. But I always have wondered what would happen when things get mixed up. We've practiced this traveling with weird bedtimes, sleeping arrangements, and having odd meals and they've usually done fine. Although they were sad and worried, they did great with all the shuffling around for a few days and my heart swelled with pride at how good they were through all of it. (Once Mr. Q came home from the hospital, they also each threw a tantrum and lost their shit - they were just checking to make sure that all those boundaries were still in place).
I've always been worried that this would happen, so I'm glad that we've gotten this 1st time over with. I'm fairly sure that it's bound to happen again and it's an odd sort of comfort that I'll know what to do next time.
1 week ago