My mother had surgery last week. Although not a major surgery, it wasn't exactly minor either. Actually, for the point of this story it doesn't matter if it was major or minor surgery, what matters is that she was put under anesthesia and a knife and that in and of itself requires some degree of attention.
Like you know, when you wake up from surgery and after a short stint in recovery with nurses you get to see the face and hear the voice of a loved one. At least, you hope you will.
My mother had surgery early Friday morning, and when the surgery was completed my dad text me and my brothers to tell us that the doctor said all was well and he would be able to see her in about 30 minutes. I replied to his text asking him to text me again when he had seen her.
I went about my morning, got Joshua off to kindergarten (late morning on Fridays), and then came home to meet Mike for lunch. As we were preparing our basil and mozzarella paninis, my house phone rang. It was my mother. I was shocked to hear from her, and even more shocked when she said, "Have you heard from Dad?"
According to my mother, (yes just out of anesthesia and who knows on what meds) she had been up in her room for an hour and she had not seen or heard from my dad. She had called his cell phone but he wasn't answering. I told her I would try to contact him as she didn't have her cell phone (duh obviously, she just had surgery--my dad had all her belongings) and it was uncomfortable for her to keep reaching for the hospital phone.
As soon as I hung up with her, I told Mike the situation. His reply? "She probably just doesn't remember seeing him. She just came out of surgery." I tried calling my dad several times, and sent him a text. Not getting through to him, I decided to call my brothers and see if they had heard from him. James didn't answer the phone so I called Casey next. Surprisingly he answered the phone (sometimes I swear he screens my calls), and I explained the situation to him. His reply was very similar to Mike's.
I KNEW that wasn't the case. Although clearly out of character for my dad to disappear from the scene when my mother comes out of surgery, I didn't think my mother was so out of it that she didn't know she'd seen him. I called her back and double checked she really hadn't seen him. She again said she had not seen him.
I'll try to make a long story short.
Although my two brothers and Mike were really quite calm, I was beginning to sense a little uneasiness, as the problem of my MIA father and my just out of surgery mother really fell to me to deal with. (My brothers are 400 and 700 miles away.) I was a 30 or so minute drive away from her at this point. To put Mike and Casey's assumptions to rest, I called my mother's nurse to confirm that indeed my dad had not yet been seen in her room. In the meantime, my brothers and I all kept trying to get a hold of my dad.
Amidst trying to enjoy my favorite summer sandwich on the back patio with Mike, I was texting and calling brothers, the nurse, my dad (of course no answer), when a slight sense of paranoia began to creep in. Mike patiently listened while I, (not exactly the optimist) began to list the possible scenarios of my dad's absence.
1. He has had a heart attack and is in the ER all alone, because nobody he loves even knows.
2. He's had some kind of mental breakdown and has decided to take off and abandon his family.
On a more rational note, I did wonder if perhaps he had a work emergency, that was so important he couldn't tell them he must visit/contact his wife who just had surgery!
I really knew the work emergency probably wasn't the case, as I knew my dad would interrupt a phone call for his wife. Therefore, my dad was either in the ER alone and dying, or he had abandoned us all for good.
Mike, (ever the optimist) listened to my scenarios and quietly suggested, "Maybe he's still in the waiting room. Waiting."
Yeah. Whatever. At the time, my scenarios seemed so much more likely. With still no word from my dad, Mike and I decided that the best option was for me to go to the hospital to be with my mom. Mike loaded Drew in the car to go back to work with him, and I called my brother James to tell him I was heading into the hospital and would he please keep calling dad. Just as I was finishing up the phone call with James, Casey rang in.
"Umm. I got a hold of Dad." He was in the waiting room, patiently waiting for someone to get him and take him to my mother.
Let's put it this way. My brothers and I immediately turned our thoughts from our poor-left-by-herself-post-surgery mother, and our missing father, to the poor person that was now going to take my father's wrath.
You see, my dad isn't always the calmest most relaxed person when he feels someone has been wronged. (ie. my post surgery mother!) But when he realized that the only person he really could get mad at, was a little old volunteer lady at the hospital waiting room desk, he focused his energies instead on getting to my mother's side.
(The long and short of his MIA stint was spotty cell phone reception (his phone only showed 1-2 missed calls) and a changing in shifts of two waiting room volunteers, and obviously "a little" mis-communication among hospital staff.)
I'm not really sure why exactly my dad's disappearance deserves a blog post to itself, when the trip my boys and I took later on that day (on the Frontrunner I might add) to visit my mother in the hospital is just as blog-post worthy.
I mean, who doesn't want to hear about the lady on the train wearing no underwear, or Drew's incessant questions about the protocols of train riding, ("Can people sit on each other's laps on trains?" "Can you stand on a train?" "Can people play with Hot Wheels on trains?" etc.), or the scantily dressed lady (not the "no underwear one") and her boyfriend that Luke and I now know every detail of their lives.
Or what about the details of the actual hospital visit? The long walk through the parking lot from the train station to the hospital doors with a complaining 4 and 6 year old in tow. Or the meal at the cafeteria during which Joshua tipped over his rootbeer at least 3 times. (My dad sure has relaxed over the years.) Or the stop in the bushes Joshua made to relieve the effects of the rootbeer before boarding the train for our ride home. Oh, and of course being able to visit my just-had-surgery-mother.
My mother is now home from the hospital and recovering well. My brother's first question upon hearing my mother was home?
"Does dad know?"