The phone rang in my parents' house just as we were getting ready to make the trip to the hospital for mum's operation...the one she's waited so long to have. The one that is hopefully going to ease the chronic pain she's been in all year.
I had a feeling as soon as I heard the phone ring that there was another cancellation on the way...and I was right. Unfortunately. With a mere three hours notice, the operation was put off. A hazard of relying on the hard working public health system I know...but still. I listened to my mother say reassuring things to the person on the other end of the phone, completely gracious in the face of disappointment. Oh dear, yes of course. I understand. There are a lot of sick people aren't there? It's just that my daughter's come all the way from Canberra to look after her father. Can you let me know when it might be rescheduled. Thank you for calling.
She put down the phone and said quite calmly, bugger, it's off, it's been cancelled. I, not at all calmly, blew a gasket and managed to string quite a few F words into the rant that was my response to the news. Not at all gracious.
Both my parents had a very sanguine response to the bad news, Dad giving Mum a hug and sympathising with her. I was struck by the generosity of their response, although to be honest, not at the time. When it happened I was cross with Mum for being so nice to the voice on the other end of the phone....the surgeon as it turned out, who in all fairness, at least had the good manners to call with the news himself and not delegate it to some equally overworked nurse or hospital administrator.
My response was anger, my parents' was acceptance, although as I remembered several days later, when the same thing happened to me many years ago...the last minute cancellation of major surgery...I responded in a similar way to my mother. She has taught me well it seems, except I was a big wimp and burst into tears when they told me I'd have to wait. There were no tears from mum last week. She's much stronger than I give her credit for. And more generous.
As are you. Thank you for all the lovely messages of care and concern I've had. It was a tough few days for a lot of reasons...when you live some distance away from ageing parents you don't get to see the small changes, you can't help out with simple day to day things. And the large changes...well, they just shock you. Having this blogging support group makes a difference. The phone calls, text messages, emails, FB comments from people I know and love, and from so many of you who I haven't met but who say kind words regardless, I hope you know how much it all helps.
So, I'll be back off to Newcastle to try again, hopefully in the not too distant future, and hopefully with mum getting into the operating theatre this time! And as an added bonus, coffee with the lovely Newcastle blogger Pink Patent Mary Janes can be rescheduled as well. There's always an up side :)
all images by me, taken in the courtyard. Sorry about the fuzzy bird...who has decided to pay regular visits to stare at itself in the mirror. The vampire slayer is thankfully too old and slow to pounce!