Monday, October 17, 2011

acts of generosity...

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!


  1. Oh Kerry, your parents sound like such beautiful people. I hope things work out soon. It's hard as they get older. Thinking of you. A-M xx

  2. Your parents are certainly very stoic like a lot of people of their generation - just getting on with life regardless of the pitfalls in their way.

    I hope the surgery is rescheduled soon and your Mum doesn't have suffer any more pain. xx

  3. Oh Kerry,
    Your poor mum....and you and your dad. It's so hard when our parents are ill and this is such a blow. Good on your mum for being so brave about it all. It's the best way and helps I think.
    Here's to her surgery being re-scheduled very soon so that it can all be over with and your mum can start to get better.
    I hope that you are not worrying too much. Lots of love. XXXX

  4. :(
    Oh Kerry that's so frustrating. I hope the surgery is rescheduled for VERY soon so your poor Mum can get better quickly. You are a very good daughter to look after them. I think we're really protective of our parents aren't we. I think I would have reacted the same as you, but acted the same as your Mum if I was in her shoes too, it's so funny isn't it.
    Big hugs to you and to your Mum,

  5. That's so unfortunate. Your parents sound like such lovely people. I'd have sworn like a guttersnipe. The public health system needs a lot of improvement. Here in Tas the system is in dire straits. I really do feel for the people it affects.
    I hope your mum gets the "yes" phonecall very soon.

  6. Great big hugs to you Kerry. And I hope your lovely mum is re-schedued soon. xx

  7. Oh no what a shame and a worry. I worked on the surgeons side of this for many years...being the one to break the bad news. I've had to do it in the hospital while they were in the OR waiting area. Sometimes surgery goes longer and has complications or someone much more urgent...and you don;t want a tired surgeon adding you to the end of the day. I know from experience that all the medical people do understand your dilemma and they all feel terrible about it. I used to go to the OR waiting room with a coffee and muffin (they has after all been fasting for 12 or more hours) to break the news. I have had gracious people and people who have actually made me cry.

    I do hope that your poor mother gets re-booked ASAP. And I know hard hard it is dealing with aging parents....hard on you too.

  8. Oh, Kerry. What a travesty. And what extraordinary grace under pressure your parents showed. You're right - it's such a precious and all too rare trait shown today. Crossing all things crossable that the operation is rescheduled soon. J x

  9. Oh Kerry, how disappointing for you all. Your Mum was definitely very gracious on the phone - I definitely wouldn't have been so nice and after hanging up, would definitely have burst into tears (as I did a few years back when an operation of mine had to be rescheduled). I hope your Mum is able to get another appointment soon. I understand how difficult it must be for you with them not so close by x

  10. It's so hard when things like this happen: 'hope deferred maketh the heart sick', but once your mum has the operation you might be surprised how well she recovers - chronic pain is so debilitating! Here's to good news and progress for all of you.

  11. Dear Kerry, what a lovely and compassionate mother you have, I really hope that she won't have to wait too long for her operation. You take care of yourself too.
    Claudia xo

  12. Darling, it is totally acceptable to be angry and disappointed when someone you love so much is let down once again. I am sure your mother too ranted a string of F's (if only silently) when yours was cancelled those years ago.

    I know too well what you mean about not being close to aging parents.. the scary shocking changes and the constant fear of life slipping away.
    Finally being in the same city as my parents is heaven and I treasure every day.
    Sadly mum ended up in hospital on Friday night, but I am so grateful that I am here by her side. It would have been unbearable whilst still living in Sydney.

    Biggest and most loving hugs to you my friend.

    xx C

  13. oh, your poor Mum. Hope she's booked in again soon. Doesn't matter how old we are, they are always teaching us, aren't they? Hugs..

  14. Hi Kerry,
    My heart goes out to you and your Mum & Dad. Big hugs and hope it all works out soon. xo

  15. There are times when being so far away in France bothers me with respect to my parents to Kerry. They are still very young but certain conversations leave a hint as to an aging process that is sneaking up.
    Sending lots of patience and courage to you. And even more to your already very courageous Mum.
    Your courtard is gorgeous - that Buddha is just what you need ;-)

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