17 November 2006
I am a grateful man. Last Thursday at this time I was racing back to Atlanta from our major corporate pow-wow in order to get to Scottish Rite Children's Hospital. The youngest of the Proto-Citizens had come down with an unexplainable illness and the next step was a spinal tap to rule out meningitis. For those readers who have children - this is terrifying stuff. In our modern age, we don't think too much about unexplainable illnesses. As I sat on the AirTran CRJ, desperately willing it to fly faster - if only I could have requisitioned an F18 from nearby Willow Grove - my mind raced with frightening possibilities.
I am a guy who seeks harmony. I like pathways that are trouble free and well thought out. I am not afraid of conflict, as an engineer I have a belief that it can be avoided. This was full blown reality arriving with a vengeance. I have medical training by association. Citizen Une is a physician assistant, and a pretty freakin' brilliant one as well. She has an intellect which can wrap around complex chemical interactions and still maintain a calm demeanor while talking to a near hysterical patient.
Nonetheless, I spent three sleepless nights in that hospital room waiting for test results, the occasional visit by a variety of doctors and constant interruptions by phlebotomists. Nothing will strike terror into a five year-old like a 4:30am wake up for a blood draw. To the credit of the hospital they took great care in mitigating his pain. They used topical lidocaine, freeze spray and a cadre of efficient staff to care for him.
Four days and several IV antibiotics later, the diagnosis was pronounced as strep-A which had migrated to his bloodstream and was working to shut down his kidneys. The lead doc, a superb ex-Navy guy, took a no nonsense approach which left me dizzy but reassured my spouse. In the end the medicine won the day and on Sunday evening we left the hospital which had been our home since Thursday.
A few more days of oral antibiotics but the results are nothing short of miraculous. He is now back to his lightsaber swinging, train building, "hot mo mo" chanting self.
There are a LOT of scientists, doctors and technicians out there to whom I owe a great deal of thanks.
There is a spouse who guided me through one of the scariest periods of my adult life.
And there are even a set of in-laws whose fortuitous arrival allowed us to focus solely on our youngest.
Nothing is guaranteed in this life.
But I will place my bets with the folks at Scottish Rite any day of the week.