I hate bad news phone calls. I’ve received WAY too many of them over the past two years.
First, my aunt has a stroke and I drive to KC the next day to do nothing but sit in the ICU waiting room with my only cousin on that side of the family, his new wife of four months and my mom. Yeah, I didn’t do a whole lot but the cousin really appreciated that I was there. It made me feel like I was doing something.
Then, last June, when I was making coffee for a meeting, I get the phone call that just changed everything. When I make coffee now, every once in a while, I get a little bit weepy because it reminds me of that morning.
When Mom called me on Monday night, I didn’t think it was going to be another one of those phone calls. But it was. She freaked me out – but let me just say that everyone is ok and no one died! But Mom did have a procedure in Tulsa of all places.
She had been visiting an old friend in Arizona over the weekend. Monday afternoon, she was on a flight back home and had just been served her drink. Apparently, there was something in her juice. She swallowed it. And it got stuck.
After consulting with the flight attendants, they determined that she could make it on to Tulsa, and wouldn’t have to make an emergency landing. After all, she could still breathe – whatever it is was just lodged in her throat and hurting like hell. She could feel it in her esophagus every time she took a breath.
When they landed in Tulsa, the flight attendants escorted the EMTs on to the plane to examine her. They suggested she go to the hospital and deal with that thing. Obviously. I could have told you that one!
At the hospital, they gave her endoscopy to see what she swallowed. You won’t even believe it.
It was a triangular piece of plastic about an inch wide, they said. Like the corner of a plastic clamshell package or something similar.
It could have been so much worse. It could have torn her esophagus. It could have lodged in a way that prevented her from breathing. It could have gotten past her stomach and torn something else.
It wasn’t, though. She was kept overnight and then released to finish her trip home. She’s ok, if albeit with a sore throat.
But you know what? She was writing thank you notes for funeral flowers as she was flying home that day. She was thinking about my dad. And he was with her. He’s our guardian angel now and he’s looking out for us, no matter where we are or what we’re doing. He’s with us no matter what.
And on Monday afternoon, on a flight home, I’m so glad he was there with Mom.