A Father's Journal / The longest day of the year
Published 12:56 pm, Tuesday, June 28, 2011
June 21, the first day of summer, the longest day of the year, was a big deal growing up. We lived near the Artic Circle. We looked forward to it every year. In Connecticut, it passes by unnoticed. Here is what happened this year:
5:45 a.m.: Alarm goes off. Laura takes the first shower. I lay in bed thinking about the upcoming day. Our daughter, Julia, has a karate test this evening and maybe ice cream afterwards. It sounds like a pleasant evening.
6:15 a.m.: Laura wakes up Caroline, our ninth-grader, for school. Since there were so many snow days this year, she still has two more days of finals. It's not summer yet.
6:45 a.m.: Julia, our sixth-grader, wakes up.
7:15 a.m.: I leave for work.
11:22 a.m.: I receive an email from my sister-in-law, Deborah. She is in Ethiopia adopting my newest nephew. She has now taken full custody of her son. Asfaw is officially family.
12:16 p.m.: I get a text message from Caroline. She got an "A" on her English final.
1:16 p.m.: The sun passes directly overhead along the Tropic of Cancer, indicating the beginning of summer. This is the longest day of the year. I am having some equipment problems at a client site in Wilton.
4:46 p.m.: Problem is finally resolved at client site. Instead of heading back to my Stamford office, I decide to drive home early.
4:54 p.m.: Laura calls me. Her mother, Carol, was knocked down by her dog. She might have broken her ankle. She is being taken to Norwalk Hospital. Laura and I decide that I will go to the emergency room and Laura will take Julia to karate.
5:20 p.m.: I arrive at Norwalk Hospital, and they can't find my mother-in-law. I call my wife. She calls my mother-in-law's friend, who witnessed the fall, who assures us it is Norwalk Hospital. I return to the security guard with renewed confidence, and we finally find her. The first thing Carol does is find a list of medications she takes and their doses. We make copies and hand it out to whoever asks.
6:40 p.m.: The X-rays are back, and the doctor tells us he has to call in an orthopedic surgeon. He explains that the ankle is shattered. We start to worry.
7:20 p.m.: Surgeon arrives. We hand him the list of medications. He sets a U-shaped splint around the foot and sends her to get an ultrasound. The pain is intense when they set the splint, so she gets more painkillers. She says some interesting stuff.
8:15 p.m.: The surgeon comes back and announces she will definitely need surgery. They will be ready at 9:30 p.m. My mother-in-law is anxious. The surgeon tells her she will be off her feet for several weeks. She was planning to help her daughter with the new grandson. That is her overriding concern. The drugs are causing mood swings. She switches from depressed about not being able to help her daughter, to ecstatic that she just got her summer pedicure yesterday and what a great time for everyone to be looking at her feet.
8:45 p.m.: The anesthesiologist arrives. We give him the list of medications.
8:55 p.m.: My wife texts me that Julia has passed her karate test and is now a third-degree brown belt.
9:30 p.m.: We wheel Carol up to the operating room. We give them the list of medications. Carol and I look at each other. We know this is it. She indicates for me to lean in. I lower my ear so it is inches from her. She whispers, "I really am glad I got my pedicure."
9:45 p.m.: I drive home. Laura has gotten a bag together for her mother. She will be in the hospital for a few days. I change clothes, congratulate both daughters for their accomplishments that day, and head back to the hospital.
11:55 p.m.: Carol is out of surgery. They put in two metal plates and several screws. I wait around until she gets settled into a room sometime around 1:30 a.m. I leave for home.
After I arrive home, I lay in bed reflecting about the day. We gained a new member of our family. Received an "A" in English, a new karate rank and some assorted screws and plates.
My wife wakes up, and I explain to her that while it is important to wear clean underwear in case you are in an accident, it is also key to have a list of medications and have nice feet.
My wife rolls over and says, "Go to sleep. Tomorrow is another day. Hopefully not as long."
Thomas Lawlor lives in Southport with his wife and two daughters, and his "Father's Journal" appears every other Wednesday. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.