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when you discover you are an adult...

Saturday, July 1, 2017
..usually catches you by surprise, as you are blissfully unaware of actually and unintentionally becoming a grown up. I still have, on occasion, difficulty thinking of myself as being one of those.  You know, as in that old saying from the sixties of how you should' never trust anyone over 30'? Sadly, I am so far beyond that I don't have adequate words to describe how it feels...

When my daughter came to town on Friday, unexpectedly, showed up to try to do something to help her dad, they reached an unlikely compromise. He has been really having a hard time for weeks, maybe a month or so. struggling with COPD and associated difficulties. The ultimatum I issued last weekend did not provide much success: either get an appt. to see the doctor or go the the ER. He actually took himself to family practice, but admitted afterward he was disappointed with what happened when he saw the PA. Possibly due expecting a miracle.

They did make a referral, but it was not productive/successful. So the daughter said: If you cannot get into the see the specialist on Friday, you will need to go the Emergency Room. He apparently did not feel like the inability to breathe qualified as an 'emergency'. But when he got there, the PA thought differently, and told him she hoped he brought his toothbrush.

When the daughter called me at work to say he was in the pipeline to be admitted, I was reminded of my experience from twenty odd years ago. And told her the story, to ask if she felt like she was now officially an 'adult'. She laughed, and said "I thought you became an adult when you gave birth?" No, not necessarily.

When I had two small children, about ages 3 and 5, I planned to go to south GA to visit my parents. I knew my dad was in the hospital, expecting to have knee replacement surgery. I wanted to go and visit him, planning to smuggle kids in due to a very lax visitation policy at the the hospital in Thomasville. But when I got to my parents' house, I discovered my mom in the bed with excruciating back pain. I called her doctor, who came to the house and provided meds. to help her endure the trip to the hospital. Remember house calls? He came with his little black bag and a large hypodermic needle and made a remarkable improvement in her disposition.  Then I called EMS and got her a ride to the same hospital where my dad was awaiting surgery. I followed the transport, with two small children, who I seem to recall having a great time cleaning out all the snacks in the vending machine while I was distractedly giving my mom's vital statistics to the admitting clerk.

I cannot provide the outcome of her medical problems, but it obviously resolved for her to get back on her feet and be the worlds' best grandmother for a number of years afterward. And my dad survived knee replacement, though I do not recall if this one was a replacement for a replacement, as  he had a total of three over the years. Pretty remarkable for a human who was only issued two knees at birth.

The above scenario was a matter of Sometimes You Do What You Wanna, and Sometimes You Do What You Gotta. An important lesson we all need to remember as we muddle through life, often learned years too late, but still it sticks with you when it takes you by surprise. I asked her if she felt like she was an adult when she badgered her dad into going to the hospital, and stood by providing information when he was admitted. She just laughed.

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