Last week my little girl (Heather, who is 3 years old) was in hospital for 3 days on intravenous antibiotics and oxygen. My wife (Karen) is a nurse, as I used to be before a career change to software development, and I can tell you that we were both very worried about her. It was Influenza A and a secondary bacterial infection. We have it in our heads in this age of vaccination and antibiotics that people don’t easily die of simple illness. But the young and the old, far too often, still do.
Karen stayed with her throughout the ordeal, while I spent most of that time looking after our son (Nicholas) who had a milder dose of the flu, as did we all. I found leaving them at the hospital to be almost unbearable, perhaps because another goodbye in a hospital, almost 5 years ago, was final: my Mother, who died after failed heart surgery. Two completely different circumstances, but no-one ever said people were logical, not even most of the time, or as Oliver Goldsmith so nicely put it:
Logicians have but ill-defined
As rational the human kind.
Logic they say, belongs to Man,
But let them prove it if they can.
Heather is home with us again, still recovering, but pretty much back to her old self. To have Heather with us again, albeit a little cranky to start with, was a joy that I just cannot describe to you. It was almost as good as having her home for the first time from hospital after her birth, but this time tinged with the sadness and fear of what could-so-easily-have-been.
As if Heather’s ordeal was not enough, she had a visit to the dentist today after Karen noticed some tooth decay; a good thing she noticed this early too! Apparently Heather displayed stoicism beyond her years throughout two fillings, the poor little thing. This despite our (Karen’s mostly) best efforts to give our kids the best chance at dental health.