By Sally Torbey
Luck despite bad luckUploaded: Mar 29, 2017
Last week our college-aged son was finishing up winter quarter in Southern California and complaining of intermittent stomachaches. Although he is not typically anxious, he attributed his discomfort to the stress of final exams and less sleep than usual.
He finished his tests on Thursday, with plans to spend Friday packing for a Saturday morning departure on a spring break camping trip in Utah with his roommates. On Friday morning, however, he was still uncomfortable, so he visited the student health clinic. Since his appetite was good, he had no fever, and his blood work was essentially normal, they attributed his symptoms to a viral infection and sent him on his way. By evening, however, the pain was worse. Following the phone advice of his primary care physician here, he went to the ER there, where they promptly scanned him, diagnosed appendicitis, and took him to the operating room.
My husband and I had repeatedly offered on Friday to fly down, but our son insisted he was fine, and as of late Friday afternoon was still claiming that he was well enough to go camping. Much to everyone’s surprise, just a few hours later, he was having surgery. But by that time we had missed the evening’s last flight, which meant an anxious night for us awaiting the first flight south Saturday morning. I will never forget my relief at hearing the surgeon’s reassurances by phone at 12:30 a.m. that the surgery had gone well, nor the utter joy of reuniting with our son in the hospital later that morning.
While our son was in surgery his doctor correctly predicted that our young, otherwise-healthy son would be in better shape in the morning after an appendectomy than we, at our advanced ages, would be after our sleepless night of worry!
While our son was disappointed at the timing and bad luck in missing out on the much-anticipated road trip, we all felt very lucky that his illness came on when he was a mere half mile away from a major medical center as opposed to in a sleeping bag in a far-flung campsite. We were also lucky my husband was home for a few days in between business trips and that my sister and her husband were willing to stay with our daughters overnight, so that we could go together and help our son fly home to recuperate for the rest of his break.
We were lucky to have had help from family and very fortunate to have a talented and dedicated medical team caring for our son. Of course, the family member who feels the luckiest of all is the dog, who has his favorite playmate home again!