Mystery ruled my week.
I keep going through the pieces like Columbo in a whodunit — inch-by-inch, slice-by-slice and moment-by-moment. I love a puzzle, but early on, I recognized that this conundrum was beyond my skill set.
So, we called in the authorities. At this writing, they too are confused even though this is a mystery with serious consequences — my dad’s health.
Ten days ago, he and my mom came to visit from their home in Mississippi. Dad had an eye infection. His doctor at home had diagnosed it and prescribed some medicine — and that’s when things began to get complicated. The very short version of a very long story is that my father’s health began going downhill, leaving him spending the better part of this week in the hospital, as a very sick fellow.
Watching a parent — who has always been so vibrant, so full of vim, vigor and readily bandying his personal version of funny at every turn — become disoriented and quite ill is a rite of passage that adults anticipate. Even so, none of us end up being prepared to handle it when it comes to pass.
As of this week, count me in that group.
In a culture that rallies around just how fast things that used to take a long time can happen — from meals to downloading files, most of us are looking for answers and looking for them fast, especially when it comes to the health of people we love.
But sometimes, no matter how hard people try or how much many people want to help or search for the solution, a clear-cut answer does not exist. That has been the case this week with my dad and the many medical personnel who have done so much to help.
Since my parents are away from their support network, I’ve used social media and tried to walk the fine line of providing enough information without going overboard. Both my parents taught school for decades in and around the town where we all grew up. As I’ve posted updates on my father’s health developments, watching the litany of prayers and wishes roll in has warmed our hearts.
Sitting in the hospital, I’ve read messages from former students and players. Messages like, “Jan, please tell Coach to hang in there. I know it is stressful on the whole family. Hopefully, there will be a diagnosis soon and a clear plan of action for the doctors. Praying for Coach from Qatar! He is loved all over the world. Literally!” Both my parents have been amazed at the outpouring of people who wished them well. There is nothing like being on the receiving end of positive thoughts and prayers to add a degree of peace to the situation.
Meanwhile, I certainly wish that someone could produce a magic pill and make it all better, that’s just not the way life works, is it?
Think of how society’s attitude toward sickness and medicine has changed from our grandparents’ generation to our own. Like our grandparents knew, sometimes we just have to wait it out. Then again, sometimes sharp, immediate and conclusive action is required. Finding the happy place between those two extremes, I suppose, is the sweet spot of modern medicine.
I’ve spent time this week being the primary mediator between my dad and his medical team. I’ve spent more time this week playing the role of primary mediator between my dad and the host of people who love him. Through it all, I’ve been reminded that the vast majority of folks are in the sharp-immediate-and-conclusive camp, rather than the waiting-it-out crew — and I’ve surely been there myself. But this week, I’ve learned to appreciate the value of waiting, rather than rushing, and ambiguity over absolute.
Sometimes accepting things as they are rather than dissecting why they are is a big step in the healing process.