A Parent’s Nightmare

I hate hospitals. Sorry Dee Dee, it’s nothing personal. I don’t like the ambiance, the antiseptic smell, the way everyone talks like they are in a library. With the exception of the maternity ward where there is screaming and the crying of little voices announcing their arrival into this world, the rest of the hospital has a foreboding feeling for me. Too many people I have known have gone in and never come out. My personal hope is the day I enter the hospital it is in the backdoor and directly to the basement. I’ll let you figure out what is down there.


In Canada we have a multi-level health treatment system. We have the family doctor, who has an office that you visit for a regular check-up or to address most nagging maladies. We have clinics which service the needs of people who have no specific family physician or if you need to see someone about an immediate ailment that can’t wait for an office appointment. We have the hospitals, whose emergency rooms you visit when no matter how hard you try, you can’t stop the bleeding. No matter where you go to get treatment, if it is bad enough you wind up in the hospital as their guest so you can receive 24-hour care.


I recently wrote that I had a summer cold, this was five or six weeks ago. The cold kept me away from my newest grandchild for fear of infecting him. I waited a good two weeks before I finally decided to stop by GenCo’s home unannounced for a quick visit. As luck would have it everyone was napping. It was 11 in the morning!! IT Genie came groggily to the door, I apologized and explained that I was stopping for no good reason other than to say hello because I was feeling better.


“I’m glad someone is,” he said to me, then explained that they all had colds to some degree and he had a fever. I must have looked mortified that I had somehow infected them all. I didn’t go anywhere near them the whole time I was sick, I swear!! He laughed at my look and told me that the cold had come from Parker who had received it from his cousins that he had stayed with when Reid was born. I was relieved that I was not the root cause and left their home without seeing anyone but my ailing son.


Two days later I saw my son while I was working. He is a manager at the Big Box store and our path’s cross frequently. I asked him how he felt and was informed that he had seen his doctor the day before because he was not feeling any better and was prescribed antibiotics to fight whatever infection he might have.


Seeing the doctor is the second step in the standard medical procedure for cold and flu symptoms in Canada, the first is self-medicating. It’s why they say in the commercials “If your symptoms persist stop taking ‘blah, blah’ and see your doctor.” IT Genie told me his symptoms were well beyond self-medication and that nothing he could buy ‘over the counter’ was working. He was optimistic that the prescribed medication was helping with his fever as it was becoming intermittent. He did complain though that it was doing nothing for the overall exhaustion he felt at the end of the day.


Twelve days ago, I received a message from Company informing me that IT Genie had been admitted to the hospital. He had gone to see his doctor the day before since his flu symptoms had not abated and he was experiencing acute pain in his side and back. Upon diagnosis, the doctor made immediate arrangements to have Genie admitted to the local hospital. He ordered a multitude of blood tests and scans be run on his patient. The Genie would be a guest of the Canadian Health Care system for the foreseeable future.


The message had come well before visiting hours but I contacted the Genie via text and went to the hospital anyway. IT Genie met me at the front entrance of the facility. He stood in the clothes he had arrived in the day before and he pushed a pole on wheels from which four IV bags hung. My mind flashed to the small sick child I had held in hospital waiting rooms so many years ago. My heart ached to see my grown son under such duress. When I asked him what the problem was, his response was “They don’t know, it’s why they admitted me.”


Okay I know that there are a lot of things that constitute a parent’s worst nightmare and I do not wish to diminish any of them but the nightmare of the unknown is right up there with the rest. Not knowing brings every type of nightmare into play! It could be this or it could be that. Hell, it could be a really bad hemorrhoid cutting off blood circulation!! Not knowing, to me, is the worst of the worst!!


For the last fifteen days they have drawn vials and vials of Genie blood. They have run screens, panels and cultures in an effort to identify what the problem could be. He has had ultra sounds, MRI’s, an ECG and at least one other thing that I have forgotten the letters of. He has been taken twice by ambulance to other hospitals to get these scans run. The IT Genie is getting his money’s worth from our healthcare system.


Medicine for all it is worth is not a precise science, it may be why doctor’s practice their profession. Sometimes a diagnosis is easy, “Yes sir, I can say for certain that the pain you are experiencing is being caused by the nail that is protruding from your forehead,” and sometimes it is not. Medicine for the most part is about trial and error. It’s about the process of elimination. So, after fifteen days, as results start to come back, the diagnosis on the IT Genie is… they still don’t know!


They do know something though, they know what it isn’t. It isn’t a worst nightmare. They have eliminated the killer infections. The ones that I’m sure crossed your minds as you read down this page. The Genie has no cancer and his heart is strong and un-scarred. There is a problem with his spleen and liver and the infection he had caused a blood-count concern but the antibiotics have helped to rectify this. IT Genie is still a guest of the healthcare system but he has been given day parole so he can go home and spend time with his family but must return every evening to spend the night in their care.


A serious problem still remains to be diagnosed but knowing what it is not, is somewhat comforting. For his part the Genie looks good and is feeling stronger and that too is a comfort. All of this has been a bit distracting and my urge to write has diminished over this period. I tried to write about my favorite politician but by the time I had something down that I felt was funny enough to print, he had already gone and done something stupider!! I’ll never keep up with the guy!!! Please accept my apology for my lack of content over the past few weeks but I have been busy living a parent’s nightmare.









  1. // Reply

    HOLY SHIT!! Stay strong … Tell Genie to stay strong … Please keep me advised.

    1. // Reply

      Thanks Uncle J. I’ll be in touch when I have more to say than “They don’t know.”

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