Everything Went Wrong on My Way to My Father’s Surgery
What went wrong: We found out two weeks ago that my father’s health had taken a sudden turn for the worse, and he would need to undergo major surgery this past Wednesday. I had never heard my mother sound more scared, and I really wanted to travel to Baltimore to provide some support to my parents. But my husband works full time and then some. How could I leave 7 kids to fend for themselves?
What went right: Every year my dear mother-in-law, Annette, travels from Canada to visit us for a few weeks in Israel. This year, she visited us when I gave birth in December in order to help with the kids after the birth. During her visit, we were pleasantly surprised when she told us that for the first time (ever?) she would be coming a second time this year…The planned arrival date? Monday, May 25th, two days before my father’s surgery. I flew out the day after after she flew in.
What went wrong: I reserved a spot on a flight to Baltimore via Newark, but it cost a whopping $2100! On top of the huge cost, there were no bassinets or extra empty seats available on the flight, so I would have to hold my 5-month-old through both flights for a total of 13 hours! This sounded like a perfect recipe for arriving in Baltimore exhausted and with a sore throat brewing. And then, on top of that, the afternoon before I was scheduled to fly out, the airline delayed my flight to 4:30 AM– meaning a completely sleepless night before a difficult flight!
What went right: My travel agent called me the afternoon of the flight, and said one ticket had become available on another flight. With a bassinet. Costing $600 less. Leaving at 11:30 PM. The flight was easy and smooth.
What went wrong: When I arrived in the US, at 7 AM the airline notified me that my connecting flight to Baltimore had been cancelled! I had only slept 4 hours on the flight and was too exhausted to figure out what to do. And my father’s surgery supposed to start at noon!
What went right: A woman saw me making call after call at the payphone trying to reach my mom and my brother and my husband to get advice, and this beyond lovely mother of ten from Utah who was between flights decided to spend the next hour helping me figure out my options– doing research on her laptop, making phone calls, and presenting my case to the airline reps (her husband works for the airline, so she knew her way around the system). In the end, when she figured out my best option was to take the train, she walked me over towards the train station and we parted ways after posing together for a selfie. I thanked her for having been my airport Elijah the prophet!
What else went right: While waiting for the train, I met a lovely 90-year-old woman who was traveling to Baltimore for her great-niece’s graduation from high school. Half-way to Baltimore she turned to me with a bewildered look, “I don’t know where I’m supposed to get off the train…” So I reminded her and helped her get off the train and meet up with her relatives when we arrived in Baltimore. It’s amazing to be helped by Elijah the Prophet–and equally amazing to become him from time to time!
What went wrong: Turned out the airline flew my suitcase to the Baltimore airport without me, and my credit card company cancelled my card as a result of all those suspicious panicked airport payphone calls. Far worse, when I arrived at he hospital, I found out that my Dad’s surgery had started at 11 AM, so I missed the chance to speak with my father beforehand and introduce him to his newest grandson– Yonatan.
What went right: My mom convinced the credit card people to turn my card back on, and I found a driver willing to pick up my suitcase for a small fee. And, far more importantly, I was there in time to sit at my mother’s side in the waiting room for almost all of the surgery. It was nerve-wracking, since the operation took over 4 hours, and we saw from the screen in the waiting room that all the other patients were sent into the recovery room long before my Dad— his code number an OR drop of blue in a Post-Op sea of purple. How horrible it would have been if my mother would have had to sit through those scary hours on her own…
Most importantly, the surgeon said afterwards that the operation had gone extremely well, and hopefully was successful in treating my father’s condition!
What went wrong: I visited my father today. He is extremely weak and in a lot of pain and somewhat confused. He looks like he has a long road ahead until he has recovered from this ordeal (please continue praying for Matityahu Tuvia ben Esther Tsiporah).
What went right: To be announced in a few months…