24 November 2013

So Many Things to be Thankful For

Today was a bit of a rough day.  But it wasn't a calamity, thanks to many kind people and many privileges I have as a middle-class American.

The Offspring awoke in the middle of the night and threw up, starting a trend that went on until mid-morning, when things started to look a little grim.  I was able to reach a doctor at the NYU urgent care center who recommended bringing him in.

I went to get the car, and found it nice and warm on this 20-something degree day because it was parked in the sun on the east side of the tall buildings, near the river.  I was thankful I didn't have to put The Offspring in a freezing cold car.  For that matter, I was thankful to own a car.

I was thankful to live in a city with great hospitals, and to have good health insurance, so I could go straight to one of the best.

NYU has a parking garage whose entrance is right by the entrance to the ER; I was glad I didn't have to sweat about paying the garage fee.

When we walked in, we were immediately greeted by a friendly volunteer with a big smile, and immediately I relaxed a little.  All the staff, every single one, every orderly and aide and nurse and doctor, went out of their way to be friendly to me and to The Offspring, who has seen more medical care than the average ten-year-old, not all of it compassionate, and gets a little jumpy.

In spite of all that, he was a trooper: cooperative, polite, not a single complaint.  And gleeful when he found out he could watch cartoons from his bed.

I was incredibly grateful that the ER at NYU has rooms, actual rooms, for the sick patients, rather than a huge bustling hall where behind one curtain someone is delirious for one reason or another, behind another someone cries out in pain while passing a gallstone, and behind a third, family drama.

Someone told me, many years ago, "Don't worry until you have to."  I've gotten pretty good at that, and while there was a possibility that The Offspring was in fact seriously ill and would need emergency surgery, I didn't waste much time contemplating it.  I'm thankful for the person who taught me that lesson.

When the Mate got appendicitis not long after we moved to New York.  Friends wanted to know why I wasn't freaking out.  My answer: appendicitis on a remote hiking trail or in a third-world country where I don't speak the language well -- that's a crisis.

Eventually, The Offspring's problem turned out to be "just" a virus, treatable with anti-nausea medication, and we went home.

The poor neglected dog had to be walked and fed, and having wolfed down his long-overdue breakfast, started retching.  I'm thankful he left it at that and didn't hurl all over the already much-abused floors.

The nearby pharmacy was still open, and we have a supermarket a block away, so filling a prescription and stocking up on seltzer and apple juice and white rice was, thankfully, an easy and quick errand.

And then I went into the kitchen, rather a wreck because in the two days before The Offspring got sick, I was down for the count with a bad cold, and The Mate has been out of town.  I turned on the faucet to soak some dirty dishes... and heard the unmistakable drip of leaking pipes.

Boy am I thankful that my building has plumbers on call on Sundays.

I'm thankful that I living in a building that, while without power for several days after Hurricane Sandy, was not structurally damaged, unlike the millions of people left homeless by Haiyan in the Philippines.

And finally, I'm thankful that I have a warm home with a bed to which I'll be retreating shortly, to sleep soundly.