It's hard to imagine what it would be like to hear that your child has a brain tumour after a simple trip to the eye doctor and within 48 hours you find yourself at the Hospital for Sick Children, a place you always knew was there if you needed it but never thought it would be your son being wheeled into surgery. I learned about my former neighbour and friend's son's diagnosis the morning he was to be operated on. It all happened so quickly and anyone who doubts our health care system should stop reading the horror stories that are constantly trumpeted both here and south of the border and listen to the positive and quiet ones that happen here every day whether it be a life-threatening situation or not.
D and her son, one of Ben's oldest friends, experienced the terror of a diagnosis, emergency surgery to remove a 4cm tumour close to the brain stem and a week to hear if it was cancerous. It was benign, thank goodness and he will make a full recovery. But, once again, it puts everything into perspective as my family struggles day to day with sibling rivalry, homework drama, teenage angst and a small business on the very of becoming not-so-small.
H and my eldest grew up side by side, first skiing and then across the street from one another for the last six years. He is my fourth son, another brother to my boys, acting like one for better or for worse. His nickname was "Eddie" after Leave it to Beaver's Eddie Haskell as he was unfailingly polite to adults but you always knew he was up to something. This year his family decided to move back to the city and H went off to boarding school while my son also left their local high school to attend a ski academy. Being boys, I don't think they communicated much over the summer or while Ben was away in Switzerland and we found out about the tumour and surgery the day Ben was arriving home. Of course, because of Facebook, all the kids knew about what H was going through and my worry about how to tell Ben was for not. I don't think he fully understood the seriousness of what was happening to H but he kept asking to read the updates that were being sent by a friend of H's mother. We all worried that H would lose his luxurious head of hair (he did not, the surgeon only had to make a small incision on the back of his head) and if it was cancer what would happen next. Luckily that's not something anyone has to worry about.
We went down to the hospital to see H on Sunday with another school friend and his Mum and had a short visit. H got out of bed to go for a walk with his buddies, trailing an IV pole and talked quite naturally and Ben, who had earlier asked me, if it was such a great hospital for kids, why they didn't have anything like a basketball net, now understood what it had all meant.
Soon H will be moved to a rehabilitation hospital and is expected to make a full recovery. He may or may not go back to boarding school in January and he won't be back on skis for a while but he will be fine and his very droll sense of humour has already started to return. Ben has made it through his first full week of classes after seven weeks in the Alps and life is settling down once again.
I haven't felt like blogging for a long time but it seemed like a natural thing to allow me to express my fears and feelings swirling around. I have said before that as the kids get older the challenges get more serious and it has never been truer. I have missed writing and even though I know my blog title has never been truer I think I might get back into a routine of writing. We'll see.
High Table at Magdalen College, Oxford University - Magdalen is my favorite college at Oxford University. The name is pronounced "Maudlin," and the grounds are open to visitors for a fee. It's especially b...