Adventures Of Fatherhood

I got knocked off my feet late last week by an emergency appendectomy.

There was nothing spectacular about what occurred to me. I was at my desk working last Wednesday when a pain in my gut surfaced. I can count on one hand how many times I have left work for illness in 20 years, but this was one of those occasions when I had to leave. The pain was too much.

Eventually, after coaxing from my wife, Pam, I went to the emergency room at AGH and learned I had an appendicitis, which needed to be addressed through surgery immediately.

About five hours after arriving in the emergency room, I was in my hospital room not feeling a thing after surgery and probably not able to recite my social security number at that point, due to the pain medication. By mid-day, I was discharged, sent home and within a few hours going stir crazy.

As a small business owner, it’s difficult to not work. Sure, there are staff members who can fill in and step up, and they did just that, but there’s a certain mental anguish involved, particularly if it happens to fall the night of deadline day. Editorials went unwritten. Columns went unpublished. That was that. It had to be accepted.

On the home front, my kids were mystified by my surgery and the fact I could not be the typical human jungle gym that I normally am for them most of the time. By and large, both Beckett and Carson were sympathetic and seemed to even understand their mom, who was amazing throughout my recovery process, was pulling double duty.

Beckett spent many hours over the weekend lying next to me in bed watching sports. Whenever I would wake up from a pain pill-induced nap, he would ask, “what percent are you now?” The first time he asked me that was on the way karate a few hours before my surgery. I responded then that I was, “15 percent,” and he seemed genuinely worried.

Later as the weekend progressed, I upped the percentage whether I felt that way truly or not. Each time he would respond, “mmm, not bad, it’s better than 15 percent.”

Eventually, his patience started to wear thin though, and I understood that. I was getting sick of being out of commission as well and not able to play with my boys and help my wife with the normal parent responsibilities.

On Sunday afternoon, I tried to play baseball with him in the backyard and was able to for a while before I had to call it quits. After I went in for yet another nap, he came barging in my room with his baseball glove in hand, saying, “Hey Daddy, I brought my glove to you, but forgot a ball. I will be right back. You can lay there and just throw me the ball.”

For Carson’s part, he was enthralled with the bandages on my stomach and each time he saw me he moved up my shirt and frowned. One time he laughed hard and even covered his mouth like it was hilarious, but that was close to his bedtime so I’m hoping that was exhaustion.

A couple days later, Carson seemed to have forgotten about it altogether because he did one of his patented run-by slaps. My mom and wife happened to be nearby. They seemed to be worried it was my incisions that he whacked. Fortunately, it was lower in typically the most sensitive of areas but not the most fragile on this particular day.

Easter weekend is always a doozy and quite exhausting.

If you ask my son Beckett about his favorite holidays, the order will be something like this: Christmas, his birthday, Halloween and Easter. Of course, a couple of those are not actually holidays, but that’s a discussion for another day.

If you are like me, Monday morning is usually spent recovering from and recapping the previous weekend.
After crashing so early on the Sunday night of this weekend, pretty much as soon as the boys were asleep, I couldn’t help but reflect on their holiday and have decided that we parents generally expect too much from our kids on Easter.

We present them with all sorts of goodies first thing in the morning in their Easter baskets, including what is usually a heaping dose of candy, and then call on them to behave and use their manners throughout the day at Easter functions.

In our case, we limited the candy indulgence in the morning to just a couple pieces, as we had church and Beckett was to be in a Sunday School presentation. As he begged for some more jelly beans, shortly after 7 a.m., I had visions of my son break dancing in church unable to concentrate and stand still because of all the sugar rushing through his body.

Meanwhile, I was worried Carson, who is non-verbal, was going to break his fingertips signing “more,” which is done so by bringing both hands together in a fashion that involves the finger tips touching.

As a compromise measure, we told the boys to wait till after church and the Easter egg hunt for more candy because, of course, 10 a.m. is a much more suitable time to ingest chocolate peanut butter eggs and sour patch worms.

Therefore, after the church hunt, we let them indulge considerably.

A couple hours later, when we arrived at our family event, I was frustrated by the kids’ refusal to hang out inside with their family and constant requests to play outside.

I later thought how unreasonable of me, but then realized that’s probably the case more often than I want to acknowledge.