Nerves of Jello

June 1994

The phone rings. It is my mom. “The doctor said that your dad needs emergency surgery right now. Meet us at the hospital. They said we are going straight back into surgery.” I met them there and the nurses brought us right into the prep room where they had a team waiting for my dad. As the anesteologist was hooking my dad up, my dad said, “He’s cute. Anesthesiologists make good money and have good hours.”

He was a bit drugged at the time. I hope.

2 hours later the surgeon came to us and told us it was a miracle he got to the hospital in time. He only had 39 minutes left to live. Dad had diverticulitis (a rupturing of the colon)

July 1996

I am at my grandpa’s house sitting at the kitchen table with him and we are talking. We had just gotten back from Perkins after visiting my grandma at the nursing home. We did this same routine 3 times a week.

Grandpa: Hey, I think you had better call 911. I think I might be having a heart attack. Get me a pill.

Me: Ok.

Grandpa: Maybe one of the ambulance guys will be single and cute. I will try to put in a plug for you if I can.

Me: Super

Unfortunately, this was not the first time we had gone through this. He went to the hospital at least 5 times a year for about 3 years.

August 2006

The phone rings. It is my mom. The Mayo Clinic just called. They have a kidney for your dad. We have to get there in 2 hours. We are leaving now. Get there as soon as you can.

January 2007

Dad calls. I had just landed at the airport after getting engaged to Tyler. “You need to come directly to the hospital. Your mom has been admitted.” I get there to find out she has had a stroke and cannot see or walk.

Do you know how I reacted with all of these situations? Well, I had nerves of steel baby. Nerves of steel. I do not know where it came from, but I had nerves of steel. I flew into action. Remained calm. Did things. Functioned. Made jokes even.

Emily went to Urgent Care this week and has a sinus infection and then the next day she tells me she is itchy. My heart races and I fly over to her to check her out. She has teeny tiny bumps on her neck and chest.

She is already allergic to amoxicillin; could this be another allergic reaction?

Now I may see teeny, tiny bumps but in my mind they are ginormous welts. Big and red. I shake. My heart races. What if it goes into her throat? What if she stops breathing?

Think, think, think.

OK. Must be from the vapo rub I put on her.

I get calmer, now that I am thinking clearly, but I still peer at her every 5 minutes just to be sure.

Somewhere along the way, after I had kids, my nerves of steel went away and now I have nerves of jello. I really miss my old nerves.


My grandpa was fine. Just another case of angina. The ambulance guys were married.

My dad’s diverticulitis ended up OK after 10 days in the hospital and another 2 trips after that.

My dad’s kidney transplant went great and he is going on 4 years now! His Dr. says his kidney is better than most normal people.

My mom regained most of her sight and all physical movement after a week and some therapy!

Emily has not had any more bumps since we washed off the vapo rub. I am still keeping an eye on her anyway.


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