How was your Thanksgiving? Let me tell you about Thanksgiving at the Daly’s household. In some ways it was quite miserable – as you’ll see in a moment. On the other hand, I came away with a fresh reminder of what’s really important. Here’s what happened. In preparation for Thanksgiving last week, Jean worked hard and long preparing a mountain of fixings to compliment the turkey. She cleaned the house and made sure everything was in order in anticipation of some fifteen guests. By Wednesday afternoon, she was toast. Who wouldn’t be?
The makings of this very bad, no good week started the Friday before Thanksgiving week when our son Troy fell sick. His stomach refused to keep food down and he threw up three or four times.
On Sunday, Troy’s illness passed . . . to my wife. Although Jean didn’t have an upset stomach, her cold thoroughly knocked her out for a couple of days. By Wednesday, Jean’s illness passed . . . to Trent. Poor guy. Trent must of thrown-up twenty times. One minute my wife was cooking and giving the house the meticulous Martha Stewart treatment; the next moment she was the resident nurse leaning over the toilet with Trent. Talk about being frazzled. I’m sure Jean had to wonder how she was going to pull off entertaining a houseful of guests with a sick child.
Meanwhile, she knew she had to keep Trent comfortable and hydrated. Unfortunately, whether she gave Trent water or Gator-Aid, you name it, he’d toss it. By the time I got home from the office we found that his temperature was dropping below normal. He was cold to the touch. Not a good sign. We sat Trent in front of the fireplace, wrapped in a sea of blankets. At 11 p.m. on the night before friends and family would be gathering under our roof for Thanksgiving, Trent’s temperature fell to 93 degrees. After speaking with the hospital’s on-call doctor, Jean bundled Trent up and hustled him to the emergency room – it was, after all, 20 degrees outside. By the time they reached Memorial North hospital, Trent was almost unconscious.
Tears streamed down Jean’s face as they wheeled Trent, now almost unresponsive, into the hospital. She wondered what kind of terrible mother would allow her son to get this dehydrated. I assured her she was a great mom who really couldn’t have done anything differently under the circumstances.
We stayed in touch by phone as the doctors worked to find a way to hydrate him. For hours his stomach virus resisted their best efforts. Between ice chips and a special medication used on cancer patients to control nausea, the doctors finally found something that worked.
At 4 a.m., Jean and Trent left for home in 16 degree weather – exhausted.
Even though the timing of Trent’s sickness couldn’t have been worse, I was grateful to God that his illness wasn’t something more severe. We had to move the party to my sister’s house and Jean and I had one of the nicest times with my family at Thanksgiving. Believe it or not, when we arrived home that evening, Jean came down with a full blown stomach virus!
In spite of the virus that wouldn’t leave us alone, I had a new appreciation that interruptions such as these are a minor hassle in the grand scheme of things. I think that’s a part of what counting my blessings is all about. Rather than focusing on how our plans were ambushed by sickness, I knew I should give thanks that, on the whole, my family has been healthy this year. I have a wife who loves me, children who think I hung the moon, and a God who sent His son to die for me.
I’m a blessed man.