THE “D” WORD
Even September 11th found me again worrying about my daughter.
At 7 AM in the morning I got a call from a friend of hers. “Is Dara ok?” she wanted to know. Dara now lives in New York City. My eyes were not even open yet and her friend proceeded to give me the gory details of the terrorist attack. She told me to turn on my TV set.
What a wake up call that was! Dara called around 11 AM our time (PST) to let me know she was ok. Good thing too, because I had not been able to get through to her either on her cell phone or landline. I was happy to hear her voice.
Here it is, weeks after the terrorist attack and I, like many others, am still feeling shaken and worried by the events. It brings up all of our worst fears and some we never even imagined. Waiting on September 11th to hear from my daughter reminded me very much of the times I paced the waiting room while my daughter was in surgery. The shock, the worry, the totally helpless feelings seemed all too familiar.
Not that anything is as awful as the empty space in the New York Skyline or the gaping hole in the Pentagon that reminds us of the many who died in the terrorist attacks on America, but any parent who has paced a hospital waiting room as I have will agree that IBD is a lot like a terrorist attack. It attacks the innocent; you never know when it will attack; it is diabolical.
I remember the look on the surgeon’s face after my daughter’s bowel resection as he came out to the waiting room to talk to us after the surgery. His words were to reassure us that all went well, but that look of numbness and weariness said he’d been to a “war” zone. Her intestines were so “battle scarred” that even a veteran surgeon who had done many of these operations could not help but be affected.
And you never forget. That was nearly 10 years ago, but as I watched the televised events of September 11th, and thought, “Where is my daughter?” I was right back in that waiting room, tense and nervous, in shock. This national nightmare is experienced by each of us through our own personal nightmares.
What helps us most in these stressful times is knowing that we are not alone. I was surprised at all the phone calls I got that Tuesday asking if Dara was ok. And I remember, after her operation a lot of people we’d never met stopped by to say they’d been at the operation and wanted to say, “Hello” and see how she was doing. They were nurses, doctors, anesthesiologist, and student doctors. At one point, I joked with my daughter, “How big was that operating room?” It was like a circus clown car that looks big enough for two then six get out. But, the fact that these people cared enough to stop by and introduce themselves and ask how she was doing encouraged us both.
When tragedy strikes, we begin to appreciate our heroes; our doctors and nurses who are always on the line; the researchers who are looking for a cure; the money raisers and givers who so generously care; and our youngsters who get up everyday and make a difference in this world even though they are battling IBD. I applaud them all.
As parents we know that sometimes the most torturous thing in the world is watching those we love deal with IBD. We count on our heroes and look to brighter days ahead. For your sleepless nights, I wish you lullabies. And for the terrorists out there, let them know we will stand together to make this world safer for our children.
Copyright 1996 - 2002 Arlyn Serber