As I write this, I am sitting at the side of my son’s hospital bed. While his injury was neither life-threatening nor accompanied by long-term implications, the forced timeout offered time for reflection.
Because I have seen how quickly businesses in a close-knit community (as handtool woodworkers are) can fail or lose their reputations, I make an effort to keep my customers abreast of my workings. There are times when I fail in this, but I am fortunate in having a customer base that is extremely supportive and understanding. While I attempt to keep my family and business lives separate, the reality is that in a one-man show such as this, a disruption in one necessarily impacts the other. When this happens, I feel that a brief notice is warranted. If you have emailed me or placed an order recently, please know that I am running a few days behind on most things.
With that out of the way, I’d like to write about something which has nothing to do with woodworking. I have seen my son hospitalized twice in his short life. As much as I wish to never set foot in another hospital, interactions with Children’s Hospitals in two different states have left me better for having experienced them. While ours was a happy outcome, not all there are so lucky, and to them I can only say that we are thinking of and praying for you.
Our health care system has deep failings, but the physicians, nurses, and support staff who work with our children have my respect and gratitude. Without exception, they gave their most to ensure the best outcome and a pleasant experience. From the smiles that every passing worker flashed at my son, to the maintenance worker who, without being asked, took the time to guide this very lost father through the tangled corridors, every effort was made to make us feel special and at ease.
When we are used to having our children see us as earthly gods, we feel acutely powerless as we hear their plaintive cries for help and know that we are able to offer nothing but our presence, and must ask others to help them. At times, they sense this helplessness and become our comforters, as when Saw Elf No. 2 opened his eyes to see his distraught mother bent over him. Mustering what energy he could, he pushed back at the pain and morphine long enough to say, in his most matter-of-fact and comforting voice, “It’s ok, Mommy. I’ll be all right.”