It is sometimes said that if it weren’t for bad luck, there would be no luck at all. After this past holiday season, I am starting to think that there might be something to that old adage after all!
During the wee hours of Saturday, December 24 (Christmas Eve), my wife, Grace (aka: "she who must be obeyed"), stumbled and fell onto the hard stone tiles on our brand new kitchen floor, injuring her shoulder. Worried that she may have sustained a fracture or dislocation and hoping to avoid spending hours awaiting treatment in a hospital emergency room, we set out by car in search of an urgent care center. The several urgent care centers we initially visited in Queens were a bust, as each had waiting times of three or more hours and to our dismay, we realized that neither of us had the foresight to ensure we brought along our cell phone. We decided to head out to Sunrise Highway to our regular physician's office located in Valley Stream, stopping along the way at two other urgent care centers, finding one closed and the other with a waiting room overflowing with patients. When we finally arrived at our family physician's office we found it closed, which was not at all surprising given the fact that it was Christmas Eve. As we continued east, Grace, now becoming really annoyed with her shoulder pain, began suggesting loudly that we seek treatment at a veterinarian's office. Thankfully, before it became necessary to spend any time in an animal hospital waiting room noshing on kibbles and bits, we came across an urgent care center on Merrick Boulevard with two physicians on duty who were able to examine Grace right away and determined that she had sustained an injury to the tendon connecting her clavicle and shoulder bone. They placed her arm in a sling and prescribed anti-inflammatory medication and sent us on our way to seek a follow-up appointment with an orthopedic specialist the following week.
Christmas morning found everyone in the family gathered around the tree exchanging gifts and enjoying their morning coffee. (Obviously Grace was not multi-tasking as her arm was in a sling and still in considerable pain!) On the other hand, I was on my knees, praying to the porcelain gods, dealing with a stomach virus that basically left me with no memory of Christmas Day 2016! All I could think of was that my myriad visits to the packed waiting rooms of the multiple urgent care centers I had visited the day prior with Grace, had left me with my own personal viral Christmas gift!
Exacerbated, both Grace and I threw up our hands and surrendered to our fates thinking to ourselves, "What else can go wrong?" As it turned out, the gods of infelicitous illness were not yet finished with the family.
During the early morning hours of Wednesday, December 28, 2016, my oldest daughter, Amy became seriously ill and was transported by ambulance and admitted to St. John's Episcopal Hospital over in Far Rockaway, where she underwent emergency surgery to remove a rather large ovarian cyst. Thankfully, the offending mass was benign, but its size precluded the use of laproscopic surgery. She is now sporting a scar that both a battle-hardened Marine or a mom, who has underwent a C-section to deliver her child could be proud of! Amy was discharged from the hospital on New Year's Eve and returned home to join the rest of her afflicted clan.
New Year's Day was a quiet one at the household with the exception of my youngest daughter, Vicky who remained in her room all day armed with a crucifix, holy water, garlic and a silver necklace warning the rest of us to stay well away from her, lest she too fall victim to some paranormal holiday season malady!
As I pen this column, Amy is recovering nicely, Grace's shoulder is healing and I no longer require a reserved sign on the toilet in our bathroom. Vicky has left her room and now interacts with the rest of the family, but I suspect she still is carrying a flask of garlic-infused holy water in her purse - just in case!
In closing I would like to pass along a special thank you to Tom Moss and Joe Nocerino of the Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department, as well as Dr. Anita Holman and all the rest of the staff at St. John's Hospital, whose prompt, courteous and professional care saw my daughter, Amy returned safely home to myself and Grace. Our family has a lot to be thankful for as we begin our voyage through this new year!
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