Information Hiding

July 12, 2006

On Saturday, after getting home from my kendo workout, I noticed a new entry in the caller id register on my phone. My father had called but not left a message. At the time I thought this was a bit odd as he had shared with me his plan to be in Chicago for the weekend to visit area art fairs. After taking my shower I checked my email and discovered he had been hospitalized overnight Thursday after his blood pressure bottomed out.

For a minute it felt like my blood pressure was bottoming out too as my first thought was I was going to lose him too.

I immediately called him and learned the rest of the story. In short the doctors think his blood pressure medicine caused the extremely low reading, and he was kept in the hospital overnight for observation only. My brother was able to go to Decatur Thursday evening, and spent all day Friday with my Dad at the hospital. In the several days since then he has felt fine physically, and his blood pressure has been at its normal level.

While I understand his motivation for not calling me was to not worry me, it still rankles a bit to find out two days after the fact that he'd been ill enough to require a neighbor to drive him to the emergency room as well as an overnight stay in the hospital. He did say that he considered calling me on Thursday when he started feeling so ill, but that he wasn't sure what I could have done from 400 miles away. I know that I would have been just as helpless at 40 miles away, even if I could have gotten there sooner. In thinking about it I've come to the realization that I need to convince him that he needs to be prepared to call 9-11 in the event that he needs help. A child of the depression, he tends to be stoic, wants to be self-sufficient, and hates the idea of being a burden. However, living by himself he is going to have to rely upon services from outside.

As for his habit of not sharing information like this until after the fact, well, I may have to take him to task on that now. I know he'll say that there would be nothing I could do if he called me sooner, but that is an entirely intellectual approach to living. While he may be comfortable viewing incidents like this intellectually, I am not. My worst fear would be getting a call from someone else telling me how he died or got hurt or whatever, several days after the fact. I know after losing the two most important women in my life to date in the last year that I am overly sensitive anything that threatens my remaining family.

Ignorance is only bliss until knowledge is gained too late to be of any use.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.