So, I have been trying to get away from the super personal blogs - trying to keep things more focused on Ooh La La Mama on this bloggy blog. But, today is a special day. I just could not help myself. So please excuse me for the sappiness of this post. I truly cannot help myself.
Many of you know me as Cindyoohlala (my twitter name) and some of you may know me as Dr. Parker (yep, I am a full time ER doc) or as just Cindy, owner of kids' apparel line - Ooh La La Mama. But I suspect most of you probably do not know me at all so let me just say, "Hello!" And, thank you all for taking the time to stop by my little blog and to take the time to read my rambling thoughts.
Being an ER doc really has nothing, whatsoever, to do with running a kids' apparel line. I am often asked by my patients and by people I meet through Ooh La La Mama - why I became a physician and why I chose ER.
25 years ago today - I was 13 years old (shhhhh, please don't tell - I know that makes me super old but please don't do the math!) My mom had driven me to dance class after a silly argument with my dad - something like, "You are going out - you buy the damn milk!" Can you imagine? Doors were slammed and we left to ballet class. About 3 hours later - we arrived home to find PB & J sandwich made, but not eaten, waiting on the counter, TV on - dad's car gone. I am sure he went out to buy some milk. Me, being 13 years old and in junior high - I ran immediately into my room and got on the phone. Mom never came in the house. Apparently a neighbor drove up after us and told my mom to get in her car, that my dad had been in an accident. My mom, in shock went with the neighbor to the local hospital and was told that my dad had been in a major car accident.
My dad had driven about a block down the street - and was hit by a drunk driver who ran a stop sign. My dad was thrown through the window and landed head first at the opposite end of the intersection. The fire department was first at the scene and covered him up. No pulse was detected. They cared for the drunk driver who had only a broken arm. Miraculously, the second unit arrived with a paramedic who will always be my hero. He found a thready pulse and my dad made it to the hospital.
I received a call from the PD notifying our family that my dad had been in an accident. I had no idea where my mom had gone and ran next door to my best friend's home. Her father answered the door to a crying 13 year old and said, "that was your dad?" when I told him, through sobs, that my dad was in a car accident. Another neighbor saw the accident occur and she was unable to drive for about a year following the accident.
My dad had major injuries. His ER chart said, "Prognosis extremely poor - not expected to survive the night." He received 17 units of blood in the first 24 hours and was taken to the OR twice. He was in a coma for 6 weeks and then had his jaw wired shut for another 6 weeks. He came home as a head injury patient and did not work for several years. The doctors and nurses that cared for my dad became like family to us. We hung on every single word that was spoken - every single intonation of their voice, every little twitch that might convey hidden meaning when we asked how my dad was doing. I will never, ever forget those nights and days spent in the ICU waiting room - waiting and waiting for news.
And so, I knew I would become a doctor. My story is as simple as this. There have been very few major events in my life besides this one - except getting married and the births of my children. But - those were happy occasions. My dad's injuries were horrific and this was a very, very scary time for my family. The years following my dad's accident were filled with recovery and my dad really had to learn just about everything.
I must also ad that my mom was amazing through this time. OK - she was a little weird in the first few days - telling me and my sis that my dad "would be fine - that he'd be home in a few days." But - as a mom - I cannot imagine what I would tell my children in this situation. What I mean to say - is that she was completely awesome and carried our family - emotionally and financially through this crazy time in our lives. I am sure that it is because of her that I will always be an independent woman. Yes, I am super happily married and my hubby and I are both working, productive members of society (did I mention? He's an ER doc too.) But - I am a stronger female, for sure, because of the woman my mother was while I was growing up - and especially during those rocky years while my dad was still sick.
So - of course I cannot keep you all hanging - my dad is fine today. He retired last year (not old, just sick of all the crap) and he is still my dad. He swears at the dog and kisses his grandchildren and does magic at my girlfriend get togethers and I love him tons.
So thank you to Dr. Colen (the paramedic who saved my dad's life 2/12/1984 - he's now a surgeon!) and thank you to all of the docs and nurses who care for patients like my dad and who are gentle with dealing with families when there is not always the best news to be shared (I really, really try to be like you!) and thank you Mom for everything. You know what you've done.
And - to Daddy - happy 25 years! Don't go out to buy milk tonight! I love you tons.