New York! New York!

I arrived in New York, to be there during my son’s operation on his neck, last Wednesday afternoon.

I flew into grubby Kennedy International Airport.  I stood in line waiting for a cab.  “Where you wanna go?” the dispatcher shouted at me.  I gave her the address on east 46th street.  “Fifty dollars,” she barked.  Ah, yes.  I’m in New York, I thought.

I met my son and his wife at the apartment where we were staying, kindly lent to us by my cousin who was away on vacation.  We decided to go out for dinner.  There were lots of restaurants nearby, and we finally chose one that had “Indian – Latin American fusion” cuisine.  The food was fine.  I had a whole fish spiced with ginger and hot pepper.  I was hungry, having eaten nothing but airplane peanuts all day.

Steve and Michelle

Steve and Michelle

The apartment we stayed in was a penthouse, so-called (though it had no balcony) because it was on the top floor – about the 27th.  The views were panoramic.

Penthouse view

Penthouse view

Tall buildings

Tall buildings

We had a full day in New York before my son’s operation.  We walked the streets and planned the next day and shopped for dinner which I was to cook. 

I was astonished at how many nail salons there were.  I think about one in every block.  New Yorkers must spend a lot of time and money on their finger nails.  There were lots of flower stands and fruit stands.

Sidewalk flowers

Sidewalk flowers


Sidewalk fruit

Sidewalk fruit

Michelle and I stopped for a drink at a sidewalk café. It was a treat just to watch the variety of people passing.       

There were lots of babies in strollers and carriages.  Many of them were pushed by nannies.  Many were pushed by daddies.  I saw only a few stroller pushers who could be suspected of being mommies.  How things change.  When I was young a man would be laughed at for pushing a baby stroller in the daytime when he should be at work.  We saw quite a few twins in carriages in the short time we sat there.  “Must be something in the water,” Michelle said.

The number of dogs on the streets was a wonder too.  And they all looked so squeaky clean and groomed.  I thought there should be as many dog groomers as nail salons.

All sizes and shapes

All sizes and shapes

There were old people too out walking in the sunshine; old men alone and old women with companions and helpers. 

Oh, and the young women!  On a warm day there was so much to be seen.  Gowns, some long, some so short as to hardly rate the name of gown, clung to the curves, barely covered the bosom and were held up with the thinnest wisps of straps.  Some were strapless.  Jerry would have loved it, though he claims to dislike all cities.

We didn’t know until Thursday afternoon at what time the next day Steve’s operation would take place, and that made him tense all day.  The operation has significant risks: risks to life, and risks to mental function, because the area of the surgery is full of major blood vessels and nerves to the brain.  He was supposed to call at 3 o’clock to find out the time. It took three calls but at last he was told to appear at 10:30 the next morning. 

He had expected to be discharged the same day as the operation, but discovered that the admissions people mistakenly thought it was to be a shoulder operation, not a neck one.  When the doctor came into the prep room to write his initials on the left side of Steve’s neck with ball point pen – so everyone was clear about which side was to be fixed, he said Steve would have to stay in the hospital overnight.  Steve finally walked to the operating room, wheeling his IV’s beside him, at about 1 o’clock.

Michelle and I, both nervous as cats, went to get some lunch in the hospital cafeteria.  We shared a table with a nice nurse who knew Steve’s surgeon well and she told us that he is the team doctor to the New York Giants.  The time seemed to drag, and I kept thinking of the time I spent sitting in a waiting room when he was 8 years old and was having his ruptured spleen removed.

We had been told that the operation would take about an hour and a half, but it was nearly 4 o’clock when the doctor came out to see us.  He explained that the operation had gone well, and drew a little picture of how he had installed the ligament of a cadaver to tie up the dislocated collar bone.  Then he said, “I’ll need to see him for a follow-up in about 2 weeks.”

I said, “But how can they, they live in Charleston, South Carolina?”

He gave me a long look and said, “People come from all over the world to see me.”

By 5 o’clock they had Steve in a bed in the hospital.  Michelle and I stayed with him until visiting hours were over at 8.

The next day his neck was swollen, and it soon was clear that he would not go home that day.  The swelling had to go down first.  We came and went most of the day, and in the afternoon set out to get him some non-hospital food, specifically, some sushi.  And to get some additional undershorts that he wanted.  For that we stopped at Banana Republic, and I was astonished to see elegant ladies with elegant dogs on leashes right in the store trying on clothes.

Michelle’s cell phone rang.  It was Steve.  He said we were not to worry, but something had been seen on an x-ray taken after the operation (air where it should not be) and they wanted to do another x-ray and an MRI.  When we got back to the hospital he was back from x-ray, looked really upset, and couldn’t eat the sushi.  By 7:30 there still was no news from radiology.  Since he is a doctor himself, he understood well all the unpleasant possibilities, and was scared.  But it was the weekend, and things were moving slowly.  Finally he called the nurse and said, “I want to see the resident, NOW.”

Then we got the news that the air seen on x-ray had not been in a region of vital blood vessels, but in overlying tissues.  We all sighed with relief.  By this time the swelling was down, and he was to be discharged the next day.  I said goodbye, since my plane left early Sunday morning.

On the road to recovery

On the road to recovery


Sunday was Jerry’s and my third wedding anniversary.  I was so glad to see him.  We still hold hands across the table in restaurants.  It has been a good 3 years.

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15 Responses to New York! New York!

  1. Marja-Leena says:

    I’m so thankful for you that your son is recovering from the surgery! Such wonderful photos and stories of New York (I’ve never been there). And congratulations on your 3rd anniversary!

  2. lawyerdaughter says:

    Oh Brother!

  3. Hattie says:

    You are such a good writer. Glad to have found you.

  4. Alan G says:

    Great to here the operation went well and your son is recovering.

    I don’t think I would have made it out of the airport terminal personally. After getting the $50 quote for the taxi fare I would have fainted ‘dead’ away! 🙂

    Happy Anniversary!!

  5. Jan says:

    I’m glad your son is recovering well. And it’s so sweet that you and Jerry still hold hands across the table in restaurants. Happy belated anniversary!

  6. Annie says:

    Hope your son’s recovery is uneventful! Congrats on 3-yr anniversary, may they keep on coming well into the future.

    Your description of NYC brings it alive, I haven’t been there since I was a teenager and it’s nice to hear that it just keeps on ticking along!

  7. wisewebwoman says:

    Oh such good news on Steve, Ann! I do hope he continues in wellness.
    Lovely pics of NY – and the dogs….
    And congrats on your 3 year and holding hands….awww.

  8. Grannymar says:

    The waiting can be a very tense time for those outside the theatre. I am glad things are now going well and that you had a hand holding homecoming!

  9. Mage Bailey says:

    What a mess, but it is especially good that you could be there for Michelle too. Grand news that he’s now held together too.

  10. dale says:

    Whew. And a ruptured spleen at eight? Yikes. I had a hard time living through my son’s broken wrist! 🙂

  11. Celeste Maia says:

    I held my breath as I read the ups and downs of your son’s hospital stay. And what a relief to know that he is finally on the road to recovery! Such a good thing you were there for yourself, but especially for him and Michelle. And then your reactions to New York’s fauna and flora, looking at your photos, that was a lot of fun.
    Congratulations on the three good years!

  12. Darlene says:

    So much to be thankful for; I am glad that Steve’s operation went well and that he had such a great surgeon.

    Steve must have had a very hard time knowing what could go wrong. Sometimes ignorance is bliss. I can only imagine how stressed you and Michelle must have been and am glad that it’s over for all of you.

    How great that you had a happy event to return to. Happy belated Anniversary.

  13. annie says:

    SOunds like a tense time there in the hospital. I am glad he is doing better and that you are home with your beloved.

  14. maria says:

    Whew, what a relief to read to the end and find out that all went well. Your account held me breathless and worried all the way, reminding me of what you said in an earlier post about this being a perilous world.

  15. Dick says:

    A great account and good to know the operation was successful – even if it now involved further long distance travel!

    New York, New York. How Emma and I would love to reprise the wonderful time we had there pre-kids!

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