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Phil’s Choice

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TUESDAY, JUNE 1, 2010 4:39 PM, CDT

Right Choice #16 – Phil’s Choice (Written June 1st)

Well, this medical adventure just doesn’t seem to want to end. I had trouble recovering from the staph infection last week. The pain and swelling continued, though signs of infection had receded. Realizing that this whole staph infection was nothing to mess around with, I made another call to the doctor. Once again, I was placed at the top of her priority list as she juggled her schedule to see me. Relieved that she found no evidence of continued infection, there was still the lingering question of why the incision refused to heal.

The question was answered, however, when she followed the stiff strand of what looked like fishing line poking out of my incision. Down the line went, underneath the skin. Warning me to brace myself for a bit of pain, the doctor went to take out what appeared to be a remaining suture. And she did. Yet in addition to the suture, the line continued further into the incision, netting an entire wad of wound up suture material tucked down inside my body, refusing to let me heal.

Oh, how happy my body was to get that foreign body removed. Within days I felt as if, finally, I was on a path to healing. Still, given the twists and turns this story has taken, it seems wise to follow up with a CT scan of my abdomen, just to be certain no sponges, shrunken heads or toe nail clippers were inadvertently left inside. I get the CT scan tomorrow. Yummy chalk flavored barium for breakfast, lucky me.

And what a healthy breakfast to kick-off Phil’s celebration weekend. Phillip graduates from high school on Friday, and we’ve been planning a weekend full of family and friends to celebrate his graduation, and to honor him for his decision to enlist in the Air Force to pursue trauma medicine as a Pare-Rescue Jumper. Bed rest has certainly made preparing for the out-of-town guests and dinner for 75 much easier for me. I have the “difficult” job of calling caterers, making hotel arrangements, telling Jeff what plants to buy and where to plant them, hiring folks to help clean and prepare the house, and encouraging the kids to step it up and finish chores around the house. Plus I am tired just watching Jeff tackle the garage, the yard, the closets, the windows and anything else that doesn’t’ move as he prepares the house for guests. It is exhausting managing all of this activity, I must say. Much more tiring than handling all of these tasks myself, no doubt. Thank heavens I’m required to lay low and heal.

Meanwhile, I’ve been perfecting the process of looking good while injured. Since my family has a love affair with cameras, I need to look my best in spite of the residual pain and on-going recovery. Here’s what I’ve learned. Keep your hair looking good with a short easy style that doesn’t require daily washing. If you have developed a close enough relationship with your hairdresser, she will even make house calls. Add highlights if possible, or better, always keep them in your hair so you’re prepared no matter the twists that life throws at you. Get your eyebrows and eyelashes waxed and dyed, it’s like waking up with make-up already applied. Drink lots of water, of course. And if you can choose an illness or injury where you have an opportunity to lose those stubborn five pounds that determinedly hang onto your middle as metabolism slows, so much the better. While expensive and time consuming, the South Africa Surgical Diet does offer this as a side benefit. I’m just sayin’…

And so I am looking forward to welcoming family, and hosting friends. What a welcome respite from the days of waiting for a new episode of Glee, searching for a movie to download from Netflix, and going cross-eyed scanning negatives into digital photos.

What a wonderful opportunity to celebrate Phil’s transition from high school, and to honor his choice to become part of a long tradition of those who have chosen to serve our country. I can’t think of a better person to represent and defend the United States of America. He is an amazingly disciplined, compassionate, intelligent young man. As hard as it will be to say good-bye to him July 27th, knowing that we are involved in two wars and his is front-line deployment after training, I am proud beyond words.

So if you would toss up a prayer and warm thoughts for the brave young man who took responsibility for my life and sat by my side those torturous nights after I checked myself out of the hospital in South Africa, it would mean a great deal to Jeff and me. The longer life goes on, the more we realize that it does, indeed, take a village to manage our way through this uncertain existence. While we may not get to choose much of what life brings our way, we do get to choose our response – and those with whom we surround ourselves. Jeff and I are both so grateful that we are surrounded by you.

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About the Author:

Professor and award winning author, world traveler, Mom, thought leader, mentor, friend, and advocate Vicki Whiting, Ph.D. is dedicated to the facilitation of learning and the development of leaders in all walks of life.

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