Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Worries closer to home

This afternoon and evening I got a pair of phone calls delivering disturbing news:

First, my 9 year old nephew. He started suffering terrible headaches when the school year began. His mom -- my kid sister -- has been keeping a diary of everything he eats, the time of the headaches and the duration. His teacher has been very helpful, cooperative and comforting. Two pediatricians have examined him, as well as the input from his mom and teacher, and yet cannot isolate the reason for the headaches. (We know it's not a sinus infection, nor his eyesight.) So today, he had an MRI. Next is an examination by a pediatric neurologist, who can't see him until February! On the one hand, this makes me angry. I hate the thought of him squinting in pain, sometimes driven to tears and nausea, until February. On the other hand, if his pediatrician thought it was serious, I'm sure the neurologist would find a way to squeeze that "initial consult" in before the new year.

Next, a friend of mine … and her hubby. No, they aren't having marital trouble. But he had just had surgery for prostate cancer! Even though they are both in their 50s, neither had been married before they got hitched in the summer of 2007. It somehow doesn't seem fair that two people who waited so long for "happily ever after" have to deal with this. Yet she's upbeat about his prognosis and seems to genuinely admire the way he has handled the pain. I'm impressed by how lovingly she talks of helping him with some pretty disgusting procedures. So even though I found this news rattling, I find it heartening how well the two of them are handling it.

So now that I've had time to process the information, I've calmed down a bit and aren't as anxious about this news as I was when it was first received. Still, if you don't mind, I think I'm gonna be done answering the phone for a while.

I can't stop thinking about him

He is Julian King, the 7-year-old nephew of Jennifer Hudson. Look at the face of a little boy who endured unspeakable terror last Friday, seeing his grandmother and uncle shot right there in their home. Then he was shot twice in the head in the backseat of his uncle's stolen SUV.

Here's a link to a column by the SunTimes' Mary Mitchell. She sums up my feelings perfectly.

Rest in peace, little fella. I'm sorry that in life someone treated you so disrespectfully, but I believe that where you are now, you're safe and secure and content.

Phfew! That'a a relief, because I was gonna vote anyway.

You Should Be Allowed to Vote

You got 13/15 questions correct.

Generally speaking, you're very well informed.

If you vote this election, you'll know exactly who (and what) you'll be voting for.

You're likely to have strong opinions, and you have the facts to back them up.