I had no idea what was happening really.
I was hungry, unhelpful and, unnecessary.
Utterly powerless, the nurses sent me away.
Go eat something they told me.
Exhausted. Overwhelmed with concern. Disoriented. Lost?
In need of something soothing, something familiar.
As such, I found myself wandering down Bay Street. En route to a late night place Doc and I used to haunt.
I’ll get the muscles with the spicy bean sauce. Comfort food.
It was the worst meal ever.
My stomach was churning.
When would it happen?
The contractions were still pretty far apart.
The nurses, brows furrowed said something about heart rates. They weren’t that concerned.
I got the usual.
I didn’t taste it.
I couldn’t finish
It was the worst Chinese food ever.
Not because of the food.
The air was dense and heavy.
The world was about to change in ways I couldn’t imagine.
Through the blur of the night, I remember images.
Orange and blue taxis, land sharks on the prowl, looking for a meal in a meandering late night pedestrian.
Neon. So much neon.
No one was out. Barely a soul. Even the rats seemed to be sheltering in place.
Plastic bags of tumbleweed.
The stench of Chinatown at night.
I returned to Women’s College Hospital.
The nurses were scowling.
Where were you?
Momma’s in distress.
Baby is too.
Here put these on.
My wife wheeled past me in a frantic blur.
The anaesthetist had a gentle smile
There were green sheets and funny hats and face masks and blood.
Laura looked unlike I had ever seen her.
We need to get the baby out now. If we don’t the both might not make it.
Eighteen minutes later the anesthetist glowed with delight.
Would you like to see your baby come into the world?
Squeamish, so much so that I didn’t even take high school biology, I replied as a reaction:
HELL NO! Wipe it off and give it to me clean.
Pretty gross eh? The words haunt me to this very day.
Two generations ago, I would have lost both of them.
This is a huge change.
Two generations ago, there would not have been a doctor, a hospital or this procedure available to my family members.
And incremental change?
I’m embarrassed by what I said that morning fifteen years ago.
Over the last fifteen years, I’ve grown with these wonderful women.
Their presence in my life has been a revolution.
A revolution of pouring cereal, making coffee and learning how to respond to difficulty rather than react.
When people come to see me as a therapist, they frequently are feeling urgent.
They want things to feel better right away.
That’s not how it works.
Incremental change takes time.
Societal change takes time.
If we can look back through the generations, we can find every injustice.
Just as easily, we can see the progress.
It’s essential, when working in this world of change and growth to seize upon the triumphs as much as the disasters.
Unfortunately, everyone loves a car wreck - especially the algorithms.
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