hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


August 8, 2013

When life gives us a wake-up call

Every once in a while, a knock comes at your door with a wake-up call jolting you back to reality.

Mine came a week ago. There I was, 80 miles from home, attending a reunion with old friends at an Armenian camp in Franklin (Camp Haiastan).

I had served on a committee bent on bringing together the people who founded this camp some 63 years ago. After searching high and low for these pioneers, we compiled a list of 110 people from all parts of the country. Of that number, 40 agreed to attend the festivities.

I had picked up two long-time acquaintances and we headed south on Interstate 495 toward our destination.

I do not own a cell phone, nor do I intend to carry one. I figure if people want to contact me, they will find a way, same as they did a generation back when portable phones were merely a vision.

Upon my arrival later that afternoon, there was a message waiting for me at my passenger’s home. “Call your daughter immediately,” it said.

Without the slightest hint of what had transpired, I was given the bad news. My wife and daughter were with the grandchildren at a recreation park when an insect bite had suddenly left my wife’s arm swollen.

Upon being examined, she was transferred to a medical center nearby and later taken to Lawrence General Hospital for emergency treatment.

By the time all the news hit home, I was speeding toward the hospital, hoping to get there in time. The initial prognosis indicated a mild stroke. Another theory indicated Lyme’s Disease. What resulted over the next three days was chaotic. One test after another. Doctors in and out of her room, joined by therapists, a chaplain, nursing assistants and RNs, orderlies and dietary aides.

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