How not to meet the parents


It's mid-morning now. The trauma of the night before has faded into a numb shock that's wrapped round me like a zorb bubble, and I'm wearing it like a big coat hiding from the world around me.


The parents had been rung and now all that had to happen was their inevitable arrival to see the miracle child.


Of course, what neither Cat nor I realised was that in the time we had known each other our parents had never met. Well can you imagine, if you're in a relationship, how your parents might react to meeting on an occasion like this?


First things first though. My dad was 150 miles north and had to go to work so he was a few hours away. Cat's parents, however, were not. They came as soon as they could and you might say that we were more than a little apprehensive. Cat, for obvious reasons was worried at what they would say to her, but at the same time definitely needed her mum. I on the other hand was more immediately worried about her dad - a professional Doorman.


If you've ever spent time in a hospital you will know they are a maze of corridors, wards, staircases and lifts; so while Cat had now been transferred to a room to recover in, and Sam was still in ICU with dozens of nurses looking after him, I was sent to greet her mum and dad at the door to show them the way.


It was a long wait. A very long wait. In fact it was so long I went and sat in my car for 10 minutes to charge my phone. Turned out that I was at the wrong door - typical. I found out via text and went back to the room to find that they had already arrived.


(You'll be aware by now, if you've read the previous parts of the story, that the concept of 'Time' seems to keep finding ways of slowing down and speeding up. I'm not going to lie, I think Einstein's General Relativity decided to ring in sick that day.)


This was another moment where time stopped. I opened the door and Cat, her mum and her dad all stopped to look at me. And I stopped to look straight back. Naturally, my fight-or-flight reflex was drawn instantly towards Cat's dad, Steve. Without my conscious input it made its own risk assessment of the situation, filed the appropriate paperwork with my brain and came to a decision. It read as follows:


'He's either going to hug you, or punch you - and you'll just have to take it.'

It subsequently resigned, jumped ship and was last seen enjoying retirement in the Galapagos Islands. Git.


Luckily for me, he went with the first option - as did Cat's mum, Deb. It was highly emotional to say the least. They couldn't wait to see Sam, and they were filled with excitement and relief that Cat was okay.


Most of the rest of the day is a blur. Only 2 visitors were allowed in at any time to see Sam so we took it in turns to be with him throughout the day, in between coffees to replace the fading adrenaline with caffeine and phone calls to inform unsuspecting family members of the news.


Eventually, evening came and the apprehension of my own dad's arrival started to pick up again. What was he going to say, what was he going to do? And what on earth was taking him so long?


It was nearly 8 o'clock at night and he still wasn't there. What had happened to him? He'd finished work at 3pm, he should be here by now.


It was nearly 8:30 by the time he arrived. I was sat in the main entrance of the hospital, and I saw him striding out of the car park at a pace. I went out to greet him and, because I was so clearly worried, Steve followed me out in case my dad decided to choose the route he hadn't earlier.


The first words I heard him say were, "Where is he?"


"I'm here dad," came my unthinking reply. I even went in for a hug to express my relief at his safe arrival - only to be met with,


"Not you, you idiot. My grandson, where is he? And why aren't you with him?"


We had actually all been sent out of ICU because the nurses and doctors were swapping shifts and they don't like discussing patient details in front of distraught parents. Can't think why...?


Regardless, at this point I think Steve stepped in, explained what was going on and introduced himself. To which my dad changed tact and suddenly became refined like a politician at a UN conference; engaged with diplomatic relations to the public while simultaneously scolding his backroom staff like Malcolm Tucker.

I need not have worried, however. We went inside and proceeded with formally introducing Deb with my dad and that was it. Done. Simple.


Turned out my dad wasn't trying to scold me, he was trying to suppress my fears by casting them away as nonsense. His point was that I had nothing to worry about. I'd been running around all day trying to comprehend what was going on like I was at a funeral, losing something. But that was completely wrong and my dad was only trying to make me see that. It may have been sudden but I was at a beginning, not an end. All I had to do was realise it.


As for what took him so long to turn up, it turned out that his Sat-Nav was set to direct line of sight instead of fastest route, so instead of taking the motorway he'd driven through every town and village from Burnley to Coventry - at rush hour.


I look back now and think, what an idiot I truly was and I am so grateful for both my dad and Cat's parents' support. In fact to this day, both Cat and I would not have come as far as we have without the incredible amount of love and advice from our families. They are a constant rock for us and if we ever become only half as good as them, I think we will have done an alright job.


We were also lucky that the hospital allowed my dad in to visit Sam after hours. We thought we would not get away with letting him in, however when we asked we found the new nurse shift to be surprisingly clued up on us:


"Oh, are you the ones from Resus? We've heard all about you. Come on in."


A minor level of celebrity it seemed we had, so we thought we would enjoy it while it lasts.


As it turned out, however, that was only the beginning...

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2014-03-10 09.57.58

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Me and Sam

Me and Sam

2018-07-20 15.16_edited

2018-07-20 15.16_edited

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