As I write this, our 6 year old son is having tubes installed (in his ears, by the way) for the third time. As far as surgeries go, tubes are a bit easier than the others we’ve endured with our kids, including eye surgery and skull surgery. I sometimes joke that we should get our card punched because maybe the 10th run will be free. But the medical professionals always say no. Thanks, Obamacare*.
Let me say this: Kid surgery is scary. Even if it has happened enough times to feel routine and predictable, it’s still scary. My feeble familiarity makes me far calmer than the parents a few seats over who are here for the same reason. Compared to their catharsis, I feel like a robot, or like a Vulcan** whose emotions rarely get in the way of the mission. Yet… Jesus wept. For whatever reason, he wept. I cannot imagine how incapacitating it would be to know all that He knows of the human experience. I suppose perspective is the great corrective. First surgery? Freaked out by the unknown. Third (or, maybe, eighth) surgery? More coffee, please.
As I write, Zac is getting a new set of tubes, which are little grommets for your eardrums that create a tiny hole in the tympanic membrane that releases pressure and allows your ears to drain. When I was a kid and heard about someone “getting tubes”, I always imagined a long straw traveling from their ears to some spigot installed near their right ankle, which is why that kid always wore moon boots. Turns out I was overthinking it. Standard procedure, yes — if we have to get it done again in the future, they might let me give it a try. Who knows?
There is risk, oh yes. Anytime you force a body to go to sleep and then start using foreign objects to barge in and root around a biological system that self-regulates, something can certainly go awry. But I know now that worrying about it will produce only one effect: worry. Worry never accomplishes what it sets out to do, namely, make it all ok. Jesus weeps, but he doesn’t worry.
*Please note that “Thanks Obamacare” is one of my favorite rhetorical devices to throw out in a less than serious moment.
**My friend and I were talking about how far-reaching the character Spock has been in our culture at large. Even an isolated prude knows the vulcan semiotic.