I had an epiphany while waiting for my dinner at Chick-fil-a. I figured out why I, personally, have such a hard time being an entrepreneur, being a freelance test pilot.
At first I thought I wasn’t good at waiting.
But I am good at waiting. When I had that first thought, I immediately came up with two counter-examples.
I recalled that the path to becoming a test pilot was an eighteen year journey. I was perfectly content to take small steps along that path.
Then I thought about running too. Every time I go out for a long run, I have an intense level of disciplined patience. You might even call that long-suffering.
All this thinking about waiting made me think back two years.
As I write this, I am just two days away from a major milestone that I almost overlooked. Jake is about to turn two. This will be the last time I celebrate the 2nd birthday of one of our children. (Of course, a million things could happen to refute that statement, but I think you understand the gravity of the situation. And to those of you arguing that it’s his third birthday, I simply say “whatever.”)
Thinking about that milestone and thinking about waiting reminded me of the waiting game we had to play two years ago.
Two years ago, Jake was born with a major deformation in his skull. Two of the plates in his skull were already fused together when he was born, and they weren’t supposed to be.
I noticed it right away. I thought his head looked funny–but you aren’t allowed to say that in the delivery room. However, I did start saying that to the nurses and doctors once mother and child were both in our private hospital room.
It was a few weeks until a doctor finally took us seriously enough to order a CT scan and a diagnosis was confirmed. Jake had sagittal craniosynostosis. Beth did a wonderful job blogging about all that at jakescakes.wordpress.com–and that’s not the point of this post. Waiting is. And you are still waiting patiently for me to make my point–thanks for waiting.
As you can see here, he did have a funny shaped head–elongated longitudinally–much more narrow laterally than normal–presence of pronounced forehead–and there was actually a bony ridge along the top of his head.
During the ordeal that followed, we had to wait.
Many times. Long times.
But the longest part of the ordeal…that part, we didn’t have to wait for. Let me explain.
A child born with craniosynostosis is normally operated on before his six month birthday. (You can find many opinions that differ on that point too.) Then, there is an extensive battery of follow-up tests, check ups, evaluations, observations, etc.
There is a lot of waiting in waiting rooms.
There are child psychologists to see–plastic surgeons–neurosurgeons–eye specialists–pediatricians.
You get the idea.
A child’s head continues to grow, develop, and form throughout the first two years of life. So the results of the corrective surgery–the brain surgery required to fix the condition–must be monitored until the child turns two.
That is a long time to wait. It’s an eternity that parents must suffer through–it’s worse than two years in the wilderness. Because, that’s how long you have to wait to hear the doctor say, “your child is now well.” Some parents don’t even hear those words–sometimes additional surgery is required.
In the days that followed Jakes diagnosis, there were two major, life-changing situations developing:
1. I was being ordered to deploy to Afghanistan, and
2. We were trying to make wise decisions about Jake and trying to cram it all in before I left for Afghanistan in September, just three months away.
A whole host of things began to develop — I put in my papers to separate from the Air Force in less than one year. We were given the faintest glimmer of a hope that maybe I would not have to go to Afghanistan. Then we started dealing with insurance and specialists.
Specialists are busy, and it takes a long time to get on their schedules.
It took until September for the deployment thing to work out–one week before the deployment, the powers that be finally ordered someone else to go in my place.
About that time, the surgery was scheduled for December.
We still had to wait three more months for the surgery.
(You are going to have to wait until tomorrow to read the rest of the story…)
See…Jake and Emily are waiting patiently…
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