Experiences of an American woman who was married to a Serb.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Family Emergency: Got any notes to post from Serb Unity Congress in SF?

If you are (or were) at the Serb unity congress this weekend, please do let me know via comments here. I'd love to hear what the Congress was like, what the key message of the politicans was, and what the typical attendees were talking about. Please do report on this on my behalf - thank you!

P.S. The emergency: my step-son who was to accompanied me to the Congress (and do a little ancillary frolicking in San Francisco which is littered with beautiful girls, great wine, and fabulous clubs) had to be rushed to the hospital last night with acute appendicitis. He's going to be fine although it hurts a great deal to do anything that uses the stomach muscles, including sitting up, walking, laughing, and, as he pointed out, farting is quite painful.

The most important thing I learned from the experience (aside from that fart factoid) was how Serb I have apparently become. I saw nothing unusual in the fact that all of us in the family, Aunt, Father, Step-Mother and Sister, dropped everything and rushed to the hospital to be by his side before and after surgery. All of us also changed our plans for today so we could be with him during at least part of his first day of recovery.

I could see from the hospital staff's eyes how unusual it was for such a large group to gather bedside. Then, I dimly remembered when I had my appendix out as a 15-year old. My boarding school sent me to a hospital about 30 minutes from my hometown. From what I recall, only my mother drove out to see me in the hospital. It was quite a happy time though, I lay back and relished all the attention from nurses and the dazzling idea of getting out of so many school classes with a "free" pass. The idea of all my siblings and father coming to see me would have been too weird for comprehension, so I didn't miss it. And all aunts and uncles lived hundreds, even thousands of miles away, which is quite normal in the US.

However, Serbs gain strength and warmth from family togetherness -- or at least the bunch who have taken me under their wing do. So it seemed horrible to me to leave our 23-year old son all alone by himself in the hospital last night. We were quite relieved to get his phone call at 7:15am the next morning saying, "The doctor tells me I must go, the paperwork will be done in a few minutes. Can you come pick me up?"

Later he admitted things hadn't quite gone like that... the nurse had told him he could "maybe leave in a day or two" but when he pressured her, she allowed that as an adult he had the legal power to check himself out and go home early. Eager to be cosseted in the heart of the family home, naturally he used that power immediately. And I can't blame him.

Would an American 23 year old have done the same thing? I can't imagine it. Of course the likelihood that a 23 year old American would still be living anywhere near his parents' home, much less in it, is fairly small.

I can definitively say, I like the Serb way better. I'm enormously glad our son does too. So I guess I am at a kind of Serb Unity Congress this weekend -- in our own living room.


Anonymous said...

Rosemary, I am American and I see nothing unusual about several family members rushing to a relative's bedside when they have an emergency surgery. Maybe it's unusual for your family but not mine, nor most if not all of the people I know. I think saying that Americans are too cold to bother to see their relatives in the hospital is making an untrue generalization!

Mario said...

I hope you also understand the physics of Old Farts? Together with bidget, it is part of French culture Serbs adopted. Enjoy SF!