... my grandfather did not die, and I got a full refund on my bereavement/emergency fare plane ticket. Thanks to all of you who were so supportive yesterday while the misguided melodrama was unfolding. I'm back at work; I still need to tell my neighbors that they don't have to feed my cat all week.
My grandfather has been in the hospital the last few days with pneumonia. Yesterday afternoon, we were told that tests had revealed a perforated colon. Without surgery to repair this, he would die of peritonitis within a couple of days. However, surgery itself was very risky for a 90-year-old man with pneumonia and fever. He would probably die in surgery, but he would definitely die without it, so the operation was scheduled for later that night. I booked a flight out of LaGuardia at 6 this morning, and my parents would leave Boston at 2 this afternoon. We were all sure that we wouldn't make it back to Chicago in time to see him alive.
At 11 last night my mother called. The two-hour surgery was over in 45 minutes. What the doctors had misdiagnosed as a perforated colon was actually a stomach ulcer. My grandfather is doing fine; he's expected to recover with no complications. And the family in Chicago has asked us to save our vacation/bereavement days for when we really need it. If I hadn't just seem him six days ago, I would have gone anyway, but as it is, I'll do as I was told.
Yes, there is clearly a huge issue regarding the quality of care that my grandfather is receiving, when his doctors misread an ulcer for a perforated colon in multiple tests. That will be dealt with soon, I hope.
I slept hard last night, and I expect to do so again tonight. Thanks again to all of you for your support. The silver lining of these crises is you get to see how great your friends can be.