Well, I am filled with happiness, relief and awe that we got this paper out on schedule this month. This is the first time in the history of our newspaper that life’s unexpected events challenged us to meet our usual deadline.
Our editor, Marylou, called me March 17 and said her mom had gone into the hospital and she would probably have to go back to Indiana (it’s not easy editing from a hospital room). I offered to help Marylou in any way I could...although in the back of my mind I was panicked because I'm no editor!
Two days later, I had my own all-too-real emergency to deal with. My three daughters were in North Carolina for spring break, visiting my oldest daughter and her husband. To make a long story short, my middle daughter, Jill, was taken to a neighborhood urgent care facility on Wednesday morning because of severe flu-like symptoms.
However, later in the afternoon, my oldest daughter called to say they had placed Jill in the ICU at the local hospital because they suspected a life-threatening infection. I dropped everything, packed my toothbrush and hairbrush and drove like a bat out of hell to catch a flight from Denver. I can’t remember ever being so scared and feeling so helpless.
I’ll never forget walking into that ICU room and seeing my daughter hooked up to all the monitors and machines. She looked so small and helpless laying in that big hospital bed.
Jill was diagnosed with toxic shock syndrome – an often fatal strain of sepsis. Only one in about 100,000 people get TSS.
By Friday morning, Jill was beginning to turn the corner, yet not quite out of the woods – but we all felt some relief. The doctor told us that weekend that when Jill came into the ER, she had about a 40 percent chance of living. I almost fainted.
On that same Friday, March 21, we received an email from one of our lead writers, Lindsey Harrison, relaying that her mother had a massive heart attack and was clinging to life in the hospital. She had to cancel interviews for stories and didn’t know if she could finish any article. I called Marylou, and I think we were both in shock all of this was happening during our deadline week.
I am writing this column from North Carolina – thank you Bill Gates and all the other technology gurus for telecommuting. Things have calmed down. A big thanks to Christel Blaylock and Dean Maurry for jumping in and helping me get through my part of the deadline process. Marylou told me the writers rallied to pick up anything that Lindsey couldn’t do. So thanks to all of them as well.
Jill is home from the hospital, and we are staying in North Carolina at my oldest daughter’s home until the doctor says Jill can fly back to Colorado with me.
We obviously made deadline. Jill is getting stronger every day. Marylou is working from Indiana, and her mom is stable. Lindsey’s mom has made a full recovery, and life is somewhat back to normal.
The newspaper business waits for no one. We can’t close up shop for a couple of days or hire temporary help when hit with a crisis. Each member of our team has a specific job, and if one of them is unavailable to do the job; we are scrambling.
However, nothing is more important than family and loved ones, so missing a deadline is nothing compared to missing a chance to be close to a mom or daughter during their time of need. With that said, I am without a doubt extra, extra happy to bring you April’s newspaper.
Have a wonderful spring, and remember to support your local businesses and send us your own news bytes.
See you in May!
P.S. We have a new phone number: 719-484-0384.