I remember the day like it was yesterday. It was my son’s draft year and we had just arrived home from practice. He had been slower than normal during practice and he said that his leg was a bit sore. It’s funny because, before hockey was in our lives, I used to worry so much about my kids if they were injured. Did it hurt? Was it something serious? Did we need to get it looked at right away? Once he started playing competitive hockey, I’m embarrassed to admit that an injury caused panic more than it did concern. I started thinking: How quickly can we get him back on the ice? How will this affect his draft year? Yes, you read that right, that was the first thing that entered my mind-talk about priorities, right?
After taking him to the doctor, we determined that he had a hernia in his groin area which is quite common in goalies. The first doctor said he could continue to play as long as it didn’t get any worse. My husband and son loved that answer and ran with it. I remember taking him to practice and the coach looking at me like I was crazy. He pointed out that we should have never put him on the ice until this hernia was repaired. After the practice I could see he was in agony. We took him for a second opinion and the doctor determined that he needed to have surgery and he should stay off the ice until it was removed. The worst part was that it would take at least six weeks to get him in and it would be a six-week recovery. He was devastated and so were we. You’d think we’d be worried that it would rupture or that he was in terrible pain, and we were, but I’d be lying if I said that was our first concern. My greatest concern was that he was missing a huge opportunity in a year that his performance really mattered.
I called around to see if I could get him into a surgeon sooner. I tried to explain why timing was so important, but of course the doctors didn’t see him as a priority and, quite honestly, they shouldn’t have.
Here is the excerpt from the book which describes my desperation in looking for a doctor for my son’s hernia surgery. I was at an “Awards Night” at the school when I discovered that the hernia surgeon I’d been trying to reach was sitting right in front of me. This is probably a story that I shouldn’t share, given my behaviour, but it’s the best example of how this game turned me into something I wasn’t always very proud of.
“…there was an Awards Ceremony at the school, and we went. My son had made the honour roll and we were there to see him to get his award. Thankfully it was a good distraction. I noticed a couple sitting right in front of me who would clap every time a girl named Lisa Fisher was called. Right there in the middle of the ceremony, it hit me: Dr. Fisher, the hernia surgeon, was sitting right in front of us.
What were the chances? I just couldn’t miss an opportunity like this. I was certain that once he met me and heard my son’s story, he wouldn’t care that I had totally interrupted his night to talk to him about work.
After the ceremony, I sauntered into the reception area and found Dr. Fisher standing alone, eating a cookie. I walked towards him, hoping that my husband was busy talking to someone else, and I introduced myself to him. I mentioned that I had tried to call his office a couple of times, to which he responded, “I would have returned your calls, but I was busy caring for my cancer patients.”
Okay, point taken, I had officially lost my marbles. I was at an Awards Night, cornering a doctor so I could try and get my son into a non- life -threatening surgery sooner, just to get him back on the ice. I was that parent; oh no, I was that parent.”
Do I really need to say more? Hockey turned me inside out on more than one occasion. I wrote this book so people could learn from my mistakes, take something from my lessons, and maybe avoid cornering a doctor during an Awards Ceremony at the school.
- Written by Allyson Tufts
This article is the property of Allyson Tufts and is not to be used without her permission.