Why Mothers Drink – Part 2


It was only November when younger son sent me an email 3 days after a nasty yachting incident in which a rope whipped him across the throat and threw him into the ocean. Link: (Why Mothers Drink Part 1 – though I didn’t know it was going to be a series at the time!)

Once I’d finished a couple of bottles I admonished him for taking so long to tell me his news and asked “IF anything ever happens again I’d like to know straight away”…..   (yeah,  because I’m sure that knowing at the time makes these incidents much less stomach wrenching! )

Well I was enjoying a nice dinner when I got a text message:   “Hey mum,  I’ve been admitted to hospital with >50% collapsed lung.  I’m  fine so don’t worry”. 

Yep, still stomach wrenching and I felt my dinner gurgling around ominously.    

He could not talk –  having tubes inserted into the lung etc… but a few hours later,  doped up on morphine, he was able to gasp out some  details: spontaneous pneumothorax – something “not uncommon”  amongst young, tall males according to the doctor.  He was playing indoor soccer when he felt intense pain in his chest & collapsed, unable to move or breathe properly.   Like a lot of young men though, he waited for it to calm down enough to drive home and went to bed. 

He awoke having trouble breathing and the Princess suggested a medical centre where an x-ray showed the story and he was told he’d have to go straight to hospital.  Not the sort to panic, my son mentioned that he’d like to go home and get his car and a few things (LOL).  The Doctor emphasised this was an “emergency” and that he was at risk of having a cardiac arrest!  An ambulance was called but then it was decided that it would be quicker to put him in a taxi!   

I had a sleepless night in DC waiting for further test results in the wee hours of the morning and then a few hours later, just before my rising time, a welcome text saying he was being discharged to “rest”  at home.    

I asked him:  was this worse than being whipped off the yacht by rope?   He replied “that was closer to death”…..

And, to answer Jane’s question I think 25 might be optimistic –  the Economist just turned 24…!


87 responses

  1. This just proves my hypothesis, kids bounce. It is horribly scary but your son sounds like he’s made of steel. Well, don’t tell him that. So glad he’s okay – I hope you are too, Sweetie!

  2. Gahhh!!!! If that doesn’t call for a drink, I don’t know what does. Is that foolish boy alright? Have you emptied out the nearest liquor store by now?

    • LOL @ emptying out the liquor store – I think next time I will give them an explanation for my full trolley of wine – “I have kids” …. that might stop them looking at me as if I am an alcoholic which they tend to do when I’m in there 🙂 Yes thank you this foolish boy is feeling much better – though a little miffed that there is a list of things he’s not allowed to do for up to the next 6 months!

  3. Oh my gosh, Emjay. I can’t even imagine your concern. Yes, I agree with the others. A bottle of wine (or two or three) may be in order. I hope he is relaxing comfortable now and that you can relax a bit as well. What an ordeal.

    • Monsoon – these types of stories surely put you off having children 🙂 I’ve just spoken to him and he says he feels much better (except for the hole in his chest LOL) . He says that he didn’t realise how close he was to having a cardiac arrest until the doctor in the hospital explained things. Scary!

    • Hi Apolline – bawl means to wail or cry – there’s an expression “bawl like a baby”. I did some crying last night as I am so far away – it takes me nearly 2 days to get home. I think deep down my sons like that I worry over them but they’d never admit that to anyone 🙂

      • I wanted to say : to shout with angry on her mother ! … And I agree : sometimes they wail, but in fact, it’s on themselves … they are afraid to be swamped by Mom, and in the same time, they are happy of her care. 🙂

  4. I just got done reading Jane’s post, and here you are, agonizing over YOUR son. I thought soccer was safer than say, American football! It’s not supposed to be a contact sport or anything that would cause a severe illness or injury, or so I was told.

    At least your son has a sensible female present in his life to make him go to the hospital. But it probably explains why men live shorter lives than women. Risk-taking activities + an almost maniacal avoidance of medical care = a ripping good plot for an action movie or an obituary written for them before they turn 40.

    I hope you were able to get some rest. I don’t think I’d be in any shape to go to work after all those bottles of self-medicating alcohol. 🙂

    • I don’t agree with your comment – if I have understand it … I’m french and very often, do not undestand exactly posts or comments, sorry if it’s the case –
      My opinion is that love is a deep pain, contrary with a common belief … including love for our children ….I’ve four sons …
      Did you read the novel “SONS AND LOVERS ” by D.H. LAWRENCE ?

      • Hmm, what part did you disagree with? I hope I didn’t offend you in any way. I have a 21-year-old son who earlier this month got sideswiped by a car while riding his bicycle at night. He called me after midnight, asking me what I thought he should do, and I said, “Go to the emergency room, of course.” He refused, so I threatened to drive up there and take him myself. He then agreed to go the community clinic: but this boy has given me more skipped heartbeats than I can count. He’s been arrested for protesting against the war, gone homeless for days, fallen down mountains, eaten food from a dumpster. I don’t think love should be a pain, however, which is probably why I don’t like D.H. Lawrence! 😀
        I’ve told my son love should be kind, caring, and compassionate, which is why he should call his mother often and early. Which he does. Most times.

    • @ HG – Isn’t it weird that 2 cousins can be injured in the same sport in the same week! All 3 of my kids have played soccer – yes, even the Princess who was a mighty good striker. I was always happy that the boys had chosen soccer over the supposedly more dangerous football (though the Locksmith did have a couple of seasons playing Gridiron!). Only a month or so
      ago the Economist suffered a hairline fracture of his foot in a game!

      I’m very pleased that he lives with his sister and not a group house of guys. My mother suggested that boys just get up and keep going, refusing to admit something hurts, because they don’t want to appear to be a “sissy” in the eyes of their friends.

      I had a terrible night and I looked a mess at work today but 5pm eventually came about. I spoke to him not long ago and don’t feel that I have to jump on a plane immediately. He’s annoyed that he’s not allowed to drive for a “few days”; exercise for 6-8 weeks or fly for 6 *months* !! He was planning a trip to South America!

    • HG, I must take exception to your second paragraph. If anything, I’ve been the one yelling at the doctor, “Yo! Hellooo! Sick over here! Do something! Hello?” Perhaps I’ll ramble about that sometime in my own space. 🙂

      Emjay, the nonchalant text message is truly amazing. I mean, “>50% COLLAPSED LUNG”?! Aiieee!

      • Hey, you’re older. More mature. I do think sometimes men grow up.

        Within my own experience, the men in my family think going to the doctor is for gurls. My brother at 50 hasn’t been in for a physical in over 10 years. Dad has to go in regularly for his many ailments, but not even cancer has changed his belief that all doctors “are full of baloney!” And my son—“It’s just a scratch. Hm, well, maybe more than a scratch, it looks kind of gross.” [Sound of HG groaning “OMG” over the phone.]

        But a lot of that has to do with getting a good doctor as well. My father likes his GP, so that’s helped a lot. Sounds like you might need a better one too. 🙂

  5. I had to reread this to get the info about spontaneous pneumothorax. That is very weird, but if the doc says it’s not all that unusual he must know!

    I’m very glad the doctor got through to him that he needed to be in the hospital right now. Sometimes our boys aren’t always listening with both ears!

    • LOL @ listening with both ears – so true Lauri. It is a strange thing isn’t it! The three risk factors he has are being male, tall and thin. He doesn’t smoke and there is no family history of lung issues. I did see a few references to loud music being a (possible) cause ….. his car boasts an impressive sound system but I always thought it more likely to cause deafness rather than a lung injury! 🙂

  6. My nephew is similar build, and had the same complaint. He and his wife are expecting their third child in two years so it doesn’t seem to have had any adverse effect on his virility…

    And as an old friend once said, “Don’t think when they leave home they take their problems with them. They just come back with bigger problems”. Now that’s encouraging…

    • It’s strange to think that being tall & thin (and male) is a risk factor to anything serious – I’d never heard of it before in apparently healthy young males. We generally think being “fat” is a problem. LOL @ the virility – I’ll be sure to reassure him of that in our next phone call!
      Your friend sounds as though he is speaking from experience!! 🙂

  7. I think they just like to see if they really DO cause grey hairs on our heads. Like the photos of my son in Iraq. All fine right up until the “Look at the IED we found!” photo… *whimper*

    Glad he’s resting and recovering (although that may be an erroneous assumption?)

    See Mum.

    See Mum drink.

    Drink, Mum, drink.

    • snoringKatZ – LOL – see Mum drink! That’s wonderful! Yes he has a few more days resting before he can start moving around. He is complaining that the “hole” in his chest really hurts – it made my toes curl when he described how they shoved that in without anesthetic! Apparently they just rubbed a bit on the skin, cut and then started pushing and twisting the tube in at the same time as they were inserting a morphine drip. It was done so quickly the morphine hadn’t had a chance to start working.

  8. Oh boy! I mean, with the rope thing I understood your kids reaction. I would have probably done the same. But having trouble breathing … I would have freaked and got to the doctor right away.
    Right now *I*feel like going and beat the crap … uhm pardon me: some common sense into your son LOL

    • LOL Irony – I could feel my own hands curling into fists 🙂 Females have the advantage of not suffering from bravado which probably gets them to the doctor quicker and results in us living longer!

  9. Oh golly, how is he coming on?

    Phil’s nephew is a long lanky thing too and had the same problem – he’s fit and well now and working out in Chile! So the prognosis is good.

    Take some Gaviscon 😉


  10. I’m thinking my comprehension is really low right now: collapsed lungs are COMMON amongst athletic, TALL, white males?

    Good thing I’m swarthy, short, mixed (if you count the Jewish part) and female.

    How SCARY!

    • I’m pretty glad I’m a big hearty female! 🙂 In retelling the story at work I’ve come across another two people who said they were related/knew a tall, thin male who had the same thing happen. I keep being surprised that anyone knows about it at all because it seems so weird. The Dr said it was “not uncommon” which might not mean “common” as we think of the word. This site (http://www.medicinenet.com/pneumothorax/page2.htm) says that 9,000 people in the US have it happen each year which doesn’t seem that many.

      • Thanks for the info. I just read it, vomited a little in the back of my throat (thinking of the aspiration of structures).

        How shocking! I don’t really think 9k sounds that common, either.

  11. Crikey, Emjay! You must have been on edge all night! Sigh – red wine AND chocolate. No, this is a whisky night for sure.
    my son mentioned that he’d like to go home and get his car and a few things – LOL! Sounds like me when I went into labour. I even took a shower before leaving the hosue.

    • I certainly hoed (that looks a funny word!) into the chocolate that night! I was so pleased to have it – so the delayed timing in receiving it actually worked out to be a good thing! LOL @ you taking a shower – I don’t remember doing anything like that but when the eldest boy cut his head open I made this son go and change into respectable clothes and changed the Princess’s nappy (diaper) before i put them in the car for hospital! LOL – heaven forbid I get picked up for child neglect while getting one child’s head sewn up! 🙂

    • Hi Kim – I don’t think the soccer itself caused the lung collapse – it sounds like it was something just waiting to happen and perhaps the running/jostling in the game was the catalyst. He has to wait 8 weeks before he can exercise so the indoor soccer competition will be over by then.

  12. Gaaaaaaaaaaah!!! I know part of you wants to shake him for being so silly to take such chances.

    My son recently went on a “guys” trip with his best friend, except they went to an area of Northern Mexico that is experiencing extreme violence. When I learned from his older brother that my younger son was planning the trip I didn’t even bother speaking to him because I knew it would only enforce his resolve to go. I was really hoping he’d change his mind.

    Imagine my discomfort when my son’s wife called me to say he’d just left the hotel (a resort area) and was heading back to the airport. Gaaaaaaah…I didn’t even know he was there and she tells me he’s supposed to be back at the airport in about 2.5 hours. You can’t imagine my panic. Also, he was driving in the dark!! All the web sites advise NOT driving in the dark. OMGosh….this is an area where people are getting kidnapped and murdered.

    My son’s wife told me her phone battery was going dead and would I please call my son at 8:00. I can’t remember what happened when I tried to call him (I was too scared to even remember) but he called me when he made it to the line at the border.

    I knew it would do absolutely NO good to even discuss this folly. You must understand exactly what I mean. I told my son that maybe some time we’d talk about his trip. I really did not want to talk about it. I still don’t want to speak to him about it. It’s still very upsetting.

    I’m so glad your son is safe and resting at home.

    • Oh LBeeeze – how worrying and unsettling for you! That would tip me into the second bottle! These boys don’t think mums have anything to worry about because “they” *know* they will be okay (in their own minds).

      This particular son of mine and a friend went to Mexico and they were not in the designated pickup spot for the bus back across the border to San Diego. I was very panicked as I couldn’t reach them and then furious to find that they’d just wandered over the border on their own, on foot! They were only 17 years old. Communication was a little frosty for awhile and then just as it thawed I saw photos……… 🙂

      • Well, girls….I am sitting here this morning wondering where my adult son is. He is 24 and went out on a “date” last night with a girl he has never met. They met on an online meetup thingy for young adults in the area. He didn’t come home last night. And he didn’t call. Which if he were trying to be on an adult date I can see him not wanting to call. So I am shifting between thinking he had a great time and spent the night somewhere, and thinking that he was mugged and robbed and left for dead somewhere.
        Sigh. 😛
        It’s definitely too early to “hit the plonk”. Some orange juice will have to do.

        • You could totally embarrass him by calling him on his cellphone right now. Then say as loudly as you can muster (think cheering at a huge football game), “HUNEE? Where are you? I’m SOOO worried about you!” If he doesn’t pick up, scream into his voice mail. And call again right after that.

          I know they’re adults and have the right to their own lives, but if they’re going to live with you, the least they can do is tell you they’re not coming home that night. *growl*

          • I finally realized that he was probably out late and had stayed with his friend who lives down closer to where Aaron works. I sent a text just saying “Hello???” and he texted back immediately “I’m on my way home right now.”
            Turns out he had a really nice date with this girl, lasted until 12:30 am, and then it was too late to call (by his thinking :P) and he did stay down with his friend south of here.
            So he is home and all is well.
            For now….

          • Aww….well, that’s okay then. But he could have at least texted that night.

            My kiddo called me at midnight last night. “Just wanna see how you are.” It was very sweet, but I was half asleep already and almost jumped out of my skin when the phone buzzed. I thought it was another “I just got in a major accident and my leg is dangling limply from my hip. What should I do?” call. :-0

        • Girls: I agree with LOM – never too early for a mimosa!
          Lauri : I’m glad your son “turned up” – my kids were the same thinking that it’s “too late” to call – I insist on text messages. And LOL HG – mine have problems with the time difference so I tend to get a few of those “how are you going mum” messages at 1 or 2am! The noise of the text dropping in wakes me even though it’s not a loud jarring noise – I think mothers are just programmed to be in a half state of sleep, always semi-expecting to be woken by bad news.

          • Aaron always called up until now. So, this provides the opportunity for me to tell him “From now on, just TEXT!”.

            He’s such a good kid. But, the one that always has me wondering “What’s going to happen next?”.

          • Aye to that – bad news or hungry little ones.
            Vuvu woke me this morning with insistent thumping at 5ish. I went downstairs and opened the back door after making sure it was nothing in the house…and could hear the neighbour’s chickens raising cain. Of course it must be a fox and the eejits probably have not fox proofed, most people tend to do that AFTER a disaster (not me).
            blah blah…sorry, TOO EARLY, thanks Vuvuzella!

    • ” I didn’t even bother speaking to him because I knew it would only enforce his resolve to go.” Bless….I do not blame you for being well angry. And you are very wise. It took me awhile to figure that and some other things out about being a Mom to a young man.
      I had this same discussion recently with a neighbour whose son is in his 30s now. We simply can not make them do/not do anything once they get past like 16 or 17, and as long as we did our part while they were growing up, we are not responsible for whatever they frak up later. Or even before that if they had put their damn mind to it and defied Mom’s law.
      This also causes me guilt sometimes though. Like, I did not do enough – but that is bullshit – I probably did TOO much at times (a couple of friends claimed I pampered him, but then, I do that to everyone I love).

  13. I don’t believe, prior to becoming mothers, that we can appreciate the full extent of our emotional commitment once we have done so. It’s really quite automatic, like a switch has been flipped that cannot be turned off and it does not cease as they age–at least in my experience. Oldest son is about to turn 28. He set off for Europe from the States about a month ago–no emails, no text, no phone calls for weeks on end. Once, his younger brother took a message to please check his elder brother’s snail mail (for a cheque, most likely). Finally, I caved and emailed him stating that I was looking for confirmation that he was still among the living. I got a breezy email in return–yes, all is fantastic (this is his first trip off the continent). (He’d gone and met up with a woman from London he got to know on the Internet so I wasn’t being paranoid.)
    The flip side is his 18 y.o. brother. Lives at home, works, plans to transfer to uni in the fall for engineering. We nag him to get off the computer. He has no desire to club or gallivant around–just hang with other brainy-nerdy types. Secretly, I’m quite relieved.
    We want our kids to see the world, to have adventures but the price we pay for it! I suppose it’s a bit late to reconsider this motherhood thing. :p
    Hoping your son heals quickly and that you have a restive weekend!

    • Cyn you are so right. Even though the umbilical cord is physically cut it might as well still be right there connecting us. I’m sure the worry never ends – so many things I don’t tell my parents because I know it will send them into a panic even though I’m 53 and they’re nearly 80! 🙂 so LOL I just realised I’m no better than my kids!

      Oh your son was naughty! When this son went off to Europe I got an email about once a week so I knew he was still around and where he was, but when he went to Thailand (which I considered way more worrisome as he was going to the Full Moon Party and travelling with a group of guys) I got a message when he landed in Bangkok and then a message 3 weeks later when he landed back in Sydney.

      My elder son is 26 and expended all his wildness at home & school as a horror child and teenager. 🙂 The only trips he’s had have been straight to DC and then straight back to Sydney – he is most comfortable with a routine at home.

      My daughter is a bit of a worrier so hopefully that will keep her out of danger! When she went to Thailand with her boyfriend I got a message of some sort from her nearly every day. I think she instinctively knows she will be going through the same worries one day!

  14. That’s a scary story Emjay, and I’d never heard of it being common amongst tall thin men. It really is a wonder sometimes how any of us men ever survive into middle age and beyond. Hope he’s going to be completely OK…..and yep, this parenting business never ends once you’ve got em. 🙂

  15. My favorite FaceBook update, now we look back on it, came from Andy and Kel (Son and Daughter-in-law) when they were travelling near the Galapagos Islands.

    “Went diving today and Kel ran out of air.”

    5 days later we got the next update and a quizzical look when we asked about the delay.

    Mind you I’m getting used to grey hair.

    • LOL – that’s like that game where one is giving you hints that are not quite clear enough to determine an answer and you get to ask “uh, more information”. My hair colour comes out of a box these days!

  16. Pingback: Update from DownUnder | Aussieemjay's Blog

  17. Pingback: This is Why Mothers Drink | Aussieemjay's Blog

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