Saturday, 25 April 2009

A different Anzac Day

Life’s full of surprises.

This time last week I was planning to drive down to Brisbane today to march with the few members of my unit that I know who live reasonably close. I’ve taken to marching in Brisbane, as there aren’t any of my old cronies (as far as I know) living in Toowoomba, and I’ve never encountered anyone from my battalion marching in this town.

On Tuesday my sister phoned, more than a little distressed, to tell me that my 11 year old nephew (my youngest brother’s only son) had collapsed at school. He’d been taken to hospital, and a CAT scan had revealed a cerebral tumour. My brother (a GP himself in a local practice) had followed the ambulance down the mountain to Brisbane where my nephew was admitted for urgent surgery, initially to remove pressure from his brain, and then, after extensive investigation, to remove the tumour.

The first procedure was performed on Thursday, and the second – very delicate because of the location of the tumour – scheduled for today.

One of the activities not trumped by Anzac Day is lifesaving surgery. My wife and I drove down to be with my brother this morning, and we spent the bulk of the day with him, my sister, my niece (who happens to be a paediatrician) and one of my other brothers who lives in Brisbane. There are times when large families are a real asset.

The surgery lasted about seven hours, and he came through apparently OK. As my very relieved bother said – his Obs are good and there were no nasty surprises. I think that’s medspeak for he’s doing as well as can be expected. There’s a long journey ahead of him and lots of tough stuff (chemotherapy etc) to come.

He’s a tough little rooster and did his best leading up to the surgery to do everything he was told to by the hospital staff. He was scared, but as my dad used to say, to be very brave, you first must be very scared.

He is very brave.

So that’s where I spent Anzac Day. There was never a thought to be anywhere else.

Hugh White - Without America

Hugh White is always provocative, and doesn't pull any punches when it comes to criticising current defence policy. In 1995, he was appo...