Distance Parenting or: The Curse of Modern Technology
Deepest thanks to all of my readers who sent me such kind words of encouragement after my last pitiful little 'I'm -so-sorry-for-myself-because-my-son-is-at-University-in-the-US-and-I-had-to-come-back-to-Korea' blog post. It's been just over a week since I got on the plane and left him behind to the tender in loco parentis mercies of the impersonal University system, and - up until yesterday - things seemed to be going swimmingly.
Thanks to the wonders of Skype and FaceBook instant messenger, MrLogical and I have been able to chat with him at odd times during the week and ascertain that he had been tested and enrolled into appropriate courses, had a suitable meal plan, had enough money to pay for his books, and found his new roommates (when they returned from Christmas break) to be congenial. He'd driven up to Dallas to see a concert and visit some high school friends, test-driven the new mountain bike (purchased for him by his bicycle-loving father
Yesterday morning (here in Korea) MrLogical and I - enjoying a day off, thanks to Lunar New Year celebrations - caught him in passing on Instant Messenger over our morning coffee. After a brief chat about generalities, the IM was taken over by MrLogical, who wanted to discuss Son#1's mountain bike As the conversation devolved into MrL holding forth on the technicalities of bicycle maintenance schedules, I leaned back with my coffee, only half paying attention to the words popping up between the on the computer screen. Just as I'd almost decided to go do something
And, of course, when MrLogical and I (insisting on a video session on Skype after this statement) saw his face - looking very much like he'd had several teeth extracted, or was suffering from a terrible one-sided case of the mumps - we
(Note: Having been through a harrowing ordeal a number of years ago involving a drug-resistant infection that had taken up residence in MrLogical (quote from the surgeon: "I think we can save the leg"), I am probably more cautious than the average bear when it comes to infection, but my personal motto - as paranoid as it sounds - is "Never Fool Around With Infections That Are Close To Your Brain" and I stand by it.)
Accordingly, Son#1 made his way off to the nearest Urgent Treatment Center, where they ascertained that, yes, he did have an infection and, yes, he did need antibiotics. Strong ones. The kind they use for 'serious infections'. (See? I'm not as paranoid as you thought.)
But there was more. Once diagnosed and armed with the prescription, Son#1 was able to experience the joys of driving around the city on a Sunday night in the dark and cold with a painfully swollen face - and hay fever to boot -, trying to find a 24-hour pharmacy, doubtless wishing he had never mentioned the damn cut to us in the first place, and knowing full well that, although there was nothing more that he would like than to simply go back home, get in bed, and get the prescription filled in the morning, it was patently impossible, because we, his parents, would nag him electronically, long-distance, by all possible means until the prescription was filled and we were satisfied that he had, indeed, begun treatment.
Enough to make any university student wish for the bygone days of the 70s, 80s and 90s when the only way parents could nag long-distance was via the telephone.
(Note: As of this writing, Son#1 is responding well to treatment, no longer looks quite so much like the Elephant Man, and has just returned from having two rocks medically extracted from his thumb as a result of a (completely different) mountain biking escapade, causing MrLogical to burst with pride. It's going to be a long semester.)