Flumes Vol. 5: Issue 1, Summer 2020 | Page 91

It’s the last message, though, that really brings me up short. It’s my sister, telling me that our father has fallen on a patch of ice at home, and is on his way to the hospital. We don’t know it yet, but he has two cracked vertebrae in his neck and will have emergency surgery in less than 36 hours. The procedure will be done by the only spinal surgeon in the rural part of Indianawhere they live. When I learn all this, my laugh will have a slightly jealous twinge to it. I’ve been waiting eight months for back surgery here in the Netherlands, and have seen no fewer than four neurosurgeons in and around Haarlem alone.

What I wouldn’t give for an ice patch of my own!

With some semblance of purpose, I buy a plane ticket back to the US, book the rental car, and start helping my mother navigate the labyrinth of American health care. After I’m done with the travel arrangements, I call the scheduling nurse at hospital in Haarlem and tell her, in marginal Dutch, that I have a family emergency and that my long-sought-after surgery date will have to be pushed back a little further, maybe even into early summer.

That’s when she suggests Zandvoort as a relaxing place to stay while I recover.

“Get a Superschnitzel!” she says, just before I hang up on her.



Kiara Koenig