In the end, it wasn't really their fault that they missed the recital.
They had changed their plans: instead of meeting up with the Bs, they decided to come down and see the girls sing. They arrived Friday afternoon. On Saturday morning, they were showered and ready to go well ahead of time.
And then their plans changed. Again.
"My eye still hurts," he said. "It's not a sharp pain, but it kept me awake. I feel pressure behind it."
"Well," she said, "I think you should call your doctor. We have time. And they should have a physician on call, I would think."
He thought about her words, considered them, probably tossed them out before they'd even settled into his brain. But her sister called, the clinician, and she told her about what he'd said--about the pain, the pressure. The sister ran through a battery of simple tests over the phone, all of which he cleared, but she suggested as well that he call his doctor.
And so he did.
After explaining to the nurse on call what he'd experienced (this included double vision on the morning they drove down), the nurse suggested he be seen at an urgent care or ER in the area.
She took the phone from him to ask the nurse a question. "What's the window of time we have? We're supposed to go to a recital in about 45 minutes. Can it wait, or should he go now?" She knew in her heart he wanted to see the recital--she wanted to see it, too--but his health might depend on seeing a doctor at the right time.
"Oh, you've got about a four-hour window, hon. Get him there before then, and you'll be good."
She thanked the nurse on call for her time, and reported back to him.
"You have a four-hour window. We'll ask the teacher to have the girls go first and then we'll leave early and head over to the ER after we hear them. Is that okay with you?"
"Sure," he said. "I feel okay."
But then he ambled to the bathroom, and declared that he was going to vomit. Vomit always makes everything just a little bit worse. What if the pressure in his eye was also pressuring something else? What if the vomiting indicated something far more severe than she could see? Too many questions without answers.
Those plans they had? They'd changed again.
"We're going now. We're going to the ER now," she said.
"Okay," he said. No fight, no squabble.
She smooched the kids on their foreheads, apologized for not seeing them sing, and herded him and his wife to the car. The five minute trip to the ER was without incident, and the empty ER welcomed them quickly. He apologized at least a couple of times for missing the recital. But what was she to do?
Despite the pain, despite the disappointment, despite everything that had happened in the past, he was family. And family takes care of family.