My dad is in intensive care.
He went to the hospital on Wednesday afternoon with some mild chest pain. Yesterday they did a heart catheterization... and almost lost him. His blood was so thinned from anti-clot medication that he need two transfusions and emergency surgery to close up the artery.
When I visited him yesterday after he came out of surgery, he wasn't doing too well, but gradually started to seem more like himself.
So much so, in fact, that when a nurse came in to do a procedure that makes my husband squirm just to think about it, so I won't even mention it here except to say that it has to do with not being able to get up to go to the bathroom to pee, my dad started cracking jokes with her. I'm not kidding. He launched into what we in the family refer to as "The Chocolate Chip Cookies" joke, as opposed to one of his other favorites which is the "Don't Mess With Aunt Sue When She's Been Drinking" joke.
Yep, that's my dad! And that's when I knew he was feeling pretty darn good.
But even if he was feeling pretty good, it turns out his heart isn't in such great shape. First they thought it was just atrial fibrillation, but the cath showed major blockage. So, tomorrow he goes in for the gold standard in heart surgery: A triple or quadruple bypass.
Today we talked with the doctors, anesthesiologist, nurse clinician, and other nurses. Today we spent time with Dad, and laughed and talked and reminisced. Today I took my kids down to see him, and his eyes lit up and he proudly introduced his grandchildren (four of the nine) to the nurse.
Today I remembered how many times I've told my Dad I love him, and that he's been a wonderful dad to me. Today I remembered how he taught me to be responsible, and charitable, and generous to the Church and the poor, and to work hard, and be faithful to your vows and your commitments, and to volunteer, and to always be there for your family. So I knew that today, I didn't have to try to tell him all those things, because I did. He knows.
Tomorrow my mom and brothers and I will wait in the limbo otherwise known as the Surgery Waiting Room. We'll go to the chapel and pray a rosary. We'll get coffee and breakfast and talk. We'll try not to imagine the worst. We'll wait and hope that the doctor will eventually come out and say "all went well".
I remember a few years ago: we were all together, walking away from a restaurant, I believe, and I saw my parents walking together a few yards ahead of me. I realized with a shock how small they were getting; my dad bent over a bit, leaning on his cane, my mom always so tiny but now even tinier. They seemed to be just shrinking, I thought, until one day they would simply disappear...
But, to paraphrase Scarlett O'Hara, I can't think about that now. So, tonight I'll try to keep the laundry going here, make some meals and run some small errands, tuck the kids into bed, and get some sleep.
Then tomorrow I'll get up before dawn and go to the hospital, kiss my dad and tell him I love him one more time ... and then hope and pray that I will be able to tell him that again before the week is over.
Friday, October 26, 2007
My dad is in intensive care.