By all accounts, this past week had all the makings of a tragedy (or at least a near-tragedy). A week ago Friday, my Dad went to the hospital for a heart catheterization. Less than an hour later, he was rushed across town for open-heart surgery. After seven days reminiscent of the Sandra Bullock film “While You Were Sleeping”, he finally opened his eyes and was back with us.
This was his third warning. Many people don’t get one, never mind three.
Bottom line: he scared the heck out of us. ..again.
To cope with the stress of the situation, my stepmother, my sister and I have been keeping track of the goings-on while he’s been sampling the pretty colors of another planet.
Day 1: My stepmother changed the cat litter before heading up to the hospital. Late that afternoon she arrived home, only to be greeted by a steaming pile of cat-stuff on the rug . “Oh no, not again!” was her cry, as she flashed back to the cat’s Summer ailment which caused similar pile-ups. Her worry quickly disappeared as she discovered the reason: she’d accidentally turned the litterbox so that the dome’s opening was facing the wall, making entry impossible.
Day 3: My sister, fresh off a plane from Dallas, wanted to see our Dad. I let her borrow my car…and it was snowing. Less than fifteen minutes later came the call: “I just crashed your car!” As I arrived on the scene, she was already in the ambulance, being checked out (she’s okay, just sore). They asked which hospital she would like to be brought to. Her reply: “Well, I was already headed to this one, please take me there”. She got her wish, and a ride in a shiny red ambulance.
Day 5: My stepbrother David unveiled the funniest (or most cruel, depending upon whom you ask) idea for my Dad’s Christmas gift: a 2012 calendar, to make him think he’ been napping for two years. He even wanted to tell him that the Red Sox had re-signed Manny Ramirez. ka-POW!!
We’ve kept track of these incidents, and many more, throughout the week.
The laughs have helped us to hang on through the stress, and bond as a family. It has been a way to blow off steam, and to celebrate my Dad’s life while we waited for him to return.
As soon as he woke up, we began sharing slivers of information. The first nurse he communicated with was Cynthia, a wonderfully sweet woman. He waved her over, pinched her cheek and hoarsely mouthed the words ‘thank you’.
I will admit, tragedy was winning for part of the week. Concerned doctors reporting a lack of progress nearly derailed our hopes several times.
But the comedy that came from it will be stamped in our memories, forever.