Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dad sure scared us this weekend

Saturday morning, the day before Father's Day, my mom calls me. Ok, that worries me right there, because my mom DOES NOT CALL, her five kids are expected to call her. Now she has a cell phone that my oldest brother bought and pays for. It is on his family plan. This brother is a millionaire. Literally, several times over in fact. But my mom won't use the cell phone because she doesn't want to cost John any money. I am sure the thing is a business write off for him and that he has that plan with unlimited minutes, but mom won't use the phone and she expects all her other not rich kids to use their minutes and money to call her. By the way, mom can afford all this herself but lets just say that when it comes to pinching pennies, Mom is right up there with the best of the penny pinchers.
Ok, back to my story. Mom calls. She is at the emergency room with my Dad. Dad started having severe chest pains. Mom called an ambulance, moved ALL of her knickknacks and furniture out of the way so the paramedics can get in her crowded house and to my dad. Of course, she now has a backache, because my mom doesn't do that kind of stuff. She makes my dad do it or my two sons, who live near her. The paramedics check Dad, give him nitro gyclerin and take him to the hospital with the lights flashing and the siren blaring.
Mom and Dad live on a cul-de-sac, on a two block long street. They have lived in that house since 1966. Nearly every neighbor has lived there at least that long or longer. As soon as the ambulance gets there, 90% of the neighbors arrive. Supposedly to offer my mom a ride to the hospital as she doesn't drive. But actually they are all curious. They know my dad turns 81 in August and he is high on the neighborhood lottery to be the next one to die. This is typical, the whole neighborhood knows your business, whether you want them to or not.
Mom gets a ride to the hospital with a neighbor whose first husband left in an ambulance years ago, with chest pains. He was young. He was a cop. They had a teen age daughter. They had two, but one died the year before with a brain anuerism, she was the first person I ever knew that died. Anyway, the cop never came home. I remember his face being black.
When Mom called she said that my dad's color was bad. She was definitely scared. She said that Dad was already in the operating room getting an angiogram. Mom was freaking out about that, said it is a dangerous test, that it can kill you. She said that she had to sign papers that if they found anything, they could do surgery right then.
So.....that was the day before Father's day. I am left wondering if I will have a Dad on Father's day. I call my kids, the rest of my siblings that mom hasn't called yet, including my sister who lives in Thailand. We wait.
Ok, Mom calls back a couple of hours later. GOOD NEWS. Dad's heart is fine. Perfectly fine. But they don't know what caused the chest pain. The bad color. They don't know why the symptoms responded to nitro glycerin when it was not his heart. So, we wait some more while more tests are run.
Father's Day. I call the hospital. GOOD NEWS. It turns out that Dad has gall stones. Never had a single symptom before that chest pain. They can operate. He will be ok. I talk to Dad. Dad says he had to go to the hospital because it was the only way he could be sure that all of his kids would call him on Father's day. This is Dad's humor, because not one of the 5 kids he has has EVER missed calling him on Father's Day.
Anyway, I am grateful. Dad is still around. He had surgery on Monday. He is fine. Tomorrow he goes home. I'm hoping he will be around next Father's Day too. I'm grateful for every day he is with us because 10 years ago he had lung cancer and lost one lung. Even his doctors do not know he lived thru that one. He spent 3 weeks in intensive care, had to have 27 pints of blood. He had 3 major operations in 12 hours, the lung, a bladder operation because he had blood clots from the lung removal, and then an artery blew in his chest after the bladder operation.
I guess Dad is a survivor. Everytime we think he is down for the count, he rallies. I think he doesn't want to leave my mom alone, he thinks she can't live without him. I suspect he is right. So, for now, Dad didn't lose the neighborhood death lottery.
LOVE you Dad, thanks for beating the odds once again.
Kat, your #1 daughter

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