Caffeine-addled ramblings, rants, and random thoughts about my life in pursuit of utter awesomeness and general kickassery.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Hurry Up and Wait Part II

We just got word. The surgery went well, and he's in recovery. They ended up not needing to replace the valve after all.

We're allowed to see him. Even though he's still out, it's good to see him.


Recovery goes well, and he's on his way to outliving me again.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Hurry Up and Wait

(NOTE: Going to get serious here a bit. Been working on this post for six months now, so forgive me if it's too serious and if some of the timeframes are incorrect. Bear with me and then after this I'll go back to being a smartass.)

Been sitting in a hospital waiting room with my Mom & sisters for three days now. Turns out my Dad has had at least three prior mini-heart attacks since Thanksgiving. The shortness-of-breath type. And didn't tell anyone.

The angiogram shows 90-95% blockage in five arteries and a leaking ventricular valve. It really shocked us. Yes, my Dad is 74. But he's probably the lowest-risk person in my entire family. He's almost underweight, has low blood pressure, low cholesterol, doesn't smoke, is very active, no real family history... In other words, he's healthier than I am. Things like this always make you realize that there is no real way to completely avoid issues. Just postpone (Keith Richards being the exception, as always).

After I got that call on the 8th, I made the post 8:17 at work, grabbed some stuff I was working on and some clothes from home, and drove down to San Antonio, of course dropping Murphy off at Lil's first (Love you sweetie). Visiting hours in CCU allow for 10 minutes every 2 hours, and luckily I got there right in time to go in. Passing by several beds of very scared and lonely-looking patients, I heard laughter coming from the back, towards my Dad's bed.

He's a funny guy, and had apparently said something to crack up the nurse. I walk around the curtain and see him squinting through his glasses at the tiny TV about two feet in front of his face. The Discovery Channel, of course. He looks up at me, and I I hug him he gives me that smirk that I inherited and shakes his head. He doesn't have to say any more. I know he's annoyed with the fact that he's laid up in bed and can't go anywhere or do anything. But he's in good spirits, even though he has a catheter in, which he was more than happy to show me. I know he's at that age where he has little shame, but the last thing I ever want to see is my pop's junk.

He tells me they're planning a quintuple bypass, and what they might do with the valve. They're either going to put a sleeve around it or replace it with a pig valve. I tell him that if he has a choice, go with the pig valve so his farts will smell like bacon (I also got my sense of humor from him).

The surgery isn't going to be until Monday, so the next few days it goes like that: Every two hours we go in for five minutes at a time (only two at a time and there are four of us), and in between we pretty much stare at one another and talk. It's wonderful that I have such a great family, and makes me realize how little chance we have to just be together. I mean, we do see one another every few months, but since my sisters have families, usually the conversation revolves around my nephews and nieces. Then at night we go back to the 'rent's house, sleep and in the morning go back to start it all over again.

Around Sunday Dad does start to get a little nervous, but tries his best to hide it. That's just how he is.

On Monday morning we get there early, because we wanted to see him before he goes into surgery. We get to see him around 6am, and they've already given him the first dose of anesthesia, so he's a little groggy. He doesn't say much, and as he looks at me I'm trying my best to hold back the tears, even though he probably won't remember. For the first time this whole week, I'm scared. The nurse comes and says that we'll have to go. They let Mom stay with him for now, and as I hug him goodbye and kiss him on the cheek, he squeezes my arm hard and mouths the words, "Love you."

I Love you too Dad.

Friday, January 8, 2010


I missed a call from my Mom this morning. I was trying desperately to get all the shampoo out of my hair with the trickle coming out of the nozzle. I heard the phone ring, but typically anyone calling my phone that early is nobody I care to speak with.

Getting out and drying my hair, I reached over and pulled up the log.

"Missed call from Mom Cell."

She's had a cell phone for a while now. Thing was, she never turned it on. "Just for emergencies," she told us. Well, yeah,but what if we were the ones with an emergency?

I called her immediately back. No answer.

Panic set in.

I was in the hopes that she would be leaving a voice mail. She's notorious for leaving much longer than necessary messages.

No alert popped up.

Reaching for the phone again to call, it started ringing.

Mom Cell, it glared.

"Good Morning. I wanted to let you know that Dad had a mild heart attack this morning."

He's apparently fine, in fact I heard him in the background telling her what to tell me. He's in ICU, they're scheduling an angiogram this afternoon.

Though I didn't hear much after "this morning."

Mortality is something you try to not think about. It's the elephant in the room. He's in his 70s now, and the ugly truth sometimes sneaks up on you and punches you in the gut.

But still you put it in the back of your mind. "I'll deal with it when it happens," you tell yourself constantly. Thing is, my family's always had an almost whimsical view of death. Growing up in Small Town, Texas, it seemed that there was always a funeral or wedding to go to. Someone who lived near us, an odd great-uncle/aunt/grandparent/third-cousin-twice-removed... I had probably attended more funerals before age 7 than most people attend in their entire lives. It was something I became accustomed to, namely the fact that people die.

But not in my backyard, so to speak.

the worst part is, I'm freaking the fuck out, and he's fine. He's recovering. I should be comforted by that.

No clue as to why I'm not.

Maybe I'll have some answers for myself when I go see him.

I Love you, Dad.