knows that I think my dad is the most adorable man in the world. I mean look at him.
We have come an awfully long way from the days when he would pick me up from high school and we wouldn’t say a word because I was such an emotional and sensitive teenager. Not much has changed about the emotional part other than I am ten years older and that my dad is now one of the most understanding people in my life. He greets me with “Hello, Gorgeous” when I call and never hangs up without telling me he loves me. He even lets me curse once in a while after a really hard day. All he wants is for me to be happy. I didn’t understand why parents all say they want their kids to be happy until I saw how hurt mine are when I am unhappy. My dad thinks I can do anything, wants me to believe in myself, and whether or not he knows it, he is teaching me how to accept love.
I have been very well taken care of these past few weeks as my family’s world has been rocked. My dad is recovering and even drove for the first time today :) I have the most amazing support system in the world and I am so thankful to be able to tell you my dad’s story and brag about the wonderful people in my life. I’ll tell ya the details and then I’ll tell you how we managed to get through it…together.
A few weeks ago, doctors found a nodule on my dad’s prostate and wanted it removed. It wasn’t a big procedure but they just wanted to be safe. He went in for pre-admission testing on Wednesday and a very low heart rate was found. But they sent him home and promised to call later. No one called and dad got very weak very quickly. (The normal heart rate is between 60-100 beats per minute.) Dad’s heart was beating only 35 times per minute when he was advised to get to the hospital on Thursday.
I was teaching one of my students how to tie his shoes during his lunch on a Thursday and he was trying to convince me that his cat could sing and that she was going to karaoke that weekend. I told him that he was fibber but that my dog could actually sing. Watch this, I said. I’ll call my dad and he’ll have my dog sing for you. I called my dad’s cell and he didn’t answer. My phone rang a few minutes later and it said “Dad” but it was mom. Weird. Why would mom be answering dad’s phone on a Thursday when she should be at work. Patty (my mom) isn’t too great at dealing with these things but when she told me daddy was in the hospital (and I knew he shouldn’t be until the next day) I told her that I couldn’t talk right now as I was with a student.
I called back and talked to my aunt after shoe-tying lessons were over. She told me that dad’s heart rate was very low and I said, “Should I come home?”. She didn’t say no. I got through the rest of class. My best friend at work gave me her car without a second thought and I got to Philly in 5 hours rather than the usual 6.
When I got to see my dad on Friday morning his heart rate was consistently at 21bpm. His alarms kept going off and doctors were in and out. My dad. My 175 lb, 6’3” dad who walks three miles a day was awfully sick. It’s still too soon for me to go into detail just how scary it was and how badly I wish I was home with dad, but like mom said, we need to get back to normal. Dad received a pacemaker and defibrillator which is essentially $100,000 worth of lifesaving technology inside him that is keeping him alive and with us. He will be able to regain an almost normal lifestyle but patience is key. We spent 5 days in the ICU and we were so well cared for by family, friends, and the doctors and nurses.
Dad had been having what he thought was a cold for a few weeks. Turns out, he actually had a virus that attacked the conduction system of his heart. Basically, the wires that connect the top of his heart (which sends the beat to the bottom) were attacked, leaving them frayed and barely working. It was an aggressive virus and it turned our worlds upside down, but we kicked it in the butt. We used a lot of humor to get through it: we made a trivia game for the hospital, I played with dad’s new sling, and we even passed out PAWs (which are rewards that students in my school get for good behaviors) to the nurses. Tricia and I also took selfies in the ICU bathroom and disappointed Patty with our crude humor.
How did I get through it? Well, I had my 3 best friends from childhood all on one text chain-one ready to take off work early and come be with me, another bringing me zzzQuil so I could actually sleep at night, and another renting out her parents to me in case I needed to escape even though she was back here in Boston. My three longest friends in life-we’ve put up with one another’s crap and we’ve been there when the others hurt. But this time, we were all connected at once because that’s what friends, true friends, do. I just had to let them know something was wrong and they were keeping me safe. Makes me think of this quote from The Perks of Being A Wallflower: Sam and Patrick looked at me. And I looked at them. And I think they knew. Not anything specific really. They just knew. And I think thats all you can ask from a friend.”
I had my best four-legged friend greet me every time I walked in the door, without dad. She laid next to me on the floor when I collapsed in fear and sobbed loudly. She laid next to me every single night-even when dad came home. She did NOT leave my side. She took me for walks and nudged herself as close to me as she could and I never felt alone.
My best friend from college called me from Bahrain where she is deployed. As always she never lets me suffer alone. My 12 best from college all called and texted and e-mailed and felt with me. My greatest high school friends got me out of the house, got me some beers, and let me be exactly as I was. My Boston family took my students under their wings and made sure I had what I needed: which was to be with my family for as long as I needed. My family never faltered. My mom never left my dad’s side, except when he told her to go home at night because HE wanted to sleep :) Thirty-four years later, they are now connected by another experience through which love prevailed.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. For the love, the calls, the e-mails, the support and most importantly your patience as I not-so-easily fall back into my life in Boston. Love is all around.
I’ve been to the voice specialist four times since seeing I was healed, each time telling myself that if all was clear, I’d share my excitement. I’m following through on the deal I made with myself before taking another look yesterday (healed, just need to accept it.) This is getting VERY exciting.
I remember the late late nights when she was young and her voice only held cries. She is older now, her voice changes all through the day, but I know every word she says to me. What bonds we make with those that love us without question.
just like me and my rox :)
Favorite book, obsessed with the movie, love love love
How curious the things we attach our hearts to…transitory things, things that will break and age, whither and pass on before we are ready. How curious the cling when they are new and the slow uncurling of your tired fingers as they become commonplace in our days. Cling, cling while there is strength left in those hands, and shout your love regenerated into the hollow spots where commonplace tries to reside.