A few years ago, I was riding in a car with a friend and I saw my dad's work truck parked in the distance. Immediately, I got huge smile on my face and pointed, "That's my dad!"
My friend said, "I hope someday my kid is that happy when he sees me."
It was just a typical Tuesday night in April that ended up with me calling my best friend in a fury of hysteria after writing my dad's eulogy. I'd like the preface this by saying I don't normally write premature eulogies.
Friend: But, your dad is perfectly healthy. Like, actually, he's healthier than you.
Me: I have been having weird dreams lately. And I just felt I needed to do it now. Someday he'll die, and since I won't be able to function... I figured I'd be proactive. I'll give it to you and when the time comes, you can just read it for me or something.
Friend: I get it.
And she does get it. That's why I called her. She wouldn't remind me of how completely insane I was acting - because she's in the same horrible boat. We both have this sort of uniquely terrifying and amazing relationship with our parents. Our worlds kind of revolve around them and vice versa. It'd say it's both a blessing and a curse, but that's just unfair. Nothing about it is a curse. But I simply cannot imagine a world where they do not exist.
I printed this inside my wedding program:
All of that is incredibly true. Plus a thousand other things there'd never be enough time to write. To say, "he's one of the good ones" would be absurd. He is THE best person I've ever known. A man who deserves a stellar eulogy, and not a sobbing, blubbering idiot daughter too stricken by grief to form a coherent statement.
Or at least that was the progression of thoughts that led to me writing it out of nowhere.
So You're Having A Heart Attack
Now we're going to use all the capabilities of modern technology and fast forward to last week. I'm in the shower and my phone rings. I remember thinking, I should answer that. Then talking myself out of it by saying, "I've got to be less addicted to my phone. It can wait. I mean, that's what's wrong with the world now, people feel such pressure to respond immediately. What could it POSSIBLY be that can't wait ten minutes." More like twenty. Or thirty. I can't be exact, but I like showers. And I have long hair. It takes awhile.
I get out and read a text from my dad that says: call ASAP. (my first thought was this was a grocery store related question about BPA or grass-fed butter)
Me: What's up?
Dad: So I'm at the immediate care... they checked my heart, called the hospital and the Dr. there said go to the ER but don't drive.
Me: Ok. So I'll come get you.
Dad: Oh thank goodness you're ok, you're mom is a wreck. You'll have to pick her up too.
Me: On my way.
On the drive, I accomplished the following: 1) Took an emergency poll on social media for the best hospital regarding heart problems. 2) Called said hospital and asked if I could get my dad in ASAP, to which they said: of course. 3) Called previously mentioned best friend and had a mini breakdown, referencing premature eulogy - now wondering if it was more of a premonition than paranoia. 4) Convinced myself there was no way my dad had a serious problem because he just walked 18 holes of golf the day before and worked out. His labs are good. He's in shape. He eats healthy, I mean, he's my father. No way. 5) Begged the heavens to drop down a Xanax bottle in my lap.
Long story short, due to some hospital uh, shortcomings, my dad waited 1.5 hours in the ER until my brother and I raised holy hell and they brought him in to get tests. Keep in mind, the immediate care had sent him there, but we still didn't know exactly what was going on except when he did a stress test, his heart wasn't getting blood. Fear not, there will be an extensive blog on this entire hospital experience, things to be aware of, and how to be a better advocate for yourself.
After testing his enzymes, the guy walks in and says, "Well, you either just had a heart attack, or you're having one right now." They proceed to hook him up to every available machine.
Ok cool. So, like right there when we were waiting in the ER along with all the toothache victims and avid sneezers, my dad was literally having a heart attack. And he could have possibly died while the guy at the front desk told me, in between bites of his Wonder bread sandwich, that they were just waiting to turn some beds over.
Commence Freakout Phase
Although the doctors didn't think he had a ton of blockages (going off enzyme levels) they didn't seem terribly concerned going into his Angiogram. This is where they fill you with dye, and put a camera through your vessels via wrist or leg, and check the blockages. If they find them, they put in stents. If there's too much going on, they do open heart surgery.
This is where I took a few fake smoke breaks to go outside and cry into a brick wall. Still praying for the Xanax to be parachuted down.
While they wheeled him into the heart hospital from the ER, he was asking the nurse how long she'd been there, getting her life story as always. He said, "I hope they're treating you good." My dad has always taken an interest in everyone.
He ended up having a 99% blockage in a major artery. Two 85% blockages in his LAD, or widowmaker, artery. This means, had that been the one with the 99%, he likely would have dropped dead on the 3rd hole the day before with zero symptoms. Luckily, he experienced a tiny bit of chest pain that day, which is what prompted him to go to the immediate care. They did a total of two Angioplasties and put in four stents. Gave him a bag full of drugs, and he's got a long recovery ahead.
The nurses commented on how they've never seen such a steady stream of visitors for any person. Not surprised.
The Point Of It All
To sum it up, the bad news is I have to check the box on the medical history paperwork under Father that says: heart attack. Good news is I can also check the box that says: alive. As sort of a silver lining antagonist, you don't have to convince me on this one. We are beyond fortunate that my dad went to the Dr. that day. And I'm perfectly happy to have confirmation that I'm not indeed psychic, just overly prepared. I think writing that eulogy was me trying to prepare myself in some odd way. But who am I kidding, that's an impossible task.
In this world, there are two types of broken hearts. Thankfully, my dad's was the fixable kind.
Wondering who's the mysterious wordy genius behind these posts? Follow this little rabbit trail to read more About Me! The use of the term genius is open to interpretation.