Yesterday, our much needed nap was interrupted by a call no one enjoys getting. My father was at the hospital due to heart problems. Again. Now my father and I do not have a good relationship. In fact, if I’m honest, we really don’t have a relationship at all– however he is still my father and I had a nagging feeling that something bad was coming. Like I said, this is not his first rodeo at the hospital because of his heart. Quite the opposite actually, it’s his 4th. Literally every March he finds himself being admitted. His stubbornness to take his medicine or go to the doctor when he gets sick doesn’t help much.
It pains me to admit that I actually considered not going to see him. I had literally just called into work sick the day before, and I’m trying to keep my occurrences in check until they reset in June. BUT as I said, I had this nagging feeling that something bad was coming, so I called in and waited for my husband to get home so I wouldn’t have to take our daughter. Toddlers + hospitals + waiting = bad idea on so many levels.
While we waited, I had her color him a get well card. Nothing brightens a day like a colored card from your toddler granddaughter. As I got ready to walk out the door, I mentioned having to stop at the gift shop and get another card from me.
“But Emma colored him one,” my husband answered.
“But that card is from her,” I replied, questioning how my husband didn’t understand that.
“I think it’s more of the gesture that counts,” he countered. I didn’t have time to argue though so I just agreed and left, knowing full well I’d stop at the gift shop once I was there. When I say it was the longest 45 minute drive, we live in the middle of nowhere, I’m not exaggerating. When I wasn’t yelling with road rage, I was hoping that I would make it to the hospital in time in case something happened.
I finally arrived and while trying to navigate the maze that is the hospital, completely forgot to stop by the gift shop. Which was probably for the best since he wasn’t responsive at the time. I felt a bang of sadness as I handed my mother the card Emma had colored. What if he never gets to see it?
While we sat in the waiting room, I began to wonder where the notion of bringing people cards and flowers to the hospital started. Surely those flowers are a burden to carry home at the end of their stay? Or seeing this thing full of life while you struggle to keep yours can’t be very encouraging? They take up precious space in an already tiny room. And yet, it’s just an unwritten rule…
During my time in the waiting room, I also attempted to process my emotions. I had teared up a bit when my mother told me, but I had yet to actually full on cry. I felt indifferent. On one hand, I couldn’t feel too sad that he ended up here when he refused to do what the doctors said, but on the other hand I wouldn’t want anyone to be fighting for their life like he was. Even discussing the possibility of planning a funeral didn’t provoke tears. The doctors told us that the odds weren’t favorable, and that if the EMS hadn’t gotten there as quick as they did he would have died…
It wasn’t until we returned to his room, after they had put him in a coma, that I felt the first pang of sadness. Seeing him on that bed, with all the wiring and tubes, and a machine breathing for him… it hurt. For minutes I just sat and stared at him. It wasn’t until I noticed his body shaking profoundly that I seemed to snap out of it. It was just them dropping his body temperature so they could start the recovery process. It all felt so surreal.
I left the hospital last night, hoping he would at least make it through the night. And he did. He remained stable all night, and even squeezed the nurses hands on command on both sides. This morning, the doctors said that he remains stable and really all we can do is sit and wait for the next 48 hours when they’ll be able to run tests to see what his fate is. Unfortunately, because he’s in the MICU, nobody under the age of 15 is allowed to come in, I’m not able to go visit until husband gets off work later. Which, I mean he’s in a coma, not like he’s really doing anything. That sounds bad, but what I mean is that he’s not going to know if I’m there all day or only for a few hours you know? Still, it makes me sad that she’s not allowed in there in case something does happen.
The nurses said they’ll keep a journal for him for when he wakes up, so he can know what happened while he was out. They are so optimistic. I’m not sure if I will write in the journal, I don’t know what I would say or if I did I wouldn’t want everyone to read it. Maybe I’ll just let him read this if he wakes up…