My boss told me that he wanted me to take Friday off – that I’d been working a ton and that I could use it.
“When was the last day you didn’t do something for the Y?”
I couldn’t really answer that. Now, I love my job, and I find it incredibly rewarding, so work doesn’t always feel like work, and sometimes I think I let it get away from me and I overdo it sometimes. Plus my husband works out at the Y, so a lot of times, if I stay late, I get to see him for a while before we both head home to do dinner.
Ok, so at any rate, Friday started like most random days off. I got up, chugged some club soda, filled up the Kia, grabbed a donut from a local shop, and fell asleep on the couch while watching The View. I remembered my dad had a stress test scheduled for that day, which fueled a little bit of anxiety for me, but I tried to push it out of my mind and convince myself that it would come back clean.
A little history on my anxiety about my father’s heart.
This is going to sound really silly, but I’ve had recurring nightmares about my father suffering a massive heart attack since I was really young. The first one I remember, I may have been in fourth grade, and I dreamed that my father had suffered a heart attack and I was the one responsible for taking him to the hospital. The hospital where I was taking him was uptown, and in the dream, I remember getting lost, and not being able to find the hospital as my dream-dad was dying. The dream freaked me out so badly, it’s stuck with me for the better part of a decade, and I think I’ve had similar dreams since. So when my dad, months ago, started describing chest pain a few months ago, I was completely filled with dread.
So, I was asleep on the couch when my sister texted about my father’s stress test. The text was accompanied by a photo of my father in a hospital bed, shooting the thumbs-up at the camera.
During the stress-test, which involves a treadmill and some electrodes thingies, the tech saw something ominous in the reading, and got on the phone with the doctor immediately and rattled off some medical jargon to the doctor which my dad said he didn’t understand. My dad said at that point, he wasn’t really worried because although his chest was hurting, he’d been experiencing it, and he assured the tech not to worry, that it would pass. The tech seemed worried.
My dad said that the tech seemed to be masking some panic, and that when the doctor came, the doctor seemed to be masking some panic as he explained to my parents that my father had a 99% blockage in one of his arteries in two spots, and that they would be shooting him up with some dye, shooting a camera into the artery, and then placing some stents in the artery to open it up. Right then. Now. Today. Happening immediately.
Without having applied a single shred of deodorant, I hopped off the couch, brushed my teeth, threw on a sweatshirt, and started the drive down to Charlotte, all the while making calls to get my classes covered and make sure that everything was continuing to run smoothly at work. I arrived to the hospital, navigated the building, and found my father’s room where he was resting with the rest of my family.
He looked good for having been in surgery, and seemed to be in a decent mood. I ended up spending the night in the room with him, where I discovered that if you’re looking to get rest, the hospital is NOT the place to do it. Literally, there was someone in the room every hour or so. We went to bed around 10:30 on Friday night. A tech came in around midnight. The nurse came in at 2 to unhook my dad from his IV. Around 4 or 5, a nurse with an Eastern European accent came in to take my dad’s blood for blood work. Around 7, a nurse with no inside voice came in, shrieking and laughing. And that was that for the night. I ended the day of too much excitement by having to speak in a strong voice to the nurse who was trying not to feed my dad breakfast.
I think at the end of this episode, I’m a little freaked out. If anything, this surgery is a great reminder to get checked out regularly. Though my dad suffers with diabetes, he maintains a healthy weight, eats well, and the doctor told us that the blockage most likely started when he was a teen. Scary.
Whew. What a weekend, huh?