What a crazy few days it has been.
When I look back on it, it seems like the longest three days. Like time stretched like a yo-yo, until what should have looked like a piece of macaroni instead looked like a long piece of spaghetti. In this case, my weekend stretched to look like a month…. or two.
On Saturday night my mom called to let my sister, who I had been visiting for the weekend, and I, know that my dad had been admitted with chest pains to the hospital earlier in the day. Turns out he had had what they thought was a mild heart attack or severe angina. Later, his numbers jumped so high – from a .2 originally to a 17 – that the severity of the attack was a little more clear. He had two more in the next day and a half.
There are words in my vocabulary now that I had previously only heard on medical dramas. Stent , angioplasty, cardiac enzymes, anticoagulant, nitroglycerin, myocardial infarction.
I’ve taken it upon myself to learn everything and as such, I know so many things that I didn’t know only 72 hours ago. Such as, you can be active. You can cycle more than 43km a day, and not feel any pain – but suffer a heart attack the next day because that bike ride dislodged plaque into your blood, clogged the arteries, and blocked off oxygen to your heart. I also know that you can have completely normal echocardiograms and other tests, but only blood tests that show the number of little cardiac enzymes in your blood will show that you’ve had a heart attack. I also know that early cardiac problems run in my family, and unfortunately enough my 48 year old Pops is continuing that tradition.
And I know how much it sucks to think, even for a moment, about a life without Dad.
It is hard to describe how it felt to hear. How the last four days have felt. At first I didn’t believe it. Then I felt sick. Then I thought about my mom. Then I was anxious. Then I was terrified. I was shaking, and crying, and letting my thoughts wander down every worst case scenario and linger on the darkest areas of this situation without seeing any light.
Then, curiously, this morning, I felt nothing.
This is the most difficult aspect to explain. I wouldn’t call it apathy. It’s not that I didn’t care. It’s just that something felt like a blanket had settled over me. Like I could step back from that room in my mind, the creepy attic with all the worry, shut the trap door, and settle back into the comfort of my living room. My regular life.
I struggle writing this because when I think about how little this is affecting me, I feel a bit… no, a lot, guilty. Maybe I just haven’t grasped the severity of it yet. Maybe I’ve settled into a period of numbness where you go through the motions of checking in every morning and robotically reply to the calls and texts and facebook messages of well meaning friends.
“Thanks for the kind thoughts.” Has become an automatic, thoughtless reply.
I’ve always had this ability to compartmentalize very well. To pretend things are fine until you truly believe that they are.
I’m fairly sure that it isn’t a healthy practice. Probably causes heart attacks – bad humour, I know.
The point is, I love my Dad. I know this. I also know that I am so terrified to think of life without his wisdom, his support, his humour, and his advice, that I have shut off any inkling that it could happen.
This is just any other day. My dad is not in the hospital waiting for surgery.
He’s fine. He’s fine. He’s fine.
Like a stutter that finally becomes a sentence, and everyone waits with baited breath to hear it come to fruition.
My dad is fine. There is no option for him not to be.