I’m sitting in the hospital lobby with my feet propped up, taking a little break and waiting for the 5 o’clock hour when my dad will officially be discharged. It has been a long day thus far. I went swimming at 6:00 am, worked from home for a few hours, and then headed off to the hospital just in time to give my dad a hug and warn the doctor to take good care of him before he was wheeled off for his cardiac catheterization.
It is another rainy day and I debated on whether to wear jeans or something more comfortable. I opted for a gray and black stripped skirt, black top, and a light weight sweater. I wasn’t surprised to find my sister sitting in the room with my dad, wearing basically the same outfit as me. I don’t know how this always happens, especially since I am ten years older than her. I guess that means either I’m really cool or she dresses like a grandma, or most likely, we are both dorks.
I was hoping today’s procedure would yield good news for my dad, but we found out that not only does he need a valve replacement, but also at least one other repair, which can only be done through open heart surgery. The doctor had already told him about it in the recovery room, but it was our job to reiterate the news when my dad was more alert.
My sister and I make a pretty good team. She is great at navigating through the hospital’s maze-like corridors, finding the cafeteria, steering me back to the cath lab, and preventing me from walking through doors that say Authorized Personnel Only or Men’s room.
I, on the other hand, am the outspoken one who understands the medical jargon, knows what questions to ask the doctor, and translates the information to everyone. I am also the one relegated to break the news to my dad. I started gently, by asking him if he remembered talking to the doctor. According to my dad, he was awake during the whole procedure. Here is a condensed version of our conversation.
Dad: “Yes, he talked to me.”
Me: “What did he tell you?”
Dad: “He said he had trouble feeding that thing through my arteries and had to try it a few times.”
Me: “Yeah apparently you have a curvy artery. What else did he tell you?”
Dad: “That’s all he said.”
Me: “Did he tell you about the blockage and that you will need open heart surgery?”
Dad: “He didn’t tell me anything about that.”
Me: “He said he told you about the blockage, but you must have blocked it out….”
and then my sister and I started laughing at my silly play on words. It was that awkward, nervous laughter that happens when you are trying to keep your mind from wandering into the garden of worry.
Fortunately my dad is awake and in good spirits now. He must be feeling better, because he is watching t.v. and making comments about the actress’s behind.
A few weeks from now, my dad will be undergoing his surgery, and I’m betting he will be back on the golf course by spring.