One surgery. Three hospitals. Four ambulance rides. Twenty different beds. Countless needles. Countless pills. Countless nurses. Countless doctors. Countless faces. Countless Ensures. Countless prayers.
My dad is finally back home! There were moments when we thought this day would never come. But it’s here, March 3, 2016, and we are so excited and thankful!
The time between Christmas Day and today is a blur.
On Christmas Day my dad was admitted into the hospital with heart failure. He wasn’t feeling well the week before. He was tired and weak. His legs felt heavy. He became winded quickly. He knew he had to see a doctor. He knew something was wrong. He knew, but he wanted to wait until after their annual Christmas Eve family party. He loves his parties! He knew, but he wanted to wait until after Christmas Mass. He knew, but he wanted to have steak and eggs for breakfast. He knew.
My dad is 82 years young. My mom is 80 years young. They are active members of their parish. My mom taught at St. Barnabas for 35 years and my dad is a deacon. Up until Christmas, they brought communion to the elderly and the home bound. On Wednesdays, they visited and brought communion to the residents of an assistant living community where many of the parishioners now live. My sister went with them once over the summer. Until then, none of us realized they visited over 70 people every Wednesday!
My dad has always been a healthy person, keeping up with his annual checkups. So this came as a surprise to all of us. He had to have open heart surgery to replace a valve and repair his aorta. Surgery was scheduled for January 12th. Between Christmas and surgery, he was in the hospital and then home, to build his strength for this surgery. The surgery was postponed because of his blood pressure.
On January 18th, the morning of surgery, Mom and my five siblings met at Christ Hospital. It was 5:30 a.m. and I wondered….when was the last time we were all together this early in the morning? Probably 40 years ago! We stood together around my dad, held hands, and prayed for a successful surgery. No one said it, but I know we were all worried and thinking the same thing. What if it doesn’t go well? What if it isn’t successful? Prayers…
My dad was so upbeat! He gave all of his nurses Fannie May to thank them. My dad drew a heart on some of the boxes for his favorite nurses. As they wheeled him to surgery, he told the nurses they better not get lost. He still had his sense of humor! We kissed him and watched the nurses take him to surgery. “He will feel like a new man”, the doctor told us.
It’s funny how life can change so quickly.