Category Archives: My Chicago family

Recovery

Dad’s here! And his five stents! Let the recovery begin.

He’s wearing a bracelet that says ‘heart patient.’ He’s still feeling fragile and afraid. He went to bed early, avoiding all desserts and snacks.

Tomorrow, he and I will watch O’Baby all day. It’ll be rainy so there’s not much we can do about going for a walk or anything. We’ll probably just hang out and play, maybe squeeze in a quick walk if the weather allows.

Dad seems scared. I know the feeling won’t last that long – he might be back to his old ways in a few weeks. But right now, he’s so scared of eating the wrong stuff, exercising too hard, stressing out too much. It’s kinda sad, but understandable.

I stocked the house with all kinds of fruits. I have healthy meals planned. I intend to try to incorporate exercise into our daily routine. I won’t push him on anything, but I maybe just present him with some healthy options and give positive feedback.

Physically, he’s fine. He seems to need to heal emotionally now.

We’ll take good care of him.

Mortality

My dad had a cardiac cath yesterday, which resulted in placement of five stents. This is on top of the two that were placed last year about this time.
We were all stunned. All of us.

I thought maybe Dad would get one, possibly two, but this blew me away. And him. And everyone else in the family. How did things get so bad in one year of the healthiest living Dad has ever lived?

Heredity is the probable culprit, but Dad is committed to changing the things he has control over. I admire his attitude, but I know this will always be hard for him.

I can see how cardiac patients are more prone to depression. To get slapped in the face with your own mortality is at the very least unsettling.

But as my friend Teri says, “Five stents is five saves.”
I think I’ll go with that.

Conflicted

So many strong emotions pulling and pushing at me today.

My dad needs an angioplasty and stent Tuesday. Immediately I decide I am going to Chicago for the procedure. It’s a no-brainer.

But then I think about it. The last quick trip to Chicago was just two weeks ago for Meeghan’s wedding. It was painful driving nine hours, going to the wedding, driving another nine hours home – all within three days’ time. It was brutal.

It just gets harder every time we do it. The thought of it makes me want to cry, it’s so tough.

Dad’s cardiologist has done this procedure on him before. He knows his weird anatomy, he pretty much knows where the offending lesion is located. The most likely thing that will happen to Dad Tuesday is that he’ll get a stent, stay the night, go home the next morning to recuperate. Of this I am 98.5% sure.

If – God forbid – he needs surgery, we will know in enough time for me to fly or drive out there. I will not be absent if anything important happens.

Cerebrally, I feel it would be sensible for me to conserve my middle-aged energy. I should stay home, connected by phone to Mom and Greg, and go to Chicago only if necessary. I think I need to save my energy just in case something big occurs.

But the guilt that long ago took root in my heart squeezes hard, telling me that I should go. I should be there for my Dad, for Mom and Greg. I should show them all how much I love them by just showing up and being present. I should share the worry and anxiety.

I know I can do that from here. I know they are knowledgeable about the procedure, well-prepared and fairly confident of a positive outcome. I know Dad has tons of invaluable support.

But it tears me apart.

As it stands, I will stay home. I may be watching O’Baby, I may just be sitting on my butt waiting for Mom’s and Greg’s calls. But I will do the same things I would do if I were in Chicago.

Can I be present from so far away?
I guess we’ll see.

Dancing

I had high hopes for this weekend.
Actually, I was happy my whole family was able to go to Chicago for my niece’s wedding.
Then I was happy that the only disfiguring bruises were on Bro, and they were easily covered with makeup by The Princess.
Then I was really happy that I got a couple of wonderful family pictures done by the wedding photographer.
Then I was thrilled to see my sister and her kids.

I would have been happy to stop right there. The weekend would have been a complete success just by meeting the above criteria.
But then we danced at the wedding.

I couldn’t restrain Bubba through dessert. He HAD to dance. So he and Bro went out there and danced. It was something to see. The bride hadn’t even had her first dance yet. People hadn’t finished dinner.
Then the DJ played ‘Rock with You.” Hubby and O’Baby hit the floor. And so did The Princess, Blondie, Bro, Bubba and I. We just couldn’t help it.

We passed O’Baby around until he finally said, “Enough” and made us put him down. The boy can shake what God gave him and I’m not lying. The lights and speakers attracted him like a magnet. Everywhere he went, a circle of dancers formed around him. He was clapping and marching and shaking his booty.
Bubba was throwing himself all around the dance floor, spinning and flipping and sweating and smiling.
We must have danced every dance. We did take a time-out when Meeghan and Jimmy had their first dance, but that was probably our only break.
Bro and I sandwiched Blondie a la “Night at the Roxbury.”
We all danced with each other, and with everybody else. If no one else was around we each danced alone.

It was a wonderful night. The food was great, the ceremony was beautiful. We danced until 10:45, when we finally were able to wrestle O’Baby into his coat. He could have gone all night.

How wonderful it all was. We looked good, we danced a lot, we were together. We were so happy.
The evening exceeded any expectation I could have had.
How lucky are we?

Good news

My friend who had her surgery today? She’s going to be okay – it’s not cancer, only a fibroid. Hooray! The whole unit is breathing a huge sigh of relief.

Tomorrow I give my manager notice that I will be going PRN. Not looking forward to it, but I feel good about this decision.

Not-so-good news: My mom is sick with a terrible cough. She’s up in the bedroom with a vaporizer on, unable to even talk on the phone without coughing up a lung. I hope she feels better soon, or sees the doctor before it gets worse.

I work Wednesday and Thursday, then I’m off until Sunday. But my workload feels lighter already.

Have a great day!