Sunday, January 02, 2005

Six nurses

In the Critical Care Unit, six nurses were needed to hold my strong dad down when he woke up in a panic. A breathing tube was down his throat, and also because of his asthma, Dad felt as if he couldn't breathe, so he fought hard even immediately after a quadruple bypass.
My sister couldn't wait to give him those bragging rights afterwards. We're all proud of his strength.
Yet I saw him very weak the next day when they brought him to his recovery room and forced him to hobble to his chair. He looked old and pained. He sat in his chair barely able to hold his head up, barely able to breathe.
We think he's out of the woods now, though, for a while. Actually today, he's going home after being in since Tuesday when he left our family Christmas for the emergency room at St. John's. I went to Springfield on Wednesday when I heard of his open heart surgery. Dad sat in his room making his customary one-line jokes; he had already made fast friends with his roommate and nurses. He was "wow, very funny" says his grand-daughters.
It was all scary, though, the next morning when we hugged, spoke, and waved goodbye to him as he was wheeled away. We've never seen him so vulnerable looking. Then, two uncles, a preacher, two nieces, two siblings, a sister-in-law, and I waited for news. Four hours later, the smiling chaplain said that he was doing well. Thank you, God, for more time with him; a huge prayer over the last year which seemed to intensify this fall along with his heart pains.
Now, my little mother must take him home and make him come to terms with a few changes in diet (he found out that he's now diabetic too) and habits (no driving for six weeks!). It's going to be so hard on her. She's the one who needs supernatural strength now. She's the one who must deal with him and the cows and the unreliable tractor.
I came back from this ordeal a bit changed. I feel like I'm older. I feel like I need to be more responsible both to my own family and to my self as it relates to health issues and practical issues. I have a new endeavor which I must keep confidential which will stretch me in this way. Yes, of course, I want to be a creative airhead every so often! however, if I want to live well and well-rounded (and help my family in this way), the practical side must be learned a bit more than I've given it credit. Yikes!
It's so easy to live disengaged from your family, yet I don't want that to happen on many levels. Therefore, 2005, make me strong, capable of being boring, capable of taking care of others and myself, and help me not become what I'm not supposed to become. Amen.

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