On Monday, I was off from work for the holiday. I worked from home and did some errands. Got a ridiculous deal on some of my favorite yogurt at Whole Foods. Not a terrifically exciting day. Nothing much has been going on. I figured that I would call my parents later in the week since nothing has been happening.
Tuesday afternoon, my cell phone rang. It was my mom. My father was in the hospital. He got sick on Sunday night and they took him to the hospital on Monday. He exhibited signs of Bell’s Palsy in his facial muscles and an inability to say certain things. He couldn’t close one eye and he had difficulty walking. As always, my parents determined that it would be best to call me after the fact (like a day) because I’m not there and they don’t want to worry me. By the time I got the news, the doctors had ruled out Bell’s Palsy and said that he had a stroke.
My father had a stroke and I was 2,500 miles away. My mom told me to call him on his cell since he didn’t have a phone in his room in the ICU. But, she stressed that he wasn’t supposed to be in the ICU. Some weirdness with the hospital in the even tinier town next to our tiny village.
Before calling my dad, I cried. It was more than just hearing that he had a stroke. It was, of course, the fact that I couldn’t immediately go there. I couldn’t comfort my mother who said all she wanted was for him to be home. To pet their bewildered doggie who didn’t understand why his favorite playmate wasn’t around. It pulled at my heart. It hurt. A lot.
I got it together and I called my dad. To hear his voice and his difficulty in forming words was painful. He was in good spirits. He made jokes. He was his usual self. His sense of humor was ever present. But his cell phone connection was bad. His phone disconnected once and he called me back. It disconnected again after crackling the entire time. After that, we didn’t reconnect. I figured it was too bad a connection. After it was too late to call him back due to the time zones, I realized that I didn’t tell him that I loved him. That nagged at me. I should have said it right away. In a situation like this…
I didn’t talk to my father on Wednesday. He was in tests and changing rooms. His first test was inconclusive. His doctor pushed for a second test.
This morning, I was still bothered by how the first call ended and I simply wanted to talk with him briefly and to make sure I told him that I loved him. I’m glad I called when I did. During that call, my father advised me that he was being transferred to a larger hospital in Philly because he needed surgery. They verified through the second test that it was indeed a stroke and he had an aneurysm. He tried to keep it light, but I knew that more was going on. I let him do his thing and made sure I told him that I loved him.
I called my husband in tears. I asked what I should do. Should I get on a plane? I then sent a text to my brother. He told me to call him. We are not a chatty people, so I knew something was up. Even though my father kept it light, what he failed to mention was that the aneurysm is at the base of his brain. He was being rushed to the hospital in Philly. It wasn’t just a transfer. My dad. Always trying to make sure that I don’t worry.
Right now, I’m on a plane. When I sent the text to my brother, I also sent a text to his wife. She said that if it were her, she would come. (Finally, someone who just says it!!) I hate that the flight is so long and that even planes feel so slow. However, I’m grateful that I’m on a plane that arrives around midnight and not tomorrow morning. I’m going straight to my brother’s. (Or Wawa. Plane food is not easy for the gluten-free woman and I can only eat so many larabars in a day.)
Tomorrow, I can see my family, hold them close and tell them all that I love them.