Three words that must not be uttered aloud from this day forward.
Kung Pao Chicken
The hospital’s featured special, day 5 out of 6, Just prior to the sou’easter ripping through my innards and spewing them forth along interstate 295 northbound in a surprise Friday night snowstorm. That Trafton Road exit sure came in handy to light my way. And Hilltop Gardens, my apologies.
Since Sunday, and my first ever shotgun ride in a speeding ambulance, “code”-something, they said. “that means lights and sirens.” They’re waiting for us at the door. “Does he have a DNR? If he goes in the ambulance, do you want us to take all measures? If so, I’ll likely call on you to assist.”
Assist…we drive for a while, and the young woman at the wheel who is fantastic, Sarah I think, but not sure now, says something kind and distracting, like what do you do, which I find surprisingly difficult to answer. But once we’re well underway to the nearest hospital with cardiac capacity, about 100 miles, I get the nerve to ask, “what he said, about assisting, what does that mean, EXACTLY?”
Compressions, probably, We’ll want to keep driving.
Dad’s unremitting cough, since before Christmas. A trip to the doctor revealed a spot on his scalp. Malignant melanoma. Surgery was scheduled for the upcoming Thursday. But that’s another story.
This story has Dr. Estrada, no relation to the CHiP’s one, but equally cool in his Harley dew rag, who meets us at the door as promised, as does my sister. Kiss, “Dad, we’ll see you on the other side!” The rest of the family is gathering, but the doc comes out right away and draws us an “oh shit” picture. One artery 100%blocked. Two others are 80 and 90%. Choose. Open heart surgery, with his cancer at 85 and so weak and sick. For months. The telling thing was that he didn’t go out for Mom’s morning paper 2 days in a row. I said out loud, “ If I get 5 more days with my Dad, I’m taking them.”
And he turned pink! Not the doctor but Dad, an hour later. And was giddy and charming to everyone, happy to be alive and so loved.
Then, a snag? A stomach bug in all its glory, pauses in his heartbeat, a fall. A pacemaker if he rallies. And they’ve had a cancellation, can do it Thursday morning.
Friday morning it’s just us. I brought Dad his Kindle and he watched a completely not Mom-approved Jack Reacher movie. No Thomas Merton that day: Tom Cruise, please and thank you.
Me, I did a few Sudoku puzzles, wandered to the cafeteria for the daily special. You guessed it. KPC