The past couple of weeks have been some of the most stressful of my life. As we reentered the world after our vacation at Family Camp, we were brought to reality by voicemail and texts that began to appear the moment we reached an area with cell phone service.
The story of what was happening at home while we were at camp unfolded in these messages. My Dad had been sick, in and out of the hospital, and was en route to a hospital in Rochester at the same time we were returning to Rochester from Camp.
We drove home, dumped off our camp stuff, and went to the hospital. By the time we arrived, my Dad was in a room on the Heart Unit and we were able to visit him. Days passed and we visited him and watched him get sicker and sicker, until he was finally transferred to CCU and put on a ventilator. This proved to be a turning point and my Dad slowly began to get better.
My Dad was released from the hospital on Tuesday and returned to his home. While he was in the hospital, I learned a lot about myself. I discovered some of my strengths and some of my weaknesses as I walked through his hospital stay with him. I experienced the agony of spending hours waiting for Dad to be taken for tests and then more hours waiting for the test results – test results that, more often than not, gave us little information. My siblings and I sat in my Dad’s room as minutes crawled by, hours lasted an eternity, and a day was never-ending.
There were some really terrible moments. At one point, I felt as though I was watching my Dad’s life slip away. It was extremely difficult to see him on the ventilator. I cried a lot while he was in the hospital. But, there were some really good moments. That slow-moving time gave us the opportunity to talk about some family memories. We were freer with expressions of love and caring than we have been in the past.
I am very grateful tonight. I am grateful that my father is better. I am grateful that my boss allowed and even encouraged me to take all the time I needed to be with my Dad while he was in the hospital. I am grateful for the time I was able to spend with him. I am grateful for the doctors and nurses and techs who took such good care of him. I am very, very grateful that my Dad is better and that he is home and comfortable.