Family epiphanies and open hearts
(Nov. 24, 2009)
Do you know what it is like to lose a parent? I don’t.
My wife and I, as well as our two kids, are blessed knowing we have both sets of parents alive and well. “Upright and retaining fluids” as I frequently say on CHML.
My boy was born on the anniversary of my grandfather’s death on my father’s side and his second name is that of both his grandfather’s. Confused?
I guess the point I am making is all families have history and when the family tree is in jeopardy of changing or evolving it can be a life - altering experience for everyone.
This all started last week when my father was admitted to the hospital for a heart by pass at age 77.
He had been experiencing pain and was on the list for surgery. For those of you wanting to debate our health care – system, he waited 90 days for his heart surgery. The 90 days were filled with anxiety as his discomfort greatly affected his quality of life. Yes it was free although as he points out, “Have you seen your tax bill?”
That being said it is over and his experience in the hospital was positive and he, as does the family, believe he received exceptional care. He has absolutely no complaints other than the wait.
The wait, however, cannot compare to the 24 hours you endure after the operation as a family.
My sister called hours after the surgery from his bedside. I could hear in her voice she was scared and very emotional about what she had experienced, seeing him in his darkest hour. Even though I talked to the nurse only moments before and she assured me he was doing quite well although will experience pain as he woke up.
What my sister was describing was the emotion one feels when you are looking at the pillar of your life, the strongest person in your world on their back at the mercy of what life will deal them. A powerful moment in any kids life no matter their age. The belief your parents will live ‘a while longer’ or even ‘forever’ is suddenly questioned and selfishly thrown in your face.
Some may say that’s life and it is. It’s life doing full circle.
I can’t describe the feeling I had when standing next to his bedside holding a cup of water so he could sip from the straw. Watching him so dependent on me after I had been so dependent on him for so many years, was surreal. It felt good knowing I could offer a little help but also sad realizing the circle won’t be ‘unbroken’ forever.
The funny thing is the life that may have changed the most is my father’s. When my mother came to see him in the hospital a few days after the surgery, he was up walking around on his own. He saw her coming and hid when she looked for him in his room. When she finally found him he grabbed her and said “How’s my love?!” and told her he loved her.
My mother later told me that was the first time he had said anything like that to her being the old – school, stiff - upper lip kind. She also said he spoke of us kids in a way she had never heard before, although didn’t elaborate.
The good news is he is now home ahead of schedule and doing well. We’ll see if these new epiphanies wear off as he gets back to his cranky old self. There are some skeptics.
My feeling is how can you possibly go through six hours on an operating table and not come out a different person? I know I am and I never saw a gown or a mask.
Have you counted your blessings today?
The Scott Thompson Show airs weekdays from 4-6pm on News/Talk 900 CHML.
Visit his website at www.ScottThompsonTalk.com