The only time I ever remember my dad telling me I was lucky happened when he was in his 9th decade of life, yes, he was in his 90’s and it’s not what you think…
I have written many posts referring to my dad. To this day dad was and is my hero…he lived his life based on his principles of ethics, morals, and fair play and never deviated from his beliefs, regardless of the cost to him.
When I started getting sick I was misdiagnosed because I had always been exceptionally healthy and I was outside of the normal age range for heart problems and lacked the normal risk factors. That misdiagnosis kept me from going to the hospital when I had my heart attack. Not surprisingly less than a week later a large blood clot had developed in my heart and a piece broke off, went to my head and I had a stroke. That sent me to the hospital for 11 days and countless doctors coming to see me while they tried to figure out WHY I had a heart attack to begin with because I had none of the usual risk factors, no road map of my family history to follow, plus they needed to get me stable enough to have an angio which finally gave them the rare disease diagnosis…(side note it is amazing how many times I am listed as “ADOPTED” at the top of the various hospital documents and NO FAMILY MEDICAL HISTORY is stated)…
Mom came to see me in the hospital and when I got home, but dad could not come because mom could not transport him by herself and I lived in another country, so all dad could do was hear how I was from her. It was really tough on him to not be able to see me and assess the level of damage as a physician, and only have a non-medical person telling him how I seemed. Very frustrating compounded by my inability to speak very much so that meant phone calls were limited to how are you feeling today type discussion.
After I got home I could barely function. I was still struggling to put two words together, let alone a sentence. If I took a shower I had to take a nap. If I did anything I had to nap. It was ridiculous how weak I was. Gradually week by week I could do more but I still could not drive until the neurologist said I was okay. It took time, months, before I was strong enough to consider going to see dad, and then I had to wait until I had been out of the hospital for 3 months to have medical coverage in a different country. Finally I was approved and my friend came up to get me because I was still not allowed to drive.
I will never forget that day, almost 4 months after I had my heart attack. I walked into the house and dad looked at me from his chair by the window and carefully assessed me as I walked over to him his first words were YOU ARE A VERY LUCKY GIRL to have survived a heart attack and a stroke, most people don’t…and I said I know, and handed him all the consult letters, test results, and a published article on my rare disease. Dad sat quietly reading and re-reading all the details and then asked me a few questions about my health and what the doctors would do to take care of me, and only then was he satisfied and you could see he visibly relaxed.
I cannot imagine what he went through not being able to be there for me as he had always been, simply because his body had finally let him down. He has passed on now and I miss him every day. But also realize he was ready to go before I got sick, and that it was his sheer determination to survive that he stayed longer than he should have, just to make sure I was going to be okay.
I also realize I am very lucky to have had him as my dad…
“I have learned that to be with those I like is enough”
― Walt Whitman
Oct 2014: You may speak freely, but please try to use words that everyone can hear about your individual story or view. If you don't, those who can actually benefit won't hear it, I want to see change in my lifetime. I may refuse to approve certain comments.
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