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Monday, August 02, 2004

This is my second attempt at this post. I'm not posting using w.bloggar like I usually do. I'm posting via the Blogger dashboard. Which, apparently, when you preview your post, doesn't save your shit. I spent a good hour on this post, which gave me both a record on time and on length. I actually had something to say here, rather than just amorphous whining about life and shit. I'ma gonna see if I can recreate it. If it sucks, I apologize in advance..

Some of you know, and some of you don't. Some of you know the guy, most of you don't. Some of you care, some of you won't.

Dad had a heart attack on Sunday.

Scotty and Teresa have a house and some land just east of Claytonia, NE, about 15 miles north of Beatrice. Scotty has all kinds of plans, one of which involves stringing electric fence. Dad, being Dad, offered to help.

Dad went out there, changed into work clothes, and then, started feeling out of sorts. It's late July, it's Nebraska, and Dad is 55.

No heavy lifting had been done at this point. Scotty cracked his head open trying to set a post, but Dad just mopped up. Nothing really strenuous.

But, Dad felt like shit. The auger had just been grabbed, and Dad said that he needed to sit down in the shade. He's not a spring chicken, and he volunteered his help, so no one could call him on being lazy or a pussy.

Sitting didn't help, so he sought air conditioning and a cold shower. Heat stroke or heat exhaustion, he thought.

Cold shower was taken, and still no relief.

So, he left.

In denial.

"It's the heat," he thought. Not a heart attack. But, it was. By the time he accepted this, he couldn't make his cell phone work.

Dad drove 15 miles while having a heart attack.

He drove to Beatrice Community Hospital, and was put on morphine and blood thinners.

In the meantime, I asked my sister if the dryer was done with my tshirts.

"Yeah, but you're not going anywhere for awhile. Dad's in the hospital," said Virginia.

"Oh? I bet it's his back."

"I bet it's the heat."

"I'm gonna call Scotty."

So, I call Scotty.

"So, what's with my Dad?"

"I don't know. He's not here."

"I know that. He's in the hospital. Did something happen there?"


Then, another call from the hospital. Heart attack.

I relay the message to Scotty, and appoint myself head of communications. Virginia is put in charge of Mom.

To the hospital we go. Transportation plans are made, and executed. Phone calls are made. Family, then clergy and friends. There's a surprising amount of overlap with that last group.

It's nearing 6 at this point. I need food. I went to Burger King and got a bacon double cheeseburger. The irony is not lost on me.

We get to BryanLGH, and sit and wait for someone to tell us what's up. Dad is in the cath lab, getting doctor things done.

After an hour or so, we get the news.

We visit Dad two at a time. He is doped to the gills. Morphine, dopamine, all kinds of good stuff.

More phone calls are made, and I stay in Lincoln. Not at the hospital, since I'm not anywhere close to being tired, but at Roofie House, where my friends live.

The next morning, I take off at around 8:30. Get to the hospital, Dad is asleep. I eat breakfast. Eggs, sausage, bacon.

Hospitals are boring.

Phone calls are made, cigarettes are smoked, hallways are walked, GameBoy is played. Thus goes my day.

Unexpected things happen.

I'm out smoking. Just lit up.


It was a former girlfriend of mine. Becki Learned.

Oddly, it wasn't awkward. We haven't spoken in years, so, we played catch-up. What are you doing, things like that. My dad had a heart attack, her dad was getting a possibly cancerous kidney removed. Things were fine. No strange pauses, no nausea, nothing. I hung out with her and her sister Amber for nearly an hour, just chatting, catching up. Becki's in Chicago, Amber's in Tempe, blah blah blah. I didn't see her again, which wasn't unexpected. Her dad just underwent major surgery, but it would have been nice to hang out with her more. Walk and stuff. Talk with someone other than family.

I also made another single-serving friend (thanks to Fight Club for that term). A woman from Nebraska who was now living in Denver. Her daughter had given birth about a week ago, but there were complications. She was older than me by quite a bit, married, and an amputee. It was interesting. She was missing her right arm from just above her elbow, yet she still used her stump as a windbreak when lighting a cigarette. And, she still talked with her hands. She lost her arm at 14. I didn't ask why, but she said that she had gas gangrene. I didn't ask the cause. We talked about the weather and stuff. Denver, of course, can get some heavy snow. Last year, during a heavy snow, she scooped the driveway and such. Pushed the shovel with her arm, and kicked the snow off with her right leg.


Now, this is my second attempt to post this. So, if I'm all over the place, I apologize. I swear that my first draft was more cohesive. And, I don't edit.

Anyway, Dad had a heart attack.

My reaction wasn't fear, or panic, or anything like that. It was strangely calm. I knew that I couldn't do anything for him, and I knew that panic wouldn't do any good. I just knew what needed to be done, and did it.

Mom is a good person, but doesn't deal with stress well. Something about her Lutheran repressed upbringing or something. Anyway, while she's smart and all that, I knew that she shouldn't be in charge of telling everyone what was going on. I knew that my sister should be in charge of Mom.

So, Dad nearly died. My reaction was calm. Total calm. Dad is where he needs to be, being taken care of by people who know what they are doing. There is no need to worry.

Big events don't faze me. I mean, I've never really faced death. I remember my first funeral (or, what I recall as my first funeral, anyway). We had some elderly neighbors. Mr. and Mrs. Norland. Mr. Norland insisted on calling me Pete. I was not yet 4, so I didn't care. I guess that one day, Mr. Norland went to the doctor, and didn't leave. Had a heart attack waiting for the doctor and died. But, I was three. Not much emotional impact there.

The next funeral I remember was that of my paternal grandmother. She had been sick for some time -- brain cancer will do that. She gave me the nickname "Motormouth". I liked her lots. So did everyone. I don't remember much about that funeral, really.

Then, came my great-grandma. She was old as hell when I knew her. I liked her, but, she was damned old. Her husband, my great-grandpa, died not long afterwards. As I recall, anyway.

I've not really seen death. No close friends have died. I've known people my age who have died, but they were not really friends. Acquaintences, yes. True friends, no. I've been lucky thusfar. And, I hope to remain lucky.

But, my reaction baffles me.

If you'll recall, in late May, I wrote about my lack of time off to spend with my family. I regarded this as a serious crisis. Of course, in retrospect, I realize that I was in a serious depressive state (a crying jag in the shower is not, as I understand it, normal), but, still... I can't hang out with my family, and I start crying when trying to explain why I'm pissed off. My Dad nearly dies (or not. I'm not a cardiologist.), and things are as calm as can be.

Kee-rye-st. I apologize for the length, and for the disjointedness, if it's there.

If you want to send get well cards or things like that for Dad, lemme know.

Comments by: YACCS