Monday, June 05, 2006

through his eyes -- project real life

today's post is the first in a series called project real life. posts will equate to one page lifted from the guest blogger's journal.

background: guest # 1 is a recent high school graduate who will be heading off to college this fall.



Okay. Here it goes.

At 10:17am Thursday, Grandma called from next door. Dad's having pains in his chest and back. Had it since Tuesday, but it's unbearable today. He's going to the hospital. Needless to say, I'm driving. I'm ready to roll in 90 seconds (literally; she's still on the phone with Aunt when I walked out the door). Dad decides to call his physician first. At 11:00, the doc says go to the hospital. They'll already be waiting, "direct admission" is the term.

At this point, my mind is in "Get your butt in the car" mode. Not panic, just "let's go". But Dad has to brush his teeth while Grandma puts in a load of laundry, changes clothes, and cleans out the car. Maybe I'm just misunderstanding the urgency of the situation, but I thought we're going to the hospital, right?

We leave at 11:25., an hour after I was told we were going. On the way, Dad declares he's hungry. I say quite firmly "We're going to the hospital." Dad and Grandma are hungry. I'd just keep driving, but I'll never hear the end of it. So we stop, as requested, at the Waffle House. The entire time, I'm reading the riot act. I called my brother for a reality check, because this sounds totally stupid to me. In fine form, he replies "Bring me back two scrambled eggs, hashbrowns, and sausage."

Does this sound f-ing stoooopid or what?

After more than an hour we leave, and finally check in at 12:50. He's immediately taken to PCU and put on a heart monitor, then promptly falls asleep. A lot of tubes of blood are drawn, and an EKG is run. At 3:30, Grandma decided her knees hurt too much and we leave. On the way home, which takes forever, she asks if I'm bothered by Dad being in the hospital. Up to this point, she's done well. Her normal emotional train wreck of herself has held together until now. "What do you mean "'bothered'?"
"No. Dad's at the hospital. He's being taken care of."
Now, emotionally, I'm the Rock of Gibraltar. My feelings show a lot more in my writing than my actions. Upset to me means emotionally unsettled (like crying, jitteriness, and showing a general lack of control or discipline), like Grandma's acting like now.
"You have no idea how much your father loves you!" Translation = I'm pissed your panties aren't in a wad.
"I love dad, too. But having an anxiety attack will not do any good."
"Would you feel better if I had a breakdown?"
"I guess not."

After we got home, she started calling people, telling them he's had a heart attack. Aunt calls and tries to calm her down once she starts with "Be sure to bury us both next to (dead husband), because neither of us will survive this. And I want to use this funeral home, not the other."

Aunt: "Can we wait until the doctor actually examines him before we plant him in the ground?"

Aunt, Lil' Bro, Cousin, and I go to the hospital about 7pm. Dad's still asleep. Slept through the doctor's examination. Woke up long enough to hear the doctor say "The patient won't stay awake long enough for me to tell him what's up." Dad's not hungry, so I eat the spaghetti dinner.

Thus, my day ends.
The next morning, Dad is discharged after a heart catheter first thing in the morning reveals surprisingly clear arteries. It was all likely a muscle spasm or pinched nerve.

Chapter closed on yet another insane anecdote of my upbringing.


Anonymous said...

...another insane anecdote of my upbringing.

Thanks, Guest #1! I know what you mean. I remember looking around for the camera during some of my family moments growing up. Then again, some of that stuff couldn't even be scripted.

Anne McAllister said...

Gee, maybe we're related. Your Grandma sounds just like my mom! Or, worse thought, maybe there are lots of them out there. Thanks.

Bailey Stewart said...

Your father sounds a lot like mine. Thank you for being here today. Good luck at college.

anne frasier said...

when i got to Waffle House, i was laughing out loud. if it had been any other place it wouldn't have been as funny. not sure why, but Waffle House just kind of tipped everything for me. and of course your brother's carry-out request. :D

great story, and i'm glad you dad is fine.

thanks for being my first contributor!

Stephen Blackmoore said...

The second to last heart attack my dad had he had moved back to Hawaii and was living in Kamuela on the Kona side of the island and working at the airport in Hilo. He knows the signs, calls his doctor, who happens to be in the hospital just down the street from where he's working. But does he go there? No.

Instead, he drives over an hour to get home on the other side of the island, and then drives himself back to Hilo to see his doctor. Over two hours behind the wheel while he's having a heart attack.

What's so important in Hilo? He wanted to make sure he was wearing clean underwear, because his mother used to always tell him to make sure he was wearing clean underwear in case he ever had to go the hospital.

angie said...

OMG, Stephen. Must have clean undies? Horrible and hilarious.

Thanks guest blogger - lots of stuff to go into the writer's grist mill. I have to admit the whole might-be-having-a-heart-attack-let's-stop-for-breakfast-at-the-Waffle-House thing left me ping-ponging between disbelief, laughter & anxiety.

And thanks, Anne. Great blogging idea. Fact IS stranger (and often more interesting) than fiction.

anne frasier said...

stephen: oh my god. i think that clean underwear thing is going to be forever embedded in our culture!

angie: yep, i was feeling the same way. :D

emeraldcite said...

That was a good entry. Thanks!

The whole clean underwear mythos is so odd. My mom used to say the same thing all the time.

I tried to explain to her that the last thing you should worry about when you're dying is your underwear.

Not to mention that when you die, your bowls are no longer concerned with what you may find embarassing.

Tami said...

Great entry guest blogger! Thanks for sharing your story. Stephen, great add to the guest bloggers story! When my grandfather had to go to the hospital right before he passed away, he hadn't been feeling well for days. Finally we convinced him to go (he had a bleeding ulcer) and he said that he had to get "dressed" before we left. Getting "dressed" to my grandpa was putting on nice dress slacks, a nice button up shirt and dress shoes. Not sure why he felt that was so important when he was just going to have to wear the hospital gown with no back to it as soon as he got there!

Kelly Parra said...

Very cool, entry! This also reminds me how I see others in my family too and I that just don't understand their motives. =D

Sandra Ruttan said...

OMG, can you imagine? You're bolting out the door in 90 seconds and Dad's all "got to have my big greasy breakfast first". It would be enough to give me an anxiety attack!

Jer said...

Thanks for the laughs, guest blogger. Loved your post.

My former room mate had a baby on her front lawn because she had to fold all her laundry so people wouldn't think she was a slob.

I laugh every time I think about it. (This is probably why we weren't roommates for long--I'm a closet slob. Closet because that's where everything goes when people are coming for a visit.)

Jeff said...

Great post, guest blogger #1. I laughed at several parts of your story because it reminded me of my own family and some of their antics. Good luck in college and with your writing. Thanks for sharing with us. :)

p.s. When I'm taking care of a patient, I can assure you the status of their underwear is the very least of my concerns. lol
But of course I was told the same " wear clean underwear in case you have to go to the hospital" story when I was growing up. I think we all did. :)

anne frasier said...

emeraldcite: and the underwear might not stay clean anyway. not that i'd know anything about that....

tami: lol! i remember when my grandmother used to make us kids get dressed up to go to the store.

kelly: isn't that the truth!

sandra: now i wonder what he had to eat. maybe a big slab of ham? i think we need to know the answer to that, but i don't know if guest 1 is coming back. :D

Jer: OMG! that is hilarious!!! i hope she learned her lesson. :D

jeff: i think you should start talking an underwear survey. ask the patient if he changed before leaving the house. ;)

Guest #1 said...

Thanks everyone for commenting. It's good to know that I'm not the only one with a family like this.

anne frasier said...

guest # 1: thanks so much for sharing your story with us!