I had a great week last week. Excellent week. I had a weekend! Doesn't sound like something worth noting but after spending so much time in the hospital with my dad and then visiting he and mom at home, checking in, ensuring - with my own eyes - that all was well...I had a weekend all to myself (except for that Father's Day visit I snuck in, of course).
My weekend back among the rest of the world consisted of a wonderfully long leisurely brunch with a friend, a movie out with another friend, a great Father's Day and a fantastic Coldplay concert. My definition of a perfect weekend...and I was finally relaxing. I had been on high alert for more than 4 weeks...my body giving way the week before when my back finally gave out to the build up of all that pressure. But that passed too.
I had a really good week at work. We closed another deal. We were busy and the days were flying by. And in this economy, that's saying something. I made plans. I made plans, people! After refusing so many invitations the past few months so I could be with the family, I was genuinely enjoying the company of friends again. I was relaxing even more. Still, all the while, checking in on dad and having lengthy chats and silly giggles with mom. Ahhhh...yes, this is what life was like before his diagnosis...before his complicated surgery...before everything changed.
Thursday night. Great talk with dad over the phone. He sounds so good. He's even peppy today. I can't help but smile through the entire conversation. It's like it was before. We're laughing about something. I get off the phone, feeling full and satisfied and...dare I say...happy.
Friday. It's a wonderfully productive day at the office. Satisfying. And after a week in a fog, this is what I've been longing for. I meet some great friends for lunch...which lingers quite a lovely long while. I finish up everything I planned to before leaving the office and am out by 5pm. The sun is shining as I walk home. I'm smiling...exhausted...and so ready for a quiet night in; a long sleep tonight.
I make my daily call to the folks. It's a little later than I usually do. Not sure why...probably because I've been slow getting dinner on...definitely tired from this week. They're not picking up so I leave a message. They must be having dinner or be sitting out on the deck.
A few hours later the call comes. Mom starts out strong...asks how my day was. Gotta love her. And then it comes...silence..."Dear...it's not been a good 24 hours...."...more silence...and then I hear her crying. F*ck.
I do my best not to inundate her with questions but I'm confused. I need to know. I want to know everything at once. Dad was his best in weeks just 24 hours ago. What could have happened? I didn't let it occur to me that anything could change overnight. I let my guard down and now I was having the wind knocked out of me.
The story unfolds and now I'm doing my best to just breathe and hold back tears. She went out to grab a new prescription for him (literally across the street), came back and found him on the floor, grey and clammy. He was conscious but in an excruciating amount of pain. She called 911 and he was rushed to Emergency.
It's Saturday. He's now home and resting. They don't know what happened. Change in medication? Complications of his surgery? Infection? Don't know. Troubling.
As mom said, there are no normal days anymore. There are no normal days anymore.
I've already made mention in my blog that my dad is on a long road back to health. This blog is not about one particular part of that road but rather a reminder (to me) that these calls - these experiences - are part of my new reality. These experiences, which I don't even bear the brunt of - my dad and my mom do - are our family's new reality. Everything has changed.
I gave myself such a hard time today for being out enjoying myself when (I didn't know) my dad was struggling in the Emergency ward. Logically, I know that's not fair. I know I'm being hard on myself. I know I couldn't have known and I know why he and mom made the decision not to call my brother or I until they knew what was going on. But this is a tough one to swallow.
How do I go out and enjoy myself, dream about my future travels and all the living I want to do (dad's present situation being the catalyst for such thinking) when this is what could be happening? I know guilt is pointless - it's of absolutely no good to either party - but I can't bear the thought of mom walking in on what she did and having to deal with what she did all on her own. I can't bear the thought of how scared my dad must have been lying there on the floor with no one there to help him, not knowing what was going on or how to stop the pain. I can't bear it.
There has been much more good than bad that has surfaced through my family's health struggles. We have so much to be thankful for and I am grateful - consciously so - every single day for all the positives that have come out of this. But I gotta tell you, sometimes it is awfully difficult to be positive and this just happens to be one of those occasions. And I write when I need to vent; when I need to understand what is going on in my head; when I need to try and make sense of things; when I should probably be reaching out to one of my many friends to talk about all of this and yet struggle to do so. And so I write.
Tomorrow is another day and it's one day at a time...