It’s been one of those weeks
By A. Ray Lee
Do you ever have one of those days? You know, the days where before it’s barely started you realize that nothing that happens is going to go right. I’ve been having those days all week.
I’m sure you can tell already that this is not Dad writing his column this week. No, it’s me, his oldest daughter Laura, pinch-hitting for him. While Dad’s writing “voice” is calm, compassionate, and reflective, I tend to be more sarcastic and “in your face.” Humor and sarcasm are my go-to coping methods, and I’ve needed both of them in abundance this week.
On Sunday afternoon Dad suffered a heart attack. My day quickly went from looking forward to relaxing and watching the super bowl to watching monitors and waiting for doctors to give me good news. There was no “relaxing” to be found.
We’ve had ups and downs this week, highs and lows, moments of peace and moments of panic. While that pretty much describes my day every day, the outcomes this week have been so much more important. I have advocated for my father with doctors, nurses (angels here on earth), and social workers. I have tried to balance his need for privacy with family members’ need to know. That’s a very fine line, and at times my balance has faltered.
Dad is doing fairly well for an 86-year-old who suffered a serious heart attack less than a week ago. He has astounded his care team not only with his physical resilience but also with his quiet and peaceful demeanor. I’m sure that comes as no surprise to any of you who know Dad. As I vented about the audacity of someone whom neither Dad nor I know who had posted on social media about Dad’s heart attack before I had even had time to notify family members, Dad just said, “Laura, don’t waste energy worrying about things you have no control over. I’m sure he meant well.”
Many of the decisions that we have faced this week – hard decisions involving medical care and end-of-life care – have been made so much easier by the fact that these were conversations that we had already had. There is no wondering, “what would Dad want?”, because we already knew. We have medical directives in place which clearly spell out what Dad would want done in specific situations and have had them in place for years.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m fairly certain that Dad still has a few years left in him. Probably more post-heart attack than he did before. At least now we know that there is a problem and we can take steps to deal with it.
To anyone who was unfortunate enough to catch the edge of my tongue this week, I apologize. Not for being me, you understand, but for you being in my line of fire when the stress of the moment became too much. I’d say it won’t happen again, but if you know me, you know it probably will.
From me, Dad, and the rest of our family, we are so very grateful for your love, prayers, and support during this difficult time. Keep ‘em coming.