Let me begin by saying that my dad is fine.
Because if you begin by saying that your dad is in the hospital, it raises alarm bells. So the fact is, he is in the hospital, but he's doing OK.
The last couple days his heart wasn't doing so well, and yesterday afternoon he thought it prudent to call an ambulance. By the time Betty and I got there his blood pressure was much reduced and he was hooked up to all kinds of things and they were trying to figure out why the beats were so irregular.
They let us know up front he'd be there at least 24 hours for tests and monitoring. Which definitely made me feel better.
He called this morning to say that some hours earlier, his heart beat had returned to normal, and now they're just doing more tests.
He sounded good, and his voice sounded strong again, and I just feel like, oh, thank you god.
I have to say that in the scheme of things, it was scary, but not the worst. We knew he was going, and we knew why, and we knew he was in OK enough shape to call my cell and tell me that he'd been admitted and which room we could ask for.
I know all the pieces of this all so very well. I've been to INOVA Fairfax more times than I can count.
And as such, I suggested we stop at Whole Foods, which was on our way. Not to treat it as a spectator sport, but if you've ever had to settle in for the long haul in a hospital, you know that eventually you'll be faced with Snickers from the vending machine and crap coffee and you'd rather have a nice turkey wrap and grapes and bottle of Orangina in hand.
Plus, in these circumstances, we knew there was time.
But I know that drive down Gallows Road - and who fucking puts a hospital on Gallows Road, anyway?
I know the first turn to Emergency, and I know that the next turn is to parking for the main hospital area. I know that if you are leaving at 4 am, you can ask and security will drive you to your car in the dark, dark lot.
I know that Grey parking area. The other day I found a multiple visit card from last year in my car - much better parking value for money, fyi. And the attendants are nice.
I know the Emergency waiting room and I know the Emergency rooms.
And even though I believed in my heart that it was all going to be OK, I got that claustrophobic chest tight want to cry feeling walking past closed curtains, past the big open center area with all the doctors and nurses, walking back to the right room number.
The hospital scares me. The frailty scares me. The reminder of mortality scares me.
I hate April.