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Could Have Been.


I have my father’s eyes, which I passed down to both of my sons.

Since I was a small child, I’ve always been known as Daddy’s Little Girl. All of the best parts of who I am are directly decended from him. My tastes in music, my (terrible) sense of humor, my ability to let most things roll off my back, those are all his traits. My brother had my mother, I had my father.

We went to see him again today up in the ICU, where I was afforded a seat directly in front of the station which his vitals blipped intermittently. They were perfect. He remains in the ICU, flanked by (much) older patients, suffering from far worse fates. The guy next to him with VRE on a vent? Not so good. The lady on the other side, catatonic and covered with decubitus ulcers? Probably not in such good shape. He is there only because the rest of the hospital is full.

One can only remain in crisis mode for 5 or 6 days before they break down. As I slowly start to go about my day, with the crisis winking merrily in my rearview mirror, I am overtaken by the horrible thoughts of what could have happened.

The thrombus that was causing the intermittent angina pectoris, waving jauntily from his great vessel could have dislodged itself, and burrowed somewhere far graver. It easily could have killed him. It didn’t, but it could have.

I try take greater comfort in knowing that for now, for right now, he is sitting in the dimly lit ICU, likely eating the candy bar I bought him, and flipping casually through my copy of The Atlantic (and likely NOT the Tiffany’s catalogue I brought him, to pick stuff out that he could buy for me). The monitors from adjacent rooms are probably occasionally alarming, while the fresh snow accumulates outside his window.

To others, those monitors probably evoke the ominous terror of yet another thing going wrong with someone they desperately love and want to be well again, while to me, they echo endlessly “could have been him, could have been him.”

8 Comments to

“Could Have Been.”

  1. On December 7th, 2007 at 10:02 pm Cricket Says:

    You describe so well what I felt when my father had a heart attack 20 years ago. BTW, he hasn’t had another since.

    It’s kinda nice having the extra care as a precaution, even though he doesn’t need it. The scenes around him, well, you’re putting them to good use.

  2. On December 7th, 2007 at 11:01 pm Ashley Says:

    Hey Becky, glad to know he is doing better. Tell him and your Mom I’m thinking of them (and obviously you too). Call if you need anything, I’m around all weekend…

  3. On December 8th, 2007 at 9:47 am Pauline Says:

    Hang in there. It wasn’t him, that’s the good in this. Let us know if you need anything.

  4. On December 8th, 2007 at 1:28 pm Josh Hawkins Says:

    Good to hear he’s doing well.

  5. On December 9th, 2007 at 8:39 am Kim Says:

    you write from your heart, Becky. It is clear to me that you and your father have a wonderful relationship.

    Keeping you all in my thoughts as I watch the snow fall here in MI.

    be well

  6. On August 29th, 2009 at 9:07 am Mommy Wants Vodka » Blog Archive » I Might Have Been Less Surprised If It Were A Midget Britney Spears Impersonator Says:

    […] My dad was in the ICU post heart attack, I remember that day right before Christmas, and Alex was having his typical trouble sleeping. I’d finally gotten him down for his 2.5 minute afternoon nap and the sound of the doorbell made me nearly shatter my teeth as I ground them down. […]

  7. On August 29th, 2009 at 2:44 pm Rebecca Says:

    I remember when my dad had a heart attack. He lives about 2 hours away from an actual hospital so they had to bring him in on a helicopter. I was living about 30 minutes away from the hospital they took him to. Mom and my brother had to drive up, they wouldn’t let either one take the helicopter.

    Nothing slaps you in the face harder than being the only one in the waiting room when the doctor calls “Last Name” family? For the doctor to come to ME (daddy’s little princess) to ask questions and for me to hear, for the first time the horrible details of his heart attack. I remember thinking “welcome to being a grown up-I want to be a little girl again” and most of all “I want my daddy to be okay”

    Almost 10 years after the heart attack he’s still going strong and I pray every day I get to keep my daddy for a long long long long time.

    I do too.

  8. On August 30th, 2012 at 12:32 pm Frugal Living Tips: Easy Stress Busters - Life On The Frugal SideLife On The Frugal Side Says:

    […] careful planning, I want to make sure I know how to decrease the one thing I know I am at risk for (familial history) – heart disease – by finding ways to reduce stress on the […]

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