It has been a scary few weeks. In June, my dad had a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA). TIAs can be a precursor to a big honkin’ stroke. When I first heard this, I started doing a little research on TIAs and found that more than a third of people who have a TIA will have a stroke.
I calmed down a little bit after his doctor in Illinois proclaimed that a wait-and-see approach was in order, but then my dad got a second opinion from an acquaintance of his who is an internationally renowned stroke guy. My dad worked for 25 years at Abbott Labs and for a good portion of that time he worked on stroke med studies. He still has a lot of contacts in the field and Dr. Higashida was one of them. Dr. Higashida told my dad that he thought the condition was more severe and that a procedure was in order. So my parents scheduled the trip out to UCSF.
My dad’s work at Abbott was a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, he knew the signs and symptoms and was able to get medical help right away. He also knew a specialist in whom he had great confidence. On the other hand, my dad knew all too well what a massive stroke would do to him. Add to this the fact that his mother died of a stroke (a subject we never mentioned over the last month) and he was a bit of a nervous wreck.
At any rate, he had his stent procedure on Monday, spent Tuesday in a regular hospital room, and was released on Wednesday. As I said to a friend, let’s snake a thread from your leg to your brain, insert a foreign object in your one good vertebral artery, and send you home less than 48 hours later. Amazing!
Or, as I said to another friend, after the dramatic and tense lead-up to the procedure, seeing my dad sitting on my sofa 2 days later, looking perfectly normal, I quoted from Buffy:
In addition to his good luck in knowing Dr. Higashida and being able to afford a trip to UCSF, the other stroke of luck (no pun intended) is, of course, that I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. So, my parents stayed at my place before and after the procedure.
After the recap, I get to the meat of this post. In the days leading up to the planned procedure (which had definite scary risks), I tried to keep a positive outlook, but it wasn’t always easy. My dad is only 69. Despite the fact that I only have one remaining grandparent, my grandfather on my mother’s side, that dude is going to be 90 this November. So, obviously, my dad should have another good 10-15 years in him, minimum. It’s strange how the age of “old” shifts as you get closer to it.
My dad is a great man, with a sharp wit, good sense of humor, intelligence, and infinite patience (I imagine my mom snickering now). Doubtless, he is one of the best men I have ever met.
I still ask him for advice on just about anything of importance. Just recently, I asked him about a questionable stock tip I got, and we decided to both buy a few shares and see what happened. (At the time, shares were only 14 cents each so this wasn’t a truly crazy idea.)
We have a very good relationship, which I feel very lucky about given some father relationships I’ve been witness to. He is a friend and I enjoy his company. I like him. Above all, I am a daddy’s girl, and I am not ready to lose my daddy.
Due to our own unique way of avoiding our emotional displays, I can’t say these things directly to him. So, I write this post. The virtual equivalent of going to opposite ends of the house to compose ourselves.