I have been here in the waiting room at the hospital since 5:45 this morning. I have taken two 30-minute “naps” and the rest of the time I’ve been chatting with my mom, then my brother, then my sister in law. I feel very disconnected right now. I am sitting, looking out the window into the hallway at the double doors leading into the ICU where my dad lies, very still, very pale, covered in yellow “paint”, filled with tubes and wires, submerged in beeps and bells and the breathing machine. He came out of surgery about an hour ago and will remain in the ICU for several days. Right now we are waiting for him to wake up from the anesthesia. This is that trigger point I was talking about yesterday; that’s the part my Grandmother never did: wake up from the anesthesia. The surgeon sat us down and told us everything went well, he didn’t expect any complications, BUT he cannot guarantee that my dad didn’t have a stroke. They won’t know until he wakes up and “follows orders” enough for us to tell he is alert and still my dad. So here I am 12 hours later, waiting. I am in this weird, tired, goofy state; so far today I have knocked over two drinks and dropped my laptop on the floor; almost read an entire Oprah magazine – something I’ve never yet accomplished in my life; and watched 4 episodes of Law and Order, 3 episodes of ER, 2 episodes of Judging Amy, and now, the cartoon-like melodramatic nightmare that is the San Antonio 6:00 news. If you’ve ever compared the news in S.A. to the news in Austin, you will know what I mean.
Observations I’ve had today are many. Things like
• the first breakfast item listed on the menu in my dad’s room before his quadruple bypass surgery was fried eggs
• 3 out of 4 of my dad’s doctors are cute – and there really is something about doctors – hubba hubba
• food in hospital cafeterias does, indeed, suck; I was also surprised that there was nothing, absolutely nothing healthy to eat in the caf – in a HOSPITAL
• it’s hard to make small talk for 12 hours in a row
• it’s difficult, but not impossible, to sleep sitting up under fluorescent lighting surrounded by strangers
• socks are really absorbent – I discovered this when I spilled my 2nd can of coke in the waiting room and while frantically digging through my mom’s bag for Kleenex, found my dad’s socks - voila
Early this morning, during the hour or so before he was rolled into surgery at 8am, my mom reached tenderly for my dad‘s hand, stuck full of tubes. She picked it up and I thought “Awwww, I’ve never seen my parents touch” -- then she pulled his hand up to her face and said “your fingernails look weird.” BUT when they were rolling him into surgery, she did take his hand, just for a moment, for real. When we were waiting this morning, my mom was standing by my dad’s bed and I noticed that she subconsciously began to bob and rock, dancing to the bleeps on the blood pressure/heart monitor machine. And the first thing my mom asked the nurse when we got there this morning was, “how long until he can fuss at me again after the surgery?,” and the nurse, who had spent the night caring for my ornery dad, replied “how long do you want? I’m sure we can work something out.”
And so we wait.