Last Monday, I got a call that dad had headed to the emergency room with chest pains. This is actually a pretty common occurrence as dad experiences chest pains whenever his blood levels gets low. Once my dentist appointment was finished, I headed up to Medina to find dad in considerable pain. Blood tests indicated that dad’s blood levels were not low. They took him by ambulance to Fairview to have an emergency heart catheterization. Heart caths are also a fairly common occurrence for my dad, so we still were kind of business as usual. When the doctor gave us the results, that’s when we felt the sinking feeling. Two major areas were 100% blocked…dad was having a heart attack only months after his first major heart attack…the doctor had no idea how dad had made it.
This week has been quite a few ups and downs with dad having further angina, dropping blood levels, and failing kidneys. Nathan saw me leave the house almost every day to head up to see his grandpa, and I finally did have a serious talk with him to give him heads-up about what was going on with grandpa.
One day last week, I got home from the hospital fairly late. Mark assured me that all the kids were fast asleep. As I always do, I peeked into each of the kids’ rooms to check on them. My last check was Nathan, and I turned on the light to find my boy lying there sobbing. He had a pile of papers and a pen and had been busy drawing grandpa pictures and writing a letter. (A letter from Nathan is a rare thing as Nathan hates writing.) I crawled into bed with Nathan, and we talked about grandpa and cuddled. He asked me to promise to give grandpa his letter the next time I saw him.
The only problem was that this was the get well letter:
I hope you survive that heart attack. If you do, I will be surprised and feel good. I have faith in you. You might survive.
(A few grammar corrections added.)
Not exactly a stirring pep talk there, but it certainly was heartfelt. I showed Mark and asked him whether it would be appropriate to show dad. He thought it might be a bit of a downer. My sisters agreed. Janine said that it was a good thing Nathan wasn’t a coach. His speech might go something like this. I hope you survive the clobbering from the other team. If you do, I will be surprised and feel good. I have faith in you. You might win!
Once dad’s health started to improve, I told him that I had a letter from Nathan that I would give him when he got home from the hospital. Dad assured me that there couldn’t be anything in that letter that would be that bad. I ended up giving dad the letter in the hospital, and he thought it was sweet and funny. In fact, I think he has shown everyone who has come to visit him as well as all the nurses. I had two nurses come in when we were visiting today, and both asked if one of the kids in the room had written “the letter”.
I think Nathan’s get well card must have done the trick because dad is showing progress and should be leaving the hospital soon. In all seriousness, we are so fortunate to have the dad we do and the gift of him still being with us. I know many people have been praying for him!