Wednesday, September 18, 2013

What's Important

Last week my father texted me to say that he probably had the flu and wouldn't be able to get together one night. On Saturday my mother called me to say that it wasn't the flu. Dad had a blood infection. A serious blood infection. He'd finally gone to see the doctor and that he would be starting heavy rounds of antibiotics that day. Even more worrying, my father has an artificial heart valve that was put in almost 25 years ago. If the valve became infected it would mean another heart surgery.

On Sunday my mother called to say that they were admitting my dad to the hospital on Monday morning. They wanted to watch him more closely. He still had high fevers. Thankfully on Monday we found out that his valve was apparently not infected. He'll most likely not need another open heart surgery. Now it's just a matter of blasting him with enough antibiotics to kill the bug. When I saw him on Saturday, before the hospitalization, he looked gray and pale and weak. He was clearly sick, clearly hurting. And I went home with a pretty heavy  heart. But the news on Monday and seeing the return of his appetite and color has made these last couple days a relief.

From the first phone call on Saturday until today, I've been in a bit of a daze. I spent part of Saturday with my dad, I spent most of Monday at the hospital with him, and I'm making it a point to see him every day. The news of his illness was a wake up call. It has reminded me that most of the issues I thought I had, aren't all that important. It reminds me that there are things in life that are important (family, friends, time, interests...) and there are things that are unimportant. I've been slacking at the office but I've been writing up a storm. I've been laying off social media but I've been spending lots of face-time and phone time. I've been telling people I love them. I've been making time. I've been doing the things that make me come alive.

As I watch my dad recover, and his color and personality return to normal, I send my gratitude out into the world. And I'm reminded of what I know is important and what I used to think was important. It's sad that it took almost losing my father to realize this, but I'm happy to have both the lesson and a soon-to-be healthy father. I'd rather not have just the lesson.


Keith said...

Get well quickly, Cat's dad!

Fumiko said...

I wish speedy and complete recovery for your father.

Cat B said...

Thank you both Keith and Fumiko! I appreciate your concern.

An update: My dad went home from the hospital on Friday and on Sunday started having heart problems. After a terrible night in ICU, he had a temporary pacemaker put in, which saved his life. As I write this, he's being taken by ambulance to Mayo Clinic for open heart surgery. I'll update after surgery happens.