My mom and I went out shopping this morning. My dad went into work. He works at one of the local hospitals. When she and I got home, there were 4 messages (3 from his boss) asking us to get to the hospital ASAP. We knew – something serious had happened. We took off for the hospital and went to ER, calling my brother on the way to let him know something had happened. We were telling the ER admissions desk that we’d received a call that he was there. As soon as my mom said his name, a lady standing beside us introduced herself as the Chaplin, and asked us to follow her. First thought through my mind, “this really isn’t good if the Chaplin was waiting for us.” She took us back to a family room, and told us she was going to go get the doctor to talk with us. My mom and I both knew, but neither one would say it or admit it. She did say, though, that if they wanted to know whether or not to pull a plug, to go ahead. We all know he wouldn’t want to be a vegatable, or partially incapacitated. The doctor came in, and she started talking. I knew. The things she said… the way she was wording things – I’ve seen too many episodes of ER for me not to pick up on it. My mom was the same way, and she interrupted the doctor. “Is he dead?” “Yes.”
A few minutes later, I called my brother. Told him to come right away. He said, “it’s not what I think..?” I answered “he’s gone.” Aaron just started bawling. After the Chaplin and doctor left, mom and I cried for a while, then started trying to get ahold of family and friends. We didn’t want to call my grandmother (his mom) because she’s in a assisted care home, and we didn’t want her to be alone when she heard. We finally got through to my aunt, who took it almost harder than us, and she went to my grandma’s home to break the news to her. Seeing his body was the hardest part. It barely looked like him … he just looked so bad. Mom’s already been to the funeral home, made all the arrangements. They’re handling just about everything for us.
Like I said, he was at work in the hospital. He had what his boss thought was a seizure. It was a heart attack. No warning signs. Since he was already there at the hospital, they were able to have a medical team there with him VERY quickly. They worked on him there for about 10 minutes before getting him down to ER. His heart stopped, but they were able to restart it. For a while. They worked on him for another 40 minutes before they had no choice but to pronounce him. His official time of death was 12:31pm – while mom and I were en route to the hospital.
This wasn’t his first heart attack. He had that when I was 9 years old. They did a quintuple bipass then. When I was about 18, he had an angioplasty. When I was roughly 20/21, he had a quadruple bipass. At the end of April last year, he passed out at work. Some meds he was on screwed up his blood pressure, and it dropped really low, which caused the black out. Tests revealed more heart blockage though. He was in the hospital for over a week then, had 2 angiograms, and 5 angioplasties, plus they put a stint in one of the arteries. For a while, they thought he might even need a pacemaker, but they were able to rule that out. So yeah, this heart attack was a surprise. Sure, he’s had a LOT of heart problems – but they just did a lot of work on him a year ago. It just doesn’t feel real. Still hasn’t set in completely.
May 3rd was to be my parent’s 30th wedding anniversary.