Thursday, January 5, 2012


At least a buzzer didn't go off, Dad's nose didn't light up red, although the little finger doohickey made his finger light up.

On December 21, stepmom's mother went in for a routine valve replacement surgery.  The doctors said that it would take a couple of hours, and that she would be fine and ready to be home for Christmas.  There was some kind of complication, and the doctors nicked her aorta with some device, which caused her to die on the operating table after about seven hours.

When Dad went in for his "routine surgery that would last a couple of hours" (not really a direct quote - more of a paraphrase), stepmom was pretty worried.  Dad asked me to be there, since I have the most flexibility of all of my brothers, and even though this will piss off the one brother that reads this even as he agrees with it, the most empathic presentation as a person.

The doctors took him into the OR around 8:30.  I was still en route.  I got to the medical district in Medium City, but I arrived first at Children's Hospital.  I got directions to the General Hospital and fumbled my way around in the psychiatric wing, the burn unit, and finally the surgery center.  ("There's none of the enemy left, right?  Right!")

I found Stepmom and sat by her for a while.  She was bouncing back and forth betwixt her iPhone and her book.  I asked how long they said it would take.  Originally, it was "a couple of hours."  Now it was "sometime around 3:00."

Lots of people-watching opportunities in a hospital waiting area.

My grandma called more than hourly.  You normally don't think of an 85-year-old as "impatient."  At one point, I said, "Grandma, I know you're worried.  I PROMISE you that we will call you as soon as we hear one word about the situation."  Fifty-five minutes later, I called her to tell her we hadn't heard anything yet.  Then I reminded her that based on an earlier conversation, she might want to try Marmite.  I swear I'm not an evil person.

The doctor, a short man with a very heavy Russian accent and a yarmulke, which I mention only because my dad is not the world's most ardent embracer of diversity, emerged from the OR at 5:30 to tell us that all was well, and that we could see him in "thirty to forty minutes, but you should make it closer to forty."

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