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Eric 1stDiv, Triumphant

Larger than Life

Posted on 2008.11.22 at 10:00
Current Location: 75409
Current Music: Beltrami - Hellboy
Tags: ,

My father begrudgingly disclosed to me that he was to have an angiograph in preparation for an angioplasty to be performed on an out-patient basis. He wanted to tell me after the fact, but Mother insisted I know before the procedure. He wasn't worried, so I wasn't worried.

Unfortunately, the outcome determined that an angioplasty would do no good, and that a full blown bypass needed to be performed. Open-heart surgery. On my father. The very next day.

There are sons who despise their fathers and sons who are ambivalent towards their fathers and sons who believe their fathers were born from the gods themselves and helped forge the very heaven and earth on which we walk. Just to clear up any misconceptions, I belong to that last camp. There is never any advice as good as my father's advice, for not only have I followed closely in his footsteps knowing that where I am about to leap he has leapt before. And unlike anyone else on this earth, his advice is in my best interest, for his goal is my success. And its more than that, too. He's not just my father now that I'm an adult, he's my friend. A long-suffering friend who never gets angry at me, never treats me with disrespect, and is never disappointed in me. We share similar interests in movies, music, and books and share with each other endlessly these endeavors. I am he, in almost every facet of my life.

When I called my mother and brother to get an update on what time the procedure would be scheduled, I discovered that two doctors had separately determined that his blockage was inoperable, and he was given 24-hours to live.

I was already at the hospital by the time the "Gregory House of Fort Worth" arrived. This man was considered the best heart surgeon in the city and was brought in to give final consultation on the other two doctors' decision. After reviewing the angiogram and then querying my father, he explained that he was going to die unless he had bypass surgery, but that he likely wouldn't survive the operation due his diabetes and weight causing him to be a very high-risk patient.

"But," he said, "I want to do the surgery. It is your only chance."

My father was prepared for any eventuality, and faced his fate more bravely than I was able to, and we said our goodbyes.

I drove to my folks house to deliver the news to my mother and brother, maintaining strict stoicism the entire evening...until my wife called - which caused her to rouse the children from their beds and drive to Wise County in the middle of the night. I took leave of my mother and got our usual suite in Decatur. If he was not going to survive the operating table, my wife wanted him to see the children one last time.

I dreamed Daisy had come back, and I was so excited to see her! I was petting her and playing with her, and we were so very much enjoying each other's company. Surprisingly, she continued to stay. Usually she just stays a short time. She led me to a corner where she laid down and batted my hands with her gigantic paws and offered me her beautiful head to stroke. I called celtmanx in my dream, "Guess who came to visit me in a dream?" I asked. "Daisy! But here's something puzzling, she hasn't left yet. Usually she comes in my subconscious to comfort me, but she's never stayed this long. Why is she still here? What is going on that I require so much comforting?" He didn't know, and neither did I, but I was enjoying her presence, which pushed my curiosity to the sidelines. I let her comfort me.

Then the phone rang, waking me. It was Mother. Father was going in at 0600. Too early for the children to see him if he didn't pull through. How was I going to explain this them? When I had children of my own, my father stepped out of that role and became PapaDaddy to my children. He was PapaDaddy to all of us now. No longer a father, but a grandfather. Its the role of a lifetime, and the culmination of his patriarchal career. And just like everything else he set his hand to, he was successful at it.

We met Mother at the hospital and waited.

Eventually, the doctor arrived. "There's not a thing wrong with his heart, its healthy and strong." Healthier than they expected. They performed a double-bypass and he's not only recovering, he's recovering faster than they could've possibly imagined.

Later, in ICU, the attending nurse told us that the doctor told them the reason he was doing so well was his attitude. Apparently the doctor had done more than asked questions about his routine that night in his hospital room, he was gauging the man himself, and unbeknownst to us, had determined that his positive attitude was going to be key to his success. I've said it before, I live by it, but I submit to you now, that attitude is everything!

In authoring this, I was finally able to let the tears flow, and I want to thank all those involved in supporting me during this time. The last three days have been one hell of an experience, and last night was my first full night of sleep in a week. Tonight, is mr_dowg's Pirate Party - and while we are all gathered here for different reasons, tonight, I celebrate my father's life.

I love you dad, and my world would be dull without you in it.


Tat-Man the Zombie Hunter
scareypete at 2008-11-22 16:29 (UTC) (Link)
I am glad your father pulled through. I know exactly how I would feel in that situation if it were my father and I went through it when my grandfather passed. Both men were Odin and Thor to me. The mythical giants were the Wells' who came before them in the 19th century.

Attitude is everything. I seriously think some people are to tough to die, no matter how many health issues they suffer from. Someday it will get them but it has to try repeatedly before it does.
ehowton at 2008-11-24 13:00 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks dude. I'd like to say I'm now better prepared for the eventuality, but I don't think that will ever be the case.
glodowg at 2008-11-22 17:02 (UTC) (Link)
Let me tell you something Mr Howton; This tribute to your father is what all parents dream of. When my children were younger I worried about grades, choices, health and daily things. Now that our oldest has basically left home, I worry about them returning to me when they are grown. I know that every decision I have made has been what I felt was the very best for them. BUT - will they recognize that? Will the appreciate the sacrifices I have made when they are grown? Am I being so hard on them now that they won't return to me when they are grown?

I want the mature relationship with my children that you have with your father. However, I can't function today with that in mind. TODAY, I must function as if this is a war. A war between good and evil. A war over my children's success and happiness in life. I hope that they are able to love me after it is all said and done.

I am so thankful that your father is pulling through. When next you are able to hug his neck, whisper a thank you in his ear. A thank you for not giving up the battle when you were younger. A thank you for showing the way and thank you for continuing to be there.

God Speed to PappaDaddy!!
ehowton at 2008-11-24 12:59 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you ma'am. You're very sweet for saying so!
(Deleted comment)
ehowton at 2008-11-24 12:59 (UTC) (Link)
Dunno. You know how stubborn people can be. Maybe he'll hold the gravy this year?
texas_tangent at 2008-11-22 19:25 (UTC) (Link)
I am glad to hear that your dad pulled through.
ehowton at 2008-11-24 12:58 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you ma'am.
dawaioser at 2008-11-22 19:57 (UTC) (Link)
How incredible and what a blessing. Glad things went well & your father is recovering. :)
ehowton at 2008-11-24 12:58 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you so much. Home by Thanksgiving is what we hear!
ehowton at 2008-11-24 12:57 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks dude. And yeah, there's nothing quite like it. I just hope I do okay by my son.
Joshua Gizelt
swashbuckler332 at 2008-11-23 06:40 (UTC) (Link)
I know how it feels to have somebody close to you suddenly have a ticking clock. I'm very glad your father is going to be okay.

I hope you're enjoying the party (as I write this, you'll already be there).
ehowton at 2008-11-24 12:56 (UTC) (Link)
Aye, and thank you.

(I'll post more about the other soon) ;)
codekitten at 2008-11-23 12:00 (UTC) (Link)
wow! what a wonderful tribute...i'm so glad he's recovering so well.
ehowton at 2008-11-24 12:56 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you; home for Thanksgiving is the word!
(Anonymous) at 2008-11-29 18:00 (UTC) (Link)

Your Dad

Glad he's ok. God is good!
ehowton at 2008-11-29 21:00 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Your Dad

Thanks so much. The kids and I are in Boyd visiting him today - first time I've been able to see him since he got out of the hospital because the kids have been sick all week. No matter, knowing he's fine was good enough for me.

Thanks again.
irulan_amy at 2008-12-01 03:22 (UTC) (Link)
I am so glad to hear that your father is well and with you. It's simply amazing the difference attitude can make. Pardon the pun, but it is heartening to hear.
ehowton at 2008-12-01 23:15 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you. He's an inspiration to everyone. (Except maybe drax0r who he teases mercilessly.)
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