Sunday morning Great Scott woke up miserably sick. Miserably sick. (Is it something about our anniversary?!?!) The girls and I left him sleeping and tiptoed out of the house to church, where we arrived (as usual) about five minutes late. My mother pulled into the parking space next to ours. "Your father isn't coming this morning," she said, as she climbed out of her car. "A wrong load of feed got delivered yesterday, and he's taken one of the guys out to the customer's farm to shovel it out of their barn." Not an unusual happening.
I remember thinking that August wasn't a particularly good time to be up in the roof of a barn shoveling grain. Dad's done it lots of times, but he isn't in his twenties or thirties any more, and it would be rough on him. As one of the two partners who run the milling business, and given his age, he really shouldn't be doing any shoveling at all, but I knew my father, and I knew he wouldn't ask any of the regular hands to do anything he wasn't going to help with himself. Mom's call later that afternoon caught me off guard but didn't particularly shock me. "Your father's collapsed. They're airlifting him to St. John's."
The rest of Sunday seems like a month ago. Or a year. Or a lifetime. Not that there was ever any particular feeling of panic, really. Dad was in solid spirits when we got to the hospital. He was calm, good-natured and fairly serious with an occasional mildly mischievious comment thrown in. The doctors confirmed a mild heart attack. An angiogram was scheduled for Monday afternoon. Mom and I didn't leave the hospital until nearly eleven, not for medical reasons, but because we'd innocently granted my dad the pen and paper he'd requested, and he kept giving Mom, his business partner and their manager lists of things they needed to know and take care of. Mom, Jody and Steve stood around in the ICU waiting room grinning, shaking their heads and comparing: "I got seven pages; how many'd he give you?"
Monday's tests revealed partial blockages and signs of another one or more that had likely caused Sunday's problem. Three stents were put in. By the time Mom, my sister and I finished hearing the doctor's report and got back to Dad's room, he was finishing off his dinner, and he showed my sister his favorite trick with the monitors. By breathing in a series of sharp and irregular gasps, he could make the monitor's respiration line leap in a series of jagged peaks and valleys. He found this tremendously entertaining: "Look. I can make it draw Mickey Mouse!" (Oh, alright, I'll admit, we all found it pretty funny, in a warped sort of way.)
Today I'm home and weary beyond bone tired. I've not felt particularly stressed the last two days. No worrying or panic, no what-if's chasing themselves in circles around my mind. Just a lot of waiting, listening, learning and considering. Very calm stuff. Now, though, it's as if all the tension and turmoil that hasn't been emotionally manifested has somehow transformed itself into sheer physical exaustion. Probably not particularly unusual.
And the anniversary? I'm really glad Scott and I hadn't made special plans, that we'd decided to just wait until the next weekend the girls went to their grandmother's. He did bring home a dozen red rosebuds Saturday night, and their slow bloom has been a deeply felt thing for me to see over the past two or three days. Scott's been really uckily ill, and he's taken care of the girls and his own first couple of teachers' days of the new school year all on his own, regardless, without a single complaint. We haven't really seen each other enough to talk, but late every night when I've walked in, the whole household darkened and asleep, these roses have been standing quietly, beautifully opening at my place on the table, bearing witness to his love.
Thank you, Sweetheart. I love you, too. Happy Anniversary.