Today is a very special day for my family. Probably the most amazing part is that I didn't even remember it until my mom called to tell me about it. When I was in high school I was always vying for more independence with my parents, especially over driving the car and a school trip to Italy. I was seventeen and not allowed to drive the car by myself even though I had my license for months.
One day when my mom was at work and Dad was out at the gym, I had to watch my little brother and his friend after school. It was a pretty regular day and I remember the boys were getting bored. I remember hearing the garage door open and figured one of my parents was home. I was totally dumbfounded when I opened the door to the entrance way and saw my dad getting out of the van covered in sweat. If you know my Dad, he will shower upto five times a day if he does anything strenuous. Turns out he had already showered at the gym. I could hardly register what he was saying as he was telling me he had to call 911 and I needed to go stand outside to flag down the ambulance. I didn't believe what he was saying and thought somehow that he was exaggerating or something. I almost didn't want to go outside, but after I saw my dad get off the phone and pop a bunch of aspirin, I figured I better take a look. Almost incredulously, I went outside to flag down the ambulance. This made me feel very silly, why wouldn't they know our address? I'm not sure why I was being resistant to this, but I eventually did see an ambulance on our street. Two paramedics rushed into the house and found my dad. They immediately hooked him up to an EKG and got a quick history. I thought, "Hmm, they seem pretty calm everything must be fine. I'm sure that EKG is okay." It was not. My dad's EKG showed acute ischemia and that he was about to go into V-tach. I had no idea of that at the time, but I did hear the EMT say there was a problem with the EKG and they had to go to the hospital. My dad was then laid down in the stretcher so they could take him out. I for some reason didn't think it odd that he wasn't walking to the ambulance on his own. I stopped to kiss his cheek as he was going out the front door when I heard a huge beep. His heart stopped and he was crashing. They EMTs rushed him out or front door and down our front steps so fast that the broke the stone steps on our walkway. I ran after them, then watched as they kept shocking him over and over again while bawling. The EMTs worked on him for at least 30 minutes. For weeks afterwards I would see their medical debris littered on our lawn and shudder, but I could never bring myself to pick it up. I ran inside to get the phone and call my mother to tell her what happened. She was already on her way home from work and told me she would go straight to Lehigh Valley Hospital. Later she confessed that after my phone call she didn't think she would see him again.
My dad was lucky though, he was in the cath lab within thirty minutes of reaching the hospital. My mom's friend came and dropped me and my brother off at my friends' house. I even got to see my Dad and Mom later that night in the hospital. My Dad was still out of it, can't remember now if he was intubated or not. I just took one look at him in the hospital bed, left the room and started sobbing in my mom's arms. I was traumatized for months after my Dad's heart attack. He let me drive the car now by myself while he was in the hospital. I knew God was punishing me by giving me what I thought I wanted. I was also consumed by emptiness, remembering the moment when I saw my father's heart stop. I felt no God at that moment. It took me years to realize that was not the case and to stop questioning him.
My family had been through so much, but managed to come together. We could have fallen apart so easily. But someone was really looking out for my dad. He is the most amazing father and I don't know how I would ever get along without him. I am so lucky and blessed to have him with me.
We were blessed in so many ways.
My dad had the presence of mind to recognize his symptoms and call 911, (even if he did stop to shower first).
The paramedics arrived before his heart stopped and were able to shock him back.
We live five minutes from the regions premier cardiac center.
My dad was able to get a stent and did not require open heart surgery.
My dad is still healthy and his heart looks better than ever now! That's why I hardly even remembered it had been ten years since his heart attack when my mom called me today. I am blessed that we are not always mindful of his heart attack. It did, however, teach me to treasure my family in a new way, which I am always mindful of.
You tell me...was this meant to be or what??