While I was trying to feed Ella, a number from Lima called me and then it was followed by a call from my dad's phone. 1 voice mail was left. It was from an ER nurse at St. Rita's hospital in Lima (never heard of it before). I'm confused. So I call my dad back. The same nurse answers his phone. I could feel my head spinning. As she tells me my father has had an "episode" and that I need to pack up and get there because he is in critical condition (not sure what this means at this point). I called Nate. I was sobbing. He had no idea what was wrong. He stepped out of a meeting to call me back and make sure something wasn't wrong with the baby. Once he understood it was something with my dad he headed home. He was supposed to be flying out of town for work, but the minute he got home he convinced me to pack up.
While all of this is going on, I left voice mails with my mom and sister. Thankfully they had better information than me. Unfortunately, it was not good news.
Here is what we found out:
My dad had driven to Lima for a quarterly branch work meeting.
He called my mom at 8:30 and told her he wasn't feeling right.
Background: my dad has a condition that caused him to require brain surgery to survive. He had the surgery 35 years ago and had been fine until today.
He then, thankfully, walked into the office. He walked past everyone. Didn't say hello. As he neared reception he passed out.
His coworkers responded quickly and the squad arrived in 6 minutes and took him to the hospital.
There he was rushed into the ER and eventually into brain surgery.
A link about his condition - AVM
We all got phone calls because dad had not updated his emergency contact information (we all got a laugh out of this later since he still had his Lansing, MI number listed. Ummm, been moved since '81). They were going through his phone and calling back recent numbers. Thankfully, Sunday was Father's Day and we had all called recently.
My sister had my mom drive to her house so she could drive them to Lima. Nate and I were driving to Lima and getting a few updates from them as we drove. We didn't really know what was going on. Everything we were told was very upsetting.
When we arrived in Lima (longest drive of my life), dad was just out of surgery and we got there just as the surgeon was talking with everyone (mom, sister, aunt and uncle from Michigan). As I walked up behind my mother after a 5 hr car ride with an infant I hear the surgeon say that he may not make it. That he doesn't think dad will pull through. That dad is very sick and if he does somehow wake up that he has months of hardwork to recovery.
I can't tell you how much I cried. I cried when I got the phone call. I cried on the drive. I cried as I hugged everyone. I cried when we were taken up to the icu to see dad. I cried as people I didn't know hugged me. I cried in Nate's arms. I cried as I fed Ella. I'm still crying. It has been almost a week.
In this past week, our family has pulled together. We have been lifted up and cared for by so many. We have seen so much love for us and our father. There aren't words for me to say thank you enough. From the depths of my being, thank you. You know who you are.
I have sat in the icu holding my dad's hands as he lies in a coma. I want to believe he can hear me. So, I talk to him and pick on him to get him to respond. I want him to get better. I believe he will. I feel that he will. Every movement he makes brings a smile to my face.
He is a fighter.
I wanted to document this day and this time so we can look back and see how much he has improved. I also want to capture the blessings we have noted so far.
Silver lining and blessings:
He was at the branch office when this happened. Normally dad is on the road or inspecting properties or at home alone. This could have been worse and he could have hurt others.
His coworkers responded quickly and he received care immediately. I will never mock those safety briefs in meetings again.
He was minutes from a hospital. Specifically, a hospital that could handle this level of trauma.
He was treated by one of the top surgeons in the area.
We had all recently called him so the hospital was able to get in contact with the family quickly.
We have loving family and friends who have been traveling hours to be there with my mom and my sister and myself.
So many have offered to watch the babies, and so many have watched them.
So many have made us dinner.
So many have offered to help with housing.
And the blessings continue.
Other positives from this incident is the interaction of our family that normally would not occur due to distance (I live in PA, parents and sister in OH and the rest of my family is in MI). The cousins get to spend time together. And Ella has met her great grand parents and more great aunt and uncles. Here are some baby pictures to help make you smile.
Savannah loving on cousin baby Ella
I will post more updates in the future.
Thank you for your prayers and love. Please, keep them coming. We have a long road ahead of us.