On the Heart

Lately I haven’t been feeling myself. Chalk it up to seasonal depression, or perhaps, the fact that I use cooking (eating) as procrastination and I’m getting fat. And in that case, my procrastination could be seen as a double-edged sword; as a blessing or a curse. I’m getting really good at soothing my emotional-crisis cravings while slowly lining my arteries with plaque. I just really love butter. See ya in a few decades, heart disease.

All jokes aside, my family hasn’t been doing great lately in the heart department; physically and emotionally. On New Years Eve, my Papa had open heart surgery.

My Mom and I acted as his primary caretakers for the first few weeks of his recovery – a daunting task because of my lovely Nana. I say daunting not because I don’t love her, but because she’s an intense case; severely arthritic and severely stubborn. Not to mention, a severe snore-er if neglecting to use her CPAP machine. We would know. She ‘forgot’ it so we spent many sleepless nights in the same hotel room. Thank god I had my headphones.

All in all, we spent close to two weeks in Burlington, VT. Hospital – hotel – hospital – hotel. That was the routine.

My Papa, (and I guess this is why they say opposites attract), is my Nana’s polar opposite. I may have written about him before because I admire him with everything in me. Former dairy farmer, salt of the earth penny-pincher (and master investor), a jokester in his own right at 77, and the most patient man I have ever met is my Papa. The waiting room was the hardest part. A routine 4-hour surgery turned to 5 and we were getting restless. Luckily, my Aunt Pam, our comic relief and nurturer, had made the trip and was now staying with us.

As I watched my family clamour around my Papa (and yes, clamour is the right word – they’re loud), I felt real pride; the heaviest feeling in the world, besides guilt I suppose. It’s hard for me to describe what I’m feeling most of the time but this emotion I could easily identify. We were all holding it in; the fear. We were all praying. We were all in denial. But we were all strong. We were strong for each other.

He’s home now and recovering well. He’s back to some of his old tricks, but can’t drive on his own yet or go outdoors for long periods of time. Both activities he lives for, but a few more weeks and he’ll be himself again – just with a cleaned-out, fully functional heart.

I had to go back to school after winter break and it broke my heart to leave. My Mom keeps me updated (and she wants to rip her hair out 24/7. I won’t go there), but there’s nothing like being there. Being home.

I just wonder what home will look like to me when I’m 77. Who will my heart be?

 

 

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