Well, I forgot to take my phone off the charger and put it in my handbag when I took my daughter to school this morning. When I got home I had a missed call from my mom. I tried to call her at the office, but I got no answer, so I called my parents' home number to ask Dad if she was working from home today or something. He retired last year. I think I told you that. I’m sorry. I’m scattered right now with all that’s happening.
Dad answered, and he seemed off. He asked me what I’d been up to. I told him I’d just gotten back from dropping my daughter at school when I realized I’d missed the call from Mom. At the mention of me dropping my daughter at school, he became very agitated. He said I needed to go back to the school right away and get her because it was Saturday and she’d be there all alone.
I told him, no, Dad, you’re mistaken. It’s Tuesday. Remember you were just at my house two days ago, silly. What are you thinking? But he insisted it was Saturday, and I’d just made a huge mistake dropping my first grader off at school. I reminded him that I wouldn’t be able to miss the fact if the school was closed. There’d be no other parents in the drop off line, letting their kids out. He wouldn’t let it go, though. He just got more aggravated. Honestly, I don’t know what I was thinking, arguing with him. It was stupid of me. It didn’t accomplish anything other than to get him all worked up.
He said, "I don’t know how to explain it, but you need to go get her right now. She’ll be all alone. God knows what could happen to her. Not to mention she’s probably scared."
That’s when I started to get really scared. Okay, I said. I’ll go check it out. Is Mom at home? Aside from the fact that this is Tuesday and he and my mom spent the weekend at my house, I’ve been dealing with … Also, he has a history of those little strokes. I guess you guys call them TIA’s?
At this point in the conversation with my dad, I’m wondering if he’s had a stroke and Mom’s at home trying to deal with it. Maybe she’s looking for the insurance card or something. She’s always losing important things.
He said she was somewhere around the house but didn’t know where. He called out to her, but couldn’t find her.
I said, don’t worry dad. I talk to her later. I didn’t want him roaming around looking for her in the state he was in. On second thought, I figured Mom would’ve heard him calling if she’d been in the house. Their place isn't very big. I ended the call with him, wondering if I should call 911. I called Mom’s office again instead. This time I got ahold of her and told her something was wrong with Dad. I thought it might be a full-blown stroke this time.
She said he’d seemed a little off last night, but she hadn’t thought it was serious. Then he’d been asleep when she left this morning. I questioned her about what happened last night then. I confess that I got a little upset with her that she hadn’t taken him to the Emergency Room and that she went to work this morning.
“He didn’t want to go,” she said. “He was adamant.” By that, I supposed she meant belligerent. He didn’t use to act ugly like that, but since the little strokes happened, he sometimes acts angry. Besides, she has always deferred to him.
You should probably question her as to symptoms he was exhibiting last night. She walked with Dad as far as she could when they took him for tests. Then I saw her go into the ladies' room. I imagine she’ll be back soon.
After she told me about last night, I worried she'd wait for me to get there, rather than taking action. I didn’t want that, you see. I live over an hour away. I convinced her to go home and bring him here immediately. I said if he gave her any trouble to call for an ambulance and let the dispatcher know what the situation was. Then I drove here to meet her.
Anyway, by what she said, I think if this is a stroke we’re dealing with, it happened sometime yesterday. I know that the sooner a person receives medical treatment in the event of a stroke the better.
Excuse me. I’m sorry to break down like this. Please bear with me one more moment. I know you have other people to see, but I need to ask you something.
You see, my parents came to stay with me this weekend to help with my daughter and cheer me. Last week I had a biopsy for a lump in my breast. I assumed that’s why my mom had called this morning. The doctor’s office said I’d probably hear the results of the biopsy today or tomorrow. My parents already lost my brother last year. He died in an accident. If I were to die from cancer … Well, this is understandably very hard for them.
I … I feel so guilty for telling them about the lump and everything. I got a call from my doctor’s office on the way here. The nurse said the test was negative. If I had just kept it to myself. I would never have had to put them under so much stress. They say stress makes these kinds of health problems more likely. You know, strokes I mean.
Isn’t it crazy? Sunday, when he left my house he was so concerned for me. I could see it weighing on him like all of King Midas’s gold. Now, two days later, he might not even remember that I had a cancer scare or be able to process what that might meant if he did. When the nurse was examining him he didn’t know the year or the name of the current president or his own age.
Is that my fault for sharing this news with him when it turns out there was never any cancer, to begin with?