My mom and dad both battled their share of medical problems. There were many trips to local hospitals and many chats with our family doctor to make difficult decisions.
In early 2003, my dad became so ill that those decisions were unable to be made by us or by our local ER doctors. He had been flown by air ambulance to Toronto with an upper G.I. bleed and his stomach was sprayed with super glue to stop the bleeding. According to the specialists, it was the only thing they could do to save his life. By some miracle, it worked.
My mom and I basically moved in with my aunt and uncle in Burlington and drove into the hospital in Toronto each day. I became an amateur resident doctor in a span of a few weeks. I would check his chart each morning and even yelled at a nurse when I read that he had been given Aspirin, a blood thinner, during the night to control his fever.
When he finally regained consciousness, he had been in a medically induced coma for two and a half weeks and suspended in his own state of consciousness for another four days after that. He had been on a respirator that had since been removed and he was initially unaware that he had to cover the hole in his throat to be able to speak.
It took him a while to acclimate and, once we showed him that he had to put his finger on the opening to have a voice, the first question he asked me was “what day is it?”
“It’s Wednesday, Dad.”
Without missing a beat, he put his finger back on the opening to his throat and croaked, “I’m not happy about that.”
I looked sideways at my mother and we both had to look away. After three weeks of sitting vigil at his bedside, wondering if he would even recover from all of the things going wrong in his body, we started to giggle. I was dumbfounded. He was mad because it was Wednesday! He wasn’t angry that he was attached to a plethora of medical equipment. He wasn’t concerned that my mom and I were covered from head to toe in gowns and masks to prevent contamination in the ICU. He wasn’t upset that he had to put a finger over the gaping hole in his throat to utter any words. He was mad because it was Wednesday. The stress-releasing laughter continued and my mom and I were quickly ushered out of the ICU.
That moment in time left an imprint on my brain. I regaled my co-workers with the story and, since my dad was home and on the mend, it became our go-to phrase in the office. Every time something went wrong, one of us would cover a phantom hole in our throat and squawk, “I’m not happy about that”.
My dad passed away in March of 2006. That memory had sadly disappeared until one of those friends typed the line “I’m not happy about that” into one of her emails today. After all of the things we had gone through with my mom recently that moment in my life had become buried in the recesses of my brain, but I’m glad it’s back. I forgot a big part of the journey with my dad and “I’m not happy about that”. At least the memory is back and I will hold onto it this time.