Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Napkin Note

 My dad had been sick for about a month before we left on our California vacation. I didn't worry too much about it because he was on meds and the doctor was watching him.

The Monday after we returned from our trip my mom called me that morning and informed me that she had taken dad to the Emergency Room earlier that morning and that he wasn't doing well.

This was a bit of a surprise because we all thought he was doing better and then he just seemed ... to crash.

Later that night I drove to the Provo hospital to visit my dad and bring snacks for my mom.

They had moved him up to the critical care unit because they were worried he was becoming septic and they wanted to observe him and make sure he was going to be OK.

They told us that his white blood count was really high, but as long as he seemed to be doing fine and not turning pale in face quite so much they would observe him for a few nights and hopefully avoid surgery.

(My dad will get after me for this picture... but he is also the one that instilled the importance of documenting my life...)

It was hard seeing my dad like that.

As far as I can remember I have NEVER seen him in the hospital unless it was to visit me or mom after one of our surgeries.

Until that moment, my dad was invincible to me.

He was Super Man.

I was pretty good at holding back the panicked tears I felt coming when I saw him lying in a hospital bed with no strength and no oomph.

But he still had a smile on his face.

I had a few minutes to talk with just him before my mom came back from a little errand and he kept talking about how much he loves my mom and how lucky he is to have met her and kept her in his life.

I felt, for a moment, that I was watching a Nicholas Sparks movie... it was that sweetly romantic.

As a kid I may have shuttered a bit hearing all the sappiness of my father about my mother, but as a wife and mother it was beautiful poetry and I could have listened to it all night.

I heard stories I hadn't heard before and I was amazed at the love he has for my mom, his wife.

He could write a book about how he fell in love with her.

I left late that night down-hearted about my dad being sick enough to be in the hospital overnight, yet inspired and uplifted by his love story.

I came back the next morning to be with my dad until my mom got there.

She had been up most of the night before she'd brought him to the ER and really needed her rest so I told her I would come be with Dad in the morning until she got there.

She informed me that she had written a note for him on a napkin that they had left on his dinner tray that he hadn't touched and I was to make sure he had gotten it.

When I got there, I'm not gonna lie,  my dad looked horrible. Pale, green, sunken eyes and sallow face... it was so hard to see. For a fleeting moment I prayed that God wasn't going to take my daddy away yet. It really scared me to see him like this.

He smiled a huge grin when he saw me walk in and he began telling me more stories of his life and experiences and I laughed with him.

I wish I would have recorded him talking, but I didn't think about any of this as I savored each word.

I told him about the napkin note my mom had left and you could see the sadness in his face that he had not seen it. While we talked he would pause every so often and searchingly say, "I wish I knew where that not was that your mother left."

My dad was doing well enough that they had decided to move him from the critical floor so we were gathering his things together so they could wheel his bed upstairs a few more floors. (I knew my mom wasn't going to be happy about this as she has an extreme fear of elevators... poor girl.)

As we were gathering things I noticed a napkin under his bed on the floor and picked it up.

It was my mom's napkin note!

I excitedly picked it up and showed it to my dad.

He was so delightfully happy that it almost looked like he would cry happy tears. He read it and got some pink into his face again.

I read it over his shoulder and had to take a picture so my mom could see that he got it:

My dad came home a couple days later only to go to the Emergency Room a week later. This was his 3rd ER visit in the last 4 weeks and this doctor finally decided to do surgery. The infection had not gotten better, worse even, and he decided that 3 months was a ridiculous amount of time to have had this infection going on.

My dad waited in the ER for emergency surgery.

I went to visit him and to bring snacks for my mom as he couldn't have anything because surgery would be starting that day—he wasn't really eating much anyway. That's one of the things that was so hard about seeing my dad so sick was losing so much weight so fast.

My dad seemed in good spirits for the most part and told me and mom stories of his childhood and bragged about his beautifully perfect wife. My mom blushed a lot during those moments.

It was interesting to see the love between my mom and dad, which I already thought was so strong, grow even stronger. It was palpable, the love they feel for each other.

Even through all the pain my dad was in, he was still very happy and talkative and all the nurses really got aa kick out of him.

I have to admit, that seeing my dad so sick and reminiscing so much about life and him saying over and over without regret how much he loves my mom, that I was starting to think I was in a Nicholas Sparks movie and that the hero in the story was going to die...

I was scared I was going to lose my dad.

For the first time in my life I realized how fragile my dad really is and that I have taken him for granted.

You never know when you could lose someone you love.

It scared me.

I think that's part of the reason it took me so long to blog about our California vacation because my mind was so consumed with hoping I wasn't going to lose my dad.

My daddy.

I didn't want to lose him.

I've always been grateful for my knowledge of an eternal family, but now it seemed even more important to me that ever.

I thought of my friends who have lost loved ones and don't have a testimony of eternal families and realized how blessed I am to know I would be with my dad again someday if this was, indeed, his time.

I thought back to the napkin note that my mom had left for my dad and how I would never forget that gesture and the importance of that small token to my dad.

I was grateful that my mom and dad love each other so much and felt so blessed to witness so many evidences of it.

The day he went in for surgery... 

My dad had a rough recovery after the surgery and even still, a month post-surgery, he is still a little more tired that usual, but it is good to see the color back in his face and have him be more present at our family gatherings.

I love my family.

I'm so thankful that I can have them for eternity.

I'm also grateful for napkin notes and I hope that this experience continues to inspire me and many others to take a moment to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you.

1 remarks:

Tanya said...

So sweet Rachael! I hope your Dad gets back to 100%!