Just As I Thought

Take a breath

Yesterday morning, my brother called me. Toward the end of our conversation, he noted that my Dad–who’s had some kind of respiratory virus lately–was not bouncing back like he used to. “Well, he is 60,” I said, assuring Tony that he would be okay. “He just takes longer to fight it off now.”
Then, late that afternoon, Tony called again to tell me that my Dad was going to the hospital.
Evidently, he had such a protracted, difficult coughing fit that he passed out. Typically, this former fireman refused to call an ambulance, instead they drove to the hospital… where they waited.
Meanwhile, I was pacing the house frantic. It was very unlike me — usually when there is some kind of family crisis, I’m the one who is calm and collected, acting like a crisis manager. This time, I was shaking and nervous. And I kept going to the door then turning back.
My Dad lives about 30 miles outside DC, and while it would take me only 40 minutes or so to get there in off-hours, this was all happening during rush hour. It would have taken me at least 90 minutes to get there. I gave standing orders to various family members to call me every half hour so I could assess when to leave. 6pm, no news. 7pm, no news. 8pm, they still hadn’t seen him. Fair Oaks Hospital is evidently not known for it’s quick action.
Finally they did see him. My stepmother called me around 2am to report that he has pneumonia, and the coughing evidently cut off his oxygen supply. She also has pneumonia. There’s a little epidemic over there at Chez Cowan.
He’s home now, and I’m still shakey. I’m not entirely sure I should head over there today, because I’ve got some respiratory thing going on right now myself. I don’t want to exacerbate his condition by bringing my virus into the house.
Not the way I expected my birthday week to commence.

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