My Outlier

“I’m not really feeling all that great, I think I’ll just go home and lay down instead of going back to work.”   “You don’t look so good, maybe you should go to the clinic” “No, I think I’ll be ok, I’m just really tired.”  The ashen grey pallor, diaphoresis, and panic-stricken look in his eyes told me differently.  “Dad, turn the car around now and go to the clinic.  I mean it.”

“Someone help us, my dad’s having a heart attack!”  We barely made it to the clinic.

Sign here, sir, so we can take care of you.  Do you have insurance?  Sir, you have to sign here now.  Sir?  Hey, can you help your dad sign this?  What’s happening?  Dad?!  I scribbled an X on the dotted line just as the monitors started the high-pitched monotonous harbinger of death.  That sound still makes me feel like a scared little girl, even now that I’m the one running the code – trying to force that sound back into it’s hypnotizing rhythm of life.

You better call your mom and tell her to come RIGHT NOW.  Mom, dad’s…sick  Vfib, charging.  Everyone clear.  3 rounds of CPR, 2 more v-fib arrests.  Your mom’s here.

On October 2nd 1989, my father was one of the first to receive TPA for an acute myocardial infarction.  The still-experimental treatment saved the last 15% of his ejection fraction and his life.  He was in a hospital 45 minutes away for almost 3 weeks and when he came home things were different.  Not better, not worse.  Just different.

I’ve been blessed every day for the last 21 years to share a birthday with my dad.  He likes to say his daughter saved his life on her 14th birthday.  I like to say that his return to life that day made me who I am today.  I cannot imagine the last 21 years without him, and I’m glad we never had to see the other side of that coin.

Happy 21st birthday, dad.

and to my amazing family – thanks for another fantastic birthday.  I. am. blessed.