Some people are pukers.
He is not.
That’s why when Grumpah was sick on Monday, New Year’s Eve, vomiting, dizzy, it was a sign that was something was up.
He went to the doctor and was diagnosed with vertigo, he went for a CT scan, came home and waited for the results.
Aunt Krissy and I called each other and whispered.
“How is he?”
“You know Dad, he’s fine, he’s eating a turkey sandwich. I mean, it’s a HUGE sandwich. He’s cranky. He’s mad he can’t go out…”
“You know if this were Mom sick they would still be going into the City right now…”
“Oh, totally, he’d have taken her straight from the scan to the train station, ‘come on, Ellen, it’s New Year’s Eve, you’re fine…‘”
He went to bed early that night.
He didn’t watch the ball drop.
Happy 2013, whoo-hooo…snore…
The next morning, still dizzy–it’s the medicine! he said–he went for his usual daily run: A nice, light 13 mile jog.
“Is he CRAZY!” we all said.
“Yes,” answering our own questions.
Later he was tired. He took whatever pills he was given and laid down. “He’s knocked out,” Nanny told me.
And I knew for a man who sleeps so little, who goes so hard while he is awake, this meant a lot.
“Wow,” I said, thinking many things, but saying wow.
…Yesterday morning Grumpah got the results of his CT scan.
Turns out he’d had a stroke.
He came over and fed you guys ice cream while there were more phone calls with whispers.
“Is he okay? Is he upset? Is he scared?”
“He’s okay, he fell asleep on the couch watching Cinderella…”
“Don’t look it up online…”
“How do you spell it?”
“I looked it up online…”
“I just can’t believe it…”
By nightfall, my whispers turned to orders: “MA! He has to call the doctor back! It’s ridiculous he hasn’t spoken to him! This is serious, MA!” Followed by a lecture, “Why didn’t the doctor send him to the emergency room? You can stop these things! You can catch them! Why didn’t he catch it?”
But what I was really saying was, why didn’t I catch it. I should’ve known for him to be sick, something was up. Vomiting vertigo, I should’ve thought, I should’ve thought…
“What am I gonna do?” Grumpah says when we try talking to him about it, tossing off the conversation with a shrug. He plans on going to his vacation to St. Maarten in a few weeks. This morning, he gave the dog a bath.
“Dad, you can’t fly…”
“I don’t see why not…”
What if you have another one, what if it happens when you’re on the plane, what if it happens when you’re in St. Maarten? What if next time you’re not so lucky? What if it just happens in your sleep? How do you just go to sleep now? I think these things but don’t say them, because I don’t want to scare him. And what I mean is, I don’t want to scare myself. Because the mind can be your worst enemy, Babies; may all your “what-if’s” be scarier than anything you’ll encounter in life.
So, what to do? Trap him in a glass box and stare at him? Ask him repeatedly, are you all right, Dad, Dad, are you all right?? Can you smile? Talk? Raise your arms? (S.T.R. Thanks to midnight Google searches, I am learning the elusive warning signs of a stroke.)
Or do we all just go on now. Does he just go on running.
I can tell you things, like when the remote control is missing always look in the couch, but these are things I don’t have the answer to. No parent does. Not even my own.
What’s today, Thursday? Crap. I forgot to buy American cheese for lunch.