I was awoken two days ago by a text message from my brother. It read “Dad is in the hospital. Call Jenny at 770-409-****.” My heart sank to the floor and my palms began to sweat. I immediately jumped out of bed and started dialing the number.
“Hello,” said the shaky voice of my step mother on the other end of the phone.
“Jenny this is Ryan. What is going on?”
“Your dad had a heart attack and hes in CCU at Piedmont Hospital.”
It felt like my world was crashing before my eyes. I had just spoken to him two days before and everything was going well. I immediately put my clothes on and rushed downstairs, without taking a shower. My head was racing as I flew down the highway to go see my dad in the hospital.
“What would I do if he didn’t pull through,” I thought. “He is the most important person in my life next to my brother. I can’t be without a father at the age of 22. I am too young to see my dad die. He is too young to die at 56 years old.”
I arrived at the hospital and made my way thorugh its maze like halls to eventually find room 7 in CCU.
I wasn’t allowed to enter when I got there because only two people were allowed in at a time. My heart pounded. My father’s boss quickly exited the room when he saw I had arrived.
I tried to hold back tears as I walked in the room and saw my dad lying in a bed with tubes wrapped around his body like snakes in a pit.
“How are you?” I asked.
“I’m still here,” he replied. In that moment an immense feeling of relief swept over my body.
My step mom asked if I could stay there with him so she could get some rest and he would not be alone. I accepted without hesitation.
I stayed there for over five hours as he came in and out of consciousness from the medication and the exhaustion he had experienced from the heart attack. I wouldn’t leave his side until visiting hours were over.
He never complained the entire time I was there and I admire him for that. Thankfully he was able to make it to the hospital in time before I had to ask myself, “What would I do?” if he didn’t pull through.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.