I sat in the brightly lit hospital waiting room. My sisters were next to me, with quiet and solemn expressions on their faces. It was a Saturday morning in August; I was twelve. I stopped for a moment and mumbled a quick prayer to ease my nerves.
It all started when I woke up that morning. The usual routine: eat breakfast, read the sports page of the paper, then watch television. Suddenly the phone rang. My dad had already left to do some work at his office, and my sisters stayed at my mom’s house last night. I muted the t.v and stumbled into to the kitchen to pick up the phone. My sister Kara spoke on the other line. Her voice sounded different over the phone, like she was serious.
“I’m in the car with Bailys and we’re coming to pick you up,” she proclaimed. I did not ask why, because she spoke urgently. I put on a pair of shorts and a tee shirt. Once my sister and her friend arrived, I strolled out to the car and stepped into the back seat. Kara was on her cell phone talking to my other sister Erin, her voice rose louder than usual. “Daniel just got in the car so Bailys and I are going to leave now. Meet us there as soon as possible.” Kara hung up the phone and turned around in her seat. “Dad is in the hospital. He had a heart attack this morning.”
Her words shook me. I wondered how this could happen when he lost so much weight and had been eating much healthier.
I asked quietly, “Where is he?”
She explained that he was life-flighted to Hillcrest Hospital and that she doesn’t know much more.
I sat quietly thinking to myself for the entire car ride. I felt scared.
Once we finally arrived, we hurried to the waiting room. People kept on piling in as time passed. It was hard to hold back tears.
The doctor finally entered the room and said that our father was out in the hall and just got out of surgery. We slid into the hall, anxious but not sure of what we would see.
My dad laid there, still and white as a ghost. He woke up and barely whispered “Hi.”
My sisters and I followed as he was transported on the cart to his hospital bed.
I stayed with him for a long time that day and left with my mom once she came to see my father. For the next three days I went to see my dad. Everything was okay. My dad explained what happened to him on that scary day. He was in his dental lab, working, when his arms and hands felt tingly and it was like there was something stuck in his chest. He stopped and drove himself to the hospital nearby where he told the lady at the check-in desk that he thought he was having a heart attack. He was soon life- flighted to Hillcrest Hospital and had a stent put into one of his arteries. When he spoke, he was very calm. I couldn’t find any emotion in his voice.
During those days with him, I learned that I wasn’t taking advantage of my life. I was naïve. I thought that something like my dad having a heart attack wouldn’t happen. But it did. I have changed and now I try to live like every day is my last. Some days are harder than others, but I keep trying. Live like every day could be your last.
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