Everyday is full of second chances. Not always are they noticed. Some are tiny little opportunities to start afresh, or just to look at the same old thing in a new way. It might be as ordinary as the reorganizing the contents in a drawer. Not always are second chance opportunities the grand “new lease on life” type, but sometimes they can be. These “chances” can materialize from the most random of circumstances seemingly to plop out of nowhere, often unexpected.
The news that my 82-year-old father would have to face open-heart surgery spurred a series of emotions I was somewhat unprepared for. Facing many fears of the outcome, I just reacted differently to, well - everything! I bought a shiny new bicycle, something I had contemplated doing, but now there was an urgency to not wait.
Something about the sound of the wind in my ears as I rode around the neighborhood totally took me back in time. I was a young girl again - and a bicycle was my taste of freedom! It may have been an act of denial that my parents will be here forever, or because this was my own chance to get/stay in shape. Maybe I felt my own mortality slapping me in the face – whatever… it just felt right to pedal around, all out of breath!
I was present for the first surgeon’s consult. Clearly, I had heard what the Surgeon was saying; even some of what others in the room apparently did not take in. I understood the different consequences that our family might be faced with. However, there was no other choice than to go forward… and forward my Dad did! His example was inspiring; he took his fate in stride and forged ahead. He went through the motions with such bravery…
The surgery was delayed for many anxious hours and his waking took longer than we thought….
My Father finally opened his eyes, still hooked up to life support but was immediately responsive. He recognized my Sister who had stayed the night so that she could be there when he awoke. Our best hopes were taking shape but he became agitated and wanted to communicate so the nurse brought him paper and pen. His aortic valve had just been replaced with that of a cow, he wrote “ M-O-O”.
From that point on my Dad was the favorite patient and the Cardiac Ward “poster boy”. Sense of humor intact he faced the challenges of recovery a step at a time with steady motivation and a shear will to live, showing us all that it is never too late!
Thanksgiving is here and I am ever so thankful… I am thankful to God; there are some “gifts” that I will never take for granted. And thank you to my whole family and the medical staff; you were all wonderful – really! Thank you Dad, I love riding my bike and my new outlook on Life… In addition, thank you to a special cow… who gave my Dad a second chance.