One of my earliest memories I can actually describe as "vivid" comes from when I was probably five or six years old and we were living in Radford, Virginia. It was a Saturday morning and I was riding along with Dad to the hardware store and a few other errands downtown; and everywhere we went, even just walking down the street to our car, people would say hi to him and chat for a little while. As we were getting into the car, I told my Dad, "You must know every single person in town!"
It's kind of felt like that over the last few days, as everyone from my co-workers to my friends from Columbus to you blog readers to people I might only know through Facebook or whatever have told me they're glad my dad is doing OK and they hope he makes a full recovery. Honestly, if you saw him today you'd hardly know anything had happened to him at all; he went in to work this morning (though his workload will be dramatically lightened, and I think they cleared out his patient schedule for the rest of the week) and even Saturday morning he was able to go for a walk in the park with Champ and Jenna, though we avoided the hills.
The psychological effects will probably linger a little longer than the physical ones -- Dad spent a lot of time over the weekend marveling at how someone who supposedly had such a minuscule chance of contracting any serious heart ailment could've come so close to something disastrous. But even then, I'm sure he'll be OK, as will the rest of us. My mom asked me, as we were driving to the hospital Friday morning, if I had been really scared or worried at all the previous day, and I said I honestly hadn't been -- not initially, at least. When Dr. Chhokar informed me that Dad had crapped out on his treadmill test and they were going to send him over to the cardiac-cath lab at St. Francis, I think my first thought was something along the lines of, "Oh, a LAB, nothing serious ever goes on there." Like, if it'd been really serious, they would've taken him to the ER or the OR or whatever. And even when Dr. Chhokar told me what a cardiac catheterization involved, her assurances that a) they did numerous such procedures every day and b) it didn't even require general anesthesia made it sound like it was no more complicated or serious than your average root canal. Of course, I'm sure any physician who's done as many of these procedures as she has has learned to manage the potential hysteria of family members very effectively. What can I say; sometimes being too dumb to be scared has its benefits.
But yeah, Dad's doing great, and I want to thank everyone for their prayers, kind wishes, blog comments, and thoughts in general that have been sent our way over the past few days. I think my dad's a pretty awesome individual, and it's nice to know that opinion is shared by more than a few folks. And obviously I also want to thank Dr. Chhokar for doing a thorough and terrific job -- by my count, Dad was in the cath lab for not more than 45 minutes, and it really tells you something about how far medical science has progressed that he could have a potentially fatal heart condition corrected in less time than it takes to get a pizza delivered these days. From everything I saw, she also followed the directive he gave very early on to "treat me like a patient, not like a doctor," which I know he appreciated.
I think that our plan to run the Peachtree Road Race is gonna have to be postponed a year, but in the meantime, I'm confident Dad will be more than ready for a belated Father's Day trip to a Braves game in a few weeks -- at which point we'll be testing that shiny new stent with as much barbecue, hot dogs, and beer as it can handle.