A couple of weeks ago my father, who is 87, called me on a Sunday morning around 7:00. He asked if I could run him up to the emergency room. If I wasn’t busy. I told him I could be there in ten minutes. Make it thirty, he said.
His left arm was hurting. Had been for a few days. He had mowed his grass on Tuesday and sometime after that his arm started hurting. At the time he took pain pills, it felt better, so that was that. Through the week it seemed to be getting better, so Saturday night he skipped the pain pills. But the pain was back and woke him up around 3:00. He waited another four hours before deciding that maybe he should have it checked out. You know, just in case it was that heart-attack thing.
So I drove him up to the ER. He walked in while I parked. They took him right away and he got to exchange funny quips with the cute triage nurse. Then they took him back and ran more tests and blood work. More quips with another cute nurse. All ER visits should go like his.
After four hours no one had rushed in declaring his need for bypass surgery so he was starting to get the idea he was ok. But he was bored. I didn’t notice when he held his breath to see what that would do to his oxygen reading. Beep, beep, beep. Then he tried rapid breathing. Beep, beep, beep. Then he wanted to know how that thing on his finger read his oxygen level. So I looked it up.
A little while later a young Physician’s Assistant said they were going to send him home. The nurse would come in and disconnect him from the monitors. When she was slow to arrive he started to take out the IV port. I said that probably wasn’t a good idea. So he waited.
Though he was being discharged, they advised against any strenuous activity until he had a follow-up stress test, just to make sure. In the meantime, I mowed his grass a couple of times. I’m in pretty good shape, but his yard is no picnic. It’s strenuous for sure. I used the opportunity to suggest that maybe, at 87, it was time to start hiring it done. No. He wanted to do it himself.
So last week, after getting the green light from his Primary Care Physician, or PCP as he likes to say, he was back to mowing in the heat of the summer.
No big deal.
Yeah. One tough guy.