I am posting this here because every time I re-tell the story I break down, and I need all of my strength and hope firmly intact to see this situation through. I want you all to know what's going on, and I'm afraid that if I called every single person, I would be a pile of dust at the end of the line. So. Yesterday afternoon, my father suffered a heart attack. He was out walking for a cup of coffee at the time, so someone saw him collapse and called the police. He wasn't breathing, nor did he have a pulse and after being defibrillated was rushed to the hospital.
He is now in the cardiac ICU. We've been to visit him twice since last night and though he is on a ventilator and cannot speak, he is mad as hell about the whole thing, in true O'Neill fashion. They had to sedate and restrain him because he kept trying to remove his breathing and feeding tubes. When we talk to him, he nods and understands, squeezes our hands, knows who is talking; all of this is hopeful.
However. (And there always seems to be a catch.) His heart is so weak and blocked that it is foolish to attempt a bypass, as he is almost guaranteed to die on the operating table. But it also so weak and blocked that there is no way we can just stand by and do nothing. Because he is a dual amputee, they don't have the veins and arteries in his legs they would normally borrow from during such a surgery. We are waiting for the pulmonologist to remove the ventilator so that he can discuss his options.
At this point, it is a day by day process of constant reevaluation. In a week, they may see a way that a bypass is possible. No one can say anything for sure.
I am so grateful for the outpouring of love and support from my Hampshire and Cantab families, from all of my many families from different times in my life, and I want you all to know that your hope is in the air and the strongest medicine available to me and my nuclear family through this terrifying time. Thank you thank you thank you for knowing that I need you and rising up with kind words, hugs, and quiet strength from all over.
I find myself wondering why the heart can't be more like the liver--if it was, I could give my dad half of mine, and then we would both love twice as much for as long as it keeps beating. But perfect worlds live only in poems, so I am going to keep praying (to whatever or whoever is listening) in the spaces between my teeth that a heart that's been brought back from the dead for more lives than any of us could hope to live is enough to survive with.