Wait what a heart attack now???

pa beach
Strong like BULL
When I was about 16 my dad had a heart attack followed by a bypass. I vaguely remember it because I was way too self-absorbed being the wild child I was. I remember being scared but really excited that I and Alissa (my BFF childhood friend partner in crime) got to stay in the house alone while he was in the hospital, who thought that was a good idea?? I remember going to Joey’s restaurant before the surgery for a family dinner and laughing but I cannot remember being scared. I am sure I was but didn’t freak. Yes, he smoked but after this he basically quit, we would find the random cigarette here and there but nothing by the pack. He changed his diet and started really walking. So he was fine why worry? If only I wasn’t such a teenager I may have assisted in this or at least acted like it.

Then Sunday night…. my phone was basically bombed because everyone was trying to call me so it shut down. My sister called her friend who lives near me and Stephanie came knocking on my door at 11pm. “It’s your dad” she could barely get the words out. I was trying to turn the phone on to call  somebody but who do I call?? It was the craziest moment ever and I was shaking.  I ran out banged  on my neighbor’s door but she wasn’t waking up, Steph insisted I go now. Why was this urgent?? There were messages on my phone but I could not bring myself to listen. I was so scared he was dead. The ride to hospital was so incredibly long, I felt like Tom was crawling there. I called Mc on the way, Rosie would go to the kids and then Nikki, all saying keep us posted. I had a hard time getting the words out, did he really have a heart attack?! We pull in with my cousin Tommy behind us and there was a line, seriously get the fuck out of my way. Tom told them “Please move we may just have moments to say good bye” what who was saying godbye, no no no no! I ran down the hall past Jon and Natalie to the curtain area, there he was. “Oh great here is another family member” the nurse said. I looked at her and said “yup and we are not going anywhere” He was hooked up and in distress. There was my sister looking frazzled. There was my brother looking broken hearted. There was Deb looking a mess. There was me feeling like I was 10 years old and just wanting my King to sit up.    
 I couldn’t be 10; I needed to be an adult. I am his health care Proxy (sounded really cool when he  first put me down now I am not so sure) so I needed to listen and make decisions with my siblings  and Deb. I could not believe this was happening. They needed to see how much damage was done. If there was too much emergency bypass or a stent. Someone will be out to tell us and it should take about 45 minutes to an hour. Are you fucking kidding me??? Do you know who you have in there?? That is Al Giannino he is strong like bull do not fuck up because this family does not mess around.

 So we sat…Lori, Jon, Natalie, Nicole, Jess, Al, Karen, Dick, Tom, Tommy, Deb and me. I will not tell about how the others behaved during the wait only that we were all children again and very vulnerable. The moments were private yet we were in the halls crying in front of strangers.   Please let him be ok I kept thinking just let me say I love you, I had forgot to when he was wheeled away. Why did I do that??  I needed to say it please be ok. He is the only parent I have ever known I need him like I need air. I will not image my life without him, I will NOT.  I sat there like everyone else thinking of all the times I snapped or hung up too quick wishing I could do that. I was worried about my nephew traveling across country who really needed to know. I needed olive oil and parmesan  cheese he had to get that for me, who was going to get that??. I turned to my brother and hugged him, “I hate this hospital I do not want to be here, I want to go home”. “I know me too”. Our mother was  killed here and we all were thinking the same thing it can’t take Pa, too.

 Time then stood still. What was taking so long? Is it good that it is taking so long? No it must be bad…45 minutes…46...50…60..64..67…75…87…90..96..99 minutes later he comes out. “I love you, I love you”. We listen as the doctor explains they used the cath to check blockage and put a stent in. I am not going to get all medical because that is not what I have been doing on this blog. The info the doc gave seemed good yet bad at the same time. There was damage this would help but there would be a road ahead with more bumps, great we really need a paver!  Then he went down stairs and we all took a small breath, SMALL! What was to happen now? UGH I now had to tell my kids.
Understand that I am close with my dad but my kids are incredibly close with him, all the grandchildren especially the prodigal grandson. Telling them was so hard, I cried with them and held them tight. Just like my dad would have. 
We did what we always do and we stood by each other. Held each other, yelled a little, cried a lot (there was a crying rule this time). We all have different complex relationships with my dad but the fact is we are very close, like crazy close. I kept thinking of our new tattoos MIA FAMILIGA with an infinity sign, yes family forever! My dad really enjoyed telling every single person that his tattoo was easier, it made him smile to talk about it. We took turns coming and going, making dinners, cracking jokes (he has to lay off the crack) driving, getting spinach and strawberry shakes, making calls (Lori did a great job there! ) and just being together. I watched my dad hold each of our hands and you can see the love. He was proud of how his family banded together. I believe that he benefited from our strength it empowered him.  My dad is strong, strong like bull and I am not only proud but really honored to be his daughter.  Here is the reality: he has a heart condition, it is not great but right now manageable. With all of us around him he will be ok. We are just more aware than ever of the fragility of life. Will this stop us from yelling, hanging up the phone too quick and getting pissed? I hope not because that is life. BUT will it make us hug each other a little more, say I love you a little more and just be together more?? OHHHHH HELLS YES! Cape Cod here we come:) Driving him home from the hospital with my sister in the back and my brother meeting us and Deb waiting at home was fabulous, until the school called to tell us Anthony fainted and had a “seizure”, but that is another blog post. Right now this princess needs a drink! It has got to be 5 o’clock somewhere!!!  

Posted on June 7, 2013 .