26 years ago today, I'm credited with saving my Dad's life. We were on our way to run errands when he pulled over to the side of the road and had a seizure. It was his first wake-up call from his aorta. My thorough explanations of what had occured helped the doctors at New Milford, CT, hospital to diagnose him properly and whisk him off to Yale-New Haven, where he underwent surgery to have a graft placed on a dissection of the ascending aorta.
26 years later, this malady is still a diagnose-it-fast-or-kill-the-patient prospect; one statistic puts the mortality rate for aortic dissections at 90%. It's what killed John Ritter and ultimately, Lucille Ball. So I'll take the credit given me for my fast thinking and thorough accounts of what occurred. We lived in BF-Connecticut, and his ambulance ride to New Haven would've been at least an hour and a quarter of backroads. If they'd diagnosed him with a heart attack instead of an aneurysm, he would've blown that delightfully vital gasket at some point in the near future. To this day, we don't know if it was caused by an injury or some unknown glitch in his genetic makeup. Can't think about that too hard, because it scares me, since his heart is ultimately what wound down and took him, when we were standing around thinking he'd stroke out instead, not even getting that he had a heart condition. He was never diagnosed with CHF (congestive heart failure), because it wasn't congestion that was killing his heart, rather his carotid was 100% blocked and the surrounding arteries became too narrow or stressed to sustain that muscle. He was a smoker and his diet habits were hilarious, but he didn't have an extra 75 pounds on his frame. So just for giggles, I'm going to keep a yearly appointment with the cardiologist for a while.
So anyway, have Dad on the brain today...he's been sneaking back into my thoughts, making me miss him lately. I plunder along in my day-to-day wanderings, but he visits at night when my brain slows down and then I ache and rage that my hopeful future kids will only know him through stories. He made us all nutty and he was a hard man to appreciate at times, but the alternative really sucks.