I love both my parents. I don’t always like both of them very much, but I do love them. Some 15 years ago, my father had a massive heart attack followed by a quadruple bypass. At that time, we were informed that he had a congenital heart defect: A) it was backwards B) the aortic valve had too many lobes. The first wasn’t an issue, the second was. Too many lobes creates as many problems as underdeveloped lobes and too few lobes, particularly on the aortic valve. However, until the valve began to fail, there was no reason to fix it.
Five years ago, the valve began to fail and a transplant was done. They cracked him open, inserted a porcine (pig) valve, turned his heart around and sewed him back up.
In the past few months, a marked change has occurred with my father. He suddenly aged very rapidly, looking more like a corpse with grey wisps of hair and sagging skin than the robust ne’er-do-well that I knew. Now, he’s admitted that he is having more heart problems.
But what? Is the valve failing? Did turning his heart around do something? Is there a problem with a different valve? Is it an infection? He doesn’t know. And he isn’t interested in getting the tests done to find out.
So I talked to him today and he agreed to the tests. Then he warned me, if it required more than a round of antibiotics, he wasn’t interested in fixing it.
As humans, we are never ready for the passing of our parents. It doesn’t matter if they are yanked from us in the dead of night or slowly wither away, there is no way to prepare. I’ve seen both sides with my grandparents and both were hard. Everyone thinks that since you have time to prepare, you get to say good-byes and what-not, but you also get the trial of wondering: will today be the day? How do I plan my life around that? Will I be out of town? Should I even go out of town?
The tests are tomorrow… Here’s to hoping it’s an infection.