By Don Lindsey
In my life, I’ve been very fortunate to have the parents that I do. I’ve talked about it in a past column but this week, I was shown just how lucky I am and was reminded of why it is so important not to take a single day for granted.
Thursday evening, my father came to me and said he needed to go to the hospital due to shortness of breath and chest pains. Immediately, I panicked. I have been trying to get him to go in to have this checked out for a few weeks but being stubborn, he thought he could wait until he saw his new heart doc on Monday.
My mind went to the worst place possible and I was afraid that I could lose him.
He’s 85 now, and while he’s in better physical shape than I’ve ever been in, he’s had some heart troubles in the past. As we get older, our life spans do not lengthen and when the doctor at the emergency department said he’d have to stay, I got even more concerned. For the most part, I was able to conceal the concern and got him settled into his room. As I drove home for the night, I couldn’t stop praying for him to be ok. I reached out to my church’s prayer team and anyone I could and asked for prayers.
The next day, the concern got even worse. The cardiologist assigned to him worried that he could have blockages that would require surgery and would know more after a heart catherization. I freaked out. How could he survive a major surgery like that at his age? How would I explain this to my mom who turned 86 on the same day? I prayed some more as I drove back home and thankfully was able to give her the news, calm her down and then get her to the hospital to see my father without melting down emotionally.
It was a heck of a way to spend her birthday, being pushed around in a wheelchair all day while we chased my dad around the hospital for testing that he was having done, but the results were music to our ears. He didn’t have any blockages and was most likely getting the pain from high blood pressure. We still have a couple other concerns but he’s home now, happy, resting and watching football with my mother next to him, just as happy that he’s home.
The whole incident left me grateful that I have my parents. I know that it’s possible that I will have to say goodbye as we all do at some point and I dread the thought. I’ve seen my wife and her family lose her father. It was paralyzing then and almost 6 years later, still is in many ways. I’ve seen both of my parents lose their mothers, and the only time I’ve seen anyone grieve more was when my mother had to try and process my brother’s passing. Add to that seeing my friends go through losing parents and I’m not sure how I’d handle what they all had to experience. What I do know is that I won’t handle it very well. With that in mind, I have decided that instead of projecting that fear and having it consume me, I am going to focus on the time I have with them and the wonderful memories we’ve made as a family.
God has blessed them with long and wonderful lives. He’s blessed me with having them in my life for my entire 43 years. Rather than worrying about the worst that could happen, I need to focus on the positives and use this close call as a reminder to cherish every second I have with them.
Don Lindsey is a follower of Christ, son, husband, father, and a survivor. Originally from Dayton Ohio, and resident of Apopka for six years, Don sees his life as a dedication to his wife, parents, children, and community.
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