While You Were Sleeping

It has been a while since my last post, but life can get crazy sometimes, and I found that it was important for me to take a step back and take it all in, so that I could truly appreciate everything I have.

Over the past several weeks, for many reasons I have not been able to get the song “While You Were Sleeping” by Elvis Perkins out of my head especially the line while you were sleeping the time changed all your things were rearranged.  There has been quite a story developing lately and this song has seemed to provide a perfect soundtrack.  It has been a story of milestones, parental relationships and family growing pains.

I spent the last several weeks getting ready for the biggest milestone to date for our family, Nolin’s first birthday.  We were planning a small get together with family and friends at our neighborhood pool as we figured that this would be a fun way to celebrate Nolin turning one.  Seeing as his birthday was also on the supposed Rapture, I felt like we should have planned a bigger party.

The party went off without a hitch especially seeing as the world did not end (which was admittedly exciting, and really would have put a damper on the day).  At the same time, I had a sinking feeling that although the world didn’t end, mine may quickly change very drastically.

My father had a fairly routine operation the Wednesday prior to Nolin’s birthday.  Shortly after he ran into some complications that in my wildest dreams, I never would have imagined.  After the surgery, they were not able to wake him up.

If you have ever tried to debate with my dad, you know that he has always been stubborn, but after nine days I knew that even he would admit when to say enough was enough.  Luckily my brother and sister were there from the beginning to assist my mom as she kept vigil in the waiting room for 13+ hours a day.  It was an indescribably lonely feeling to be thousands of miles away, with no true understanding of why or what was happening and being completely helpless.

I quickly booked a ticket and I arrived back home on Thursday…the eighth day. In a fluster and a panic I made my way from the airport to the hospital just in time for the six o’clock visitation.

If this were a Hollywood movie it would have gone something like this…I walked in about 3 minutes after the six o’clock visitation had begun, as I grabbed my father’s hand and whispered “Dad, please wake up”, his eyes opened.

Life is not a Hollywood movie, but sometimes you get lucky. Instead, I walked in right after my mom and as she grabbed his hand his eyes opened and worked to find her.  Then we both would yell pretty loudly (not even thinking or caring that we may be totally freaking out the families of the newly admitted ICU patients) for my father to open his eyes and he would. It was the happiest, yet loneliest feeling I have ever had.

I was ecstatic that he was finally starting to wake up…even more ecstatic that this cemented my role as the favorite child (something my brother and sister were not too pleased about), but I was now unsure of what would happen next. To be fair to my brother and sister, they spent the hardest days with him and I am not sure that I could have been quite as strong.

On Friday morning, we walked in and he was finally able to speak.  His first words were to my mom as she held his hand, he whispered “I love you”.  After he recognized me, he asked if I brought Nolin with me. I had to simply respond “not for this trip”.

We were able to visit four times a day for 30ish minutes each visit.  As the visits progressed, so did my father.  I was amazed at how quickly he began to bounce back.

I was also amazed (along with the entire medical staff) at the stories that he began telling.  Stories of lavish parties, crazy hi-jinx adventures in New Orleans with my mom (she has never been to New Orleans) and even a new medical miracle thanks to green jello.

As the weekend progressed it became easier to find some comfort, joy and laughter in our surroundings.  My dad is now back home and while he still has quite a road to recovery, I was able to see just how much strength, determination and stubbornness he had which I know will help him in this journey.

I’m not the first son to have a father get sick, but I quickly realized how hard that can be on a family.  But it also taught me how friends and family can come together in difficult times.  Luckily our story has a happy ending because although I am now writing new chapters in my life, I am not sure I will ever be old enough to not have my father around when I need him.

Returning home on a high from my father’s road to recovery, I had to face another difficult decision.  It was time to find Pancake a new home.  He has been such a big part of Jenn & I’s lives as we made our way to starting a family, but the truth is, it was becoming increasingly difficult to maintain a healthy safe environment for both Nolin and Pancake.  To keep trying to balance the two would not have been fair to either, especially Pancake.  So my hope is that now Pancake will be able to bring those same exiting stories and adventures to another family with his characteristic Pancake charm.

The time has changed a bit, but it will be exciting to see where the next chapter take us especially since as of June 1st, Nolin officially became a walker…so I guess things just got interesting!

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