Today my dad finally came home from the hospital after having heart surgery. That in itself is a momentous occasion, but the fact that it's taken him three weeks to break out of Shawshank - er, the hospital - makes it that much sweeter.
And by sweeter, I mean nerve-wracking, and fitful sleeping, and on edge-ing. It has been a rough few weeks, to say the least - and I'm just on the sidelines!
There are times when being far away is hard. You feel...far away in such a real, acute way. When there's a problem with your car and you don't have a parent around to borrow one from, you're stuck carpooling or renting or taxiing or public transportating. When you need to get to the airport, forget about a family member driving you - it's a $45 cab ride each way. Can't fit your seasonal items in your apartment? There's no storing it at Mom and Dad's - it's $122 a month for a shitty storage unit.
Those times are hard.
Then there are times like this, where it's so hard to explain why being far away is so much harder than "hard." Don't get me wrong - we love Seattle, but for some reason it just seems so much more stressful to be so far away. To be filled with impotent anxiety because you can't do anything. You can't go visit. You can't keep people company. You can't help prepare the house. You can't. do. anything.
You just worry, and wait. Worry and wait. And anxiously grab your buzzing phone each day at 6 am as the text updates start flowing. Ah, sheesh. Even going back and looking through the group texts among my sister and my mom and me brings back a roller coaster of emotions.
In fact, it wasn't even until this weekend when I finally got to talk to my dad for the first time since his surgery, which happened way back on February 13th. Which, ZOMG, I don't think I've ever been so happy to talk to someone in my entire life. We talked Saturday morning and it just made my whole day to be able to talk to him. The heart surgery itself went well, but afterwards several complications piled up, and they kept delaying things, and when you're tired and not feeling well and hopped up on pain pills, it's hard enough to keep a conversation going with someone in the room, much less concentrate enough to talk to a disembodied voice on a phone.
Now he is home and he can get back to watching Downton Abbey, surfing the net, and driving my mom crazy. Yay!
The one funny part of this whole thing was after the surgery, when the hospital needed a code name (apparently to verify you are family and protect patient privacy, except every time anybody called, they never used it) and my sisters and I debated various options back and forth:
Denise: So we need a code name for dad for the hospital. Mom suggests Fernando [her bird].
Me: ????? It should totally be something cow related.
Me: Hello, cow heart valve.
Me: Elsie or Daisy is acceptable.
Denise: It should be a cow pun or something. Ferdinand the bull?
Me: I suppose that would be acceptable. Udderly sick cow puns.
Me: Omg, I want Mom to have to say "Cowabunga" all the time.
Me: Babe is a pig! It's not a pig valve.
Me: Old news. I need something better than cowabunga. Madame Bovary?
Me: Heffer. (Although I think that could be taken the wrong way.)
Me: Hamburger (Although that seems inappropriate for a heart patient.)
Me: So what's the code name? Cowabunga? It's cowabunga, right? Cowabunga?
Me: So what's the code name?
Denise: Mom hasn't decided yet.
Janet: I'm really just making that up.
Denise: Even mom laughed at that one.
Denise: Password is Fernando.
Janet: I still like Driving Miss Daisy.
Me: Wait wait wait, not even Ferdinand? Nothing cow related? I'm so pissed.
Denise: Mom says don't give her any grief.
Me: Grief? Me? Never! Come on, everybody knows cowabunga was funny.