The Phone Call That Changed Everything…

I didn’t have a post planned for today.

But then I remembered I saved a link to a bloggers list of 600 Blog Post Ideas, thanks Kludgy Mom!
So, today I’ll do a free write to #76 – The phone call that changed everything…

As I was perusing through the first part of the list, I came across number 76 and my heart stopped. There are two phone calls in my life, probably more like 3, that I can recall my exact emotion and what I was doing. All three phone calls shook me to my core.

I can look back now and know that I was overreacting slightly, but a child never wants to think about a parent dying.

I don’t remember the timeline, but I do remember my dad was having some issues breathing, come to find out it was his heart, not his lungs. Then it lead to him having a surgery where they would determine the blockages. That phone call was hard to take, but it wasn’t earth shattering. We all knew he wasn’t taking care of himself and that he was overweight, with a multitude of additional health issues. But the small, frequent burps and ease of being out of breath were indicators that something bad was coming our way.

I can’t tell you if my parents called me or they text me to call them back. But I vividly remember walking to my car, while at Cal Poly, as if I’m in the moment right now. I remember the slate wall of the building to my right and the pathway, I was walking on, being slightly curvy. I remember the trees to my left, the bark that scattered around the ground, and the sun peeking through the walkway.

I don’t remember the exact words, but I was told that my father was going to have to have open heart surgery. It didn’t matter how much they reassured me that this was a common procedure or that Sacramento has some of the nation’s best doctors who perform this procedure. I did not want to be anywhere but home. With them…

I remember I was instantly pissed off. I was crying tears of anger and completely scared out of my mind. I was 300 miles away, at college, and wasn’t there to support my parents and my family. I hated that I wasn’t there with them, especially with it being such pivotal moment in his health.

Angry hot tears rolled down my face as I was on that pathway. I think I even stopped walking and was just standing there. I’m sure I was a little self conscious, crying on campus, but more than anything I was pissed the F off! I was so mad at my Dad for letting himself get to this point. To the point that he was so unhealthy he had to have a surgery, that he could potentially NOT wake up from, to fix the problem.

I can sit here and vividly remember my surroundings, but I can’t really remember the exact words. I can feel the hot tears streaming down my face and anger, which didn’t stop with just this phone call.

I made the trip back home to be with my family when my Dad has his surgery. I’ll always remember the date 2/2/2007. The date is easy, because it is the Wenches birthday, and the year is when I graduated from Poly.

I was angry and still am somewhat. I was very verbal about my opinions about his health and how he needed to think about himself and take his health seriously. A lot of my harsh words were said because I was scared. Selfishly, I thought about my life without my father. Who would walk me down the isle? Would he ever get to see his grand kids, play catch with them, or go to their soccer games? Who will be there to mediate arguments with Mom? Basically, which it doesn’t change even now, my world would collapse if my father died on that surgery table. That does and did scare the living shit out of me!

I remember the night before his surgery, I offered to go grab dinner as his last meal before he had to fast for 12 hours. Do you want to know what he asked for me to bring him, in his hospital bed? KFC! Yes, you read that correctly. This man is having surgery for clogged arteries and he wants to have is last potential meal be KFC! Geez! This made me irate, so he got a salad. A Chinese chicken salad from La Bou. I’m guessing since he was already in a bad situation, he didn’t think one more fried chicken wing would make a difference. Ugh! It’s funny the little things we remember from important moments in our life – or ones that we think are at the moment (I still think this was an important moment in my life)!

An USie before his big surgery…

I vividly remember him being wheeled off to surgery the next day. I had another full-on meltdown. I was balling and leaned against the hospital wall and just cried. The type of cry, where you are silent because your cry is so deep. My tears burned hot and my body gave out, as I melted along that wall. Eventually I made my way to the waiting room chairs. I couldn’t sit there, it was killing me. I think I went to get my hair cut, so I wouldn’t sit there and cry. I don’t remember exactly, but that sounds like that’s how the story went. Sounds bad, but I couldn’t sit in those uncomfortable chairs and stare at the clock, hoping I wouldn’t see his doctor come through the doors too early from surgery with bad news.

If you’ve spent any time on the blog, then you know he made it through. He’s appeared here many times. But there isn’t a day that passes that I am not grateful for that fact he is still with us. I still get mad at his choices and lack thereof healthy choices, but I know I cannot change him. Just as he does of me, I love and accept him for who he is. A man that I don’t want to ever live life without. I’m realistic to know death is eminent, but I there are so many things I want him to see before it happens.

He saw me graduate from college.
Fathers Day 2014
Christmas 2014
Sunset Beach – Hawaii 2014

I will never, ever forget that phone call on that pathway in SLO…


  • Kristen

    I felt such a connection with you reading this… when I was away at college, I received a very similar call from my dad. I was standing in a Les Schwab tire store waiting for new tires getting put on my car, when my dad called from the hospital and told me he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and would be going into surgery the next day. I went through a lot of the same emotions and feelings as you did. It brought my dad and I closer together, as it did you and your dad. I think it is great that you continue to cherish that relationship and never take it for granted. Dads are the best. 🙂

    • S Ganeeban

      Hi Kristen! My experience is nothing in comparison to yours. However, I'm glad you could relate to how I was feeling. I completely agree and never looked at it that way, that it brought us and our immediate family closer. Thanks for that perspective. Dad's truly are the best…EVER! xoxo, ganeeban

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