I have my father’s eyes, which I passed down to both of my sons.
Since I was a small child, I’ve always been known as Daddy’s Little Girl. All of the best parts of who I am are directly decended from him. My tastes in music, my (terrible) sense of humor, my ability to let most things roll off my back, those are all his traits. My brother had my mother, I had my father.
We went to see him again today up in the ICU, where I was afforded a seat directly in front of the station which his vitals blipped intermittently. They were perfect. He remains in the ICU, flanked by (much) older patients, suffering from far worse fates. The guy next to him with VRE on a vent? Not so good. The lady on the other side, catatonic and covered with decubitus ulcers? Probably not in such good shape. He is there only because the rest of the hospital is full.
One can only remain in crisis mode for 5 or 6 days before they break down. As I slowly start to go about my day, with the crisis winking merrily in my rearview mirror, I am overtaken by the horrible thoughts of what could have happened.
The thrombus that was causing the intermittent angina pectoris, waving jauntily from his great vessel could have dislodged itself, and burrowed somewhere far graver. It easily could have killed him. It didn’t, but it could have.
I try take greater comfort in knowing that for now, for right now, he is sitting in the dimly lit ICU, likely eating the candy bar I bought him, and flipping casually through my copy of The Atlantic (and likely NOT the Tiffany’s catalogue I brought him, to pick stuff out that he could buy for me). The monitors from adjacent rooms are probably occasionally alarming, while the fresh snow accumulates outside his window.
To others, those monitors probably evoke the ominous terror of yet another thing going wrong with someone they desperately love and want to be well again, while to me, they echo endlessly “could have been him, could have been him.”