The Bright Side: Chasing the wind
Published 8:57 am Sunday, June 4, 2023
I learned a long time ago that not every day can bring sunshine, and even after a storm passes, there may not be a rainbow that comes from it. Such is the story with my father and his health history.
First, he was diagnosed was pericarditis back before we moved from Pennsylvania to South Carolina in 2016. Heart issues run in the family on my paternal side, so it wasn’t a huge surprise to us, but scary nonetheless. The doctors put a stent in and set my dad up with a cardiologist to monitor his progress.
Fast forward to 2019, just a few months after moving to Myrtle Beach and few short weeks after meeting my fiancé, my father was at a cardiologist appointment when he passed out in the bathroom, hit his head and flat-lined. The receptionist had heard him fall, and staff had to break into the bathroom and call 911. My dad was revived on site when EMS arrived before being transported to the hospital. I was sitting in a college statistics class when my phone rang, my mom hysterical on the other line. She didn’t have all the details; the receptionist from the cardiologist’s office had called to tell her where the ambulance was headed. I flew to my car, picked up my sister and prayed that this wasn’t the end for my father as I sped all the way to Grand Strand Medical Center.
After hours of sitting in the waiting room, a nurse came and told us my dad was awake and that we could go and see him. It was a miracle that he was still with us, the doctor said. My faith was still in question at that point in my life, but I remember thanking the God I had grown up learning about. It was going to be a long road for my dad health-wise, but he was alive and we were blessed.
I spent the next month visiting my dad in the hospital every day as we waited for his levels to return to normal, for him to undergo a double-bypass surgery and have a defibrillator put in. Post-operation, he spent a couple more weeks regaining his strength and then was discharged when the doctors approved his health report. It took over a year for him to feel “back to normal,” but we started to breathe easier when the cardiologist said he was thrilled with his progress.
Things were calm for a while; the dust had settled from the storm. Then November 2022 came and hit hard. A scheduled blood test showed high levels of creatinine and a low red blood cell count. My dad was very anemic and was hospitalized immediately. An enlarged prostate seemed to be the culprit and was addressed, but upon further investigation the doctors found his kidneys to be functioning at an underwhelming 20%, and they are working on getting my dad on dialysis as I type this column.
If I’ve learned anything from the past seven years, it’s that you can’t chase the wind. What I mean is that worrying will get you nowhere, because no one knows what tomorrow will look like, only God does. It’s not that we can’t weather the storm, we just can’t predict it; and that’s okay. If we’re looking on the bright side, which I make a habit of doing these days, my dad will finally retire (he’s 71-years-old, so I’d say it’s about time) to focus on his health and learning how to do dialysis at home. We’ve grown stronger as a family through these tough times, and my parents are looking forward to spending more time together once my father does retire and gets in his routine with the new machine. And, if nothing else, I look back on that day I almost lost my dad and think about how grateful I am that he is still here. He overcame many hurdles, this is just another one. I’m most looking forward to dancing with my dad on my wedding day in less than two months, something I have thought about my whole life.
These are the rainbows, the bright spots in the midst of a dark time. Sometimes they’re hard to find, but they’re there, you might just have to look a little harder for them, through the clouds and beyond the wind.
Danielle Puleo is a staff writer for The Coastland Times. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.