Family Stories – The Note

My father had a heart attack several years ago.  Since then, he’s made many life changes, and he’s been in very good health.  But, of course, problems can arise at any time, and my father knows to be watchful for signs of heart attack.

Last year, my boyfriend Dustin and I drove to my parents’ town.  We were about twenty miles away when my cellphone rang, but I was unable to get to it before the person hung up.  I saw that it had been my mother, and I had a strange feeling that something bad had happened.

When we got to my folks’ house, we found a note on the door – “With your dad at the emergency room.”  My parents live about a block from the hospital, so at least I knew he had gotten there in a timely manner.  Dustin and I ran up to the ER, looking for either my mother or my father.  We found my mom standing in the hallway outside of one of the little cubicle-rooms, her arms crossed over her chest.  She looked concerned, but not horribly concerned, so I relaxed a little – he must be doing okay.

“What happened?” I asked.

“He was having chest pains,” she explained.  “But they think it was just angina.  They’re going to run tests to make sure.”  She sighed, irritated.  “I was cleaning in the other room, and he was in the living room watching TV,” she went on tersely.  “I realized after a while that the dog was in the house, but your father was gone.  I didn’t know why he would go outside without taking the dog.  I hadn’t heard him leave.  I came out to the living room looking for him – he wasn’t anywhere.  And then I found a note:  ‘Having chest pains.  Going to the hospital.’”  She scowled, understandably vexed.  “Why would he leave a note instead of talking to me?!  Why wouldn’t he come to get me to go with him?!  I tried to call you, but mostly I just got up here as fast as I could.”  She glowered into the little cubicle-room, her arms still folded across her chest.  “A note!” she repeated darkly, shaking her head.

Dustin and I went then into my father’s cubicle-room, where he was hooked up to oxygen and some other machines.  He had fairly good colour, and seemed to be in good spirits.

“I’m fine,” he said.  “They’re going to run some tests, but the pain’s gone and they think it’s just angina.”  He shook his head and gestured out into the hallway.  “You’re mother’s upset,” he added, “that I didn’t tell her anything.”  He shrugged slightly and explained in perplexed self-defense, “I left a note.”

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