Friday began as a work day for me, but, as is often the case, I traveled that afternoon to visit my parents. This wasn't just any Friday, though. This one was special. Dad and Mom were celebrating 61 years of marriage. I met Cathy and Mark at their house first so I could deliver the menagerie (three dogs), and we left shortly thereafter to get together with the folks. When we arrived at their place, Cathy and I were each given a copy of the Farmington Press, their local newspaper. The top story was a feature article about Mom & Dad's Valentine annivesary. Sweet! They had been interviewed by the editor of the paper earlier in the week, and she had written a very nice article which included lots of memories of their years together. Dad is able to get out to go shopping, so he had purchased a lovely Annivesary card for Mom and had given her a beautiful necklace and earrings. She had just had her hair done, and, in the words of Fernando, "[She] looked mahvelous, Dahling. Abscholutely mahvelous." We all went to one of their favorite restaurants and, as usual, had more than enough to eat. I asked Mom is she is 61 times happier than she was on their first annivesary, and she nodded. "I'm happy," she said. It was a fun evening.
My three dogs and I spent the night at the kennel ... er ... Mark and Cath's house where the dogs outnumbered the humans. Saturday morning after coffee and breakfast rolls, Cathy and I had some shopping to do. Then she had a birthday party to attend, and I headed back to do some more visiting with Dad and Mom. I called Dad when I was on the way. He answered and sounded awful. I asked if he had been sleeping, and he told me he had been ill for several hours and hadn't slept very much. When I arrived at his room carrying a four pack of Gatorade, a jar of peaches in light syrup and (at his request) a bottle of milk, he was sitting in his recliner. He looked as bad as he sounded, if not worse. He said that he thought he had food poisoning. I doubted it. We had all eaten the same thing at the same place, and the timing wasn't right for this to be food poisoning. Naturally, I didn't want to stick around and catch whatever evil bug was possessing him, so I told him to try to get some rest and headed over to the other side of the facility to hang out with Mom. She was doing fine. A couple of hours later, Dad called me and told me he was going to get one of the nurses on his wing to help him. Shortly afterward, he called me again and said they thought he should go to the ER. The hospital is only a few block away, so I took him over there. While we were waiting, I kept an eye on him while he sat with his eyes closed. I started questioning him about body aches, etc. and noticed how he was holding his left arm. I asked if he was having left arm pain. "Yes." "Are you having chest pain too?" "Yes." That did it. I went back to the window and gave the young lady attendant the news. Within a minute or two, a nurse was wheeling him back to one of the exam rooms. After a thorough assessment and listening to the beeping monitors for about an hour, the decision was made to transfer him by ambulance to the hospital in St. Louis where his cardiologist is on staff. In the midst of all of this, I had had an opportunity to send a text to Cathy before my phone died. She had arrived at the hospital, and when the ambulance left with Dad as its cargo, she and I went back to let Mom know what was going on. She wanted to go to St. Louis with us. So we got her packed up and got on the road. After spending several hours at the hospital in St. Louis and answering the routine battery of questions while getting Dad settled in to a room, we arrived back at the ranch at 2 o'clock this morning -- just in time for Cathy to get sick -- same symptoms minus the whacko heart problem. Poor Cath.
Dad didn't have a heart attack, and he did not have to be put in the critical care unit. The stomach virus had caused dehydration, and the dehydration had caused his heart to get out of whack (again) -- something with which we have become familiar over the last several years.
Tonight's good news is that his heart rate has gone back down, and the symptoms of the virus have subsided. Cathy reports that she is feeling somewhat better this evening too, but she's not back to 100% yet. This is some nasty stuff.
As for me? I'm keeping a good thought, but in the back of my mind, I'm wondering if/when the other shoe will drop. So far so good. Same for Mom. We keep asking each other "How are you feeling?" I think I've washed my hands ten frillion times since yesterday afternoon. Well, let's all hope and pray that Dad's lovely valentine in that picture up there dodges this bullet and that we'll celebrate #62 with them next year -- minus the extra activity, of course.