Smile With Your Eyes
Writing Checks Your DVD Collection Can't Cash

Breathe In, Breathe Out

My phone rang on Saturday at the exact wrong time for the phone to ring. Screaming baby, whining preschooler, misplaced shoes and house keys and that stupid plastic Piston Cup that has suddenly become the most beloved and cherished toy in the world, although apparently not beloved and cherished enough to NOT CONSTANTLY BE LOST. I let the call go to voice mail.

When Jason's phone rang a few seconds later, I froze.

"It's your mom," he said. But I already knew that.

I grabbed the phone and fumbled with it for a bit -- my palms had gone completely clammy -- and heard nothing but my mother's sobs. The room began to spin and my heart dropped into my shoes and I took two stumbling steps towards the step between the foyer and living room. I'd been standing next to a nice upholstered bench, but for some reason the step looked like a better option. Like if I heard the news while closer to the floor there would be less of a chance that I'd hurt myself when I went into a full-on slide-to-the-floor meltdown.

The news was bad, but it was not That Bad News. He was alive, but the pneumonia was life-threatening. His heart was out of rhythm again. He couldn't breathe. He was strangling and panicking. He needed a breathing tube, a ventilator, but he was refusing it and the hospital said they were accepting his refusal. No ventilator.

The next few hours were blurry -- I got very shrill on the phone with my mom, unable to fathom the idea that my father was lucidly refusing essential and life-saving medical care. No, I said. He's sick. He's been deprived of proper oxygen levels for too long. He's doped up. He doesn't know what he's doing. They can't let him do that. You go in there and you tell him that I'm telling him to get on that ventilator and let his lungs fucking heal already, only leave out the f-word. I know it bothers him.

But my fucking lands, really.

My brother and I talked too -- endless gallows humor and a debate over competency and stubbornness over who could rearrange their life this week to go to Pennsylvania and...and...I don't know. Do SOMETHING. Fix SOMETHING. Grab the nurses by the collars of their scrubs and impress upon them that we KNOW he's being a difficult patient but he is NOT a difficult person -- he is kind to children and pets and waitresses -- and he is OUR FATHER and we NEED HIM and look! He has a new grandbaby! Look at the baby!



In the end, my mom called back and said that he'd written a note and agreed to accept the ventilator...IF he had another serious gasping/strangling attack. Which...he wasn't having, at the time. But. Okay. Thank you.

He never needed the ventilator. On Sunday, his lungs looked the same. Which was actually kind of huge, because it was the first day where his lungs hadn't looked WORSE.

Today, his lungs look better.

Forgive the lazy Internet expression here but: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(In my head, that is not actually pronounced like anything but must always be accompanied by a wide bug-eyed, open-mouth expression, and then you shake your head -- just a little, like if you were a cartoon and someone just put a bell over your head and whacked it with a mallet -- once for every exclamation point.)

It's not over, oh, no. It's not. He is still very, very sick. The pneumonia is very, very bad. But it's getting better, finally. The medicines seem to be working. He's off the not-a-ventilator-but-not-a-simple-oxygen-mask machine and back to the simple oxygen mask, which he can pull off and talk to my mom for the first time in almost a week. His heart's rhythm is good, his breathing is better.

I think we're all breathing better.




My thoughts are with your family

Donna P

I'm sorry that you and your family are having to go through this, Amy. As always, prayers are with you. Hang in there.


That's the worst emotional roller coaster to be on. Positive thoughts for you and your family.


Holyhell how scary. I found myself re-living every one of the episodes with my mom when I read this.

My prayers will continue for all of you.

(And next time dad refuses, let Ezra give him that staredown in the first picture. Methinks he means business there. :))


So stressful! I'm thinking of you and your family and am glad that things have taken a turn for the better. (Smiling Ezra--so freaking cute!!)


Sending prayers and good wishes. I hope your father feels better and better each day.


You got a picture of him smiling!

*I'm focusing on the positive here!


Seriously, dude! I know! My dad was that same difficult patient a year and a half ago...gasping, wheezing, couldn't breathe, wouldn't let my mom call 911, etc. He ended up in the hospital on a ventilator finally, which is where he should have been to begin with.

It didn't turn out as well in our situation as it is in yours, and I am thankful your dad is doing better. Sounds like he has alot of family around him willing him to get better, and that always helps. My thoughts are with you.

And medical people? You better be listenin to the Serious Baby.


Oh my holy hell. My thoughts are with you and your family.


I've been thinking of you guys. I have been there... hours away from my Mom in the hospital feeling completely helpless. It's an *impossible* situation.

Here's to hoping many really great thoughts.


Oh. Wow. I'm so glad that despite Saturday's drama, things are looking up today. I hope they continue for you all!


I'm glad he's fighting and hanging in there. Tell him to keep it up and send him that picture of Ezra. That'll brighten anyone's day!


Freaking fracking piston cup toy! Oy what a run of emotions that must be going through you nonstop. Keep breathing girl. My thoughts are with you and your family. Hang in there and hold each other close.


I've been constantly checking back today hoping to get an update or something (so if you check your logs, yeah, that's me - not a stalker, just concerned!)

When I was reading it, I told myself I wouldn't cry, I wouldn't cry, but then pic of Ezra and then I lost it.

*big hugs* Here's to hoping things are moving in the right direction.


Whoa and !!!!!!!!
Thanks for the update and I hope your dad continues to get better!!
P.S. Ezra's smile is like, magical :)

Cautionary Girl

Finally! One for the camera!

If you're a band, that'd be chk chk chk chk chk times infinity. But I like the cartoon expression better.


I can't remember if I've ever commented here before so, Hi. and also, OMG that baby is so cute. Hope your dad keeps getting better.


It took this post for me to realize that your fabulous talent at writing has a downside. That was harrowing. I was so worried for PopPop and so sorry you are all going through this. I hope and pray it will continue to get better. He needs to see that little grandbaby smile. For many years.


Oh, wow!

Good thoughts to you and your family. Hope your Dad continues on the mend.... Must be such a rollercoaster of emotions for you!


I'm so glad that your dad has stabilized, and so sorry that your family has been through such a rough time lately. Hope it all improves from here.

And also? You really need warning labels with baby pictures that are that cute. I swear my uterus almost leapt out of my body, yelling "ME WANT" at the sight of that sweet little face. You've got some very cute boys there.


oh wow, so scary! but so glad he is doing better. saying prayers for your family!


I'm sorry things have been so hysterically shitty lately, Amy. I hope for health and peace VERY soon. You need a vacation.

bad penguin

I hope your dad keeps improving.

Ezra is adorable. Both as serious baby and smiley baby.


Those medical types best listen to serious baby.

Thoughts are with you, that damn phone has rung in these parts too.


I was freaking out on your behalf. don't those dads realize how important they are to us and what the hell, MAN UP and take whatever it takes to get well.


Good golly but you've had a rough couple of weeks! Sending positive thoughts to the whole family.


Prayers! Hang in strong... and keep the humor.


Oh my hell. So scary. I hope he continues to get better.

lisa garrett

i am glad he is doing better. but when i started reading i got teary eyed and almost stopped reading because I knew i was about to lose it. Love the cute baby pics!!

lisa garrett

also I live in Pa so if you want me to pass a message I will


Hoping/praying/meditating for the best. Your dad is lucky to have you for an advocate. (!!!!!!!)


Oh sweetie. I haven't commented in a long while but I have been praying and thinking of you all. I can't imagine you going through all these emotions with a new born, too. Tell your Dad the internet loves him, too.


Ugh, so scarey. My thoughts are with you and your family...


I went through this this summer/fall. It sucks. My thoughts are with you. Hugs!!


All my good thoughts and best wishes are coming your way. I'd send prayers, but I'm not such a pray-er. And if you need anything, please do not hesitate to ask.

So many virtual hugs.


Having a sick father is the hardest, most hardest thing ever. My Dad died of cancer when I was 18 and seeing him so tiny and fragile was something I don't think I ever adjusted to. It's very strange when the parent/child roles are reversed.

You are extremely brave, and my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.


Serious baby was waiting for the PERFECT moment to smile on camera ... and this was it. The world (Internet world) sighs relief with you and your lovely family.


Healthy and positive thoughts beaming out to your dad.


Oh god... "That" phonecall is the one that everyone dreads. I am so glad it wasn't the one you got. Sounds like things are going to be better soon hopefully ...I am very superstitious so I don't want to jinx it... I will just say I am happy to hear that there is progress in the right direction. Phew!!!


My best thoughts and prayers are with your family today. I was bawling within the first few 'graphs of your post... I know how difficult this is for you and your family.

Hang in there!


I'm still praying for you guys. <3


Hoping for the very best.


Delurking to say that my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Could I nibble on Erza while I pray?


Oh thank God! I was so scared when I started reading this. And, you got a pic of Ezra smiling...fabulous!


My thoughts are with you and here's hoping to continued recovery.

My husband and I were on our first real vacation in who knows how long a week and a half ago when we got a call (off the coast of Belize, no less) to let us know that my mother-in-law had died. It was unexpected but not really. (she was given 3 months in December but didn't *seem* sick. her kidneys stopped functioning) So, I understand how you feel to receive an urgent call.

My thoughts/prayers go out to you. He is starting to heal so that's a really great thing.



Keeping up the prayers for you and your family!!


*So* glad your dad is doing better. He better be, he can't miss out on those baby smiles!


I read your blog everyday, but never comment. However, I couldn't let this one go without saying hang in there. You(because OMG what I can only imagine is this unbelievable stress, bone deep fear, and still having to be mom while it's all going on) and your dad are absolutely in my prayers.


Maybe your dad knew what he was doing after all.

My stepfather was put on a ventilator for pneumonia and the sedative that they gave him to put it in, put him over the edge and he didn't wake up. His heart and lungs couldn't handle the sedative and he slipped into a coma before passing away.

Maybe your dad's self-preservation instinct took over, not stubbornness.


I'm so sorry you and your family are going through all this. Has anyone talked with your family about how anxiety in a post-op patient from heart surgery is pretty common? this happened too to my BIL and he was freaked out as was my SIL by how her husband was acting. You might ask the docs if your dad could tolerate an anti-anxiety med to help. Best of luck with it all.


Thanks for the update...looks like things are looking up!!!!

Keep us posted.


My prayers are with you all. And tell Ezra thanks for giving us a smile ;)


So glad to hear he's on the mend - even if it is small progress - it's still the right direction and that's the only thing that counts. Hooray for agreeing to the ventilator too. Keep your chin up, Amy!


Thank goodness for that final bit of good (or "not worse") news. Hope he continues to get better & better. Ezra is delectable. :-)


I'm glad you got some good news. :)

bethany actually

Oh. Thank. God.


Gah, you write it so well that my stomach clenches and I get so worried that it was "that" phone call and then serious baby made it all better. Phew. I am thinking positive thoughts for your family. My grandpa was on a ventilator--there isn't a way to describe the lost frightened feeling you get when they don't have the oxygen they need to be themselves.

Horrible Warning

Thinking about you, Amy.


My thoughts and prayers are with you. My dad had a similar health problem almost two years ago, and I know how difficult it is. We're all pulling for him out here in internet land!


Serious Baby is seriously adorable.

Much love to your dad.

Shirliana Glassberg

I thought about what you wrote and put myself in your place - cuz one day I certainly WILL be.... . I'm sorry you went through that, but so happy that he's doing better. I never thought of myself as a "daddy's girl" but after reading this, I definitely think I qualify. Am calling mine now to say, "I love you." Thanks for the wake-up call. Prayers your way. Hugs, Shirliana


Just letting you know I was here, sending you big internet hugs, and saying omg could Ezra BE any cuter in that last photo? babycheeksnomnomnomnom


So, so glad.


So, so glad.

Jen L.

Holy crap. !!!!!!!!!!, even. Glad thigns are looking up for your dad. Keeping all of you in my prayers.

I <3 Ezra's smile.


I'm really glad he's doing better.

But that baby is going to grow old to look like Michael Caine.


Getting off biPAP and breathing OK just on a mask is a big step in the right direction. He's doing some hard work right now - kind of a marathon, really. It's tough for him and *maybe* even tougher for you guys who love him to watch him struggle. Prayers and good thoughts for your dad and you all!!

Sprite's Keeper

Oh, the beginning of this post had my own heart beating erratically as I hoped it would get better. Glad to hear things are better. As long as they're not worse. Good vibes coming your way!


keeping you all in my thoughts and sending positive thoughts and vibes your way.


Thinking about you. This post almost gave ME a heart attack. Seriously my stomach dropped just reading it. But glad to see he is doing better!


I've had that "the phone is not suppose to ring at that time" several times in my life and I do not wish that ring on anyone.

Sorry that you all have to go through this.


Sorry to hear things are still not going as well with your Dad as they could be. I'll keep him in my thoughts and hope for a speedy recovery.

I am totally distracted by Ezra. He is the cutest baby ever. Seriously.


Amy, I've been thinking about you and your family. I'm so sorry you're all going through this, but relieved to hear your dad is starting to show signs of improving. You'll continue to be in my thoughts!


I hope your dad keeps going from strength to strength...

My thoughts & prayers are with you & your family.

Ezra is just soooo cute! That little sample of a smile is adorable!!


Still sending prayers your way.


Seriously, Amy, if I could harness and channel every religious-type thought I had and recondition it in a devout way?

I would throw all of them to you.


Phew! Very glad things are getting better, even though they seemed to get worse for a while. Your dad will get through this - he has to, with such a wonderful family, and GORGEOUS grandson. Seriously, your baby is cute. Damn cute. (and, I'll admit it, I'm generally not all that keen on babies). But yours... nom nom nom, indeed.


Post open-heart surgery recovery SUCKS. My stepdad had near-complete failure of the kidneys during his recovery. And those horrible hallucinations. Hang in there. Once he gets over this part, it gets better and better. You are all in my prayers.


I'm glad to hear things are looking up. My thoughts are with you and your family.


sending healing thoughts your way. i'm glad your dad is making progress. :-)


My heart was in my throat all the way through Ezra's glare. I am glad as all that your Dad has taken a turn for the better and I hope that this is the beginning of many good things for your family. Oh, and the smile at the end of the post says it all.


Smiling Ezra!

I cannot even imagine the emotional rollercoaster you are on. I am still thinking of you and your father.


Thinking of you and hoping each day continues to get better.


My heart and my prayers go out to all of you. Such a scary time.


Ezra is looking too cute! Wishing you guys all good news from here on out.

Katie Kat

Oh, my heart is racing reading this - it's so difficult and so unbearable when someone you love is sick and chooses to let nature take over instead of trying anything, ANYTHING to get better.

I'm glad things have taken a turn for the better. As you know, we are all pulling for your dad and sending you big hugs and good karma!


Oh dear. These are the kind of practice moments you can really do with out, right? Hope things continue to improve.


how scary!!! sending healing thoughts to Pop-Pop.

(ooo! that Ezra is so deliciously cute.)


keep the faith.

Forever Amber

My heart was in my mouth just reading this, I can't even imagine what it must've been like to have to go through it. So very glad to read that your dad is doing a little better, and hoping for even better news soon.


I wish I could do something. But my thoughts are with you and your family. I'm glad things have improved and hope they continue to do so.


oh honey. I just want to give complete stranger hugs here. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. I've been where you are with my Dad - only he had a stroke 2 years ago. Against the odds he's still with us and at a high functioning level. Then later the same year my hubby had knee surgery and ended up w/ MRSA. I was told he wasn't gonna make it and to plan the funeral. We had a 13, 4 and 1 year old. Scariest part of my life - hands down. After nearly a year of re-infection and 5 surgeries and countless meltdowns on my part (I swear I cried nonstop for 5 months) he's still with us too. Finally got him home late last year after 13 months in and out of hospitals/rehabs/nursing homes.

But I do now that right now is very very scary for you. I'm sorry you have to go thru this.


Oh, my. Your family is in my prayers!

Tracey B.

Thank God! Hope he's even better by the time you read this...


I'm so sorry, but so glad that he's doing better.

Cute baby. :)


Man those late-night phone calls are killers. You know it has to be some kind of bad news. Glad that you dad is getting better. Hope this means he has turned the corner and is going to get well.

Hang in there y'all.

(no I'm not southern, but this is a great 'word' to use here...)


I'm so sorry your family is going through this. But you will all come out just fine, despite all these hurdles.

What's the saying? The sky is darkest before dawn.

One hook wonder

Still thinking of you and your family. *hugs*


I remember going through some very similar crap back when my youngest was 3-6 months old and I was going back and forth between MoCo and Frederick to take care of my grandfather, who was in and out of the hospital and for whom I had power of attorney with my uncle. It was an unbelievably stressful time. Make sure you take care of YOU, Amy, because you can't help anyone else if you don't. And of course, I am praying for your family and your dad.


Amy, still sending you and your family my prayers. Keep sending Ez's serious "get well Grandpa" vibes too, ha ha! Keep breathing.

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