We left for the base hospital at about 8:15. What a "hot-fest" of men on that base – starting with the sentries at the gate, and continuing up and down all the halls of the hospital. When I think back about growing up on that base, it's no wonder I was so attracted to the marines. They're just beautiful, beautiful men.
We arrived in the area where dad's procedure was to be done at about 8:45, which was when he wanted to be there. His appointment was for 9:00. As soon as we sat down in the waiting room, the corpsman came out to get dad, and then said, "Can we help you?" looking at me and Mom. "We're with him. That's my dad," I replied.
"Can we go in there with him?" Mom asked. "He's hard of hearing and doesn't always hear what's being said."
"I'll check; just a minute."
Returning, "One of you can come in; there's not much room in there. It's a very small examining room."
Mom and I debated, and she decided that I should be the one to go in.
The technician doing the procedure did not speak to me at all. It made me wonder about the level of care here, and the "people aspect" of these doctors and healthcare professionals.
He told dad to take his shirt off, and to lie down on the table, on his back. He put some kind of gel on his chest, and then attached some sensors to his chest at those spots. He had, what looked like, a microphone, and rubbed it along his chest, at his heart. A computer monitor showed a sonogram of his heart. There was a color scale, from blue to red, and flashes of different colors appeared on the screen. I surmised that blue was "good" and red was "bad." Wherever there were red flashes, the technician would highlight that area with a dotted box, and then record what was going on there.
Overall, it didn't look like there was anything "drastic" there, that is, there wasn't huge, continuous areas of red. At one point, he turned on the sound, and, very loudly, the noise of the heart filled the room. "Jesus Christopher," dad said. Eventually the technician got the message that he wasn't comfortable hearing it, and turned the volume way down.
When the procedure was finished Dad asked him what it said. Of course, the technician couldn't make a diagnosis, and it was obvious he wasn't going to. We finally got him to say that it certainly didn't look serious, like immediate open heart surgery was going to be called for, or anything like that. We would have to wait for the cardiologist to read the results tomorrow or Wednesday, and then call dad's doctor on Thursday or Friday, hopefully, to have her explain them to him.
Dad mentioned his upcoming stress test on September 10th.
"Are you going to be able to do a stress test, sir?" the technician asked. Out of dad's line of sight, I started shaking my head no as he answered, "I think so."
"Could you walk up the steps to this area without being out of breath, sir?" Again, I shook my head, this time more emphatically.
"No, probably not," dad answered.
"How about walking from the car into the hospital, sir? Were you out of breath then?" I nodded my head, because though he wasn't very, we walked very, very slow.
"Oh no, I was fine walking in here."
I asked him if I could have a moment in private with him before I left. I explained the situation to him about the anniversary celebration in Orlando, and asked if he could let dad's doctor know the situation, and that I wanted to speak with her as soon as she knows anything so I could make some decisions about canceling the event. I also shared some of the things mom talked about last night, specifically about his sleeping all but about 4 hours a day, only watching television otherwise, and not wanting to go anywhere any more. I also mentioned about how he gets so stressed out at TV commercials, and long stop lights – just in case it's pertinent, stress-wise.
Dad seemed noticeably in better spirits leaving the hospital.
We stopped at the new Jacksonville IHOP on the way back from the hospital. A waitress, who used to be a nurse, and one of dad's nurses in fact, stopped by our table. Mom introduced me as their son, and she made some comment about thinking she had met me before. I don't think we'd met. She made some (joking) comment about going out with her, and I, as always, had to go through the two-second debate, "Should I come out? Is it pertinent? Is it necessary?" I responded, "I'm sorry, I'm not available." While a bit evasive, it's true at least. I'm not available to her.
Back at the house, I worked a little bit more on the meeting minutes form the Community Forum Meeting, and mom and dad watched "The Price is Right." I left to return to Raleigh at about noon.
Back in Raleigh, I took a nap. Dad called late in the afternoon to let me know that my oil was leaking – as evidenced by the puddle I had left in his driveway. Grrrrrr. Something else to take care of.
I left for Richard's at about 6:15 for the going away party for Thomas, which started at 7:00 at Richard's new house in Durham. I arrived at about 10 till, and he hadn't yet arrived. Someone walked up to his door, who I thought was Howard, but who ended up being Spencer. I went in and met Spencer, and his partner of 30 years, I think, Ron. It was good to meet them, as I have heard Richard talk about them forever!
Richard had surprisingly few things in his house in preparation of this party. He just moved in, and the refrigerator was virtually empty, and the freezer was literally empty. Richard arrived after a few minutes.
The party really began when Jon Bitner arrived at about 7:15. He had ice, plastic cups, paper plates, and plastic utensils. I added some ice to my CC and Sprite, which was exactly what it needed. Other guests arrived: Jay and Howard, and then the guest of honor.
Richard broke a glass in his sink, and proceeded to dig it out with Playtex rubber gloves on.
The pizzas finally arrived, and they were delicious! He got four larges, which at first seemed like way too much, but by the time it was all said and done, there were two slices left. Good job.
We talked about bike riding some with Howard and Spencer also being riders. We may all try to ride together some time, but it won't be easy with me being in Raleigh and both of them being in Durham.
I left there at about 9:30 or 10:00, and had an uneventful ride home.