"Let's go see the flowers," I told my hound after I'd had coffee, taken a shower and emptied the dishwasher and the new email from my inbox. There are a bright bunch of daffodils sunning themselves at the entry of our subdivision. And I wanted to take a photo of the flowers.
The sun shined. There was a cool breeze. And I felt peaceful as we moved briskly through the morning. I scolded Chienne when she stepped in people's lawns - I have a rule against such things and she tests me some mornings, tossing a one-eyed glare over her shoulder when I object and tug on her leash.
Still, it was - it is - springtime. Hopeful and quiet and pretty.
I returned to the house and grabbed a bottle of water to sip after blowing my nose. The wind has quieted from its gusts of yesterday but still blows the freshly-cut grass and wisps of pollen, making my eyes itch and nose run. It's a price I'm happy to pay for opening the house, letting the fresh air in.
"Hello," I answered the phone cheerfully, seeing my father's full name appear on the corner of my television screen. Tired of the news, I switched to reruns of Law & Order. I smiled upon hearing Mom's voice - I'd complained bitterly yesterday of how pointless my job was, how I wasn't sure how to be happier. But prayer and exercise and a beautiful day had raised my spirits - I felt more stable and capable today.
"We're at the hospital," she told me gently and I blinked, smile falling from my face as I stared at the television without seeing it. "Your dad was having pain last night - back pain - so we came in at 1:30 this morning."
She paused because I always have questions - specific requests for information delivered in order of importance - but I couldn't think. Images - emotions - flashed quickly. Sobbing in Uncle's arms outside the waiting room of the cath lab my last year of college. Having Brother insist that we call Dad's brother to tell him. Mom asking bad questions when I wanted our liason to return to the procedure - to return if there was more urgent news than which area was blocked or where the stents were going.
"His EKGs are mostly normal," Mom continued when I didn't speak. "And his enzymes were just a little off when they last checked. So they're not sure if it's his heart or just back pain. We're waiting for the cardiologist now, but they are planning to admit him. The girl just came in and said so."
I shook my head, trying to jostle my brain into processing the information. "I," I paused, still trying to think, "Should I come home?" I asked my mother.
"I don't think so," she replied thoughtfully. "It's all pretty routine - not like last time."
"Do you have a private room?" I asked, wincing while I wondered what the hell difference it made. And nodding when she said they were still in the ER. That Dad had been in too much pain to rest and that she'd used her sweatshirt as a pillow.
"Brother is going to work," she told me and I nodded - my younger sibling is not good at hospitals. "But we expect we won't be here more than a day - we'll figure out what this is and they'll go in and fix it."
"Of course," I agreed. "Will you tell him I love him?"
"You can talk to him," she said and handed the phone to my father.
"Hi," I echoed and sat silently, picturing him in bed with the wires and tubes and remembering timing by breath to his on the ventilator years ago.
"I'm fine," I replied when he asked. "We took a walk. To look at the flowers. Chienne was a bad dog. But I'm fine. How are you?"
"I hurt," he admitted and I asked why the morphine hadn't worked. "I don't know," he sighed and I heard him shift positions. "They said it was a mild dose - I guess they didn't give me enough."
"Oh," I murmured softly. "That surprises me. But maybe they need to know about the pain so they can fix it."
"Yeah, maybe." His voice was quiet. Tired. Docile. "They're just going to bleed the insurance company for a while and then I'll get to go home."
I huffed a false chuckle and said that was OK. He agreed and echoed my I love you. And so I keep my cell phone on and still plan to attend church in search of peace and prayers. I sent a note to a colleague requesting the latter and felt tears well. But I blinked them back - am blinking them back now - because we'll be OK.
Still. Please pray.