Four little words....with huge connotations. I never dreamed, as a little girl, that I would grow up to be in my mid-thirties facing the reality that both my parents would have already passed.
My mother died, within weeks of finding out that I was pregnant with my youngest, a daughter, of a brain aneurysm. Death stole her at an early age of 49.
Now, it seems, that death is knocking at the door looking for my father.
I was getting ready for bed one late night in October 2008 when I got the call. My father, the strongest, smartest man I know, was being rushed to the emergency room in an ambulance. Unresponsive.
I gathered a days worth of clothes in a bag and prepared to make the drive from Ohio to Tennessee with my stepsister and my brother and sister in law following behind. That night's journey was the fastest trip we have ever made down I-75. The deer in the middle of the interstate near Corbin, KY was a mere distraction, as we stared out the window in passing, our hearts were already racing.
Arriving at the emergency room we were greeted by my father's wife and the most compassionate ER personnel I have ever crossed paths with. My heart dropped when I saw my father laying in that bed looking pale and not waking up, but I knew I had to be strong. He taught me that.
We transferred him from the small community hospital to the larger hospital in downtown Knoxville. He went straight to Intensive Care. A battery of tests were ordered and performed while they kept him sedated, not knowing why he had had a seizure while he laid inbed that night. He had no history of anything, no medical problems. My dad is a big guy, he's tall and he's round, but he is healthy. No heart problems, no diabetes, no cholesterol, no blood pressure issues, nothing. Why on earth would he have a seizure?
The MRI that night, early morning, showed that there was some swelling in the left temporal lobe. The brain wave activity showed that there were more smaller seizures. They slowed the sedation medication down and he woke up! He woke up! This was a cause for celebration, I probably scared the hell out of my brother when I came out of Dad's room running and crying telling him to go see Dad. I had made it the full night, seeing him look so sick, without a tear. It felt good to release it for joy.
The diagnosis was that he had herpes encephalitis. A herpes infection in the brain. They put him on some potent antibiotics and transferred him to a regular room. He was ready to be released, until the doctor came in and said that the spinal tap didn't confirm what they thought. Turns out it isn't herpes, but they didn't know what it was, or why he had a seizure. They released him and ordered him to follow up with a Neurologist.