April 12, 1999
i woke up at 4:30 in the morning to the sound of mom’s frantic clatter. dad was groaning and someone said something about chest pains. i pulled on pants in an unconscious fog, then collapsed onto my bed again when nothing happened.
the ambulance arrived at five. i stood on the stairs in a turtleneck and jeans and tried to remember where i’d left my keys as the paramedics asked my father to rate his pain on a scale of one to ten, strapping him onto the stretcher. i could see out onto the driveway through the open front door, and garish blue-and-red light from the ambulance splashed over the garage. he rated it a seven after much grimacing and delibertion. one of the paramedics tried to calm my mother. i half-heard someone say that we could drive to the hospital, but could not legally follow the ambulance.
i stumbled downstairs and ICQ’d something to a friend, found my keys in the darkness, and drove my mother to the hospital.
we spent an hour in the ECU waiting room, with news of kosovo bombings shrill in the background and minutes ticking by. i collapsed on a plastic-cushioned couch and tried not to fall asleep; saw the sun rise through the windows and pour warm light on the hospital’s parking garage. when they let my mother in to see him i stayed outside in the waiting room. it was seven in the morning when she returned. two and a half hours.
i couldn’t remember the last time i’d seen the sun rise.