Snow in Alabama

I was sitting to the right of Geof, enjoying an Over the Rhine concert that he'd talked me into attending, when I saw my silenced phone light up. The number implied Arkansas, and I had the familiar lump of dread that always came when a number starting with 501 showed up on caller ID.

It was my mother, and thanks to the ongoing performance, I had no way of answering it before the phone would go to voice mail. I watched, and waited, and saw no new voicemail notification pop up. No message.

ø (empty set)

I don't have a pretty run-in for you here, or a way to lace together these words in a way that has meaning or resonance. In the end, they're just words, the words of someone who is up at one in the morning and who is thinking through keystrokes instead of being asleep, like she should be.

Father's Day.

32 pieces total and a lot of laughter

I chose to keep my mother entertained this weekend by keeping her busy. The original plans for Saturday consisted of Kat and I taking Mom out to Boaz so that she could do some shopping at Boaz' outlet stores.

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Message from home

Just when I thought I was done—just got an email from my mother. My dad's got to go in for some more tests on his eye. Apparently he's been having problems with blurred vision, and the doctor can't tell if it's an infection affecting his optic nerve or if he's had a minor stroke that is impairing his vision.

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Dad, again

Sigh. Time for one of those moments where I look up and say, "Not again. I'm not laughing, dammit."

Another email from Mom tonight. This one had words that I've known that I would hear someday: "The doctor told us yesterday that [your] dad has some spots that have shown up on his lungs, so we are scheduled for more surgery Dec. 26 for [a] biopsy on them."

Both of my parents are heavy smokers, and have been so for as long as I can remember. It's not necessary for me to say the word; you undoubtedly know what I, the nonsmoking child of two chain-smokers, have on my mind.There are other things this could be. It is true that my father has had pneumonia several times, and this could be scar tissue resulting from those illnesses. He was also exposed to asbestos during the 1960s; this could be a reaction to that.

The day of surgery

A compilation of a day's worth of entries:

1:48 p.m.:

While under the best of circumstances I could be considered a worrywart, I think I'm at least a bit entitled today. My father underwent surgery this morning to repair his aortic aneurysm. So far, I haven't heard anything from my mother. I'm going to assume that's good news, though in truth I really don't even know how long the surgery is supposed to take.The surgery is fairly serious stuff. From what I can gather, Dad's aneurysm is serious enough that a section of the artery has to be entirely replaced. (It can't be clamped off.) Mom reminded me that the surgeons will have to stop Dad's heart for the duration of time it takes to graft the replacement vessel into his aorta.

No matter how you look at it, that's just a little bit terrifying.

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