Monday, February 13th 2012, was the most beautiful day of my life.
It was the day my Uncle Bob made it through open heart surgery.
Dan is my Uncle by blood. We’re close in age, he’s a barrel of laughs, one of my best friends, and a Interactive Marketing colleague I respect more than I can describe. We only have to look at one another to know what the other is thinking.
My Uncle Bob has been with my Uncle Dan for going on 17 years now.
Bob is my Uncle by choice. He’s the reason I have a proper Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. He gives my Uncles’ home a heart. He’s shown Dan (and consequently, me), what life off of a dirt road can really be. He’s the one I wanted to make proud when I hosted my first family dinners, graduated college, got a promotion.
When I achieve a new milestone in my life, I tell Dan. But I know the next time I go to see my Uncles, it’s Bob I’ll tell all the details. Because he’s the one I can have a lengthy, deep, meaningful conversation with while Dan ADHD’s out.
I simply cannot imagine my life without both of my Uncles. They are a yin and yang to one another – whatever one lacks, the other makes up for. And together they create a complete family for me.
My Uncle Bob had a heart attack last December, and when they were checking his heart out to assess the damage, they found a rare heart defect that is usually corrected at a very early age. To fix it would require an open heart surgery that isn’t typically preformed on an adult, let alone someone over the age of 60. But if they didn’t do it, the congestive heart failure and heart attacks would continue until his heart couldn’t take anymore.
After months of trying to find the right doctor and going through hell, The Uncles found a surgeon at Tampa General who they had complete confidence in. One stroke, and three re-schedules later, the surgery was successfully done.
Here’s why this was the most beautiful day of my life:
- Bob comes from a big family, so when it comes to being there for him, I don’t want to put myself ahead of anyone else. But his surgery was scheduled for super early, and I wasn’t about to let Dan go be with Bob by himself. So the three of us, my favorite little family, were together from 5am until 7:30, through pre-op and until they wheeled him away for surgery. No words can describe how much it meant to me to there for this.
- Bob’s sisters, Gladie and Mary Lou, were with us, as well as his niece Becky. We commandeered the most comfortable chairs in the waiting area and with laughter, love, and hugs, we got each other through the worst part: waiting to hear that everything went okay.
- Bob opened his eyes and looked at us at 1:30pm, only a few hours after surgery.
- When he was taken off the respirator and able to talk, he looked at me and said “Every kiss does begin with k.” (Inside joke at my expense. Never have I been happier to be made fun of. )
- The surgery went perfect.
While I’m not sure he would say it was the most beautiful day of HIS life (most painful, maybe? most frightening? probably.), I can honestly say that the love and relief I experienced will be hard to top.
Whether we’re at home celebrating Christmas, at a drag show eating brunch, or crowded into a shared hospital room waiting for open heart surgery to be scheduled, we are a family, and I love my two Uncles!