Last Glimpse

January 23, 2010
I ran through the halls, earning glares from the nurses. “Walk, please,” one said, but I ignored her, intent on reaching my goal. Finally, I reached my dad’s room and breathlessly yanked the door open. I frantically looked around before catching sight of my dad lying in the hospital bed. He was hooked up to many machines, including at least three different IVs and a heart monitoring device. I slowly approached, taking in the sight of my dad. Before he had always seemed invincible, but now, seeing him lying on the big hospital bed which seemed to dwarf him, he looked like what I thought Superman shot with kryptonite bullets would resemble.

I called out his name softly, not wanting to wake him. His eyes snapped open, and he smiled brightly when he saw me.

“Ariana!” Dad said, “I thought you were in Baton Rouge!” He tried to sit up, but immediately sank back down, gingerly rubbing his head.

“Ouch,” he said wryly, “I keep forgetting not to sit up.” I quickly crossed cold tile between us, and grasped his hand.

“Dad, are you okay?” I asked anxiously. “Mom told me that you were really sick.” He glanced at my mom, who shrugged.

“I thought you might want to see her before —” she said softly, her voice quivering. She quickly turned, but not quickly enough to hide her tears.

Dad waited a second, then said, “Ariana. Don’t worry. It’s nothing. I’ll be fine.”

I persisted, however. “Dad, Mom said something about an aneurysm…”
A nurse bustled in, caught sight of me, and began to attempt to shepherd me out of the room. “I’m afraid I’ll need you to leave for a bit, darling,” she said. “It’s time to prep your dad for surgery.”

I started to struggle from the nurse’s grasp, frantically trying to get back to my dad. “No! I want to stay here!” I cried. However, as the nurse struggled to pull me out the door, I asked, “Dad, you’re going to be all right, aren’t you? You’re not going to die, are you?”

Before he could answer, the nurse firmly shut the door behind us, and turned to me. “Don’t worry, little girl,” she said soothingly, “He’ll be fine.”

“Promise?” I asked, skeptical.

“Uh, yeah,” she said unconvincingly, with one of those professional “I-really-don’t-mean-what-I’m-telling-you-but-I-don’t-want-to-say-otherwise” smiles, then hurried back into Dad’s room.

I went out to the corridor right outside of Surgery to wait for Dad, as per my instructions the night before from my mom.

After what seemed like ages, his gurney swung into view, and I hurried over to it. Mom was holding his hand on one side, so I went around and held his other hand,

“Dad, you’ll be okay, right?” I asked worriedly, as we approached the ominously looming double doors marked “Surgery.”

“I love you,” he said, squeezing my hand for an all-too-brief second before someone pulled me away from the gurney as it entered Surgery through those great big double doors. I furiously tore myself away from the hands binding me, and ran to the thick wooden doors, just in time for them to shut in my face, allowing me a brief glimpse of my dad’s gurney traveling down the hall.

“I love you, too,” I whispered.

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