Thursday, August 07, 2008

A Change of Heart

This is a ridiculous story. I was once playing Donkey Kong on the Intellivision with my father around the time that such a game console was popular. It was my father's turn, and he made it all the way up to Donkey Kong only to be crushed by a barrel right at the big ape's feet. It was an understandable mistake; not realizing he had one last ladder to climb, he thought he'd already beaten the round.

I was a sensitive child. That's the only explanation. With dad's game ended, he asked if I wanted to play. I said no. Then I went to my room and cried because my poor father hadn't known that the game wasn't over. I thought my father knew everything. I was moved to tears because he didn't.

I'm thinking about that today because I still hate the idea of my father facing disappointment, or the unknown, or fear. The lesson I first learned from Donkey Kong has only been reinforced as I've grown. My father is human. It's a strange understanding to have as someone's child--knowing that while I can control my own emotions, I am powerless when it comes to his.

My dad went in today for a cardioversion, which is an electrical shock to re-set the heart so the heart's natural pacemaker can take over. His first appointment earlier this week was cut short when it was shown that the medication used to thin his blood had not thinned it enough to reduce the risk of stroke associated with the procedure. So he went back in today. I'm still waiting to hear how it went.

I get all tight in the windpipe area just thinking about it. And, yes, I still think it's ridiculous that my first premonition of that feeling came in highly pixelated form on an old, wood-paneled console channeling Intellivision.


jen said...

i hope it all goes smoothly. the vulnerability is so hard to sit through.

ps. have you seen The King of Kong? It's a documentary about crazy donkey kongers, actually quite entertaining.

slouching mom said...

i will be thinking about your dad, friend. yes. they are vulnerable, and it is hard when we get that, whether it's while we're playing video games, or not.

Whirlwind said...

I hope everything works out okay. Keep us posted!

zellmer said...

My Dad had triple bypass surgery on his heart about 5 years ago. I will never forget the look of fear on his face before they wheeled him in. It's so true. You never stop believing your father is a super hero. (He got through it just fine and is healthier than ever today.)

I sincerely hope your Dad comes out strong on the flip side of his procedure.

Heather said...

Thinking of your family.

toyfoto said...

I can feel this. For me it was watching my mother fall off a horse. She was fine. But in that instant I understood the potential for mortality.

Those memories don't come flooding back so much when real life-and-death situation hang in the balance, they just seem to keep you on the edge of your seat throughout.

iheartchocolate said...

I am sorry, I hope all goes well. I just heard my dad is having some trouble, so I can really relate to how this feels. I am sorry.

Duff said...

Believe me when I tell you I know exactly what you mean. I had similar premonitions during the wood-panelled television years.

Best wishes to him (and you!).