Well...we got a couple answers today. Craig went to the doctor first thing this morning, and sure enough, he has shingles! Turns out the urgent care folks pretty much suck, because he had a textbook case--from the rash to the numbness to the pain--and yet they didn't see it. So, he's got a couple medications and hopefully it won't get much worse from here. It would have been better had urgent care caught it, but I think it's still pretty early so he's probably getting off easier than most old people who end up with it. All things considered, it's probably not the worst news he could have gotten.
As for my dad, their big trip is officially off and he's still in the hospital. He had a nuclear stress test today and they saw some damage at the bottom of his heart. It's still not clear what's causing it, but it could be that he'll get a stent. It's a weird spot--it's good that he's not so clearly sick, because obviously that would be scarier...but because he's not so clearly sick, it's also harder for them to treat him properly and ensure that he'll be healthy from here on out. All of this seems like a drop in the bucket compared to all we've been through with Craig's dad's heart issues, but now that it's my family, obviously it's scary.
I'm not going to get into all the touchy-feely fear stuff right now, in part because I know my dad reads this and he doesn't need that hanging over him at the moment. Chances are he will be fine and back up and running very soon. But it's still something I haven't truly had to face, so it's food for thought for sure. All I'll say at the moment is that I'm grateful our relationship has been so much better over these past many years, and I've so enjoyed watching him enjoy his grandkids. I know what it's like to have never really known a grandparent, and I pray my kids don't experience that same loss. It may be harder when grandparents you're close with actually pass, but at least you're left with memories and the joy of having had that person in your life. I had so many years with three of my four grandparents, and I want my kids to get as much quality time as possible with all four of theirs, enough to have legitimate memories to carry with them forever.
My dad has often remarked that his older brother, who died in his early 50s of a sudden heart attack, never had to find out what it was like to get old. Sometimes he sounds a tiny bit jealous, that my Uncle Bink is hanging out in heaven living the good (after)life, not having to deal with aches and pains and the sad moments of life. However, the one thing I hope he remembers is how much Uncle Bink missed out on in the 17 years he hasn't been here. To be fair, he left us before he had to go through a number of heartbreaking losses his family endured, but I'm sure if he knew he'd feel terrible he couldn't be there for them in those moments. But for all the bad he avoided, he also missed out on the births of his two granddaughters and watching them grow. He missed three joyous weddings for his daughters, and lots of quality family time over these many years he's been gone. None of it's better than heaven, of course, but the point is that there's so much life to live here and we only get one shot. There's no guarantee that it will be easy or that it will always be good, but there is so much good to enjoy here if we can just get through the tough stuff.
I know sometimes I feel like life is all the tough stuff, despite the fact I know how blessed we are. For all of the hard moments we've dealt with in this past year, there have been a lot of good moments, too. Laughs, smiles, little victories...all made more precious by the rough stuff we've had to endure. As much as I'd like to ditch the rough stuff, I know it's a package deal. Life knows how to throw curve balls, for sure, and the past couple days have been one of them, but at the moment I can just be thankful things aren't worse and keep praying. It's all a part of the ride, and I just hope there's a lot more good stuff left despite this speed bump.