A 1 800 number rings my cell phone as I’m getting ready for work in Vancouver.
I’m tempted not to answer, but I do.
“A elderly man has pushed his Lifeline alarm and is reporting a possible heart attack,” says the woman, “The ambulance has been called and is on the way over there.”
I swallow hard. Oh my God, is this it?
“I’m on my way over now,” says Mum when I call her in Brentwood Bay.
I forget having put her on the emergency contact list, but am relieved I did.
I hang up and wait, unsure if I should catch the bus to work or to the float plane.
“He’s joking and telling old stories to Jim Hume’s son,” says Mum from the farm.
Leave it to Dad to be old drinking buddies with the paramedic’s journalist father and to be making jokes while having a possible heart attack.
I take the bus to work.
“Dad says he’ll happily stay a month,” says Mum calling from the hospital.
He likes the cute nurses.
Walking home from work, I finally talk to Dad, who is back at home and reunited with his animals and his comfy chair.
“How are you feeling?” I ask.
“Every day you’re alive is a beautiful day,” he replies.
The false alarm has reminded us of finite time, but it has also left us oddly reassured.
When Dad got scared, he knew how to call for help. And help came like gangbusters.
“You should get one of these things too,” says Dad to Mum pointing at the Lifeline button on his wrist, “All hell breaks loose when you press it.”
Dad and I sleep better knowing you’re there for him when I can’t be.