This week, I learned that Sepsis does not, in fact, have the power to take from me every man I love.
On Thursday, my dad had a minor out-patient procedure.
On Friday, he had a fever and started acting strange.
On Saturday morning, my mom called 9-1-1.
She called me. "They're on their way."
"What's going on with him?" I asked.
"Nothing," she said. "That's the problem."
He couldn't stand, walk, talk, or answer her questions.
I got to their house as the paramedics were wheeling him down the driveway and into the ambulance.
My dad looked through me like I wasn't there at all.
Mom and I followed the ambulance to the hospital.
Only one of us could be with him, and she decided it should be me.
As she said, "Because your memory is a steel trap. And mine is more of a sieve."
So, I stayed at his bedside as he came in and out of consciousness.
I stood next to him while he slept, my hand on his arm, so something in his body knew he wasn't alone.
He lay in the bed, lolling his head toward me now and then, opening his eyes, studying me, sometimes recognizing me.
His mouth dry and his speech slurred, he said, "You love me."
"Yeah, dad. I sure do."
Within an hour, he was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with Sepsis.
The next time he woke up, he heard a nurse say the word we know and fear: Sepsis.
He looked at me, and he said, "Tricia, you've been here before."
The words behind those words were, Trish, no matter what happens next, you'll be okay.
And then he slipped back into a deep and even sleep, nothing like his fitful, snoring snoozing.
He was deeply far away, and he was in and out of consciousness on Saturday and Sunday.
There was a flood of antibiotics.
There was a series of procedures he could not consent to, that I signed for.
And then, slowly, he began to wake up.
He had no memory of four days.
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are a wash of white fog for him.
He came home on Tuesday, only to go back on Wednesday.
He is okay now, and every number indicates that the worst is behind us.
With the crisis averted, with everyone telling me he is okay, I am in the gap between the adrenaline and the rest, which means I am mostly mad.
This week, I read, "Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor and stoic philosopher, thought that if we are distressed about something external, 'the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimation of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.'"
Matt Haig wrote, "I love this, but also know from experience that finding that power can be near impossible at times."
When my dad was in the hospital, I felt distressed, you could say.
And if Marcus Aurelius is right,
that my heart's pain was not due to my dad, but due to my estimation of my dad,
then perhaps it is worth noting the magnitude of the estimation of my dad.
He is a thousand stars on a sunny day, there for me even when I can't see him.
He still cannot remember those four days. But he is here for this one.
Dad is walking with a walker for a while, maybe longer.
He's very, very tired. He's very, very weak. And he is alive.
This week, I learned that Sepsis is still a powerful thief, stealing a few days of time and memories.
But it is not the all-powerful wizard behind the curtain.
It doesn't get to take every man I love.
More than a decade ago, at a job interview, a potential boss asked my dad, "What are you most passionate about?"
My dad said, "My family."
And the interviewer said, "Wow. That's really beautiful. You should tell them."
And my dad smiled and said, "Don't you worry. They know."
This week, when he didn't know anything else, he knew that I loved him right back.