– “I’m calling 911”
– “Something is terribly wrong with dad. I’m calling 911”
Mom was cooking and I was going to say good-by to go home when I noticed that dad was acting strange in his room. I approached him and he was unable to speak and going in an out of conscience.
– “He is OK. I was with him a minute ago”, she said, busy in the kitchen.
I was already at the phone.
– “Well, he is not OK now. Come here. Help me”.
– “You are always scared…” Then she saw and stopped looking in dismay at my dad now semi unconscious.
– “My father is having an attack, please send an ambulance now”, I was yelling at the phone unable to calm down as the operator was asking me. She was asking me questions about my dad’s age and his illness and symptoms and I only wanted to finish the call and help him to lay in bed because my mom was in shock by the surprise and she was too old and without enough strength to do it.
Finally the call ended and I rushed to help dad and support mom. Then I called my sister who lives close to my parent’s home. She came immediately with her husband. We were waiting for the ambulance to come for several minutes but it seemed hours. We didn’t know what to do with dad. He was saying incoherent words in Croatian, he seemed not aware of us, he didn’t answer to our questions.
The ambulance arrived. The first responders with their expert hands took my father and transferred him to the Emergency Room of the Hospital. He was having a brain stroke. We call a priest too, just in case.
The doctors where asking him questions to see if he knew where he was and how the stroke was affecting his brain. But he was answering in Croatian so they asked us to help them. My mother and I entered the examination room.
– “Do you know what city is this one?”, asked the doctor
– “Zagreb?” , said my dad referring to the Croatian capital he left more than 55 years ago
– “Which year is it?”
– “1945? I don’t know.”
– “Do you know who this woman is?” he asked pointing at me
– “I have never seen her in my life.”
Not a right answer. All was gone from his memory. awful.
He had a terrible headache. He couldn’t stop moving, distressed. He only calmed down while praying. But then something happened.
– “Do you know who is that woman over there?”, the doctor said pointing to my mom
Then he calmed down, he smiled in the middle of his pain, looked at her with his beautiful blue eyes and said:
– “The best woman in the world”
– “And what’s her name?”
No stroke was able to erase from his memory the first and only love of his life.