On Christmas Eve, my father had brain surgery, a quick procedure to drain a subdural hematoma.

Instead, we started 2018 wondering whether my father would be with us much longer.

Twelve hours after the hospital released Dad, he was back in the emergency room with stroke-like symptoms. The hospital helicoptered him to a superior stroke center in our capital city.

And we waited.

For the first week, Dad was strapped to the bed. Unconscious. Pumped full of anti-seizure drugs. Kept alive by a ventilator. Fed through a feeding tube.

Doctors and nurses came in every hour, trying to see what remained. More than once, they left with heads hanging. Seasoned medical professionals avoided our eyes. We stood vigil by his bed, buoyed by every squeeze of a hand or flutter of eyelids.

Two weeks passed. Dad was still out of it in ICU.

When he decided he had more life to live, he progressed like a hot shot. A clean swallow test was his final hurdle. Last Thursday, he headed to rehabilitation.

My father claims his goal is to do everything he once did.

I’ll keep you posted as he progresses.

I wasn’t ready to lose Dad. We still have more memories to make. His unmatched personality was missing in every conversation, along lonesome corridors, in too-quiet rooms. My mother vows she’ll never again tell Dad he’s talking too much. He can set the television volume as loud as he wants.

I’m sure he’s recording our every concession somewhere. Making us deliver will likely be enough to keep him breathing for a few more years.

Thank you for your calls, texts, messages, and cards. When Dad woke up, he was bowled over by how much he matters to you.

Don’t know my father? Get your copy of my NYT bestselling memoir Not Without My Father by CLICKING HERE.

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