It’s been just over a year since my dad suffered the first of three aneurysms. It feels like yesterday but also like it never really happened. It’s hard to explain something that’s self-conflicting. Seeing my dad out and about doing his daily routine, you really wouldn’t know anything happened to him if you didn’t know about the incident. Living in a hospital for most of your summer leaves pretty vivid memories as well. You know you’ve been there too long when the cafeteria people start giving you the hook up on extra bacon. So in one hand you could never tell anything happened while in the other hand you can still smell remnants of non-latex gloves and hospital food. That’s the best way I can explain it.
It was close to a month into his hospital visit that I wrote a column “Good Guys Always Win”. Now I don’t want to say I called it, but… you know. I was trying to tie together the movie I watched to the situation my dad was in. All the super hero movies eventually come out with the super hero winning. Except the villain wasn’t a monstrous beast or a mad scientist creating a killer robot. This villain was about the size, at its biggest, an inch, and at its smallest, 1/8 of an inch. It doesn’t have any symptoms. There are an estimated six million people in the U.S. with an unburst aneurysm (about 1 in 50). Mr. Crompton and I have done our due diligence on the probability that our dad survived three aneurysms and came out virtually normal. On average, the first aneurysm to burst usually kills about 40 percent of its victims. After that it cuts in half again. So out of 100 people, 40 die after one. That leaves 60 people, then that gets cut in half. Thirty people out of 100 survive two aneurysms. Most people after one aneurysm burst, that survive, tend to have disabilities, depending on what part of the brain the aneurysm burst. So, back to 30 people, after my dad’s third aneurysm, coming straight from the doctor-who-looked-like-he-was-14’s mouth, “We don’t have studies on procedures after three aneurysms. It’s extremely rare for someone to survive something like that. We could probably write a book on him [Brett Crompton].”
My dad is one in a million, based off how many aneurysms he suffered and the status he is in right now. I’m not saying that just because I’m proud of him, it’s also me stating facts.
If we go back to the morning of April 27, 2014 and fast forward to now, not much has changed with my dad. If we fast forward from April 27, 2014 to now, it has changed my life entirely. I feel like I could work my way around an IV poll if I had to… not that I would want to. I now acclaim myself as a brain aneurysm wiz. I feel like I’m 24, but my knowledge is that of an experienced middle-aged man. A year ago I wasn’t ready to take on the world for myself, let alone people I care for. Now, I’m prepared as I’ll ever be to take on whatever life will throw at me. Not because I wanted to, but because I had to. I know I wasn’t alone during our time there. I’m sure my mom and brother both have their own story to add to this as well. I also know that God was looking over our family along with tons of family and friends. God doesn’t give us what we want though, He gives us what we need, and sometimes they are the same thing.
If we go back to that day and tell myself that in a year from now I would be planning a wedding with the woman of my dreams, I wouldn’t scoff at it but I would be pretty sceptical. Last year changed me all for the better. I got what I needed at some points, but I also got what I wanted. I needed to be put in a situation where I had people relying on me and I had to put my life on hold for it. I wanted, more than anything, to have my dad around to be at my wedding when it came and play with his grandchildren when the time came… which is still a good walk down the road from now. I wanted to be able to share a laugh with him, talk sports with him, ask for help, get beat in golf by him. I wanted a lot and God gave it to me, but it wasn’t just because I wanted it, but because I needed it, too.
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