This afternoon I left my father, smiling proudly, in his worn blue hospital gown so I could continue finish packing up gear for my trip.
My parents were visiting when my dad started to have some heart troubles. We're still not entirely sure what the problem is, and because I leave very soon for the fellowship, I will likely take off for Tanzania without knowing exactly what's wrong. I'm incredibly torn about whether to go, but my dad is doing well right now. It's been very strange to visit with him in a hospital bed - he seems totally normal aside from the setting and the nice men and women in scrubs who keep coming by to see how he is.
This is so much bigger than any of my previous, now piddly concerns - fears about whether my visa would be processed in time, having to switch countries at what felt like the last minute.
My parents are adamant that I go. The first words out of my mom's mouth were "You are GOING to Tanzania," and my dad looked at me (over the oxygen mask and four ambulance attendants) and fretted over adding to my stress level (yes, this is where you can stop and wonder at what thoughtful, committed parents I have).
At the same time, it's a difficult time for my family. Had something like this happened when my parents were at home, I would want to fly back home to be with them. Instead, it happened in my town and they are here for the foreseeable future, and I am flying to the other side of the world.
Full speed ahead.