The poem is about one very early morning (or middle of the night) on a weekday that my father, having only had a heart attack and had been hospitalized maybe two months previous, woke up and felt like he was sweating too much and breathing too hard. He tested his blood pressure with his home kit that he purchased after coming home from the hospital and his blood pressure was very high. This was probably because he was making himself nervous, since he was kind of hypochondriac even before he had his heart attack. So, when he woke me up at 4:00 in the morning asking me to drive him to the hospital emergency room and it was dark and snowy outside and I had to be at work at 9:00 a.m., I was a bit conflicted. I felt that he probably was just working himself up over nothing and that he needed to relax. I also just wanted to go back to bed. I ended up taking him to the hospital. I don't remember if I just dropped him off and then returned home to get another hour or two of sleep or if I waited in the emergency room with him. I don't think they admitted him. I think it was just panic. Considering the numerous times he took off to the emergency room after that, I've lost track of when he actually did need to go to the hospital and when it was a false alarm. So that's it; that's all this poem is about.
I wrote that poem about eleven years ago. My father hasn't had a second heart attack. He's sixty-nine now. In the past month, he's been in and out of the hospital because is health is actually failing him. His kidneys are not functioning and he's now on dialysis. And most recently he's had blockage removed from two arteries. His life is changing dramatically, but I'm thankful that he's still here to live it. Hopefully he'll be able to enjoy the remainder of time he has left on this planet. Dialysis is not fun. I watched my grandmother live the last five or six years of her life on dialysis. It wears down the body. We're hoping he can get a kidney transplant, but we'll see if that's possible. We're taking things day by day. I guess I'll have to write some more poems about my father's health and how I'm affected by it. It's a strange new world--being older and watching my parents and other older relatives slowly fall apart, knowing that it won't take long before I'm in the same boat. And that's why I'm going to get my fat ass to the gym right now and make myself run on a fucking treadmill for as long as I can bear to do it. And then I'll lift some weights. Ugh. It sucks that we have to do all this shit just to stay healthy. It really saps the fun out of life. Wasn't it enough that I got clean and then three years later I quit smoking? Do I also need to exercise at a gym? Well, I guess it's that or I end up becoming a fat ass who needs to buy a shit load of new clothes that fit and become one of those men who can't see his cock while he's taking a piss. Okay. I'm going to the gym.