On Thanksgiving Day, my dad, who's eighty eight years old, had a heart attack. A relatively mild one — his heart wasn't damaged. He was two weeks at one local hospital, discharged to a rehab facility for about six hours, suffered a second, very, very mild heart attack, and spent about a week at a different hospital. He'd had a quadruple bypass about fifteen years ago, with multiple stents added over the years, but these were his first heart attacks. Now he's got a new stent and his heart seems to be stable. This afternoon the hospital sent him to a second rehab facility (less than five minutes driving from me), so hopefully he'll be back up on his feet and getting around on his own much as before, though that may take a little while.
He used to drive himself everywhere, to a local mall several times a week for coffee with a group of older persons who've been meeting there for many, many years, to do his own shopping at the supermarket, to take himself to his various doctors, and so forth. I'm not sure whether he'll be doing much more driving but I expect that after rehab he'll be able to totter around with some help from me.
His mind is still sharp as a tack. Every day, sometimes twice a day, I'd been visiting him in the hospital and reading to him from the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. We're having interesting, detailed discussions about the current woes of the Eurozone. Sometimes he speculates in ways that I think might be far-fetched but then I see his ideas reported days later in the Journal; he doesn't think, for example, that anybody really knows what Mario Draghi, the President of the European Central Bank, is going to do... I'm even getting to hear some stories for the first time, like when President Kennedy sent him and two other economic types to visit Julius Nyerere, in 1962, to offer U.S. assistance. Unfortunately, they didn't have authority to approve aid on the spot; unfortunate because while they disapproved most Tanganyikan proposals, taking a select few back to Washington for discussion, immediately upon their heels a Chinese delegation showed up and granted aid for a railroad that Nyerere wanted... JFK was not pleased...
At eighty eight who knows how long my dad will last — all things considered he's doing extremely well — he's a saint of the old school, to be cherished while he's still here.