Keep My Dad In Your Thoughts, Please

Mom and dad are in the emergency room because he was having the same kind of chest pains he had a couple years ago. They are just sitting in the waiting room, and mom and dad said none of the staff is freaking out, so they aren’t either. I’ll update when I know more.

Oh, and once again, they were at the hospital when I was informed. I live down the street from them and on any given day, my mom will call me ten times to talk about sports or something trivial.

Old people are really a total pain in the ass, but I hope he is ok.

*** Update ***

Dad is resting comfortably in the room, and he is not currently having a heart attack (they tested and I forget the procedure), and his blood pressure is stable in the 130 range, and they drew blood, so I am assuming they are testing for troponin or whatever the protein is that shows up after a cardiac incident. Dad’s not in any pain and starting to think maybe he just had indigestion. Let’s hope.

All of that is good news, but because I am German and neurotic with anxiety issues and other than this website basically bottle everything up so I can obsess on things and drive myself insane, I didn’t take it that way. My first thought was “Fucking great, it’s indigestion, so the next time this happens he will think it is indigestion again and they will argue before going to the hospital and maybe it will be serious and I don’t want to think about it.”

And then this is where the Cole genes kicked into full effect. Even though I don’t even know if it was indigestion this time and nothing is wrong, I got mad at my parents because they DIDN’T GO RIGHT TO THE HOSPITAL IN MY IMAGINED FUTURE SCENARIO. Sigh.

106 replies
  1. 1

    I am keeping my fingers crossed. Hope he feels better and is home soon.

  2. 2
    Dee Loralei says:

    You got it John. Warm thoughts and prayers for your dad and the rest of the Coles.

  3. 3
    cathyx says:

    That’s because you freak out. Stay put and take care of their animals.

  4. 4
    Neutron Flux says:

    As we say in the country, “You are both kicked in the head by the same mule”.

  5. 5
    Mnemosyne says:

    It could be worse — my parents only told me they had been in the hospital after they had checked out. I think there was exactly one time when they told me while my dad was still in, and even then they waited until he was done with his surgery and recovering.

    (Obviously, it’s easier to conceal these things when they live in a different state, but geez!)

  6. 6
    IowaOldLady says:

    Hope all goes well, John.

  7. 7
    Gex says:

    I’m just sick and tired of stupid medical stuff and people having to worry about their relatives!!! Enough already!

    But seriously, my best thoughts and positive vibes are going out to your dad. May this turn out to be nothing serious and he’s home and feeling well right quick.

  8. 8
    EriktheRed says:

    Old people are really a total pain in the ass, but I hope he is ok.

    Hope he’s ok, too, John.

  9. 9
    SuperHrefna says:

    I’m so sorry. Fingers crossed!

  10. 10
    shelly says:

    my parents only told me they had been in the hospital after they had checked out.

    That sounds like the Garrison Keillor skit where the Mom calls with lines like, ‘Oh, hi Honey, how are things going? Oh, by the way I’m going in for a hip replacement tomorrow, how’s Shirley….”

  11. 11
    gogol's wife says:

    I’ll be thinking of you and your family. I hope it’s nothing serious.

  12. 12
    WaterGirl says:

    Sending good thoughts and prayers for you and your dad, Cole. For your whole family, actually. I think we’ve met them all, haven’t we, unless you have stashed a crazy brother somewhere.

  13. 13
    Comrade Mary says:

    Fingers crossed and you’re all DEFINITELY in my thoughts.

  14. 14
    LanceThruster says:

    Sorry to hear. Warm thoughts and best wishes. There’s nothing like expected a run of the mill communication and then getting troubling news that just makes you heartsick.

    It’s quite a jolt in and of itself.

  15. 15
    El Cid says:

    Good luck to your father. Here’s hoping it turns out well.

  16. 16
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    I’ve been through this myself, John, and it is not easy at all.

    In the immoral word of Dan Rather, “Courage.”

  17. 17
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    John, let me add my own good wishes to the others’ and hope that whatever ails your father is mild, fixable, and quickly over with. The fact that none of the ER staff are freaking out is a good sign.

    When you talk to your folks, let them know that dozens, scores, maybe hundreds of people around the country and even around the world are concerned and sending only the best of white light and warm fuzzies to your dad.

    Please keep us posted.

  18. 18
    Betty Cracker says:

    Positive thoughts, JC. Old people will be the death of us both, one way or another. The bastids.

  19. 19
  20. 20
    JPL says:

    Warm thoughts for all of you. Hopefully, you will hear shortly what the problem is.

  21. 21
    aleta says:

    Living in the north, first thing that comes to mind is, Was he shoveling snow? Heard W Virginia got some. Hope he’s recovering and home soon.

  22. 22
    jenn says:

    Best wishes to Paw Cole! (And the rest of the Cole clan, too, of course)

    VDE, I’m not sure if you *meant* to write “the immoral word of Dan Rather,” but I enjoyed it all the same :)

  23. 23
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    It’s just those tacos he ate for lunch, John. (stay strong, stay even)

  24. 24
    Kristine says:

    ::good thoughts headed your folks’ way::

    ::and yours, too::

  25. 25
    WaterGirl says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I had thought of posting something similar, but I was going to say thousands.

  26. 26
    lurker dean says:

    will do!

  27. 27
    Mike in NC says:

    Best wishes for your dad.

  28. 28
    Chief says:

    Mr. Cole,

    I’m thinking good thoughts re: your Mom & Dad.

    At age 73 I and my wife have both been where your parents are. She had a heart attack and stents, I had a double bypass.

    And, one more thing. Old folks are NOT a pain in the ass.


  29. 29
  30. 30
    jenn says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I’m going to remember that phrase: sending the best of white light and warm fuzzies :).

  31. 31
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mnemosyne: Heh. My parents lived only 70 miles away and my mother (pop had alzheimers) pulled this all the time.

  32. 32
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Totally OT, but Noisemax strikes again:

    Limbaugh: Heterosexuals ‘Under Assault’

    Sometimes I really want to know what color the sky is in the Nazi Blimp’s world, and then I think, no, I really don’t want to know.

  33. 33
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    Spell check is useless if it can’t read my mind, or if I’m in too much of a hurry when posting and I pull a boner like that one.

    However, if it inspired a smile, it’s all good :)

  34. 34
    RPh says:

    Every parent’s tombstone should have engraved “We didn’t want to bother you … we thought it was nothing”

  35. 35
    Lolis says:

    Re: your update, that neuroses is what makes you a writer.

  36. 36
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I expect your number is closer. I was using the McMegan calculator.

  37. 37
    WaterGirl says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: You made me laugh out loud, for real.

  38. 38
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Betty Cracker: Nahhh. Death will be the death of you both. Your parents want, and expect, you to outlive them. That is how it is supposed to work.

  39. 39
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I’m so happy to meet someone on this blog older than I am. I’ll be 72 next birthday (so you win), but I had a quadruple bypass almost 13 years ago (so I win).

    Let’s call it a draw. Good health to you, sir.

  40. 40
    PurpleGirl says:

    Keeping your Dad and family in my thoughts. Sending them all bright thoughts of comfort.

  41. 41
    LanceThruster says:

    OT but medical news, my bite was probably a brown recluse, doc gave me antibiotics, and it’s rapidly getting better. Thanks to everyone for there helpful information and concern. Seriously. Thanks.

  42. 42
    rikyrah says:

    Prayers for your father.

  43. 43
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Chief: Oh yeah you are. And when I get there (I can see it around the bend) I intend to be as big a pain in the ass as possible.

  44. 44
    shelly says:

    Limbaugh: Heterosexuals ‘Under Assault’

    Ha! Remember some comedian pondering why is it always the LEAST attractive hetero guys that are worried the gays are coming after them.

  45. 45
    LanceThruster says:


    I want mine to say…

    I *TOLD* you I was sick!

  46. 46
    WaterGirl says:

    @LanceThruster: From the dictionary:

    a brown venomous North American spider, identifiable by the dark brown violin-shaped marking on the top of its orange-yellow head. Also called fiddleback, violin spider.

    So glad you are okay! Do you know where you were when the spider bit you? That’s the part that would worry me!

  47. 47
    WaterGirl says:

    Cole, very glad to see the update up top!

  48. 48
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @RPh: Mine will say, “It was nothing.”

  49. 49
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Glad to hear you (a) identified the critter and (b) are getting better.

    I am a fan of spiders, because mostly they do good work, but I wouldn’t care to snuggle up to a Brown Recluse or her venomous relatives.

  50. 50
    Cermet says:

    Very glad all is well; been to the Hospital a number of times in the past and all turned out to be the same – until. Then one time I had to stay for five-way bi-pass and it sucks. Worse, now I know how to remove blockage chemically but too late for me. Once those area’s have been b-passed, they can’t be reached for chemical treatment. Worse, the stains I was on turned out to be deadly toxic to my liver … hey, the blood tests aren’t really perfect because the liver regrows as it is being destoryed – ugh. So, no more stains and a very sick liver. Well, one thing about still being alive is that I, like Cole, will see what happens as time passes … true for all of us.

  51. 51
    Mnemosyne says:


    Yikes! And here people thought it had to be something else because it took so long to get nasty. It sounds like, luckily for you, you aren’t very sensitive to its venom.

  52. 52
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Glad you like it! I was afraid it might be a bit too ’70s.

  53. 53
    Helen says:

    Jesus Fucking Christ, Cole; even in an emergency you are funny. And paranoid. And just a teensy, itsty, itsy, bit psycho.

    But that’s why we love you and keep coming back for more.

    Good Luck to Dad. I will ask the FSM to look over him.

  54. 54
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Glad he is doing okay. Hopefully it was nothing major.

  55. 55
    WaterGirl says:

    @Cermet: Well, that all sucks.

    P.S. How do they get rid of blockages chemically?

  56. 56
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @John Cole update, very happy to see this news!

  57. 57
    Cermet says:

    @WaterGirl: Be aware that the fiddle alone doesn’t always work – another harmless species has that too. The only sure way is to note Brown Recluses have three pairs of eyes – one pair in front and one pair each on either side and all six are in-line. Those are unique to those monsters. All do have the fiddle, as well but the eyes prove it is the Brown Recluse.
    I caught the monster that bite me (bastard got me five times in one night.) The venom can last months until it drains. One of the bites needed surgery to remove – no luck with spiders, I guess, either.

  58. 58
    BobS says:

    He should have gotten a 12 lead ecg within 10 minutes of arrival at the hospital rather than spending any significant time in a waiting room (that’s a rule of thumb that includes anyone who c/o chest pain, adolescent or older). He’s probably had one by now if he’s resting comfortably in a room with the assurance there are no changes suggestive of an acute myocardial infarction, aka heart attack. You’re correct about the troponin level being tested, both now and at 3 hour intervals x 2 or 3. A guy your dad’s age (I’m guessing 60’s or 70’s) should also be admitted for observation and further work-up, possibly including a stress test.

  59. 59
    Comrade Mary says:

    Good to hear he’s doing so well, John.

    Even though I don’t even know if it was indigestion this time and nothing is wrong, I got mad at my parents because they DIDN’T GO RIGHT TO THE HOSPITAL IN MY IMAGINED FUTURE SCENARIO.

    I don’t have the Cole genes, but I’ve got German on both sides of the family. This — sounds awfully familiar.

  60. 60
    Cermet says:

    @WaterGirl: It is complex (due to dose levels and timing) and dangerous. Since the key drugs are over-the-counter, I can’t reveal those since taking them in the wrong manner can cause massive break up of plaque causing the very issue one needs to avoid (i.e. heart attack!). I will say that Calcium removal is the key and if you research relative to white blood cells in plaque you will get leads to the process. If you can e-mail me (not sure how that works on this site) I’ll pass along all the details but not on the open site.

    I have to run for twenty minutes but will check back when I get back.

  61. 61
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    John, glad to hear it really was the tacos LIKE I SAID IT WAS FROM THE BEGINNING!!!

    But John? In a world where all is right and your parents get everything they ever could have wanted? You bury them. With love. And sorrow. But mostly with a glad heart. Because of all the parents in the world, you had them.

  62. 62
    gogol's wife says:

    I’m glad things look good at this point.

  63. 63
    dp says:

    You are a scream (as am I). Glad your dad’s okay.

  64. 64
  65. 65
    WaterGirl says:

    @Cermet: Wow, really I hope I never see one. Wish I knew how to spell “eeeww”. If it wasn’t for bad luck, you’d have no luck at all?

  66. 66
    Frivolous says:

    Good fortune and health to your parents, John Cole.

  67. 67
    WaterGirl says:

    @Cermet: Thanks for the reply. I don’t think I need details about how to do it at this point, but I am curious. Is this something that physicians actually use?

  68. 68
    Mnemosyne says:


    Yeah. You really don’t want it to be the other way around and force your parents to plan their child’s funeral, even an adult child.

  69. 69
    GHayduke (formerly lojasmo) says:

    Likely will be fine. Probably just medication adjustments if anything. DO NOT let them take him to the cath lab if troponin is negative. (Cath lab nurse)

  70. 70
    qwerty42 says:

    Best wishes and hopes, John.

  71. 71
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @WaterGirl: I feel safe in saying you already have.

  72. 72
    Pogonip says:

    Prayers for Mr. Cole, who has enough on his plate with his kid.

  73. 73
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Right you are. My mother died at age 58, and in the few days between her death and her memorial service, I watched my grandmother go from a vigorous 83-year-old to a sad, depressed, wilted old lady. It just took all the stuffing out of her. (Mind you, she lived another 13 years, but still.)

  74. 74
  75. 75
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mnemosyne: My oldest Sis died at 42. My father had a very…. complicated relationship with her. (he and I did too. I just… lived long enough for acceptance to take hold) Anyway, taking care of the unfinished business of my sister’s life almost killed him (literally). I tried telling him, again and again, it was OK, he could let go, that those things weren’t his responsibility, but no… she was his baby girl, his first born, and, while he never said the words I knew what he meant, He was going to do for her in death, what he knew he should have done for her in life.

    Not true, but it was his truth at that time and nothing I said was going to change it.

  76. 76
    mainmata says:

    And I (am most of the rest of the family) are in the Irish shrug it off it doesn’t mean anything until, of course, it does physically kind of mentality. Very different from the German mentality; certainly not necessarily better by any means.

  77. 77
    LongHairedWeirdo says:

    Good thoughts thunk – please tell your dad not to forget that he has to learn when to take this seriously. Now, the good news is, if he has angina, he’ll probably learn to identify it, and go back to eating a nasty bean burrito if he wants (because he’ll know it’s just heartburn, because angina feels different…).

    What’s trickier is if he gets different kinds of heartburn.

    Now, the semi-good news is, if it’s not serious, and if it’s not coupled with shortness of breath or dizziness or nausea or a feeling like “holy shit, terrible things have just happened or are about to…” – you usually have time. Not necessarily a lot, but some. So you can take an antacid, or sit down and check – is that a tense back/neck muscle?”

    One thing: if you rest, and it quickly goes away – that’s *bad*. See, most angina comes when the heart is under a bit of stress; if you sit down and it goes away, that means it’s more likely to be angina. I’ll let his cardiologist say if angina is “get to the ER bad” or “take a nitro bad”. But it’s not “eh, it went away, no biggie”.

  78. 78
    S. Holland says:

    Giant warm hugs to you & your Mom & Dad

  79. 79
    Schlemizel says:

    I have been to the ER twice with “chest pains”. The first time it was just the flu starting up. The second time we were high up in the mountains, I had slept on my arm funny and the two together made me think something was wrong. I am having that same concern that the next time something is a little off I’m going to dismiss it as more of the same. It would be nice if heart attacks had a bit more obvious warnings.

    Tell you dad to just go, if for no other reason maybe some cute nurse will fuss over him!

  80. 80
    Cermet says:

    @WaterGirl: No; an MD and I worked it out – it prevented me getting a stent (thank god) by removing a major blockage. Works a little too well but stents are a risk so one weighs each risk and tries.

  81. 81
    Cermet says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: So very sorry to hear; still, maybe, in a way, that helped him come to better terms with what had all happened.

  82. 82
    LanceThruster says:



  83. 83
    Cermet says:

    @Schlemizel: Consider a stress test with imaging (Gamma ray); very poor record in detecting issues but far better than winging it.

  84. 84
    WaterGirl says:

    @Cermet: The old adage that there are two sides to every coin seems truer and truer as I get older.

  85. 85
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Cermet: It didn’t, but it it is what it is. When I die, I too will have regrets. We all do.

  86. 86
    LanceThruster says:


    In the house. Going nukular this weekend.

  87. 87
    policomic says:

    I’m glad he’s okay, but as one who is something of a connoisseur of such things, I gotta say: that is some high-quality obsessive worrying.

  88. 88
    LanceThruster says:


    I thought it was a little daddy long legs I saw.

  89. 89
    LanceThruster says:


    My monitoring of the wound was laden with quite a bit of fear.

  90. 90
    CaseyL says:

    Very glad to hear that Papa Cole is resting comfortably and not in crisis. Hope it turns out to be either nothing at all or something easily treated.

    Su famila es mi familia; I think I know more about what goes on with your relatives than I know what goes on with my own!

  91. 91
    Chief says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I appreciate the courtesy, using the word “Sir.” But I was just a poor old enlisted man in Uncle Sam’s Navy. You may call me “Chief” or even “Senior Chief” but please no “Sir.”

    I turned 73 two weeks ago on 3 Feb.

  92. 92
    Chris T. says:

    Interesting: they used to test for CK-MB, now for cardiac-specific troponins. The troponin levels peak later (~ 3 days after), are more specific, and there’s a more convenient test for them as well: big win all the way around.

  93. 93
    Mary Brown says:

    Warm thoughts for all of you.

  94. 94
    revrick says:

    Thank you, John, for that heartfelt post and your own brutal honesty about your inner dialogue and the all-too human family dynamics. What I hear, most of all, is your sense of powerlessness in dealing with how your parents deal with their own health issues and the fear behind it in your own heart.

    I think it goes without saying that this community respects and loves you and cares for your well-being…and that extends to those you love and care about.

  95. 95
    BobS says:

    Spiders tend to be blamed for too many skin lesions, frequently in instances where the spider has not been seen nor felt, and the Brown Recluse Spider in particular is blamed for necrotic wounds of uncertain etiology, in many cases when the so-called bite has occurred in a part of the US where the Brown Recluse is not a resident. Don’t trust any physician who doesn’t automatically think MRSA ( methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus) when someone presents complaining of a ‘spider bite’.

  96. 96
    mainmata says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I agree. They (spiders) are essential to integrated pest management in agriculture since they prey on so many bad guys (other insects). Of course, the US large commercial/chemical agriculture system is entirely industrial and so completely ignores the natural predator-prey benefits. Plus spiders are really beautiful creatures and great artists. Yay spiders.

  97. 97
    BobS says:

    @Chris T.: Troponin is both more sensitive and more specific for myocardial damage, peaking about 12 hours after injury and remaining elevated for as long as a couple weeks after a significant event.

  98. 98
    satby says:

    Best wishes to Pappa Cole and you too, John. Hope it turns out to be minor.

  99. 99
    LanceThruster says:


    Thx for the info. Will read up. I do like my doc though, and I am in BR territory.

  100. 100
    LanceThruster says:


    I like the Chinese saying that spiders in the house are good luck. I’m a catch and release kind of guy

  101. 101
    Angela says:

    @Comrade Mary: Ouch German genes here too and it’s only in my 50’s I can take a step away from the imagined future scenario of wrongness and anger.

  102. 102
    Mnemosyne says:


    I’m still under 50, so the only time I went to the ER with chest pain (and it was somewhat under duress — the Kaiser advice nurse made me do it) it turned out to be pleurisy. Which, if you’ve never had it, hurts like hell, because it means your lungs are scraping against your chest wall. Ow.

  103. 103
    BobS says:

    @LanceThruster: emedicine is a good online resource for all things medical, and the go-to person for information on Brown Recluse spiders is Rick Vetter.

  104. 104
    Crusty Dem says:

    Pashaw. That’s nothing. I once called my father, after ~5 minutes of small talk he casually mentioned that my mother was in the ICU. Apparently it was 2 full days and they just got around to telling me. And my sister had been there and said nothing, either. And we talked every day or two…

    I was livid, but unable to change their behavior.

    Glad your dad is well.

  105. 105
    SarahT says:

    Hang in there, Cole family

  106. 106
    Paul in KY says:

    Hope everything is fine with your dad. Don’t forget your mother too, I’m sure she has alot to worry about also.

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