Saturday, November 20, 2010

Only In My Family

An engagement party for two dear friends of ours Friday and errands at Chris's parent's house on Saturday led to Chris and I staying Friday night at my Dad and Stepmom's home in Placerville. We woke up to a light dusting of snow, the likes of which I had thought I escaped when I moved to Davis, and to bear claws and coffee for breakfast. (I love going home).

I woke up and began the loads of laundry I would be washing in my dad's free machines (any opportunity to do laundry at a parent's house when you live in an apartment should always be taken to the full advantage), and helped my dad navigate his notifications on facebook. Apparently, he's had the thing for over a year and didn't know what the little red boxes with the white numbers were.

I sat down with my bear claw and coffee and soon heard from the computer room, "Hey Kate!" I kept my fingers crossed that it wasn't some question about Farmville, as my dad has thus far avoided signing up for the stupid facebook game and bringing shame upon the family.

"Did Dennis [my uncle on my mother's side] have a heart attack?" he asked. "What?" I replied, thinking that if my Uncle had had a heart attack I surely would have heard about it by now and there wouldn't be any way that Dad could have found out only through facebook.

"Dustin posted that his dad had a heart attack last night," he explained as he scrolled around trying to find the original post. I instructed him on how to use the "search" option to go to my cousin's page and sure enough, his status said that my Uncle had a heart attack. There was only one thing to do: call my mother. If anyone knew it was her. My uncle and my mom are closer than any of their other siblings and my mom is very close to her mother. Being that my uncle lives on my grandmother's property in El Dorado Hills, I came to the reasonable conclusion that my mom surely had already found out and was waiting to call me until she thought I was awake (on a Saturday, that's usually any time between 9am and 12pm).

I was surprised to hear my mom answer the phone groggily, as if she had only just been sleeping when I called. Her response was, "What? No, no one called me! Hang on, let me call Dennis's house." She proceeded to use her cell phone as I waited on her landline.

"Dennis?" I heard her say, thinking she was talking to my uncle and this was all some big mistake, but then she said, "Oh, Dustin! What's going on?"

It was then that we got the story of how my uncle had had a heart attack a week ago and didn't know it until last night and that no one had bothered to call anyone else in the family. It hit me and my mom at the same time that we had to find out through facebook that my Uncle had suffered a heart attack. At the same time I was thinking, "My uncle had a heart attack and nobody called me?" I heard my mother ask Dustin, "My brother had a heart attack and nobody told me?

I told my mom to call me when she had more information so I could go see my Uncle Dennis if he was having visitors and hung up the phone. I am greatly relieved that my Uncle is alright. He's one of my faves, always ready with a witty, smart-ass remark and a smile. At this point, however, I was mentally facepalming the fact that only in my family could we find out through facebook that something serious had happened.

There was nothing for me to do but call my two sisters because I didn't want them finding out through similar methods I had. Talia was sleeping and Michelle was at work, so it took a few calls to get them on the phone.

I decided to start the phone call with, "Uncle Dennis is fine, but..." thinking that it would soften the blow and be less devastating than starting with, "Uncle Dennis had a heart attack." Unfortunately, when I called Michelle, I was finishing up a piece of bear claw and she heard me as saying, "Uncle Dennis is fighting, but he had a heart attack." Her strong reaction surprised me. "He's ok!" I insisted. "Oh, well, I can't understand you through your chewing!" I looked down at my delicious bear claw and laughed. "Sorry! Didn't mean to scare you!"

Two things happened here that I think are pretty unique to my family. One is that my uncle walked around for a week with a heart attack and complained about blurred vision and lethargy before finally and reluctantly going to the doctor under the advice of my cousin and my grandmother. The other is that the incident was only found out through facebook. I'm really glad my uncle is ok and I hope I can see him today but I will be wondering from now on what big news I'll receive next time I'm on facebook.

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