Photo Dec 22, 11 18 56 AMScanning the DVR recordings, it was clear we were way behind on our shows, and that I had recorded a large collection of movies that I had little interest in watching. Unfortunately, a day of moderately interesting movies and some minor cleaning was not in the cards. My phone rang and I saw it was Rebecca calling.

To my surprise, it was not Rebecca—it was the doctor. I knew immediately that something was wrong because the doctors never called me. Rebecca knew her condition inside and out, knew her medical history, and knew her treatment plans and medications. I couldn’t add anything of value. The only reason for the doctor to call me was because Rebecca could not.

Becca had a very bad night. The oxygen saturation levels (sats) in her blood had declined overnight, despite increasing the level of her supplemental oxygen. This meant that her lung function had diminished significantly.

To counter this, they had placed her on BiPAP and brought her to the MICU. I did not know what those unusual words meant, but I knew that things were bad. When the doctor is clearly uncomfortable giving you news, it is bad news. He asked if I was coming in and I said I was. There was something to his tone that suggested that this could be the last time I would see Rebecca. It hit me right in the chest. There was nothing at all ‘routine’ about this tune up.

I went upstairs to get dressed. I came downstairs without my pants. I went back upstairs to find a different shirt. I came back down to look for my backpack. After what seemed like an eternity (but was probably closer to five minutes) I was marginally closer to being ready to leave. This was when I made myself stop. In that moment I realized that all I had to do was show up. I did not have to bring a bunch of supplies, I did not need to perform any kind of surgery. In fact, I did not need to know what to do. This was the first of many major lessons I learned as this nightmare began:

Show up.