Silk Road Seoul (6)

            We got to Reagan National Airport super early to check in, eat breakfast and start to miss each other already. I ate my Dunkin’ Donuts like it was the last I would ever have (Dunkin’ Donuts’ franchises were common in Korea, by the way). When it got closer to boarding time, mom and I said our goodbyes then me and my barely-made-weight luggage made our way clumsily toward the gate. Loitering in the terminal until departure time, I started to get anxious. Was I making a mistake? Had I heard God correctly? Those were important questions but I was more concerned about making the dreaded small-talk with my seatmates. At 6:20 AM the plane’s engines started and I realized there was no one sitting next to me! Hallelujah for the small things! I relaxed and prayed but I was too amped to sleep so I waited for the sunrise.

            It took about 2 hours and 45 minutes to reach St. Paul International Airport in Minneapolis, Minnesota where I scurried about in the wrong direction, wasting a large portion of my 54 minute layover. Right as I was about to drop to my knees in defeat, in dramatic fashion, there came a little cart that would take passengers to their respective gates. I was uncharacteristically chatty and talked with the driver about my mission trip, family, and God’s role in my adventure. He opened up to me as well and told me about his mom and relationship with God as well. It was a pleasant experience and it made me smile to think that I almost didn’t get on the cart because I thought they were just for handicapped people. I wasn’t going to ask for a ride but I must have really looked like I was struggling because the driver offered instead. He left me at the gate and as he departed I just counted it a blessing!

            I breathed a sigh of relief that I had made it on time and by 9:00 AM, I was on my way to SeaTac Airport in Seattle, Washington. This time I had two people sitting to my left. I thanked God for window seats and nodded off as my neighbors happily chatted together, leaving me alone, just the way I liked it. I woke up and snapped a few photos out of the window while the plane was landing. This prompted my neighbor to ask if I was a photographer I was flattered to be mistaken for such but alas, having been taking photos with my cell phone I was a bit confused…but whatever, I didn’t mind the conversation since it was only minutes until we could be disembark. My seatmate and I got to talking about traveling, teaching, and my mission trip. She was so excited that I got excited too and I felt bad for trying to be invisible before since she was so nice. We parted after grabbing our carry-ons and I raced to the boarding gate. I was sweating like a Coke on the 4th of July in my fleece-lined coat, with my 20 lb. backpack and little, wheeled suitcase while trying to navigate the huge terminal at Mach speed. I had shared my testimony twice at that point so I was feeling all warm and fuzzy in the spirit by the time the plane reached the airport. However, the warm and fuzzy feelings came to an abrupt end and were soon replaced with stomach-dropping dread.


Silk Road Seoul (5)

“What’s his date of birth?”

“Huh? Um…”

I snapped back to reality and tried to focus on the lady peeping at me from behind the computer screen. I can barely remember my own birthday but this was important and I was drawing a blank. “God, you know I can’t do mental m…”

“ xx/xx/1939”, ”Thank you Lord!”

“What’s your relationship?”

“I’m his daughter”

            …and on it went. I overheard the EMT’s asking my dad a few questions too and also him lying about his smoking habit #facepalm. Thinking back, they probably had all of that information already. After all, it wasn’t our first rodeo. I signed as my dad’s guardian and went to the waiting room. They would not let my mom come back where my dad and I were because she did not ride in the ambulance so I knew she was anxious. We waited, and waited, and waited some more. Someone came and explained that my dad’s condition had stabilized but every time the nurses tried to get a scope down his throat to see the source of the bleeding, which they thought was in his stomach, brought his heart rate up to dangerous levels until he finally had a heart attack in the ER, which I ascribe to their efforts but I digress. Since he was not in pain and no longer spewing blood I figured he would be released in a few days but he would not be able to go with my mom and I to the airport. Maybe mom knew what I was thinking; sometimes she is intuitive like that. “I think you should still go on your trip.” I thought so too. In fact, it had never occurred to me not to go. Satan used this situation to get to me but I just was not having it. We made sure dad was situated and left for home. I am not sure what time we got home, around 4:00 am maybe, but I had been up for over 24 hours so I crashed into a dreamless sleep. We went back to the hospital later in the day to see my dad putting on a brave front. He wasn’t in any pain but he was ready to go. If we had not taken his clothes with us he might have escaped.

            We went back to the hospital later on that day and dad put up a brave front. Of course, he didn’t want to be there but when he asked about his chances of getting out of there by Sunday and was told that it was unlikely, I think I actually saw him deflate a little. Well, sometime Sunday before I went to see my dad, I got a phone call from a doctor at the hospital.

“Hello? Ms. X?

“Yes, this is she”. My heart was racing; I thought something was wrong.

            She said that as his guardian, I could sign some sort of temporary release waiver where my dad could get out of the hospital for a while and be checked in again later. I don’t know what possessed her to tell him about that but he was pretty surprised when she relayed my, “not happenin’ partnah.” His response was, “WHAT?!” and the doctor’s was, “See, I told you Mr. X”. His intention was to be released so he could drive me to Reagan National Airport, about a three-hour round trip, in the wee hours of the morning, then plop himself back down in a hospital bed. There was no way I was going to allow it. If anything happened on the way there or back, I would have to get on the plane knowing my dad was in bad shape. Mom and I explained that to him when we went to see him later. He finally accepted that our goodbyes would have to be said at the hospital and wished me well. We prayed, then mom and I went home to rest. My flight was at 6:00 am Monday, December 15, 2014 so by 2:00 am we were on the road to Reagan.