The Department of Defense has made news recently because the drone program may be shifted under their umbrella for war use, rather than clandestine CIA covert operations.  On a long drive in the car yesterday, I heard some guy bantering about state and municipalities eager to buy drones.  And also individuals.

Of course, a drone is just a drone, until it’s armed.  Forget the debate about high-capacity automatic weapons.  What about armed drones?  In the meantime, why can’t both the CIA and the DOD take advantage of stealth arial hits?

But this post isn’t about politics or the DOD.  It’s about my own DOD.  Dear Ole Dad.  He had (another) heart attack last week.  His wife called me Friday afternoon with the news.  His attack happened late Monday night.  He later told me that he knew he was having an attack during that night, but he didn’t want to wake or disturb his wife sleeping so he went to the living room sofa to absorb the pain and waited until she woke up later that morning.  He realized, laying in the hospital bed, that he made an error waiting so long.

He was in critical condition for several days until Friday, when he turned the corner and was listed as “guarded.”  He was able to talk, barely, when I spoke with him then.  After calling him again on Saturday morning, he seemed like he was ready for a visit so I rented a car Saturday afternoon and drove to Pennsylvania to visit him on Sunday.

The Hershey Medical Center is a large, modern and impressive facility.  If you need medical attention, it’s a nice place to be.  He was in a private, ICU unit on the ground floor with lots of screens, devices and competent medical staff monitoring him.

He seemed glad for the visit.  I was there for a couple of hours.  During that time, he faded in and out of consciousness.  At times, his breathing was heavy like he was grasping for breath.  He had an acute pain in his abdomen and hadn’t eaten in a week.  The doctors can’t seem to find out why he’s had such stomach or intestinal pain or why he is unable to eat or keep anything down.

At times he was lucid.  At others, his thoughts vanished from one moment to the next and he seemed to float on another plane.  The first thing he said was that he was prepared to visit “the other side.”  In his weakened state, it was probably natural to sense that the end is near.

On the other hand, it could be that the new stents they inserted into the veins near the heart will help and he will recover and have several more years of vital living.  Going on 85 years old, he still has an older brother and sister who are on both sides of 90.

We certainly hope he gets better.  But it looked like a candle flickering near the end of its light.  Having a heart attack is a huge system stress which can acutely affect and exploit weaknesses in other organs.  It almost appeared that his system is slowly shutting down.  However, it very well could be that his system is resolving itself and he will strengthen.

It was a sobering visit with thoughts revolving around my own mortality.  We all must go at some point.  We can only hope that it’s peaceful and not too painful.  Whichever way you decide to go, hang tough DOD.

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