Dave, my husband, was working crazy 18-hour days. I hardly saw him. But there was no reason to expect otherwise. He was a doctor in his third year of residency in orthopedic surgery at Rush University in Chicago. He had to work hard. He’d always worked hard. That’s who he was. Type A all the way. Focused, driven.
All the more reason we needed this vacation, a babymoon. I was five months pregnant with our first child, and we figured we’d give ourselves a trip to Hawaii before things got even more crazy. Just the two of us. Time together.
The last thing we did before leaving our apartment was say goodbye to our dog Penny. (A friend was going to pick her up later.) Penny wagged her tail and went around in circles. Dave gave her a hug. “We’ll be back soon. You’ll see us again, Penny.” That was Dave, the man I married. Affectionate and reassuring, seeing to the needs of the ones he loved. Even Penny.
We jumped in a taxi to O’Hare International Airport. As soon as our flight took off, Dave got out his laptop. Some medical article he had to read, I figured. “Don’t work too hard,” I said, squeezing his hand. “I’m taking a nap.”
The next thing I knew, he was giving me a nudge and asking me to look in his eyes, his right pupil so dilated, I couldn’t even see the iris. Fear rushed through me. “Are you having a stroke?” I asked.
“I think so,” Dave said. Then he lost consciousness.