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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

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I'm In...

Sleep Is
For The Weak

Chicago Review Press

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Let's Panic

The site that inspired the book!

At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 

« Welcome to Williamsburg. Here's your beret. | Main | Why I should probably be back in therapy. »

Better, faster, stronger. And so forth.

When I was six years old, my grandfather died of the hiccups. Actually it was an aortic aneurysm, and the hiccups were either caused by the aneurysm or caused it to burst—I’m not sure. All I remember is, I was six, and my grandpa had just died, and I was not supposed to hiccup around my father.

When I was 10 or so, I had a conversation with my dad in which he casually mentioned that he would almost certainly not live past 70, because his dad didn’t and most of the men in his family seemed to succumb to something or other at around that age. The women of his line all lived until 100, even while their spines crumbled and their brains turned to custard, but the men (who were probably like my dad—amiable, didn’t want to be a bother to anyone) up and died at relatively early ages. At the time of this conversation, I was none too pleased at this news, but at the same time I thought, well, 70 is exceedingly old, after all, and by then it will be The Future, and we’ll all be living on the moon. And then I wandered off to play with my Atari 2600 or whatever the hell I was doing at 10.

Flash forward to the wonders of the 21st century: my dad is rounding the corner to 70, and while he’s known about his aneurysm for a while, apparently it has become too big and impressive to ignore. Luckily for us, surgeons now have sophisticated techniques to remedy such problems. (When my grandfather succumbed, way back in the seventies, all they could do was apply a poultice, shake a rain stick at him, and hope for the best.) Surgery is scheduled for a few weeks from now. There will be some sort of graft, and I’m pretty sure there will be lasers! Okay, maybe not, but I can hope! At any rate, at the end my dad will have a Super Bionic Heart, and everything will be okay! Better than okay! Yes!

Because technology is on our side. Do you hear that, old man? As for this whole not-living-past-70 thing, well, I hope you’re over that, because the Future is Here and your grandson is 2 and a half and if he doesn’t get to remember you just like I can’t remember my grandfather, I WILL BE SO MAD AT YOU.



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Reader Comments (54)

It falls to me to be the religious freak. Oh well.I'll put a word in upstairs for him, if you don't mind. I can't say as I've got a lot of pull, but it can't hurt.

April 27, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterFrumDad
I'm saying a prayer for your dad!

April 27, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterstewbie2
I know he'll be fine. And I hope he reads these comments and knows that ripping his gown off in front of family is the best way to make an indelible impression.
April 27, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterlaura
you tell him! prayers and good vibes his way - all will turn out well.
April 27, 2005 | Unregistered Commentermichaela
This is along the lines of the same thing I tell my parents. Although, I also tell them, YOU ARE NOT GOING ANYWHERE. I am so mean.
April 27, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterEm
awww...I hope everything is okay. How scary.
April 27, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterSarcastic Journalist
Hi... I usually lurk around here, but when I saw this post, I wanted to comment. My mother died unexpectedly from a massive heart attack last week. I am 24 years old; she was 58. She will never get to meet her grandkids... your post really made me feel so poignantly how much my kids and she will both have missed due to her untimely death.

I hope everything goes well for your dad.
April 27, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterAriella
Good heavens, you can even do scary-parent-getting-old-heart-surgery-posting with hilarity.

I hope your dad sails through with flying colors and lives until his spine crumbles and his brain turns to custard.
April 27, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterVery Mom
My dad had the same thing. Only it was further down, in the stomache region. He was famous at the hospital for awhile because they had never seen one that big in someone still walking (isn't that nice) It was just last summer. He has recovered, and is doing fine. Your father will too. I wish you lots of luck and

April 27, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterJerriAnn2
Okay, now I feel less embarressed to tell you that I'm praying for you, too. Hope you don't mind the religous thoughts pouring out of the woodwork on your behalf, but we're all rooting for you and your Dad.
April 27, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterStacia
G*d it's such a bummer when parents start getting old. My dad turned 75 last December, and though, as he says, he's healthy as a horse--actually he would never say that, but it sounds like something a man in his 70s might say--there cannot be a day on the calendar which marks his death because I absolutely could not handle it.

Aaaaanyway, I'm sure your dad will be fine, sending good wishes your way.
April 27, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterSheryl
I am known as a prayer warrior. Your dad will be in mine. Hugs love. Please be strong for everyone.
April 27, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterLindy
Wow... I can so relate. Good luck to your dad. He will do fantastic.

April 27, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterkaykota
My dad has a bionic back. We have post-surgery pictures of him in white supp hose and a hospital gown with a corset over it that made the gown flare out at his hips, giving him a Greek folk dancer look. And he's German! And a little bit Swedish!

This has nothing to do with your dad's aneurysm, but we still give our dad a hard time for needing surgery and landing in the hospital and giving us a good scare and WON'T YOU FEEL BAD IF YOU DIE AND DON'T GET TO SEE YOUR GRANDCHILDREN GROW UP?

Guilt 'em into living. It's the only way.

Hope your dad does OK.
April 28, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterJake
my kids never got to meet my mom. i'm happy that this is The Future and that your dad can get all fixed up and know henry for a very long long time. all the best.
April 28, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterhonestyrain
I hope that all goes well with the surgery and his recovery. We start to appreciate our parents a lot more once they become grandparents, I think.
April 28, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterMartha
good healing vibes for your father being sent your way from Vegas
April 29, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterAnnejelynn
Best wishes for your dad.

My Da had a similar routine, although his was "I'm gonna be dead before I'm 40". He actually said it the other day and I had to remind him he's now 47...he's revised it to 50.
April 29, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterananke
My dad (65) had part one of two part surgery in November to repair multiple anuerysms along the length of his entire aorta. The things they can do today are simply amazing. The good vibes and warm wishes I received in droves via the goodness of the Internet are being paid forward to you now. I hope everything goes beautifully and that your son has many more years ahead to get to know his grandpa.
April 30, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer
Good luck to you and your Dad. Mine went before my girls were born.
April 30, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterBernard Guerrero
Your post made me smile. I kind of know how you're feeling. My Dad (62) recently had a severe heart attack and as of yesterday, he's also dealing with pneumonia. Hard to imagine him not being around--especially since my boy (his only grandkid) is just 22 months. All the best to you and your dad!
April 30, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterDarcie
Surgery/shmurgery: be sure to tell him all the things you want him to know TODAY! With new procedures and medicines his chances are good, but you never know. I don't mean to be discouraging, just realistic, and this goes for healthy loved ones too.
May 1, 2005 | Unregistered Commentersavtadotty
Hope all goes well.

May 1, 2005 | Unregistered Commenter123-i-love-you
Sending good thoughts. If I can catch one of the chickens, I'll add in weird ritualistic voodoo as well, but you know, they're starting to learn to stay away from me.

:) (just kidding about the chickens)
May 1, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterJen
I am glad you have a sense of humor about it all. And it's great that at least he knows he has an aneurysm (sp?). So often, in fact more often than not, they sneak up on you and whammo that's it. I think it's amazing that heredity can tell you so much about your own future. Weird.
May 2, 2005 | Unregistered Commentercgarrett

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