I got a call from my brother before Christmas and he asked me to recommend a bottle of wine. My cell rang while I was driving, and since Houston traffic is scary even when one is not on the phone, I told him I’d call him back. I thought it was for someone special; someone he needed to impress and I wanted to be able to look at Wine Spectator and some other ratings while I was talking to him.
He said he wanted a big bold red. I recommended our current favorite, the 2007 Seghesio Sonoma County Zinfandel. He said he wanted a Cabernet, so I reminded him of a couple good ones he’d given to Joe and me before: an S.P. Drummer and a Revana. But he said he wanted something different. He asked about a couple that were around $100, but they scored rather poorly for recent vintages (79). He insisted he wanted a Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. And after about 20 minutes of that — I just told him where on the internet he might look.
Turns out he was looking to find a special wine for Joe and me for Christmas. I think he was trying to find out everything we’d already had, so he could make sure he found us something new we hadn’t tried. On Christmas day he arrived with a 2005 Darioush Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Joe paired it with steaks and grilled vegetables. Scott was pleased when I told him how much we’d enjoyed it.
Scott’s like that when it comes to gifts — he has to find the perfect thing. That is since we grew up. It used to be a running joke, that for every birthday he’d get me a poster with a picture of a cat on it. Every birthday, another cat poster. But since we’ve become adults, anything I receive from him is truly special.
Last Thursday Joe and I were in Dallas for the Unions des Grands Crus de Bordeaux 2006 Vintage tasting. While we were waiting for our flight back to Houston, Scott was waiting for an ambulance. Because he had suffered a massive heart attack while riding his bicycle in the park. Now the irony in this, is that Scott sells cardiac screening equipment to heart physicians. Which is how he met Dr. Revana, and learned about Revana wines. Through his job, and cycling and his photography, he meets lots of people, and has lots of friends.
But on Thursday, when he went down, none of us were there. Luckily there was an EMT on the trail who gave him CPR and called an ambulance. Luckily there was a hospital 5 minutes away. But because he’d locked his cell phone, the police couldn’t find any relatives. So while Joe and I were flying back from Dallas, Scott was “coding.” Alone. With only the nurses and doctors there to insist that he lived.
When I got the call on Friday that he’d suffered a massive heart attack – I went numb. It was a shock. He’s my “little” brother. He just turned 44. He’s in relatively good shape. And for heavens sake he sells heart equipment.
When I arrived at the hospital there was not one, but two chaplains waiting to talk to us. And I knew that was bad. When he fluttered his eyes, and wiggled his toes, even under a heavy blanket of sedation, the nurses nearly leaped with joy. And then I knew it had really been bad. But miraculously with each day he’s gotten a little better. On Sunday, after they removed the ventilator, he started talking.
But just as it was incredulous to us, so it was to him — we could not get him to believe he’d had a heart attack. He’d ask where he was and why was he there. I’d go through the story. And he’d ask again: “Where am I, and why am I here?” And I’d tell him again, but he would not believe me.
Then he asked the nurse, “Do I have elevated cardiac enzymes?” or something to that effect, which made her smile, because it was such a detailed, specific and pointed question. And it made us smile, because it just proved to us that Scott was back to being Scott. But I don’t think he believed her either. He keeps thinking he wrecked his bike.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep. – Stopping by Woods, by Robert Frost
I believe that when a person’s time has come, he goes, and there is nothing anyone can do about it. I do not believe that God stops the universe to alter circumstances, but that He knows when it’s time to take you “home.” There are those who disagree with me, that we can pray and “change God’s mind.” But I think that while prayers might help recovery — there’s not a single thing we can do, if it’s our time to go.
Maybe I’m right, maybe I’m wrong. But this is what helps me cope with losing people I love. On Thursday night, while we were returning from Dallas, it was not my brother’s time to go.
And for that, I’m truly grateful.
~ Amy Corron Power