Wednesday, August 7, 2013

This Modern Love: A Dramatic Start to the Welcome Dinner

In the last post, I mentioned that I had arranged for a little surprise delivery of an item to be revealed to Mr. M at the Welcome Dinner.  As we arrived at Les 3 Brasseurs, we ran into Mr. M's uncle whom I hadn't seen in years, so I introduced him to my parents and he helped us bring the surprise inside.  We showed up pretty early (around 6:30pm) to chat with the staff and set-up before everyone's arrival at 7pm.  A few other people had come early as well, so they were hanging out at the bar downstairs while we were upstairs making sure everything was ready for all 100+ guests that would be attending.

Guys, I was debating on how much detail to go into with this next part because frankly, it's still a traumatic experience for me.  Even as I'm writing this, my hands are shaking and I'm starting to tear up, but I think it's important to give you guys all the details on this, just so you can understand why I thought the wedding day itself was flawless.  So, here we go...
A few people started to show up and I was chatting with my friend Jen.  I remember looking at the clock and seeing it was 7:20 and wondering where the hell everyone was (this wasn't meant to be a fashionably late event, after all).  After a few minutes, I caught something going on between my parents from the corner of my eye.  They were both sitting down and it looked like my mom was fanning my dad and rubbing his shoulders.  I went over to see what was up and my dad was saying that he wasn't feeling well.  I went to the bar to get him a ginger ale and watched for a bit as he drank it.  It was pretty hot in the upstairs room so I figured a cold drink might cool him down.  I went back over to my friend Jen, but keep glancing over to my parents.  Now, I don't have the best eyesight (I wasn't wearing my glasses) and was across the room, but all of a sudden...I realize that I could see the whites of my dad's eyes.  I ran over just in time to see him fall to the ground with my mom next to him.  And that's when time stood still.

I had no idea what was happening so I ran downstairs to look for a waiter, manager or SOMEONE to call an ambulance.  This part of the night is a blur to me--I remember getting the attention of the staff and people running for the phones.  And of course as luck would have it, half of the guests, who were at this point running about 30 minutes late all of a sudden showed up.  Nearly 100 people, at the same time, while I was about to lose my shit because my dad just fell to the ground upstairs.  Even though most of the guests had gotten to town the day before or earlier that day, I still hadn't see most of these people yet.  So you can imagine how incredibly overwhelming it was when everyone saw me, had big smiles on their faces and were coming over to say hi, and I just stood there like a robot. 

All I remember is I kept saying "Hi so and so.  Sorry but I can't really talk right now.  My dad just passed out upstairs and the restaurant is calling an ambulance".  And as people were starting to hear what was happening and see my face, some were in near panic mood.  I saw my cousin whose dad (my dad's brother and my godfather) is a doctor and she immediately whipped out her phone to find out if he was on his way.  A bunch of us ran upstairs and at this point, another cousin of mine (who is also a doctor) and my friend's fiance (who is an anesthesiologist) were already upstairs with my dad. 

I honestly don't recall how long this ordeal went on for--it literally felt like time ceased to exist and that I was kind of floating outside my body.  It could have been fifteen minutes or an hour--I really don't recall.  I absolutely could not believe that something could be happening to my father the day before my wedding.  It just seemed inconceivable that out of all the things I feared would go wrong with the wedding (my dress not fitting, a vendor not arriving, etc.) that this one thing, the health of someone I love most in the world, could be compromised.  My doctor-uncle showed up just a few minutes later, so the three of them were doing all sorts of stuff to see what was wrong with him (the ambulance and paramedics still hadn't shown up at this point).  I remember vaguely seeing him waking up, vomiting, passing out again and vomiting some more and I thought I was going to pass out from the shock of it all. 

Later on, people told me that they were surprised at how calm I looked--I wasn't falling to the ground screaming or pulling my hair out and people commended me on how "brave" and "strong" I appeared.  But the truth is, I was not even in the realm of feeling those things (how could any daughter be??). The thought that my dad wouldn't be there to walk me down the aisle the next day, or that something much much worse would happen to him was all I could think about and again--the shock of it all just put me into what felt like a near catatonic state (hence people thinking I looked pretty stoic throughout this whole ordeal).  I figured that if I didn't move, then this couldn't all possibly be happening right?  I have a brief memory of my BMs coming around me, saying encouraging and supportive things, and also holding my future MIL's hand as she was also telling me things to calm my fears.

All I can say is thank GOD we had so many medical experts within our group (in addition to the 3 above, we also had 6 nurses) because eventually he came to without passing out again, and in those agonizing minutes, my cousin and uncle finally told me what happened--he had apparently fainted from a severe drop in blood pressure (I think--again details are a bit fuzzy since I wasn't really in my right mind) caused by an extreme case of dehydration, the heat of the room and just general over-exertion.  From the moment my parents arrived in Canada a few days before, my dad was having a ball and riding the high of being the father of the bride.  He'd been drinking a lot, not really eating very much (I could relate since hours would go by in those few days before I realized I hadn't eaten), not drinking enough water and not getting enough rest.

The ambulance and paramedics finally arrived (Canada I know you have free healthcare and all, but response time for an emergency seemed extremely slow).  They were going to take him downstairs to the ambulance and run some tests in there that would determine if he needed to be taken to a hospital.  Once all 100+ guests started to see my dad stand up (briefly, just so he could be seated in a wheelchair), everyone started clapping as my dad gave a half smile and sheepishly waved at everyone.  After the initial shock of what happened to him, I think it really dawned on him what had happened.  Afterall, he was Papa Mongoose--always the one dancing, singing and getting a party started.  EVERYONE knows him for that.  My dad is the life of the party where ever he goes (guess it's no surprise I ended up with Mr. Mongoose, who is the exact same way).  And like me, I'm sure he just couldn't believe what had happened to him either.  You all already know (or will know) how stressful it is to be a bride, particularly the day before the wedding so that, compounded with the fact that I legitimately thought my dad was going to die since I had no idea what was may be able to imagine my state of mind.

Some more time passed (again, I couldn't tell you how long because I really had no sense of time during this whole thing) and my uncle came upstairs to tell us the good news--all the paramedics' tests came out fine and he just needed to rest, so my mom was going to take him back to the hotel to go to bed.  I was happy to hear this but still very cautious--I didn't want to get overly excited in case something else went wrong.  Plus it was a little sad that both my parents would have to miss the Welcome Dinner, but at the end of the day--the situation could have been much worse.

Once they had left, it was time to move on and get this dinner started.  People were so relieved that he was okay, but they were hungry and with the worst of the drama over, everyone seemed ready to let loose and have a good time.  At this point, I was just so emotionally exhausted and of course had no appetite.  But as a host, I knew leaving wasn't an option, so I sucked it up, felt grateful that my dad was okay and tried not to think that anything else would go wrong.  I let the staff know they could start bringing out the food for everyone and just prayed that we would be incident-free for the rest of the night.

Next up, the dinner finally starts and I reveal my special surprise for Mr. M.

Did you have any scary drama that happened during your wedding weekend?


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